There is not a single platform that Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu has not conquered yet. The ace comedian, who will be next seen in the highly-anticipated Vijay-starrer — Mersal, has found a niche on the digital platform as well. Many of his dialogues and catchphrases have become popular memes online. This trend, however, continues to surprise him.
“Paaka romba aacharyama irukku,” he says.
“As a child, I was a keen observant. I would keep an eye on whatever used to happen in my locality. I would look for a comedy angle even in a serious situation. That is what memes are doing these days. They address serious issues in a comical way. In these memes, the dialogues from my films are taken and linked to something completely different, like world politics. I’m actually surprised by all these memes with my punchlines. Charlie Chaplin comes to mind. He used to take on political and social issues in his comedy. Here, people are linking my punchlines, that was said years back, to current issues.”
Vadivelu writes most of his dialogues. Should he claim copyright for all his dialogues that are being used in the memes? He says, “There is no need for that. People like it and I don’t want to ruin their happiness. Copyright is like when people eat your food but you go and claim it back. Will it be nice? Let them eat satisfactorily and be happy.”
Edhaiyum plan pannama panna koodathu, risk lam rusk saapudura maathiri (taking risk is like eating rusk), apdiye shock aayitten (I was shocked)… are some of his popular catchphrases. When asked how he comes up with these punchlines, the actor says, “I used to observe people a lot. I grew up among people with colourful personalities and from different strata of the society. I was inspired by many incidents that took place in my village. Moreover, I constantly improvise while at work.”
The actor explains that dialogue delivery is also important. “For example, ‘Endha oru vishayathaiyum plan pannama panna ipdithaan, plan panni pannanum,’ the dialogue in Pokkiri is just a regular dialogue — when the Kung Fu master suddenly gets hit by his students and delivers the dialogue, plan panni pannanum, but the way I said it made it popular. An actor shouldn’t just memorise the dialogues and deliver it, he should improvise on it,” he says.
“There are two ways to learn: One from your experiences and one from what you learn in school. I did not learn anything in school. Whatever I have learnt is from the experiences of my life. It’s brilliant if a person gets both,” he adds.
On the current comedy scene, Vadivelu says, “I enjoy the comedies on television. If it is really funny, I don’t stop myself from enjoying it just because it is not mine.”
Vadivelu has done a lot of films with Vijay, including FRiends, Sura, Villu, Kaavalan, Pokkiri and many more. The two had churned out many hits. Working with Vijay again in Mersal, he says, “It’s fun to work with Vijay. He is very cool on the sets. Whenever he sees me, he makes it a point to quote my dialogues. The ones in Pokkiri are his favourite in particular. He has great comic timing and can deliver a comedy scene in one shot. Whenever I compliment him on his comic timing, his answer would be ‘I have learnt it from you only’.” Vijay is someone who always makes you feel good, he adds.
The actor has been playing lead roles, however, he will be seen as a comedian in Mersal after a long time. “I have a substantial role in Mersal and not just a comedy track. It’s more of a supporting role. Like Kaavalan and Pokkiri, my scenes with Vijay have come out really well. I’m looking forward to the reaction of the audience.”
Vadivelu says the reviews done on the digital platform make an impact on viewers. “Digital medium is the present and the future. Earlier, when a film released, we would have no idea about the film until we saw it on the big screen. Even a week after its release, one wouldn’t have a clue about the film. Now, with social media getting stronger and wider, within minutes after a film’s release, people start commenting on it.” He added that when a film is appreciated on social media it helps promote the film, however, bad reviews have a negative impact.
This is a Silverscreen exclusive interview.