I Met Sivaji Ganesan at the Mount Lavinia Hotel


By T. V. Antony Raj


Recently, I came across the following tariff card of The Mount Lavinia Grand Hotel of yesteryear on Facebook.


An old tariff card of The Mount Lavinia Grand Hotel in Sri Lanka


Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia known in Sinhalese and Tamil as Dehiwala-Galkissa is the largest suburb of capital Colombo situated south of the Colombo Municipality.  Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia lie along the Galle Road artery along the coast to the south of the country. It is home to one of Asia’s largest Zoological Garden.

The Mount Lavinia Hotel, now a 275-room hotel is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in the country. The hotel premises was initially constructed as the Governor’s Residence in 1806. Since 1947, it is operating as a hotel. So, this tariff card must have been in vogue in early 1948.

This brought back nostalgic memories of my first visit to the Mount Lavinia Hotel in the early 1960s where I met the doyen of the Indian Tamil screen, the late iconic star Sivaji Ganesan who was on a short visit to the island to receive the ‘Kalaikkurusil’ (Pinnacle of Art) award from the then Radio Ceylon.


Sivaji Ganesan and Me at the Mt. Lavinia Hotel (May, 1960)


It was a memorable meeting. I was 18+ then, and a B.Sc., (Chemistry) student at St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, Tamilnadu, India. I congratulated him for winning the best actor award at the 1960 Afro-Asian Film Festival held in Cairo for the film Veera Pandya Kattabomman.



Mount Lavinia Hotel (en.wikipedia.org)

Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia (en.wikipedia.org)

Sivaji Ganesan (en.wikipedia.org)

Veera Pandya Kattabomman 1959 (thehindu.com)

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