Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and Uday Jariwala have co-authored ‘Sanjeev Kumar- The Actor We All Loved’. While this biography is considered to be of historical significance in the annals of Indian cinema, it traverses Sanjeev Kumar's life from 1938 to 1985 and promises to be a thorough entertainer. After covering a big part of Sanjeev Kumar's life, here comes a small extract from the book that talks about his southern connections. The veteran actor, who was born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala, shared a deep bond with Sivaji Ganesan and here’s a little more insight into this phase of his life.
Sanjeev Kumar’s biography reveals his deep bond with Sivaji Ganesan; “He blessed my career”, late Sanjeev Kumar had told a reporter
ted taking shape. It was one of mutual respect with the legendary actor of Tamil cinema, Sivaji Ganesan. Hari was given a character role in Ganesan's home production Gauri (1968) which was a remake of Ganesan's own film Shanti (1965).
An article of unknown provenance titled 'Naan Sivajiyan Maanavan' (‘I am a student of Sivaji's’), was obtained from Hari'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.”
The article further read, “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 of the finest actors in Hindi Cinema, it is my honour.”
The mutual admiration between Sivaji Ganesan and Sanjeev Kumar as well as the latter's own quiet, easygoing nature eventually played a major role in Hari's success. When South Indian producers and directors wanted to remake their Tamil or Telugu films in Hindi, they often chose Hari. These remakes typically had long dialogues and demanded good histrionics and this further augmented Hari's 'actor' tag.
For example, Sivaji Ganesan's Avan Thaan Manithan was remade as Shaandaar, and Gnana Oli was remade as Devata - both featuring Sanjeev Kumar. Among the Telugu films, Takkar was a remake of N.T. Rama Rao's Devudu Chesina Manushulu with Sanjeev in the lead role. The winds blew the other way too. His film Mausam was remade in Tamil as Vasanthathil Oru Naal featuring Sivaji Ganesan.
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