Sivaji, the boss of biopics – F’day Spl. Article by Naveen 

Biopics are always an interesting genre. It gives artistic liberty to people to show the life of famous personalities with a cinematic touch. There have been biopics that have been released in Kollywood and are also in the making to be released in the coming days.
Some of the most awaited upcoming biopics are ‘Thalaivi’, ‘The Iron Lady’ which are said to be based on the life of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Works are also happening to make the biopics of veteran actor Chandrababu, Velupillai Prabhakaran, Nambi Narayanan and Narain Karthikeyan.
Though a few biopics are subjected to factual errors, they make quite a good watch. Though biopics have become common now, it was thespian Shivaji who popularised the genre in Tamil cinema. We bring to you some of the memorable biopics which had Shivaji ganesan in the lead.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman:
The movie directed by BR Panthulu is one of the classics of Kollywood and is considered as one of the earliest biopics in Tamil cinema. The movie became a huge success for Sivaji’s fiery performance. The movie was appreciated by one all and impresses the audience even after almost 70 years of its release. Shivaji Ganesan received Best Actor Award in the Afro-Asian film festival in Cairo in 1960.
Kappalottiya Thamizhan:
The hit combo of Panthulu and Shivaji joined hands again for a biopic, and this time it was about V O Chidambaram Pillai. The movie titled ‘Kappalottiya Thamizhan’ was based on a book of the same name. Though the movie did not taste commercial success, Sivaji’s performance was lauded by everyone. Chidambaram’s son Subramanium said that Sivaji acting like his father was like seeing his father alive on screen. Sivjai considered this to be his highest award.
Raja Raja Cholan:
Shivaji Ganesan seemed to have more affinity towards historical characters. This was evident in his third biopic Rajaraja Cholan in 1973. He essayed the role of Chola emperor Rajaraja Cholan I. The movie was directed by A P Nagarajan. The movie received critical acclaim and the performances of all the lead actors were praised by the audience.
Apart from biopics Shivaji Ganesan also gave life to some of the mythological characters which include Tenali Raman and Karnan.
Tenali Raman:
Shivaji played the titular role in Tenali Raman which was released in 1956. The movie was directed by B S Ranga based on Ch Venkataramaiah’s stage play Tenali Ramakrishna. Tenali Raman narrates the story of the 14th century poet and scholar Tenali Rama, and his life as a member of the court of Krishnadevaraya, the king of Vijayanagara Empire. Raman, with his wits, manages to save Krishnadevaraya from the attacks made by the Bahmani Sultanate who try to invade Vijayanagara Empire.
Karnan was the product of the hit combo of Panthulu-Shivaji Ganesan. The film is based on the story of Karna, a character from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Karnan was released on 14 January 1964, during the festival occasion of Pongal. The film ran for over 100 days in theatres, and later won the Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film at the 11th National Film Awards. It was considered a milestone in Tamil cinema as it brought together the then leading actors of South Indian cinema, Ganesan and Rama Rao. The film was also partly responsible for a resurgence in Hindu mythological films in the industry.


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