It has been 85 years since Sivaji Ganesan was born and his grandson Vikram Prabhu recalls memories of the birthday celebrations that would mark the legend’s birthday and what the day means to him, the family and fans.
Birthday with the big man: The celebrations would begin from 5.30 am when we all woke up. The entire family would gather in his room and would shower him with gifts. Then we would all pray at the family temple adjacent to our compound wall. Fans would have already gathered. Thatha would stop at our portico and meet them and spend time with them. Then, a huge feast would follow at lunch time. During the day, his friends and industry well-wishers would keep pouring in to wish him. They would stay on for lunch, which always had our family’s special biriyani.
Times haven’t changed: Today he’s no longer with us, but the celebrations are the still the same. In fact, earlier, our road would be blocked because of the traffic and a stage would be erected and fans would perform and act out his songs. But now, due to traffic restrictions, that has been stopped. For us, grandfather’s birthday has always been an Open day, when the public pours in all through the day. It’s the same even today. As during his time, the fans gather from early morning and we all wish each other with the greeting ‘Nadigar Dina Vazhthugal’. The family members, including appa and myself, meet the fans. In fact, they come right into the house and take photos with his giant portrait in our hall. We all share memories and talk about him.
Blooming memories: If he had been alive, he would have been 85 today. He would have been happy to see me as an actor. The day is special for me and I always spend it with the family, from morning till night. I feel that as an actor and a professional, he would have preferred me to be on the sets, acting, even on this day. But I avoid shooting as I feel it’s my duty to be at home instead, and share this day and some special memories, with my family.