Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sivaji Statue

Sun TV today morning telecast the function marking the unveiling of 'Sivaji' Ganesan's statue, which took place on July 21 (his death anniversary) and was attended by a number of important personalities from the Tamil film industry. Its been awhile since I've watched such an 'all-star' function in Tamil cinema and so it made for fun viewing.

My wife's biggest question was whether Sivaji even deserved a statue. Sure he was a great actor but does that alone entitle him to a statue alongside statues for people like Gandhi? He was an entertainer who dazzled us with his performances but he was also paid handsomely for his talent. And unlike MGR, he was a failure as a politician. So while an award in his name makes perfect sense, a statue was a bit too much, in her opinion.

Such questions never entered my mind though. I was just happy that we got another occasion where we could see a number of popular film personalities gathered together and hear them speak. But from the speeches, it wasn't clear at many places whether the function was about Sivaji or Karunanidhi! All the speakers, after dutifully praising Sivaji, made it a point to talk in glowing terms about Karunanidhi erecting a statue for him.

The function had speeches by Karunanidhi, Rajni, Kamal, Vairamuthu, Bagyaraj and AVM Saravanan. The Sun TV program also had people like Surya, Vijay, Satyaraj, Prashanth, 'Jayam' Ravi, Srikanth, Sneha, Meena, Thiagarajan, Vadivelu, Sivakumar, S.A.Chandrasekhar, K.S.Ravikumar, Manorama and Saroja Devi talk about Sivaji. The speeches ranged from the good to the boring with the speeches by Vairamuthu, Rajni, Surya, Satyaraj and Vadivelu being among the better ones .

The best parts of the program were the clips shown from Sivaji movies. The clips from movies like Parasakthi, Navarathiri, Thillaana Mohanambal, Uyarndha Manidhan, Manohara, Thevar Magan, etc. showed us just how versatile he was. Truly a great actor...

17 Comments:

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Prasanna said...

it shld have been a good event Balaji, considering the number of stars who appeared in the show. Bad that i missed it. I just saw a few speeches which were shown on various News channels. Hope they repeat the show again.
Spking abt the statue, guess considering him in terms of people like those Freedom Fighters and other great people, it is a bit too much. But if spoken in terms of the film world, then he truely deserves it. We cld well consider it in terms of the Wax museum where we cld find many great personalities

 
At 4:55 AM, Anonymous karthik sc said...

the best speach was by kamal.rajini was shit

 
At 6:38 AM, Anonymous RDX said...

Overall it was a veri nice & emotional function.Fitting tribute to a legend. Enjoyed Vairamuthu,Kamal & esp Thalaivar's speech...We can see both Thalaivar(rajini) & kamal were veri emotional when delivering their speeches...Thalaivar as usual in his style was veri gd....The way he praised Vijaykanth at that instant was realli amazing....surely VK muz have felt happy as even karunanidhi & mani other politicians regard his win a failure

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Balaji, I don't know about Anu's viewpoint about Sivaji not deserving a statue and all.. Say what you may, about culture, ethics and tradition, I am not a grand propnent of having a statue of Kannagi either.. but we still have one for her. She was revered way back when for the fact that her anger represented some kind of a platform for honesty, integrity, love and genuine ethics and tradition.. but I don't live by everything she said or did back then.. for that matter, I don't even think of her even once every day. Moreover, our world (case in point, Tamilnadu) has changed so drastically in the last 15 odd years.. I would seriously question how many women (and men) live by the virtues or ethics set by Kannagi or even care to think of her before doing something wrong or unacceptable (which can also be said of all the terrorists and goondas who resort to violence on a daily basis. Doubt any of them are really contemplating the various great teachings of Gandhi on a daily basis either). That said, if man/woman choose to live any which way they want, what great difference does it make whether or not we erect a statue for them?

If that was the situation for poor Kannagi, I don't think there is a frankly a strong point that can necessarily be made against a statue for Sivaji. Mind you, by the time, I was a little girl, I was like most of my generation, not thinking much of Sivaji.. or thinking he may have overacted here and that.. But now that I think about it, I would only call that 'immaturity' or better yet, just being too young to appreciate the aesthetics in the art of acting.

Erecting a statue just seems like a sign of respect to someone's contribution to society (even though each individual's definition of a 'valuable contribution to society' differs). There is a certain feeling of indebtedness that as a society we feel to a particular individual for the varied emotions (and/or strength and courage) that they have given/gifted us. When we so easily forget so many qualities and thoughts that even great people like Kannagi & Gandhi bestowed on us with a bat of an eyelid, what are those qualities and thoughts really worth in the long or short run? Goes to show, Sivaji deserves no less!

Personally, I thought this was one of the finest shows I have seen on Sun TV in the last 4 years that I have subscribed to the channel. Very nicely compiled, staged and very meticulously done.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Balaji, I don't know about Anu's viewpoint about Sivaji not deserving a statue and all.. Say what you may, about culture, ethics and tradition, I am not a grand propnent of having a statue of Kannagi either.. but we still have one for her. She was revered way back when for the fact that her anger represented some kind of a platform for honesty, integrity, love and genuine ethics and tradition.. but I don't live by everything she said or did back then.. for that matter, I don't even think of her even once every day. Moreover, our world (case in point, Tamilnadu) has changed so drastically in the last 15 odd years.. I would seriously question how many women (and men) live by the virtues or ethics set by Kannagi or even care to think of her before doing something wrong or unacceptable (which can also be said of all the terrorists and goondas who resort to violence on a daily basis. Doubt any of them are really contemplating the various great teachings of Gandhi on a daily basis either). That said, if man/woman choose to live any which way they want, what great difference does it make whether or not we erect a statue for them?

