Actor Sanjeev Kumar’s biopic reveals ‘special bond’ with Sivaji Ganesan
On the occasion of the actor’s 84th birth anniversary, which was on July 9, his biography titled The Actor We All Loved was launched in Mumbai.
Bollywood actor Sanjeev Kumar’s biography titled The Actor We All Loved was penned by writer Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and Sanjeev’s nephew Uday Jariwala was released on July 9 in Mumbai and according to media reports, disclosed previously unknown facts about the actor’s life.
Media sources reported that an extract from the biography talks about the connection he had with people from South India – in the late 1960’s Harihar Zariwala, aka Sanjeev Kumar, was given a character role in popular Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan's home production Gauri (1968) which was a remake of his own film Shanti (1965)
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An article titled Naan Sivajiyan Maanavan (I am a student of Sivaji's), obtained from Sanjeev's family archives quotes him saying, “I first met him when I was but an extra on the sets of Gauri. One look at me and he said, 'In the future, you will be a very accomplished actor.' His words were like God's own words and he blessed my career. Whenever a Sivaji Ganesan movie had to be remade in Hindi, all of us actors would worry plenty. His prowess inspired fear.”
"We would see the Tamil print, again and again, to observe his performance and learn! At a personal level, whenever I visited Chennai, I would seek his blessings. I am grateful for all the love he has given me. If he sees me as one for the finest actors in Hindi Cinema, it is my honour. (sic)”
The biography also spoke about how Sanjeev’s popularity spread to other film industries in the region, as reported by media sources.
The book also reportedly revealed the mutual admiration between Sivaji Ganesan and Sanjeev and the latter's own ‘quiet, easy-going nature’ eventually played a major role in his success. When South Indian producers and directors wanted to remake their Tamil or Telugu films in Hindi, they often chose Sanjeev.
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For example, Sivaji Ganesan's Avan Thaan Manithan was remade as Shaandaar, and Gnana Oli was remade as Devata - both featuring Hari. Among the Telugu films, Takkar was a remake of N.T. Rama Rao's Devudu Chesina Manushulu with Hari in the lead role. The winds blew the other way too. Hari's Mausam was remade in Tamil as Vasanthathil Oru Naal featuring Sivaji Ganesan.
Another important connection in the South was with producer L.V Prasad who made three films with Sanjeev: Raja Aur Runk (1968), Jeene Ki Raah (1969) and Khilona (1970).
The biography traversed Sanjeev’s life from 1938 to 1985, according to media reports.
Sanjeev passed away in 1985 at the age of 47 and became renowned for his realistic acting; according to media sources, he was popular for portraying characters effortlessly.