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Vijayan - a face in the crowd

Chennai, Sep 23 (IANS) Veteran actor Vijayan, who acted in more than 100 Tamil and Malayalam films, died of cardiac arrest here, family sources said.

2007-09-23T22:03:00Z

Chennai, Sep 23 (IANS) Veteran actor Vijayan, who acted in more than 100 Tamil and Malayalam films, died of cardiac arrest here, family sources said.

Vijayan, 63, was a film journalist before he was introduced in Tamil cinema as a hero by acclaimed director Bharatiraja in 1979 Tamil classic 'Kizhakke Pogum Rayil' (The Train That Goes East).

The box office success of the film saw Vijayan in as many as 27 films the next year. On many occasions the producers had to sober him up before the shots.

Vijayan was never finicky about the price he would get for his work, 'Maybe, we will adjust the balance in the next movie,' was his favourite line to the producers.

Even at the height of stardom, he never had the airs of a star. Whether riding in a three-wheeler or smoking a beedi in public, Vijayan never cared for his 'star image'.

Vijayan wouldn't think twice about crossing the street to have his lunch at a popular restaurant. Fans didn't mob him but that hardly mattered with him.

His career had come a full circle, from a hero to playing simpler roles - he played a 'fixer' in Mani Ratnam's 'Nayakan' in the eighties. The last few months before his end saw him as a stalker in '7G Rainbow Colony'.

When this writer met him in a journalist's office in central Chennai, on a hot afternoon in 1994, age had taken its toll on his hair - which he had forgotten to dye for sometime.

'I am a face in the crowd and would like to remain one. Even the roles that are coming my way are those of a father, elder brother and other supporting roles. I am not too particular about money or the perks of being an actor. I am a happy-go-lucky guy. I will die as one,' Vijayan said that day.

Till the end, which came on Saturday, Vijayan remained a face in a crowd that one only recognized occasionally.

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