A day after legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan's family termed the Chief Minister and deputy chief Minister's decision to not attend the late star's memorial inauguration as disrespectful, the government has altered its plans. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has assured the family that he will be attending the ceremony on October 1.
The Tamil Nadu government had in a press statement on Thursday announced that Sivaji Ganesan’s memorial will be inaugurated on the late star’s birthday. It also stated that the memorial will be inaugurated by state Information Minister Kadambur Raju. Following this, the thespian’s family led by his son Prabhu released a statement to the media calling it disappointing that neither the Chief Minister nor the Deputy CM would preside over the function.
"Both the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister were kind of enough to call me and talk about this issue," says actor Prabhu, Sivaji Ganesan's son. "The Chief Minister said that they had an MGR function to attend at the same time. So, he will ensure that the Deputy Chief Minister is present at the venue. He promised to come visit as soon as gets back to the city," he adds.
In his appeal to the Government he had said, "Appa's memorial was the Great Purachi Thalaiva Amma's dream project ; And if she was alive she would have presided this opening & done justice to our legendary Father Nadigar Thilagam's athma.....we are disappointed that the our CM or Deputy CM of Our Tamilnadu are not attending the Great Actor's memorial opening ; he through his movies has done so much for Tamil culture & The Great Tamil language ; so please sir ; we feel this kind of a small function for our father is kind of disrespecting him.”
Following this pressure had mounted on the Government in the form of the principal opposition party DMK that alleged that the 'entire film industry is in shock to hear that the newly constructed Shivaji Memorial will be unveiled by group of Ministers headed by (Fisheries Minister) Jayakumar.'
Even the Nadigar Sangam insisted that the Chief Minister must be present for the inauguration.
"We are happy that the Deputy CM has now agreed to attend the event. The other ministers will also be present. My father has contributed greatly to Tamil cinema and to the language," says Prabhu. "We are grateful to all other artists who came out in our support over this matter," he adds.
The memorial has been constructed on Durgabai Deshmukh Road in Adyar at a cost of ₹2.8 crore. It is spread over an area of over 28,300 sq. ft. According to reports, the building has been constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and is adorned with domes.
Eleven years after it was installed by the then DMK Government, the statue of the actor Sivaji Ganesan was moved in August to the memorial site in a pre-dawn operation from the Marina Beach. This was despite the High court asking the government to take a decision on the matter expeditiously in 2014.
The Government in 2015 had said that work on the manimandapam will commence in October that year and it will be completed in October 2017.
Shifting of the statue brought down the curtains on a long and arduous battle in the Madras high court where petitions were filed for it removal from the Marina Promenade since it affected the line of sight of motorists.