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Chip off the old block

Prabhu,actor and son of Sivaji Ganesan,takes a trip down memory lane, remembering the thespian as an actor and as a father...



Prabhu with his father, Sivaji Ganesan.

PRABHU IS on cloud nine these days. The Tamil Nadu Government recently honoured his father, the legendary Sivaji Ganesan.

A land has been sanctioned to build a memorial for a man whom the industry refers to as an actor's actor.

Prabhu, one of the most liked actors in the industry, remembers his father who passed away a year ago.

He talks about his father's love for cinema.

Excerpts...

How would you define Sivaji Ganesan, the actor?

Sivaji Ganesan was an institution by himself, a university of acting. Appa used to tell his critics who said that he `overacted', to consult the Lord's dictionary that defines acting as an "exaggerated expression"!

He used to say that after all he was a stage actor who worked without mikes. And at times when he shouted for the last benches, his expressions might have looked like over acting. Even today whenever his films are telecast on television, people call me up and say that they enjoyed his style of acting.

There are actors like Kamal Hassan, who consider him as a role model.



Prabhu is not in the superstar race.

Like my father, Kamal Hassan is an actor who has taken the risky path of doing offbeat or challenging roles. And he makes no bones about it when he says that his biggest inspiration is Sivaji sir.

As a son and an actor, I consider Appa as one of the greatest actors that India has ever produced. I am sure that no Indian would disagree with me on that. (smiles).

The critics and writers say that Tamil cinema is all about glamour and superstardom.

They are not off the mark, as right from my periyappa MGR's days it has been glamour and fan clubs, which ruled. But Sivaji Ganesan was able to get recognition as an actor.

Have you ever tried to analyse why an actor like Sivaji Ganesan could never make it to politics?

Politics was never his cup of tea.

He lacked strong and able advisors. Shanmugham, Appa's youngest brother, was his constant companion and advisor who took care of his film career.



With Ramya Krishna in `Budget Padmanabhan.'

But after his death in 1984, Appa was heartbroken and desolate. It was around this time that he jumped into politics and I think he lacked proper political advisors. He was a good actor only in front of the camera.

As a son, how would you like to remember your father?

We all look upon him as a role model and he always made us aware of the joint family system. Even today all of us including Appa's brother's children and grandchildren stay together. My elder brother Ram Kumar sits at the head of the table and runs the family very efficiently.

And the best compliment that I received from Appa was "Prabhu is good stuff, if directed well" in his biography.

How do you assess yourself as an actor and what's happening on your career front?

My career is not too good or too bad at the moment. I am not in the superstar race. Still I would like my films to sell better. Right now I am doing a comedy titled Yes Madam.

SREEDHAR PILLAI

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