Veteran Tamil actor Shanmugasundaram who is best known for his portrayal as Kamakshi's (Kanaga) father in the cult classic Karagattakaran, passed away on Tuesday. He was 72.
The actor who made his debut in 1963 in Ratha Thilagam had acted for nearly six decades in several roles and stayed active in his career right to the end. In 2017, he appeared in two films, Veruli and Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan.
Shanmugasundaram had performed a wide range of roles and was especially famous for playing the nattamai or village chieftain. However, he will always be remembered for playing Salliya Chakravarthy in the iconic Sivaji Ganesan starrer Karnan.
In the film, Salliya Chakravarthy is as skilled as Lord Krishna in driving the chariot. Shanmugasundaram was only 19 when he played the role. Speaking to The Hindu, the actor had said: “A terrific experience! I think my fit physique gave Panthulu (director) the idea that I could pull it off."
He elaborated on his experience of working in the film thus: “It was shot in Jaipur. After work for the day was over, the horses, about 400 of them, were being led away in rows of four. I was still in the garb of a royal soldier and wanting to cross over to the other side I began moving between the rows. But the horse before me sensed my presence and gave me a solid kick on my jaw with his hind leg that I couldn’t close my mouth for a while. Every time I think of ‘Karnan,’ the horse and its kick come to my mind."
Many have expressed their condolences at his demise. Director Venkat Prabhu tweeted that Shanmugasundaram had acted in each of his films and called him "actor, uncle, thatha, friend and more."
In Venkat Prabhu's Chennai 600028, Shanmugasundaram's famous dialogue "Bowlinga fieldinga?" still evokes laughter among the people.