Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bhairava, Not a Top Notch category..


       Punch dialogue, tempo, fiery stunts and nimble dance movements are ever the trademarks of Vijay. They are found in plenty in Vijay's Bhairava as Pongal gift to his fans.From the start till its finish the movie moves at an even speed not sagging anywhere.The cricket stunt scene and the sparkling stunt just before the interval, would make the audience sit up and watch with excitement.A couple of new ingredients of the film are the uxorious [wife doting] villain, [played by Daniel Balaji}and the darling concept in the friendship of Vijay and Satish. The graceful song sequence 'Nillaayo' at the marriage hall is a melodious number of Santhosh Narayanan adding to the aesthetic component of the film.But unfortunately, in the case of other songs, the worthy lyrics of Vairamuthu get extinguished in the fire of Santhosh Narayanan's musical decibel.The budding music composer did much better in Madras and Kabali.
    Bhairava needs a special acknowledgement for bringing together actors from all the Southern region.Apart from a huge list of men and women from Kollywood,the film has the main villain Jagabathi Babu from Telugu,Sharat Lohithashwa from Kannada,and Vijayaraghavan from Malayalam. Of late, Jagabadhi Babu has become a popular villain of Tamil Cinema, with Vikram's Thandavam, Rajini's Linga,Vishal's Kathi Sandai and now Vijay's Bhairava. He has got a wholesome role, to play villainy and he has performed it with a combination of sweetness and brutality.As usual Daniel Balaji essays his role with characteristic clarity and force in dialogue delivery.
   The noise free comedy of Satish is always a heart warming factor. Keerthi Suresh seems to be bent upon making her substantial innings in Kollywood, with her looks and acting mettle.The film carries a huge load of cast.The clippings from old films Nam Nadu,Enga Veettu Pillai and Uzhaippali from the Nagi Reddy family's proud film production unit, speak of the glorious place this film production unit has held in Tamil Cinema.This great film house has dealt with a variety of themes such as family values,and political corruption.
       Here, they have dwelt upon the plight of higher education in the hands of wrong players.Some of the scenes and dialogues make us recall actual happenings in medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, that drew large scale media attention and public ire.I have heard some of my own relatives and friends saying that they received just a slip of paper mentioning certain number in pencil, in lieu of hefty donations they gave for a Medical or Engineering seat.But the sad factor is, such a sensational issue has taken a highly cinematic route for highlighting the horrid state of affairs in higher education. However, there is a dialogue in the climax from the hero's voice, stating that, when yardsticks are placed for the selection of students and appointment of teachers,there is no eligibility yardstick for those, who happen to manage most of the private institutions of higher education.
   Vijay's Bhairava is definitely an action packed film, in the line of his earlier hits like Thiruppaachi or Vettaikaaran in the sense, the film contains quite a lot of twists in narration as in those films.But some where something pulls it down from the top notch position.May be the narration could have been a little more realistic and refined instead of being an attempt to surpass the demands of logic and acceptability of common sense, by presenting the course of events, in a make- believe manner and in projecting the hero, as some one endowed with super powers of body and mind.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two Female Stars in a Comparative Perspective.


                              Two Female Stars in a Comparative Perspective.

