A controversy has broken out over the inauguration of legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan’s memorial in Chennai following Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s decision not to attend the function. Calling it a ‘disrespect’ the actor’s family led by his son Prabhu have urged the CM and the Deputy CM to reconsider attending the opening of the memorial.
The Tamil Nadu government had in a press statement on Thursday announced that Sivaji Ganesan’s memorial will be inaugurated on October 1, which happens to be 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. Appealing to the Chief Minister and other government officials to reconsider their decision, Sivaji Ganesan’s family stated, "Please do reconsider about asking the CM & all ur govt dignitaries to please attend the Great Tamil Actor's memorial opening it is a humble request sir our family as well as thousands of Sivaji Ganesan fans are waiting for a favourable reply from u sir (sic).”
Pointing out that the memorial was late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s “dream project”, Prabhu went on to say, “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. As much as we are happy about our TN government opening our respected father Mr Sivaji Ganesan's memorial ; 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.”
The manimandapam (memorial) was constructed at a cost of Rs 2.8 crore.
DMK condemns TN government
Meanwhile, the DMK used the opportunity to hit out at the Tamil Nadu government. “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. We condemn this move of the state government,” said DMK MLA Vaigai Chandrasekhar in a press release.
It was the DMK government that had installed a statue of Sivaji Ganesan on the Marina promenade in July 2006. However, the statue was removed in August this year following a Madras High Court directive. The Chennai Traffic police had informed the court that the statue had increased the risk of accidents after motorists complained of facing blocked view.
The Sivaji Ganesan statue was then moved to the memorial.
In his statement, Chandraekhar went on to call the act of moving the statue ‘political vendetta’ by the ruling AIADMK. “It was DMK which installed a statue for Sivaji in Marina, but it was the AIADMK government which argued in the court that the statue stands as an obstruction to the traffic and ensured that the statue being removed from the place. This is being done only because political vendatta and a great shame of the great actor,” said the DMK MLA.