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A 'gem' in a million

'Gemini' Ganesan, a popular South Indian film hero of yesteryears, died at his residence in Chennai early on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 after prolonged illness.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2005 23:54 IST
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The festival pays homage toGemini Ganesan, who passed away this year.As part of homage Ganesan's Parthiban Kanavu would be screened.

Gemini Ganesan ( November 1930 - March 2005)
'Gemini' Ganesan, a popular South Indian film hero of yesteryears, died at his residence in Chennai early on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 after prolonged illness, family sources said.

He was 84 and is survived by seven daughters and a son. Popular Hindi actress Rekha is one of his daughters. Ji Ji, another daughter, has also acted in a couple of Tamil films. Another daughter is a famous gynaecologist Kamala Selvaraj, an expert on test-tube babies.

He died at 1.30 am on Tuesday.

Ganesan in his long film career spanning over five decades has acted in more than 200 films, including some in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films.

Ganesan was not keeping good health for the past two months and was in and out of hospital.

He was one of the "Big Three" of Tamil cinema of yesteryear, the other two being late MG Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan. But unlike the other two, he kept away from politics, though he was friendly with many of the top leaders.

Fondly known as "Kadal Mannan" (King of romance), Ganesan had acted in several box-office hits during his heydays between 1950 and 1970 and paired with then top heroines such as Savithri, whom he later married, Saroja Devi, former Rajya Sabha member Vaijayanthi Mala, "Sowkar" Janaki and Devika.

Prominent among his hit films are Vanjikottai Valiban, Kalyana Parisu, Missiamma, Pasamalar, Panama Pasama and Iru Kodugal.

He was awarded the Padmasree in 1971 and bagged several other prestigious honours including the Kalaimamani Award, MGR Gold Medal and Screen Life Time Achievement awards.

His passion for acting saw him doing father roles in a few films in the late 90s, including some with Kamal Hassan.

His name hit the headlines a few years ago, when he "married" his secretary at a temple in Chennai and started living with her in a separate house. However, he came back to live with his first wife later.

Landmark films
Manampol Mangalyam (1953, his debut as hero)

Kanavaney Kan Kanda Deivam (1955)

Missiamma(1955)

Maathar Kula Manickam(1956)

Kalyana Parisu(1959)

Kalathur Kannamma (1960, the debut of Kamal Hassan as a kid)

Then Nilavu(1961)

Konjum Salangai(1962)

Sumaithangi (1962)

Karpagam (1963)

Panamaa Paasamaa(1968)

Iru Kodugal(1969)

Poovaa Thalayaa (1969)

Naan Avanillai(1974, his own production)

First Published: Nov 23, 2005 19:38 IST