Sivaji Ganesan’s 79th birthday was celebrated with fanfare this week.
With soprano sax, clarionet and trumpet ruling the roost and percussion pitching in ably in the orchestra segment, it was an evening of joy and sentiment, verve and emotion, at the Paattum Naane Bhaavamum Naane show at the Music Academy, Chennai, organised on the occasion of the 79th birthday of Tamil cinema’s performer nonpareil, Sivaji Ganesan. In fact it was a twin celebration that also remembered the doyen of the Tamil stage, YGP.
The brightness in the eyes of Ganesan as seen in the giant-sized portraits that adorned the stage drew your attention even as you entered. And as if on cue YGM spoke of the powerful eyes. Somehow it seemed apt because Chennai Vision Charitable Trust that’s doing its mite to make our world blind-free and Rotary Club of Chennai Samudra were behind the mammoth show.
Actions and reactions
When Ramkumar, Ganesan’s eldest son, looked up at the gathering on the balcony, from the dais, you almost saw his dad! So striking was the resemblance. You noticed Ganesan’s screen heir-apparent, Prabhu, doubling up in laughter as Nagesh’s history making Dharumi sequence (‘Thiruvilaiyaadal’) was projected on screen. The two were the special guests of the evening.
Y.Gee. Mahendra’s reverence for Ganesan is well known. Every year YGM and his Melody Makers make September 30 (October 1 is Sivaji Ganesan’s birthday.) memorable for fans of Ganesan. So it was that evening. Sprinkling their emceeing with a lot of interesting anecdotes about the thespian, were YGM and ARS.
As always the evening included a theme based light music show — immortal numbers from Ganesan’s films directed by A.P. Nagarajan and A. C. Trilokchander. An added bonanza was the interspersing of a few immortal sequences from their films. And putting their hands together whenever the actor’s face was beamed on screen was a jubilant crowd that went berserk in its adulation for Ganesan.
T.L.Maharajan, whose voice has mesmerised connoisseurs for years, came up with some classic music pieces from Ganesan’s films. Ananthu, another popular stage singer, delighted the audience with his flawless singing. ‘Oru Naal Podhuma’ was one such. Sisters Kalpana and Prasanna, Kovai Murali, Saindhavi and the rest of the melody making crew, including Madhuvanti, pitched in beautifully to make the show unforgettable. If only the microphones had cooperated better …
This year Sivaji Awards of Excellence were presented to actors Saroja Devi, Lakshmi and Nagesh, and singers, T.M. Soundararajan, P. Suseela and Vani Jairam. And it was fascinating to watch them nod their heads in approbation. (Nagesh could not make it to the event. And actor Sujatha who was in the list was missing.) YGM’s spontaneous witticisms had Saroja Devi in splits. Among the awardees Vani sang her number from Ganesan’s ‘Anbe Aaruyirae’ — ‘Malligai Mullai Poopandhal’ — in a voice as fresh as always.
Lakshmi, who spoke on behalf of others, emotionally stated that it was as though the God of Acting had descended in the form of Ganesan to show us what the art is all about.
When a part of the crowd tried to get a word or two in edgeways, a terse admonition from the actor, and they actually clammed up! ARS who was standing beside Lakshmi smiled in awe at her crowd control tactic … so did you!