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Gemini Ganesan
Born Ganesan
November 17, 1920(1920-11-17)
India Pudukottai, India
Died March 22, 2005 (aged 84)
India Tamil Nadu, India
Other name(s) Kadhal Mannan, Sambar
Occupation Film actor
Years active 1947-2005
Spouse(s) Alamelu Ganesan, Savithri Ganesan, Pushpavalli Ganesan

Gemini Ganesan (17 November 1920 – 22 March 2005) was an Indian actor. He was nicknamed "Kadhal Mannan" (king of love) of Tamil cinema for the romantic roles he played in movies.

Contents

Biography

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Marriage

Ganesan’s dream was to become a doctor. In April 1940 he went to Trichi to see T.R. Alamelu. Alamelu’s father offered Ganesan his daughter in marriage and promised him a medical seat after graduation. Ganesan immediately agreed and married Alamelu in June 1940. Alamelu lost her father and her elder sister within one month of her marriage. Ganesan's dreams of becoming a doctor shattered. There was no choice left for him, but to find a job immediately as he was the only person to support his family. He got an interview from Indian air force. Much against Alamelu’s wishes Ganesan went to Delhi. In Delhi he met his uncle Narayanswami who advised him to become a teacher. Later, he deserted Alamelu and married actress Savitri. He later left Savitri and married Pushpavalli.

Career

Ganesan was born in a Brahmnin family. He graduated from the prestigious Madras Christian College and was one of the few graduates to enter the film world in those days. He did not take the traditional route of the theatre to the tinsel world. His first job was as a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Madras Christian College. His first cinema-related work (Production Executive in 1947) with the Gemini Studios added the title Gemini to his name.

with well wishers MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, NTR, Director Sridhar in a meeting in Chennai

From the casting department, Ganesan got his first break in films with Miss Malini. This was followed by Chakravarthi, in which he played Lord Krishna. However, not until 1953, when he played the villain in the film Thai Ullam, did people take notice of him as an actor. The next year, he was upgraded as a hero with Manampol Mangalyam. The film paired him with Savitri, who became the mother of two of his children — a daughter and a son. From then on, he carved out a niche for himself in Tamil cinema with films that required a lot of `romance' but little `action'. Ganesan was one of the "Big Three" of Tamil cinema, the other two being the late M. G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan. Although Sivaji excelled in films with drama, and MGR dominated movies with thrilling fight-scenes and, Mr. Ganesh held his own with sensitive portrayals of the yearning lover.

Fondly known as Kadhal Mannan (King of Romance) among his fans, Ganesan had acted in several box-office hits during his heyday (1950s–1970s). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971. Gemini Ganesan's performances on the screen were enhanced by some talented playback singers like A.M. Rajah and P.B. Srinivos. P.B. Srinivos's mellifluous voice in particular complemented Gemini Ganesan. Many memorable duets with P.B.Srinivos and female playback singer S.Janaki are popular even today. The song "Kalangalil Aval Vasantham" will always be remembered and associated with Gemini Ganesan.

He had paired with many top heroines such as Savithri, whom he later married, Anjalidevi, Banumathi, Padmini, Saroja Devi, former Rajya Sabha member Vaijayanthi Mala, "Sowcar" Janaki, KR Vijaya, Devika, and the Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha.

Later in his career, he switched to little different character roles. Notable among these was Rudraveena (remade in Tamil as Unnal Mudiyum Thambi), considered one of the best movies made in telugu ever. Another notable movie was Avvai Shanmughi (1996), in which, quite characteristically, he entered into the skin of an old man longing for an old maid. Towards the end of his acting career he kept himself busy with elegant roles in television serials. In his long film career spanning over five decades he had acted in more than 200 films, including a few in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Gemini Ganesan is known as the romance king of Tamil films.

The person

Mr. Ganesh was a man of varied interests. In school, he was captain of the cricket team. A lover of dogs, he had a special liking for Golden Retrievers. All his life, Mr. Ganesh made it a point not to involve himself in any public controversy. Unlike Sivaji Ganesan and MGR, he kept his distance from politics. He was offered a Rajya Sabha seat by former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi but he declined to accept it. On the personal level he was friendly with many of the top personalities but then he did not like to flatter them on stage and kept away from public functions. However, he had a close circle of friends, and always remembered those who helped him in his career.

Private Life

Though there is different news about the number of wives he had, general information says that Alamelu (family woman), Savithri and Pushpavalli (actresses) were his wives. He is survived by eight daughters and a son. His children are: Dr. Revathi Swaminathan; Dr. Kamala Selvaraj; Ms. Narayani Ganesh; Dr. Jaya Shreedhar; the film actress Bhanurekha Ganesan aka Rekha; Ms. Radha Usman Syed; Ms. Vijaya Chamundeswari, and Mr. Sathish Kumaar Ganesan. He is the maternal grandfather of Bollywood debutante, Naveed Ozman.

Death

His end came at 22 March 2005, 13:30 IST at the age of 84 in his residence after a prolonged illness caused by Renal Failure and multiple organ failure. He was cremated with full state honours.

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