The Tamil title ‘Kadhal Mannan’ (king of romance) is sure to evoke varied reactions from different people. For the youth of today, it would refer to the 1998 film Kadhal Mannan starring Ajith. Those above 40 will definitely recall one man who was known to be the ladies’ man in his reel life as well as real life in an age when romance on screen had severe limitations — the late Gemini Ganesan.
Styled like Hollywood's Humphrey Bogart, Ganesan, the first graduate to become a star, etched out a name for himself amid stalwarts like MG Ramachandran (MGR) and Sivaji Ganesan way back in 1950s. That MGR did action-packed social roles and Sivaji Ganesan stuck to drama, only helped him define his space.
But observers attribute his romantic nature to his chocolate boy looks and a charm that swayed women like a Gene Kelly. That this charm continues to work through his films speaks much about him.
Only actor Sivakumar (actor Suriya’s father) is said to retain such charm much after his prime time. Interestingly, these two actors had well built physique and practised yoga. And the two were quite well read too, Ganesan being the first graduate to be a film star in Kollywood.
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