      Tamil film industry, like world cinema, has generally cherished the status of heroes more emphatically than that of heroines. However, some heroines have outlived their positions with their unique star status and this blog has already gloried the proud star status of some heroines, who proved to be special and indispensable like most front line heroes. Again this writer has also made comparative references to Savitri and Vanisri and Sarojadevi and Bharathi  particularly in terms of their looks and demeanor. However, there were two actresses of two different generations, who magnificently ruled Tamil Cinema, with identical attitudes and similarities, in sharing screen space, with great heroes of their times. They are P.Bhanumathi and J.Jeyalalitha.
      When one thinks simultaneously  of these two female stars, the first thing that would strike their mind, is their innate zeal for aspiring independent womanhood, coupled with an obviously fiery attitude towards retaining their individual space and position, as reflected quite often, in the roles that they happened to don periodically. Both these women could dynamically portray courage and clear levels of self- confidence, as the essential characteristics of the feminist brand. There was an exemplary fighting spirit revealed in their role play, as Bhanumathi performed in films like Chandi Rani, Manamagan Thevai,Makkalai Petra Magarasi,Malaikallan,Sadhaaram and Arivaali and as Jeyalalitha took up in films like Pattikkaadaa Pattanamaa,Savaale Samaali, Paattum Bharadhamum, Kanavan and several other films. Though they belonged to two different decades, they were the chosen co- stars of the most popular hero MGR. Both  had shared screen place between MGR and Sivaji Ganesan not only with a clear mark of equality, but also without letting down their proclaimed right to their own  unique positions, as female stars.
     Both had a charming voice for the musical core, though Bhanumathi would have rendered more number of solo and duet songs. They had certain amount of facial resemblance too. When it comes to performance, both were highly capable of establishing their positions in the given roles with absolute understanding, involvement and dedication. But Jeyalalitha was certainly a more impressive dancer than her senior and in respect of dialogue delivery, she scored more points in rendering her dialogues with force and clarity. Though Banumathi’s voice carried an equal amount of force, when it came to  emotional outbursts, her voice would quite often break down resulting in a screeching, jarring note, particularly whenever she had to cry and shout out her emotions. Whereas Jeyalalitha would make it a point to deliver her emotions, in a voice that was clear, demanding as well as submissive.
      The comparison between these two epoch making actresses, has been the outcome of the writer’s observation, that when Tamil cinema was in the long standing grip of meek and submissive womanhood, subjected to chronic male supremacy, these two women definitely reflected a different profile, one that of an iconoclast, breaking the shackles of traditional womanhood. The point here is that heroines of those days, like Ranjani,[known for her pathetic role play in films like Parasakthi,Devaki and Rathakanneer} Anjalidevi, Padmini,Savithri, Sarojadevi, Devika and K.R.Vijaya could not be thought of playing rebellious roles, celebrating the pride of women’s place in society.
    Whereas these two women time and again, put up a brave face, to reach the audience with the brighter side of belligerence, that women are capable of. Vijayanthimala could also be brought into this category; but she was more a classical dancer of merit and her contribution to Tamil Cinema was comparatively much less than that of Bhanumathi and Jeyalalitha. The other fact that needs a special mention is that, both these female stars, could effectively transmit positive energy, through their sparkling body language and verbal grandeur, with casual ease and a mood of celebration in acting. It is in this respect these two female stars deserve a comparative tribute.
     When it comes to number of films, duration of acting tenure and stable as well as longstanding contribution to Tamil Cinema, Jeyalalitha was certainly far ahead of her senior.The most unexpected demise of Ms.J.Jeyalalitha set in a nostalgic mood in the writer about the dynamic and daring acting caliber of a great star whose acting career culminated long ago, paving the way for her taking up the mantle of the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in the line of her political mentor,MGR.Both her celluloid image and political legacy were factors that influenced the thoughts and imagination of the Tamil society to a large extent. Her unforeseen death is bound to make her immortal, through a striking absence of openness and exemplary courage on the political front, so vibrantly reflected by her attitude and behaviour, throughout her life time.    

Monday, December 5, 2016

பெண்மையின் போர்வாள் .

              பெண்மையின் போர்வாள்  . .

அறிவும் ஆற்றலும் அமைந்தொரு அகரமாய்,
எறியவும் எதிரியின் கணைகளை ஏற்கவும்
மறவரின்  மனபலம் மதியுடன் கொண்டநீ,
குறையாக் கம்பீரத்தில், அலைகடல் ஆனாய்!

திறனுடன் ஆளுமை திரையில்,அவையில் 
நிறைவுடன் புகுத்தி, நெஞ்சினில் நின்று,
சிறப்புடன் செல்வாக்கு நிரம்பப் பெற்று,
பிறப்பின் புகழில் பெருமிதம் பெற்றாய்! 

உறவுகள் மக்களென உறுதியுடன் உணர்ந்து               
சிறகுகள் விரித்தவர் சிந்தையில் பறந்தாய்!
மறவா மக்களின் மாபெரும் பலமாகி,
இறவா அன்பினில் இரண்டறக் கலந்தாய்.!

வெறுமை  விதையினை வலிகளாய் விதைத்து, 
இறைவன் மலரடியில் இணைந்தாய் இன்று.  