If that was the situation for poor Kannagi, I don't think there is a frankly a strong point that can necessarily be made against a statue for Sivaji. Mind you, by the time, I was a little girl, I was like most of my generation, not thinking much of Sivaji.. or thinking he may have overacted here and that.. But now that I think about it, I would only call that 'immaturity' or better yet, just being too young to appreciate the aesthetics in the art of acting.

Erecting a statue just seems like a sign of respect to someone's contribution to society (even though each individual's definition of a 'valuable contribution to society' differs). There is a certain feeling of indebtedness that as a society we feel to a particular individual for the varied emotions (and/or strength and courage) that they have given/gifted us. When we so easily forget so many qualities and thoughts that even great people like Kannagi & Gandhi bestowed on us with a bat of an eyelid, what are those qualities and thoughts really worth in the long or short run? Goes to show, Sivaji deserves no less!

Personally, I thought this was one of the finest shows I have seen on Sun TV in the last 4 years that I have subscribed to the channel. Very nicely compiled, staged and very meticulously done.

 
At 10:36 AM, Anonymous ram said...

These statues are symbols of reverence and but way of immortalizing these public figures. I feel that it really doesnt matter that Shivaji Ganesan was a failure in politics and that he was paid "handsomely" for his talent. I feel that through the characters he donned, he touched the lives of people, became one of the most prominent figures in the history of Tamil cinema that an iconic figure like him deserves a statue as much as a politician like MGR. Of course, are statues of any of these people necessary, is another issue altogether but I feel that since it is a tradition deeeply entrenched in our culture it is but natural that a person like Shivaji has gotten one.

Too bad I missed the function though...my Dad said that Bhagyaraj's recollection of an incident that took place during the shooting of "Dhaavani Kanavugall" was very interesting and symptomatic of Shivaji's punctuality and sincerity...

 
At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a little off topic, does Kannagi really represent justice and does she deserve a statue? here is an interesting read that I completely agree with - http://www.withinandwithout.com/?p=796

Also, check out the references within that article.

SK

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

SK, fantastic writeup on Kannagi and Silapadhikkaaram. Very thoughtfully written, provocative and intricate. Good to know that I'm not the only one feeling a tad too insecure about our inadequecies in judgement over erecting statues for our supposed heroes and heroines. Thanks for recommending this link.

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Balaji- Now with SUN TV at our place, we too briefly watched the function, couldn't put up with the over praising of Sivaji and then Kalaignar too after a point, so we ended up turning the TV off.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Shankari said...

My viewpoint is that I hated history and would not have bothered to read tamil literature, but Sivaji's movies put some stuff into my head...I think he deserved a statue

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

prasanna, thats an interesting comparison - the wax museum. though the statues back home are supposed to be built out of respect for the person while the wax statues r more for fun...

karthik, to each his own :)

rdx, yeah that compliment to vijayakanth was a pleasant surprise - esp. since there's been some bad blood betn the 2 and vkanth has hit out at rajni in his movies. thalaivar thalaivar dhaan :)

sandya/ram, together i think u both have made some wonderful points about why this statue was well-deserved. loved some of the lines u both have written - "There is a certain feeling of indebtedness that as a society we feel to a particular individual for the varied emotions (and/or strength and courage) that they have given/gifted us.", "I feel that through the characters he donned, he touched the lives of people, became one of the most prominent figures in the history of Tamil cinema that an iconic figure like him ..." i can see what u both mean.

 
At 11:54 PM, Anonymous leo said...

it is a mere waste to erect a statue of kannagi and sivaji ganesan....the politicians could have served the people with those huge money during that time instead of spending huge money for all such waste things...

 
At 11:55 PM, Anonymous leo said...

rajini is another guy who doesn't know what to speak in the functions...this is a function to remember sivaji....he is praising karunanidhi and vijaykanth....is this needed?

 
At 11:45 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

Leo
That's the problem with Rajini's speeches. The fact that he comes unprepared and speaks out of instinct is both a good and a bad thing. His spontaneous speeches come as a breath of fresh air compared to those rehearsed boring speeches. But at the same time, his unpreparedness make him digress a lot from the main agenda of the speech. Like in this case, the best part of his speech was talking about Kalaignar and Sivaji as friends when they were young and talking about a statue for themselves. The bad part was he went on to talk about Vijaykanth's political victory and his gloroification of achieving success in both filmdom and politics. Everybody knows Sivaji was a failure in politics and I don't know why Rajini brought up this topic that day about Vijaykanth which sure wasn't needed.

The other interesting thing I was looking forward to was Vijaykanth's speech. The reason was everybody knows that he is a die-hard MGR fan and he himself mentioned in one of his articles in Aa.Vi that during his younger days when his father worked for Congress, Vijaykanth used to work for MGR and he and his friends would just hate Sivaji for being in Congress and even pull down his posters and cut-outs in Maadurai. But his speech was nothing special and just mentioned a line about kalaignar's dialogues and Sivaji's acting.

 
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