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Sivaji Ganesan Family Accuses EPS Of Insulting Both Him And Jayalalithaa

Chennai:  It is an insult to former superstar Sivaji Ganesan and his contribution to cinema to have his 2.8-crore memorial inaugurated by a minister, the actor’s family says, insisting that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami must make the time for the occasion.

Sivaji Ganesan, who starred in more than 300 films, died in 2001. His memorial is to be opened on Sunday which is also his 89th birth anniversary.

The memorial which is centred on a large statue, is located in Adyar, a fancy neighbourhood in Chennai.

The memorial was commissioned by J Jayalalithaa, actor-turned-politician, who died in December while she was Chief Minister. Her party’s E Palaniswami or “EPS”, who now heads the government, has assigned two ministers to throw open the memorial to the public.

“The scheduled small function by a minister will disrespect a legend,” said Sivaji Ganesan’s son, Prabhu, who is an actor, in a letter to the Information Minister. “This is Jayalalithaa’s dream project. She would have inaugurated if she were alive,” he claimed.

A statue of Sivaji Ganesan, built when the opposition DMK was in power, was removed in August from a main road leading upto the city’s famous Marina Beach after the High Court said it was a traffic hazard and blocks the view of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

It is this statue that will be placed in the new memorial and sources say its provenance and links to the DMK may have spurred EPS to keep his distance from Sunday’s ceremony.