                                                                 . சந்திரசேகரன்.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rajiv Menon's Two Rejuvenating Tales of Romance,



        Tamil Cinema has established its proud position marching through decades of remarkable contribution by a galaxy of talents, that include reputed film production units,eminent film makers amazing actors extraordinary cinematographers, musical wizards and several others taking care of the various segments of film making.Some have made their long innings and carved an immortal niche for themselves. Many have retained their powerful place in the film industry for quite long.But very rarely have we come across, a film maker leaving an indelible mark with just a couple of films. Rajiv Menon who made Minsaara Kanavu  and Kandukondein Kandukondein,the two ultra refined films, stays acknowledged as a breezy film maker of outstanding merit.
    Rajiv Menon needs a special pat for giving the audience something totally different from what they were used to watching.The first of his two films  produced under the biggest AVM banner,has been reputed for leaving celebrated memories of delicate touches of romance.It was a fine,feather touch tale of love, involving two guys and a girl.One of the two guys, and the girl were schoolmates and childhood acquaintances and the other turned out to be an accidental intruder, with unique characteristics of ruggedness, warmth and sprightliness,the qualities that would easily attract any woman.Here the wealthy girl was a decisive spinster readying herself to put on the ecclesiastical attire .But her rich childhood cousin was dreaming all the time about winning her hand in love.
    What mattered more was the exciting cast of the movie. Menon went in for the Bollywood Kajole, bypassing all the actresses here and it beautifully worked out. Kajole was seen as a sweet mix of toughness and tenderness reflecting a balanced inclusion of the felicity and agony of falling in love, with just a role play of her sparkling eyes and adept body language.Similarly, she poignantly brought out the conflicting emotions arising out of her chosen spinsterhood and the sudden occurrence of falling in love.While handsome Arvindsamy neatly performed as the chocolate boy and dreamer of romance,Prabu Deva caught our imagination by his rugged charm and nimble niceties of role performance as a youth capable of creating sparks of love in a girl. S.P.Balasubramanyam and Girish Karnard were perfect in their paternal roles.
    The casual happening of love between the poor, happy-go-lucky Prabu Deva and the nun- to- be Kajole, was exuberantly narrated by Rajiv Menon, with exquisite scenic display and aesthetic grandeur.The brilliant musical composition of A.R.Rehaman was another great talking point.I still keep on wondering about the most poetic cinematography of the song sequence "Vennilave Vennilave".How enchantingly Prabu Deva and Kajole would move their limbs in very close proximity,without touching each other and how like an escapologist they would get disentangled without actually getting physically entangled, finally reaching the irresistible embrace.It was an exotic visual extravaganza projecting  windy dance movements, shuttling between  breeze and storm.It was like the fascinating experience of passing through the peerless lines of 'Ode on the Grecian Urn' of John Keats.No doubt the film generated electrifying dreams for a huge section of the audience, with its neat narration and energizing songs like ''Poopookkum Osai''."Manamadhurai Mamarathu" "Strawberry Kanne""Thanga Thamarai Nilave"and "Anbenra"besides the scintillating "Vennilave Vennilave"
      Rajiv Menon's other film "Kandu Kondein Kandu Kondein" based on Jane Austen's famous novel 'Sense and Sensibility' created an experience of watching a constellation of stars from the North and South.There were Aiswarya Rai,Tabu and Abbas from Bollywood,Mammootty from the Malayalam film industry and Tamil Cinema's great names like Ajit,Manivannan,Raguvaran,Nizhalgal Ravi, Srividya and S.N.Lakshmi.As an avid reader of all the novels of Jane Austen starting from Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion, I did enjoy watching the film that warmed up the core of the book with the big screen.The underplay of emotions by Mammootty,Ajit,Tabu and Srividya stood in sharp contrast with the dramatic uproar of Abbas,Aiswarya Rai and Manivannan.
      This was another version of romance demonstrated by conflicting interests and emotional outbursts between two pairs of lovers played by Ajit and Tabu on the one hand and Abbas and Aiswarya Rai on the other.How the war affected Mammootty mellowed the boiling mood of Aiswarya and saved her from the emotional turmoil resulting from jilted love, was brought home through subdued narration.Like Minsara Kanna this film was also known for its exalting music core with unforgettable songs like Enna Solla Pogiraai,Yenge Enadhu Kavidhai,Konjum Mainaakale Kanna Moochi Yenada and the title song Kandukondein Kandukondein composed by the same A.R.Reheman.
       Both the films were rocking romances with distinguished themes and story lines narrated in a different vein. While the former was a consummate tale of romance the latter was a family drama too. The romantic dynamism of Minsara Kanna inspired the audience to a great extent.Whereas Kandu Kondein Kandukondein was a blend of usual family emotions and those of expectations and the consequent moments of disappointments and pangs of separation arising out of the misplaced expectations. Aiswarya Rai compactly revealed the vagaries in her characterization with the mature Mammootty making her, getting into terms with the practical implications of life. Tabu elegantly reflected her suppressed emotions and Ajit was in full form of youth with his creative and histrionic formulations. Minsara Kanna was meant for all sorts of audience thanks to the popular presence of Prabu Deva. But the Menon's second film Kanukondein Kandukondein,appeared to reach a selective group of audience, on account of its inherent layers of consistently felt elegant touches in narration.On the whole it could be said that, with two films Rajiv Menon created a life time impact of a rejuvenating, film watching experience.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Fim Maker without Sound and Fury.

