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The Family Man 2: Took Up Chellam Sir Because the Role Brought Comic Relief to the Series, Says Actor Uday Mahesh

Uday Mahesh, the actor-filmmaker who has been a familiar face to the Tamil audience for some time, has gained pan-Indian recognition post the release of Amazon Prime Video’s The Family Man Season 2. And it’s all thanks to the memes and internet jokes that were made out of the character he portrayed on the series, fondly known as Chellam sir.


Uday’s Chellam is a former intelligence officer who provides vital pieces of information to protagonist Srikant Tiwari (played by Manoj Bajpayee). Though the character appears only in a handful of scenes in the nine-part espionage thriller series, he has quickly become a pop-culture phenomenon on social media. From comparisons to Google (a reference to his know-it-all character), to the Uttar Pradesh police coming up with a “24/7 solution for every family in crisis” helpline featuring Chellam sir, the character has spawned several memes.

While Chellam sir has the key to every difficult situation in The Family Man, Uday, in a conversation with Silverscreen India, says he still does not have an answer for how his character has become so immensely popular.

“The show’s makers had called me to act in only four scenes, and I did it because I thought the character would bring some comic relief. I never expected such a reception,” Uday says, adding that he is happy to be recognised among the established actors in the series.

Uday attributes the success of Chellam to the creators of the show, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, who designed the character. He did not do any “extra preparation” for the role and instead only followed the instructions given by the writer-directors. “They decided every aspect of the character, from clothing to walking and how he holds the mobile phone. I just did what they told me to do,” he says.


“Raj and DK are very cool directors; they are patient and give space to their artists. There was always a friendly ambiance on the sets,” he reminisces about his four-day shoot for The Family Man 2.

Among the plethora of memes featuring Chellam sir, Uday’s personal favourites are Mumbai Police’s drug awareness poster and the one that replaces Google with Chellam. “I’m thrilled by the reach of my character,” he says.

Uday reveals that he had originally auditioned for the role of Deepan, a senior Tamil rebel character, that was eventually portrayed by Azhagam Perumal in The Family Man. “I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company when they were casting for the show in 2019. After auditioning for the role of Deepan, I did not get a callback from them and figured they had chosen someone else. Later, they called to offer me the role of Chellam.”

The 51-year-old actor says he never had any hesitation in taking up the smaller role since he knew he had a lot of combination scenes with a “good actor” like Bajpayee.

Interestingly, while The Family Man 2’s plotline has references to the Sri Lankan civil war and the Tamil Eelam struggle, Uday has previously acted in Madras Café (2013), which is loosely based on the Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Uday had essayed the role of an intelligence officer in the Shoojit Sircar directorial.

Asked about the parallels between the two characters, he says, “I had co-written Shoojit’s Yahaan. As he was a friend, I helped him with the casting for Madras Cafe and he offered me a role in the film. It was a small one and I accepted it since the film also starred John Abraham. Aside from the setting of the two stories, there’s no similarity between that character and Chellam.”

While Uday may have gained pan-Indian attention with Chellam sir, he was already well known to the Tamil audience as Vishwanathan in the television serial Office (2013-15). Besides that show, he has acted in over 15 Tamil films and a few other television shows.

However, Uday started out as a filmmaker and directed two films — Naalai (2006) and Chakkara Viyugam (2008) — before making his debut as an actor in Moodar Koodam (2013). “I was working on my third directorial, when director Naveen offered me the role of Salim Bhai in his film Moodar Koodam. After that, I started getting several acting offers,” he recalls.


Despite having added considerably to his acting portfolio since then, Uday still sees himself primarily as a filmmaker. “When acting, I am only fleshing out the characters that my writers and directors create. So I prefer to view myself as a writer-director,” he says.

Uday also reveals that he is planning to direct a Tamil film next and an announcement about it will be made soon if all goes well.

Adding that cinema is his “passion”, he says he would like to continue in the field as both an actor and a director.