SALEM: Ranganathan a noted stage-cum-film actor who gained fame acting as DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in the Tamil bio-film, Periyar passed away today here at the age of 60.
He was under treatment after an injury sustained in an accident a few months ago.
Ranganathan who lived in Pillai Nagar in Ponnamapet made a frugal living acting in stage plays and dance programmes.
He was mostly given a Karunanidhi look-alike role in the stage programmes due to his resemblance to the DMK leader.
The DMK used Ranganathan extensively during elections to attract crowd.
Dressed up as Karunanidhi, Ranganathan used to sit in DMK fasts and participate in protests to amuse the party men as a look-alike of Karunanidhi.
Through a noted writer sympathetic towards DMK, he was introduced to film director Gnana Rajasekaran who was scouting for a right person to act as Karunanidhi in his biographic film, Periyar.
Incidentally, the film was funded by the then DMK Government. After acing in the film too Ranganathan remained very much the face of DMK’s election propaganda, showing up as Karunanidhi look-alike.
He also acted with veteran actor and ‘Ulaga nayagan’ Kamal Haasan in Dasavatharam (again donning the role of Karunanidhi) and did roles in a few more films including Kuthagai Kararan.
During the Yercaud by-election last year and the subsequent parliamentary elections Ranganathan used to tell that his fortune had not changed much after gaining fame. Saying he had reconciled to this reality he said that he cherished a dream to meet his leader Karunanidhi in person at least once in his life time.
A few attempts to secure an appointment with the DMK leader did not materialise.
“Maybe I approached for a meeting at the wrong time. I am sure some day I will be able to meet my leader,” he used to say. But his dream remained unfulfilled.
After remaining in coma for the last few days Ranganathan passed away on Sunday.
A large number of local DMK members and leaders paid their respects to the departed soul.