Navaratri combined the story telling skills of filmmaker A. P. Nagarajan and the performances of all-time greats Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri. It was the 100th film of Ganesan, who began his career as a stage artiste at the age of nine. Beginning with Parasakthi in 1952, the actor completed 100 films in a dozen years! BBC News mentioned Navaratri as one of Sivaji Ganesan’s best films in its tribute to the actor, on his death in 2001.
Even today when you talk of Kamal Hassan’s Dasavatharam (now in the making), in which he’s said to be playing ten roles, you cannot but recall Navaratri. None who knows Tamil cinema can forget the grea t actor playing nine very different roles in the film. Every character essayed a rasa (emotion) and the navarasas were embellished to the optimum in Ganesan’s portrayals. The thespian’s imaginative approach to his roles was remarkable. Even now he’s an inspiration to aspiring actors. But where did he find his inspiration?
Remembered for: At a time when playing even three roles in a film was a wonder, you saw an actor handling nine with élan! And each was so different from the other that you almost forgot it was the same man playing all the parts.