Valliyoor Satya




It is uncanny that most of Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan’s movies were remade in Hindi, where Sanjeev Kumar enacted Sivaji’s role. Sanjeev Kumar was born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala and went onto become one of the most successful star-actors of Bollywood. He was so well known for his histrionic abilities that even Bollywood thespian Dilip Kumar was in awe of him.

One of Sanjeev Kumar’s successful movies Mausam (1976), directed by Gulzar, was later remade in Tamil as – Vasanthathil Oru Nal that starred Sivaji Ganesan and Sripriya. Then Sivaji’s Navaratri was remade in Hindi as Nayee Din Nayee Rat, in which Jaya Bhaduri enacted the role that Savitri played in the original.

Sivaji gained immense fame with a movie called Avan Thaan Manithan, and this movie was made in Hindi as Shandar where Sharmila Tagore essayed the role enacted by Jayalalitha in the original. The Sivaji - Jayalalitha jubilee hit Engirondho Vandal was a remake of the Bollywood super hit Khilona, in which Sanjeev Kumar was paired with Mumtaz. A Sanjeev Kumar - Mala Sinha starrer (Beraham) was remade in Tamil with Sivaji and Sujata.

So, what was it that prompted film makers either to rope in Sanjeev Kumar for the Hindi remake of Sivaji’s Tamil films or rope in Sivaji for the roles that were originally played by Sanjeev Kumar in Hindi?

For once, both of them were versatile actors. Sivaji could play serious roles with as much ease as he could play comic roles. Ditto with Sanjeev Kumar. In every role that they enacted, both actors left their unique imprint.

The only movie that Sivaji could have played well and easily fitted into Sanjeev Kumar’s shoes but did not do so was the controversial movie – Aandhi (1975), in which Sanjeev Kumar played the silent and understanding husband of an ambitious woman, played by Suchitra Sen.

The main difference between Sivaji and Sanjeev was that Sanjeev could easily navigate into roles that required him to act with his eyes alone and convey a lot through them. Sivaji, for most part of his career, was known for his dialogue delivery and it was only much later that in movies like – Thunai and Mudhal Mariyadai, he enacted roles where there were less dialogues. Sanjeev continued to play versatile roles until his death in 1985. Sanjeev’s role in Qatl is well remembered. In this murder mystery, Sanjeev takes revenge on his infidel wife (Sarika) even though he is blind. The way he plots this murder is an interesting twist in the plot.

Sanjeev had a tragic personal life. He was deeply attached to his mother and when she died, he went into depression. However, Sivaji had a successful personal life, with a successful marriage.


Also, unlike Sivaji, Sanjeev never ever ventured into politics. All through his life he was devoted to the cause of cinema. But none can deny that both actors possessed tremendous versatility.

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