Friday, October 3, 2014

Sivaji in Russian, fighting the good fight against alcohol

Great actors never die; they continue to live through their movies. And their work, over the years, crosses boundaries and is interpreted in diverse ways. A case in point is thespian Sivaji Ganesan, whose movie will soon be dubbed in Russian to create awareness about the ill-effects of drinking. P. Thangappan, secretary-general of Indo-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries and his team will do the dubbing for the film. The movie they have chosen is Pudhiya Paravai, which was released in 1964. “The film conveys a strong message about drinking and its evils. Russia too faces problems of alcoholism like any other country. This film has dealt with the subject daringly and will help create awareness,” says Mr. Thangappan. Indian movies first became popular through the work of actor Raj Kapoor and were much-loved during the Soviet Union’s existence. “After 1991, the screening of Indian films has come down. But, Russians love Indian films even now. I am also planning to dub the mythological films of Sivaji Ganesan into Russian,” he says. Besides, a digital library called ‘Sivaji Archives’ is also being planned jointly by the Russian Cultural Centre and Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society. Photos and footage of his expressions and actions for various situations will be stored. “His acting skills still inspire people. Those interested can touch on a particular emotion and study how Sivaji enacted it,” Mr. Thangappan adds. This project will be supervised by editor and director B. Lenin. “We will make it in Tamil, English and Russian,” he says. Mr. Thangappan recalls Sivaji Ganesan’s three-decade-long association with Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society. “Whenever a Russian cultural delegation visited Chennai, he would honour them with a reception at his residence. This happened even when he was ill. He used to say that his house was always open for artistes,” recalls Mr. Thangappan. He recalls how a Russian delegation, that met him years after Thillana Mohanambal was released, thought he could really play the nadaswaram. “They were surprised when he told them that it was just acting,” he says, adding that Sivaji always spoke his heart out.

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