Saturday, Mar 01, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Sundararajan as `Major' Chandrakant.
He is survived by his wife and son (also an actor, Gautham).
Family sources said he had undergone a cardiac procedure last year. Recently, he was found to be suffering from liver cancer. The end came at around 1 p.m. at his home.
Starting as an amateur stage artist even while working in the Telecom department in the early 1950s, Sundararajan entered the film world with Pattinathaar (1962), directed by K. Somu. After a powerful performance as a blind and retired army official in K. Balachander's Major Chandrakant, he came to be known as `Major' Sundararajan. He acted in over 900 films, and a few television serials in the past few years, giving memorable performances in Gowravam, Edhir Neetchal, Bama Vijayam, Abhoorva Raagangal and Deiva Cheyal. He continued to act in stage plays, even while playing memorable roles on the screen. He acted in a few Malayalam and Telugu movies also.
A unique feature of `Major's' portrayal of any role, including a villainous character, was his urbane, sophisticated mode of dialogue delivery mixing English and Tamil sentences and phrases.
He had acted as hero in the successful stage play, Gnana Oli and later when it was made film, his close friend, Sivaji Ganesan, played the lead role, with `Major' playing a perfect foil as a friend. `Major' Sundararajan starred in most of Sivaji Ganesan's movies as also of almost all other leading actors and actresses of the past three decades.
He also dabbled in politics for a little while. In February 1988 he joined Sivaji Ganesan's political outfit, "Tamilaga Munnetra Munnani", and became its State secretary. But he quit the post and primary membership in October 1989.
Leading personalities of the film industry paid tributes to `Major' Sundararajan.
The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, said the actor had contributed not only to the film world, but also theatre. His death was a loss to the world of arts.
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