    Film directors of the action genre are of different kinds.Tamil film industry has the singular pride of having enrolled and patronized a galaxy of men, in making action films.Starting from P.Neelakandan, M.A.Thirumumugam T.R.Sundaram, and A.Jaganathan,the list will go unending. Modern Tamil cinema has been enriched by astute action film makers like Shankar, Lingusamy, P.Vasu,A.R Murugadoss and many others.Of these Shankar has established a unique position as the most technically savvy director.But there is one action film maker who proved to be distinct in his approach to the action genre, through subtle touches in narration along with a racy focus on the vital segments of an action film such as romance,crime and social justice.It is K.Subash,who breathed his last yesterday, in his mid fifties.
    Starting with his moderately reviewed Kaliyugam released in 1988,K.Subash has made about fifteen Tamil films.The other notable fact is that he wrote the story for five Hindi films of which the most popular Chennai Express is also one.His last film was 1,2,3 pictured on a lighter vein, depicting the interesting vagaries of three physically impaired guys, falling in love with the same girl.The best two films of Subash were Bramma,starring Sathyaraj and Banupriya and Chatriyan with Vijayakanth and Banupriya. These two films could be called big action bonanzas, keeping completely intact,the gripping factors of speed, tempo and vigor in narration from the beginning till the end.
      While the thriller effect was more in Bramma, the toughness and devil may care attitude of the hero was an impressive feature of Chatriyan. Both carried the aesthetic components in narration significantly enriched by delicate touches of romance and the grandeur of music. Kushbu remained as an enchanting addition to Bramma, Revathi was a symbol of piety and submissive womanhood in Chatriyan. In both the films Banupriya gracefully contributed to the over all visual grandeur. Vijayakumar was a sweet tongued villain in Bramma and an unflinching police officer in Chatriyan. Thilagan  remains memorable as the crude and devilish Annachi of Chatriyan. Both  Satyaraj and Vijayanth took their respective films to highly creditable levels by their commanding grip of their character potential standing up in spirit, as the incarnation of bravery. Subash needs a special pat for narrating these two action films with well knit dynamism and dauntlessness in character evolution and contextual validity.These two incomparable films will always stand to his credit.
      Pangali was another Sathyaraj film directed by Subash. Here too Banupriya was paired with the hero.But in this film which was a revenge drama, Satyaraj played dual roles.Napoleon played the ruthless villain, keeping his nephew in a cave with guardian Vijayakumar, whose tongue the villain did not hesitate to slash.Some of the scenes in the movie reminded the audience of a few happenings in the MGR blockbuster Adimai Penn.The film went in for mixed reviews.However the Sathyaraj and Goundamani team did not fail to provide their usual cheeky side of humor.
       Subash has worked with leading heroes like Prabu,Satyaraj,Vijayakant,Ajith  Parthiban and Prabu Deva. He needs a special acknowledgement for showing Raguvaran in two totally diagonal dimensions, as the meekest lawyer in Kaliyugam and the most menacing villain Masilamani, in Abimanyu. Similarly Parthiban was shown as an aggressive youth with an innate vengeance, to kill his devilish father Raguvaran in Abimanyu and as an extremely astute guy, outsmarting his wicked friend Ranjith in Sabash. The word sabash means "well done!" .At the end of the film Sabash, one could say 'well done!' not only to Parthiban but also to  director Subash for cleverly contriving the course of events in a tricky story line.Both Abhimanyu and Sabash are two special films of the action genre with elements of crime and justice carried on in two different ways.
      Prabudeva has the privilege of being inducted in three of the  films of Subash.There was a negative undercurrent running through all the three films. Poverty,social neglect,anguish of love and its related disappointment and the usual criminal element,dominated in the films Ninaivirukkumvarai and Ezhaiyin Sirippil. The third film 1,2,3 was both a farce and a silent tale of pain ably withstood by the three differently powered youth. Keerthi Reddy was fascinatingly compact in Ninaivirukkumvarai and Roja added both glamour and grace to Ezhaiyin Sirippil. Jyothika adeptly handled the three men with dignity and grace. Uthama Purushan the other film of Subash, was romance cum family drama. Subash was perhaps influenced by the memories of L.V.Prasad's great film Iruvar Ullam starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sarojadevi, in making the film Uthama Purushan with Prabhu Ganesan and Amala. This moderate film carried reverberating memories of the former.
     Some of the other films of Subash were Ajith's Pavithra and the multi star movie Suyamvaram.
It is really a sad thing that a film maker of merit died of an organ failure.The fact that as the son of Krishnan,the first part of the Director duo Krishnan Panju, K.Subash remained as a highly talented film maker and his films like Chatriyan,Bramma,Abhimanyu,Sabash,Kaliyugam and Ezhaiyin Sirippil will perpetually celebrate his memories, both as an action film maker and a director with a perfect understanding of the vital parameters of film making, aimed at entertaining the audience .In doing this, he had always been genuine in the sense, that he never resorted to needless moralizing, by raising the voice of reform or reorganization.It was his natural and modest handling of the action genre, with a precise perception of romance and sentiment, that came in handy for his narration of stories, events and characters.In other words, he was ever a self confident film maker, without sound and fury.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Musical Genius is No More.

