Sunday, January 10, 2021

Tamil Comedians as Villains


    Interchange of roles for actors is both a matter of personal preference and cinematic necessity. Quite often even heroes have turned to villain roles.Sivaji Ganesan who is an all rounder did villain roles in Koondukkili and Thirumbippaar.Gemini Ganesan was a villain in Vallavanukku Vallavan and K.Balachander's Naan Avanillai.Muthuraman,Jai Shankar, Ravichandran, Sivakumar,Sathyaraj, Sarathkumar Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan have all done villain characters. 
    If we take supporting or character actors veterans like S.V.Renga Rao,S.V.Subbaiah, V.K.Ramasamy, V.S.Raghavan,T.S.Balaiah,T.K.Bagavadhi and S.V.Sahasranamam have all portrayed both character and diabolic villain roles depending upon the nature of their acting profiles.Of these V.K.Ramasamy and T.S.Balaiah have done robust comedy roles also.
   Among the early comedians I do not remember if N.S.Krishnan,the father of Tamil film comedy ever performed any villain roles.Whereas,T.S.Dorairaj who was reputed for his robust comedy shows and T.R.Ramachandran who was both a hero and a comedian {His role performance was extraordinary in films like Sababadhi and Adutha Veettupen} were also known for their contribution to villainy in a film or two.The most remembered comedy characters that T.S.Dorairaj performed were for Genova, Kalvanin Kaadhali, Maman Magal, Malaikkallan, Nalla Theerpu, Paanai Pidithaval Bagyasaali and Padikkadha Medhai. However, his single role of subtle villainy in the film Pangaligal brought out his capacity for doing a negative role. Similarly,T.R.Ramachandran did a memorable role of villainy in Iruvar Ullam starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sarojadevi.
    J.B.Chandrababu,the fabulous comedian who had an excellent flair for singing and dancing did not seem to have appeared in any serious villain roles.The second line comedians like Kaali N.Rathinam and A.Karunanidhi were known mostly for their physical comedy shows.It was K.A.Thangavelu the outstanding verbal comedian who did characters of negative shade with a mind for greed in films like Panam Padhi Bakthi and Alibaabaavum Naarpadhu Thirudarkalum.During his later years he was compact as a villain's sidekick or as a greedy villain and films like Nam Naadu,and Uzhaikkum Karangal are indicators of his might for playing villainy.
    His successor and successful comedian Nagesh has left his indelible impressions on motiveless and motivated villainy most effectively demonstrated in films like Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal, Mounam Sammadham,Cheran Pandian,Abhoorva Sagodhararkal and Adhisiyapiravi.Among these,his display of motiveless villainy as Vaidhi in Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal,was of a unique kind celebrating the transition of a remarkable comedian into a repulsive villain.He played a similar mischievous role as Chinna Pannai Singaaram in the film Savaale Samaali.Both Mounam Sammadham and Cheran Pandiyan portrayed him in potentially mischievous shades mixed with greed and vengeance.In Abhoorva Sagodhararkal,the comedian in Nagesh totally disappeared making him stay in our memory as one of the crudest villains.Very few actors can excel the versatility of Nagesh.
   It is Thengai Srinivasan who could be called more a villain and character actor than a comedian. Barring his fantastic comedy show in Kaasedhaan Kadavulada and Thillu Mullu,I think it would be difficult for the audience to view him as a rib tickling comedian,because,there was always a tumultuous roughness in his dialogue deliveries that would befit him in more powerful roles reflecting the essence of thespian dynamism sometimes even imitating that of Sivaji Ganesan.May be it was for this reason  the Chevalier  declined the role offered to him for the film Kaliyuga Kannan so that Thengai Srinivasan could take up that character he had performed in a stage play that preceded the film.
   As a character actor and as a villain,Thengai Srinivasan had a lot to offer and a lot to be retained in Tamil cinema history.He had acted as a notorious villain in at least half a dozen films and some of his roles in those films revealed the gist of macabre mindset.As a blackmailer{Muthu Chippi, Annakili and Mayangukiraal oru Maadhu}as an opportunist or gangster{Thanga Magan, &Padikka dhavan} or as a potential villain {Rajini's Dharma Yudham and Kamal's Sattam En Kaiyil}Thengai Srinivasan proved to be a gory  P.S.Veerappa or M.N.Nambiyar.He had also been an effective henchman of villains in films like Kanni Penn produced by Sathya Movies.His contemporary comedian Surulirajan also played as the villain's side kick in the same film. However,Thengai Srinivasan could be called the most virulent villain among comedians
    Among the next generation comedians Goundamani played comedy mixed villain roles in films like Vijayakanth's Ponmana Chelvan and Ragasiya Police starring Sarath Kumar as hero.From the days of Padhinaaru Vayadhinile as the sidekick of Parattai,Goundamani's villainy could be seen as an amalgamation of satire and witticism.Later, it was Janakaraj whose specially noticeable eyes and singular voice mould that enabled him to perform negative roles such as a cynical villain and motivated talebearer in Bharati Raja's mega hit films like Vedham Pudhidhu and Mudhal Mariyaadhai. Janakaraj has always been an exceptional comedian on account of his distinct pattern of delivery of dialogues with its peculiar accent and intonation.It is with this uncommon identity his sense of humour has casually surpassed his otherwise sober profile that has helped him play amazing character roles in films like Paalaivana Rojaakkal, Kizhakku Vaasal and several others.Similarly his trademark of villainy has attained a status of individuality and distinction.
  The new generation comedians like Vivek,Vadivelu,Santhaanam,Soori,Satish and RJ Balaji have confined themselves purely to the task of taking the audience to periodical spells of laughter and it is difficult to imagine them as villains.Finally when it comes to acting,whoever is capable of performing a variety of roles,can be heroes,character actors comedians and villains.After all no actor would like to be left with a stereotyped image in role performance.Tamil comedians in this particular sense,have never been found wanting in delivering characters with a galaxy of dimensions and villainy is no exception for them.

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