Tighter Covid, Lighter Comedy – F’day Spl. Article by Naveen


Coronavirus is all over the world and Tamil Nadu is no exception. Even as Covid-19 is spreading fast and lockdown has been implemented across the nation, meme makers are having a field time by dishing out loads of hilarious content mocking the situation.

For, taking serious things in a light manner runs in the veins of Tamils, as the popular saying ‘Idukkan varungaal naguga’ (Smile when you face sorrow) suggests. So, as part of its Friday special article series, Mykollywood.com does it bit this week by highlighting ace comedians of Tamil cinema.


Nagercoil Sudalaimuthu Krishnan, popularly known as Kalaivanar and also as NSK was an actor-comedian, theatre artist, playback singer and writer in the early stages of the Tamil film industry – in the 1940s and 1950s. He is considered as the ‘Charlie Chaplin of India’.

Born in Ozhuginachery, Nagercoil, in the princely state of Travancore, India on 29 November 1908, his stage and cine-screen comedy performances were unique and always carried a message for the people. Krishnan died at the age of 49, on 30 August 1957.


Karaikal Arunachalam Thangavelu (15 January 1917 – 28 September 1994) popularly known as ‘Danaal Thangavelu’, was an Indian film actor and comedian popular in the 1950s to 1970s.

Not known for physical, acrobatic comedy like his contemporaries J P Chandrababu and Nagesh, Thangavelu’s humor is recognised for his impeccable timing in verbal agility and the characteristic twang of his delivery. He exclusively acted in Tamil films.


Joseph Panimayadas Chandrababu Rodriguez (1927–1974) was an Indian film comedian, actor, director, singer and dancer, whose Chaplinesque style on-screen movements and singing style made him popular from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

He had a mastery of the Madras Bashai, a dialect unique to the Madras region. His slapstick style of comedy has been emulated by subsequent actors. Many of his songs have remained popular. His father was Joseph Pichai Rodriguez and his mother Roselin Correra.


Nagesh (27 September 1933 – 31 January 2009) is regarded as one of the most prolific comedians in Tamil cinema. He acted in over 1,000 films from 1958 to 2008, performing in a variety of roles as comedian, lead roles, supporting actor and antagonist.

He has also acted in Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada films. Nagesh’s style of comedy was largely inspired by Hollywood actor Jerry Lewis. Similarities between Nagesh and Lewis earned Nagesh the sobriquet the ‘Jerry Lewis of India’. He was also a fantastic dancer.


Subramaniyan Karuppaiya, known by his stage name Goundamani, is a legendary Tamil comedian. He is known for his comic duo partnership in Tamil films with fellow actor Senthil.

He was called Goundamani after acting as a Gounder in one of his early day dramas and the pseudonym stuck with him forever. He has the ability to give counter dialogues on the spot and off the script on stage and during shooting. So far, he has acted in over 310 films.


Kovai Sarala, in a career spanning more than 30 years, has appeared in over 750 films. She has won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Comedian three times, for her performances in ‘Sathi Leelavathi’ (1995), ‘Poovellam Un Vasam’ (2001) and ‘Uliyin Osai’ (2008).

She has also won the Nandi Award for Best Female Comedian for her performance in ‘Ori Nee Prema Bangaram Kanu’ (2003) and the Vijay Award for Best Comedian for her performance in ‘Muni 2: Kanchana’ (2011). She is now part of Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam Party.


Vivekanandan, known by his stage name Vivek, is an actor, comedian, television personality, playback singer and activist working in the Tamil film industry. Introduced in films by director K. Balachander, he has won many awards and accolades

In 2009, Government of India awarded Vivek with the Padma Shri award for his contribution to the arts. Sathyabama University has conferred actor Vivek with an honorary doctorate for his contribution to the society through cinema. As a television personality, Vivek has hosted a number of events and has interviewed media personalities, notably A P J Abdul Kalam.


Kumaravadivel Natarajan, known professionally as Vadivelu, is an actor and playback singer. Since the 1990s, he has performed in supporting and lead roles as a comedy actor in Tamil films.

While having worked in more than 200 films, Vadivelu received awards in the Best Comedian category for his performances in ‘Kaalam Maari Pochu’ (1996), ‘Vetri Kodi Kattu’ (2000), ‘Thavasi’ (2001), ‘Chandramukhi’ (2005), ‘Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi’ (2006), ‘Marudhamalai’ (2007) and ‘Kathavarayan’ (2008). His popularity led to his media-coined nickname, Vaigai Puyal, meaning ‘Vaigai storm’, referring to the river that flows through his hometown Madurai.


Santhanam started his career as a comedian on television, he rose to fame through his performances in Star Vijay’s ‘Lollu Sabha’ enacting the lead role in spoofs of Tamil films.

He was subsequently given a chance by actor Silambarasan to feature in a supporting role in ‘Manmadhan’ (2004) and then was signed on to appear in a host of films, notably winning good reviews for his work in ‘Sachien’ (2005) and ‘Polladhavan’ (2007).

He appeared in a one-off leading role in Shankar’s production ‘Arai En 305-il Kadavul’ (2008) and subsequently became a feature as a comedian in successful Tamil films, with his market popularity helping films find distributors. He is currently playing lead roles in comedy movies.

By Naveen


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