Google celebrates Nadigar Thilakam Sivaji Ganesan’s birthday with a doodle
Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Bangalore, India-based guest artist Noopur Rajesh Choksi, celebrates the 93rd birth anniversarey of late Sivaji Ganesan, one of India’s first method actors and widely considered among the nation’s most influential actors of all time.
On this day in 1928, Sivaji Ganesan was born as Ganesamoorthy in Villupuram, a town in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, India. At a young age of 7, he left home and joined a theater group, where he started playing child and female roles then lead roles. In December 1945, Ganesan made a name for himself–literally–with his theatrical portrayal of 17th-century Indian King Shivaji. This regal stage name stuck and Ganesan carried the crown as “Sivaji” as he conquered the world of acting.
He made his on-screen debut in the 1952 film “Parasakthi,” the first of his over 300 films spanning a nearly five-decade cinematic career. Renowned for his expressive voice and diverse performances in Tamil-language cinema, Ganesan quickly ascended to international fame. His best-known blockbusters include the trendsetting 1961 film “Pasamalar,” an emotional, family story considered one of Tamil cinema’s crowning achievements, and the 1964 film “Navarthri,” Ganesan’s 100th film in which he portrayed a record-breaking, nine different roles.
In 1960, Ganesan made history as the first Indian performer to win Best Actor at an international film festival for his historical movie “Veerapandiya Kattabomman,” one of his biggest blockbusters with people remembering the dialogues from the movie even today. Other distinguished accolades came near the end of his career. In 1995, France awarded him its highest decoration, Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour. The Indian government in 1997 honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award which is India’s highest award in the field of cinema. Today, his legacy is carried on for international audiences through the performances of the many contemporary Indian acting greats who cite Ganesan as a major inspiration.
Guest Artist Q&A with Noopur Rajesh Choksi
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Bangalore, India-based guest artist Noopur Rajesh Choksi. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q. Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A. The idea of celebrating someone’s art, their story, and legacy is always so special and inspiring. Sivaji Ganesan is an iconic figure in Tamil and Indian cinema. This Doodle gave me an opportunity to take a deep dive into the beautiful worlds he created through his many roles. Although I did not grow up watching his movies, I’ve been exploring and appreciating some South Indian cinema since moving to Bangalore, so this came in as a beautiful coincidence. It was an absolute honour to be able to pay a small tribute to him through my work.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you were approached about working on this Doodle?
A. I’d always dreamt of being able to create a Google Doodle someday, so I was really excited and honored when I was approached for this. I was also slightly overwhelmed soon after because Sivaji Ganesan has such an incredible legacy of work that spans across decades and is so universally loved and admired. There was so much material to draw inspiration from! I really wanted to create something that encapsulated his essence and charisma and portrayed him in a way that did justice to his immense talent.
Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A. Sivaji Ganesan was known for his versatility and the variety of roles he portrayed on screen. I loved seeing the evolution of his looks across movies and all the eccentric facial hair he sported through the years. You can tell that he loved immersing himself into the narrative of the characters he portrayed on screen, so I really wanted to represent his artistic range through the Doodle. I also drew inspiration from vintage Indian film posters for the treatment and typography. I was inspired by the nostalgia and the timelessness of his work, and my aim was to visualize that complex celebratory emotion in the best possible way.
Q. What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A. I hope that people are able to feel his infectious vibrant energy and all the joy, passion, and pride that he took in his work when they see the Doodle. Sivaji Ganesan continues to inspire and live through his work so I hope it encourages more people to chase their dreams and express themselves creatively, freely, and with conviction.