Actor Jaishankar, The James Bond of South India in The 1970s


Much before the names of Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran and Gemini Ganesan ruled the roost in Tamil cinema, there was an actor, Jaishankar, who created his niche with performance in action films, his forte.

In his heyday, he was hailed as South Indian James Bond, a title he attained after playing detective in films Vallavan Oruvan and CID Shankar.

Jaishankar invariably had a release every week, which also gave him the name “Friday star.” After working in over 100 films as a hero, Jaishankar went on to play villain and father in many films, especially after the arrival of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan.

The actor, who is still remembered by many for his performance, made his film debut in 1965 with Iravum Pagalum, directed by Joseph Thaliath Jr. Released on 14 January 1965, the film faced competition from Enga Veettu Pillai and Pazhani, but became a commercial success.

Between 1969-1979, the actor rose to stardom after delivering films like Bommalattam, Muthu Chippi, family drama Uyira Manama and Jeevanamsam. Interestingly, all the films emerged as major hits at the box office.

His 1969 film, Poova Thalaiya, was a box-office success and ran for 100 days in many centres of Tamil Nadu. In the film, Jaishankar starred as a successful son-in-law. In the same year, he gave two back-to-back major hits — Akka Thangai directed by M. A. Thirumugam.

The film was a blockbuster hit and won the Tamil Nadu Film Award for Best Film. With a successful career, the 100th film of the actor was Idhayam Parakindrathu.

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