Glamour

Veteran Tamil actor S.S. Rajendran dead


Chennai, Oct 24 (The Hindu): Tamil cinema’s yesteryear actor S.S. Rajendran known as SSR — a contemporary of Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran in cinema and politics — who was battling for life at a private hospital in Chennai, breathed his last on Friday. He was 86.

Born in Sedapatti, Madurai district, SSR, like all his contemporaries cut his teeth in the Boys Company and later in the theatre troupe run by T.K.S Brothers. He was also a good singer and a few could match his Tamil pronunciation.

In his autobiography Naan Vantha Paathi, he had said he could get a job in the TKS troupe after singing a song set to raga Karaharapriya. “It impressed T.K. Bhagavathi, the younger brother of T.K. Shanmugam,” he had said.

He had penned his autobiography, but kept the manuscripts with him. “IAS officer Rajendran and artist Trotsky Marudhu are responsible for getting the book published,” said poet Vennila, whose publishing house Agani has brought out the book.

SSR was closely associated with the Dravidian movement, and he was the first actor to be elected to the Assembly in the country in 1962 from Theni constituency on a DMK ticket. He also represented the DMK in the Rajya Sabha in 1970.

Though he was a close friend of DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, he fell out with him after the expulsion of former chief minister MGR, and became a member of the AIADMK. Later he was elected from Andipatti Assembly constituency on a AIADMK ticket with a highest victory margin.

In his autobiography, SSR had recalled his close association with the family of DMK founder C.N. Annadurai and his decision to send Rs 5,000 per month to the widow of the late leader after knowing about the family’s financial troubles.

“After Anna’s adopted son Parimalam started earning, he asked me not to send the money,” SSR had said.

Parasakti, starring Sivaji Ganesan, gave him the much needed introduction in the film world, though he had acted a few films earlier.

Some of his outstanding films include Poompuhar, for which the dialogues were penned by DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, Sivagangai Cheemai, a film by late lyricist Kannadasan and Manimagudam, a film he played opposite former chief minister Jayalalithaa.

He is survived by two wives, including actress C.R. Vijayakumari (his wife Thamaraiselvi had passed away earlier) and eight children.

IANS adds:

A family source said, “He was admitted to Meenakshi Hospital yesterday (Thursday) in critical condition. He passed away this morning (Friday) due to issues related to lung infection.”


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