       This blog has dwelt upon many singers and music composers of Tamil film industry.With the blog writer's passion for Indian Cinema in general and Tamil cinema in particular,many aspects of the celluloid world were discussed recalling the grand moments of watching movies with absolute involvement and appreciation.But the writer of this blog did not so far venture into any deliberation on Carnatic music or on the most reputed Carnatic singers, for lack of knowledge and competence to delve into the most sacred stream of music.The writer's longstanding esteem and admiration for one of the most venerable musicians of the Indian subcontinent, who was extremely regarded for his multi dimensional musical calibre has to be recorded now, because the consecrating voice is now part and parcel of divinity. Yes. Dr. Balamurali Krishna who came to be naturally adored for his voice grandeur and instrumental efficacy, has reached the abode of God.
     The writer earnestly cherishes in his memory Dr.Balamurali Krishna's magnificently vibrating rendering of the song 'Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan' from the film Kavi Kuyil and the thought provoking soothing number 'Mounathil Vilaiyaadum Manasaatchiye' from Noolveli. So does the writer absorb into his soul the scintillating song Orunaal Podhuma?{Is one day enough for me to sing?} from the myth making veteran A.P.Nagarajan's Thiruvilaiyaadal. The song stays remembered for three reasons.Number 1}.It is from the splendid musical composition of K.V.Mahadhevan,an expert in classical music. Number 2}.The scenic tie up between the legendary actor T.S.Balaiah and the voice of the immortal singer Dr.Balamurali Krishna being in perfect blending. Number 3}.The competitive exuberance between  'Oru Naal Podhuma' and 'Paattum Naane' by the stentorian singer T.M. Soundarajan, being a prominent feature of this magnum opus of A.P.Nagarajan. It can rightly be said that the song 'Orunaal Podhuma' is not meant  for a day but for all times.
     As a singer Dr.Balamurali is indisputably a class by himself.This blog writer would also salute him for his wonderful role performance as Naradhar, for the fascinating mythological film Bhakta Prahlada, that came from the A.V.M banner.The film would never fail to create nostalgic moments for any film goer with aesthetic and spiritual quest  Dr.Balamurali, definitely enriched the quality of that film in his own way, along with the veteran actor S.V.Rengarao as Hiranya Kashipu and the then child artist Roja Ramani as Prahlada. This is what the writer  knows about Dr.Balamurali Krishna. The voice of the sacred singer would ever flow in the mind of the writer with its mighty rhythms of music. It is no exaggeration  to say that the world would rarely come upon a musical genius like him..

