The headline may sound cliched. But every true connoisseur of Tamil cinema will agree to it. He was the master of acting and an epitome of emotions on screen.
Sivajji in every frame lived the character that he performed. For every Tamilian, a Veera Pandiya Kattabomman or a V O Chidambaram Pillai or a Bharathiyar or a Karnan would bring to mind the image of Sivaji Ganesan.
For a die-hard Sivaji Ganesan fan, 'Karnan' would top the list of their favourites. The mythological character from Mahabharatha appeared in flesh and blood on screen thanks to Sivaji Ganesan.
Exactly after 48 years, 'Karanan' is revisiting cinema halls.
The movie named after the King, known for his generosity and valour and who sided with Gauravas in Mahabharatha, was directed by B R Banthulu. At a time when there were no computer graphics or animation technology, the movie had enough in it to enthrall fans. Such was its gloss and grandeur.
Today Shanthi Chokkalingam of Divya Films, has take it in her stride to ensure that the gen X gets a rare opportunity to revisit the nostalgia of watching 'Karnan', a character lived by Sivaji Ganesan.
It is as if a young, exuberant Sivaji has shot for the film very recently, says Shanthi.
The sound negative has been restored and converted into DTS 5.1. State-of-the-art technology has been used to convert it for screening in 2K resolution and fit was screening in scope. The original is nowhere tampered.
'Karnan' is for youngsters, who don't give much thought to remarkable yesteryear films, to watch their splendour. They should understand those extraordinary endeavours of yore, says Shanthi Chokkalingam.
Says Baskar, a die-hard fan of the thespian and a resident of Egmore, 'there are several characters in the film ('Karnan'), yet Sivaji Ganesan grabs all our attention. The pain and agony brought out from his eyes when he dies will make anyone go in tears'.
'What is surprising to note is that the actor had seven releases in 1964 including 'Karnan'. 'Karnan' was the first to hit the screens. It was followd by 'Pachai Vilakku, Andavan Kattalai, Kai Kodutha Deivam, Pudhiya Paravai, Muradan Muthu' and 'Navarathri'. He played characters with varied shades,
quite different from each other in every film. Hopping from every studio-to-studio, he would get into the mould of every role and did it with ease and elan', he adds.
For Damodaran, who grew up watching Sivaji Ganesan's film, 'I saw Karnan more than 52 times. Every scene is fresh in my mind. Be it his disappointment at knowing that he was a foster son, pride in getting a friend in Duryodhana or romance when meeting his ladylove, he was the 'real' actor'.
Sivaji Ganesan's regal gait and his sheer screen presence were awe-inspiring in the movie. The various shades of emotions like disappointment, joy and sorrow were well brought out through his eyes, which suits him to a T. Watching the movie was indeed a wonderful experience.
Having watched such a splendour on screen and bowled over by the charisma of Sivaji Ganesan, we would simply sum up that it was a mystic experience where the world around us seized on seeing Sivaji Ganesan come alive on screen.