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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 09:23 GMT
Southern Indian movie star dies
Gemini Ganesan
Ganesan acted in more than 200 films
Indian actor Gemini Ganesan, popular for his romantic roles, has died at the age of 84.

The southern Indian star acted in over 200 films, mostly in Tamil and other southern languages.

Fondly called Kadal Mannan (king of romance), Ganesan was nicknamed Gemini after he joined a southern production house by the same name.

He is survived by his wife, seven daughters and a son. Popular Bollywood actress Rekha is one of his daughters.

Ganesan was not keeping well for the past few months, and was in and out of hospital for treatment, his family said.

A former college lecturer and production assistant, he became a big romantic hero in the 1950s and 1960s.

Along with MG Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan was one of the top movie stars of southern Indian cinema.

Soft lover

But unlike the other stars, he kept away from politics in a region where the dividing line between cinema and politics is thin.

Gemini Ganesan funeral
Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha at Ganesan's funeral (Pic: Senthil Kumar)

Indian film historians say Gemini Ganesan stood out in the colourful, raucous world of southern cinema with his urban sensitivities.

"He was the city-bred, English-educated landlord's son who would fall in love with a village belle in his films. He was the archetypal soft lover," film researcher Pritham K Chakravarthy told the BBC News website.

She says Ganesan also opened the doors for amateur actors to join the industry, where most of the stars were trained in theatre.

Some of Gemini Ganesan's memorable films are Vanjikottai Valiban (The Youth from Vanji Fort), Kalayana Parisu (Marriage Gift), Iru Kodugal (Parallel Line) and Then Nilavu (Honeymoon).

In Nann Avanillai (I am not him), he played nine roles.

Ganesan received the prestigious national Padmashree award in 1971 for his contribution to cinema.

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