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

M.S.Bhaskar,the under utilized Comedian and Character Actor.



      Comedy actors performing character roles, is not new to Tamil Cinema.Comedians like N.S.Krishnan,T.S.Dorairaj, K.A.Thangavelu, Nagesh and Thengai Srinivasan have shown their brilliance as character actors.Similarly character actors like V.K.Ramasamy,T.S.Balaiah and Delhi Ganesh have also beautifully reflected their flair for comedy shows.In these lines there is another actor who set his foot as an actor on the big screen years back in 1982 and there after maintained a slow and steady race, on the double tracks of television and cinema.It is M.S.Bhaskar who has simultaneously created a track record as a television serial actor and Tamil film comedian and character actor.
     Many of us may not remember his role in his first film Thirumathi Vegumathi,directed by Visu. Nor has he retained a stable position in the film industry in terms of consistency and continuity.He would have seen ups and downs and even a period of hiatus.If it had been some other actor,they would have lost hope and left the field.But he sustained the trials and periods of neglect and proved his resilience. This is something special about him.
     It is directors like Perarasu and Radha Mohan who regularly made use of his talent for comedy and character role performance.One extraordinary thing about him is his effortless mode of acting. Whether it is comedy or character role, he does it with spontaneity and ease, that makes his delivery a casual occurrence.With his sobre looks, one would doubt if he can deliver humour so as to generate instant laughter.But a scene like the one showing him in a fully drunken state, causing a lot of flutter for Vadivelu and Pandiarajan, in Enga Anna, is enough to show his capacity for generating a great blast of comedy.His other memorable role was in Dum Dum Dum, as a family doctor, periodically playing a foul game of cards, that creates havoc to the extent of breaking a marriage.
     His Nellai Tamil accent in that film was so natural that it would have been a cake  walk for him to speak the same dialect of Tamil, as a tea stall owner, in Kamal's latest film Paapanaasam. His three other Kamalahasan films are Unnai Pol Oruvan, Dhasaavadhaaram and Uthama Villain. Whether it is the character of a lawyer[Sivakasi],or broker [Thiruppachi] or coach {Azhagiya Thamizh Magan}or conductor [Thamizhan]  or police constable[Arima Nambi] he would perform each role with its inherent layers perfectly reflected in  role delivery. He has even appeared as the personal Assistant of the Chief Secretary in Rajijikanth's blockbuster Sivaji. He was equally convincing as a  Christian Father in Mozhi. He also created a significant impact as a mad guy in Varalaaru and as a sleeping accountant, in Kaavalan. One could see him sleeping even while standing, in the latter film.No one can forget his hilarious role performance as the shamelessly casual maternal uncle of Vijay, in Velayudham.
     Most of the recent Tamil releases have included him at least in a minor role.One such role is that of an astrologer [Naadi Josiyer] in Demonte Colony. His other latest films are Vellakaara Dhurai, Ivanukku Thannila Kandam, India Pakistan,36 Vayadhinile.His recent appearance as a local bigwig in Radha Mohan's Uppu Karuvadu created a sterling impact with his flair for poetry and the final powerful poetic outburst on the elopement of his daughter.
     M.S.Bhaskar's entries are many and the types of characters he has performed are equally innumerable.His bald head and untrimmed beard are his popular trademarks showing him as a simpleton and not as a heavy weight in appearance.But when it comes to performance he truly fulfills all necessary requirements, of the role assigned to him.Though he has acted in more than one hundred films and nearly a dozen serials, [of which Vizhudhugal, Chinna Paappaa Periya Paappaa,Arasi and Selvi are most popular] he has not yet got the right position and recognition he truly deserves.Perhaps that is the reason for his not being able to establish a solid place either as a comedian or character actor. Within the limited space made available to him so far,he has certainly proved to be a buoyant comedian and character actor.