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‘Gemini’ Ganesan


Tamil actor R. Ganesan — who took on the moniker “Gemini” Ganesan after making his debut in Gemini Studios’ films — died at his Chennai residence March 22after a prolonged illness. He was 84.

Along with Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramchandran, Ganesan formed the troika of leading men who ruled Tamil cinema for almost three decades, but unlike them he never dabbled in politics. Ganesan, who was known for his romantic roles, debuted in Gemini Studios’ “Miss Malini” (1946). His last outing was in the “Mrs. Doubtfire”-inspired Tamil-lingo “Avvai Shanmughi”(1996).

Though an intensely private person, Ganesan also gave fodder for the gossip rags with his romantic dalliances including with co-stars Savitri and Pushpavalli.

Ganesan, who was born in Pudukkottai, Tamilnadu, began his career as a studio executive. Other execs forced the classically good-looking Ganesan to stand in when another actor failed to show up during production, kick-starting a career that was to last almost six decades. He acted in more than 200 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi languages.

Among his memorable movies are “Chakradari” (1948), “Nava jeevanam” (New Life, 1949), “Avvaiyar” (1953), “Missiamma” (1955), “Kanavane kan kanda deivam” (My Husband Is the Living God, 1955) “Kalathur Kannaamma” (1960) “Kalyana parisu”(Wedding Gift, 1959), “Pennin perumai” (Girls’ Pride,1956), “Pasamalar” (Flower of Love, 1961), “Konjam salangai” (Tinkling Bells, 1962), “Sumai thangi” (Bearer of Burden, 1962), “Karpagam” (1963) “Nann Avanillai” (I’m Not He, 1974).

He directed one film, “Idaya malar” (Flower of the Heart, 1976).

His Bollywood outings include “Devta” (God, 1956) “Miss Mary” (the Hindi version of “Missiamma” 1957) “Raj Tilak” (Coronation, 1958) and “Nazarana” (Gift, 1961).

He is survived by his wife, seven daughters, including thesps Jiji and Rekha, and one son.

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