Today (November 19) marks the first birth anniversary of actor-comedian Vivekh since his untimely demise in April due to cardiac arrest.
A strong advocate of planting trees, an ardent follower of President APJ Abdul Kalaam, and an actor with a career spanning over three decades, Vivekh’s comedies were packed with social messages and one-liners that are still afresh in the minds of the audience. In his comedy tracks, he talked about caste oppression and equality, women’s rights, and the folly of superstitions, all while not being preachy. He worked alongside the likes of Rajinikanth, Vijay, Vikram, Suriya, Madhavan, and Dhanush, and was set to collaborate with Kamal Haasan for the first time in the upcoming Shankar-directorial Indian 2. He was last seen, posthumously, in Aranmanai 3 that released recently.
Vivekh was known for trying out different characterisations and for naming his characters in a quirky way to register them in the minds of the audience – ‘Marriage Assembler’ Kuzhandaisaamy from Perazhagan, ‘Allthotta’ Bhoopathi from University, Karuthu Kanthaswamy from Youth, to name a few.
While it is tough to limit the legendary comedian’s iconic roles to a short list, Silverscreen India brings you this compilation of five of Vivekh’s famous characters with those quirky names that instantly remind us of him.
1. Super Subbu from Kadhal Sadugudu
In this film, Vivekh is seen advocating for the rights of women and talks about issues such as sexual harassment and female infanticide. Super Subbu makes his entry in a scene where a village panchayat decides that a rape victim must marry her abuser. He decries the move and exposes its ridiculousness. In another scene, he reminds the audience of the 1993 Tamil film Karuthamma that talks about the prevalent practice of female infanticide in Tamil Nadu’s rural areas. When the villagers mention that bringing up a girl child is a herculean task and it is better to poison them to death, Vivekh reminds them of women like Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Kiran Bedi, Chinna Pillai, and many others, who have brought pride to the country.
2. Mangalam Sir from Boys
Vivekh, who typically had separate comedy track in most of his films, played a character role in Boys (2004). His Mangalam Sir went beyond comedy and was connected to the main characters of the film, played by the then-newcomer bunch of actors Genelia Deshmukh, Siddharth, Nakkhul, Bharath, and composer S Thaman. Mangalam Sir is a successful bank employee who is nursing a broken heart. The protagonists run into him in a bar and he soon befriends them, eventually turning into a mentor. The character was very different from Vivekh’s earlier roles that focused on social messages. However, it still became an iconic one for the actor. Thaman, who made his acting debut in Boys, referred to the character when condoling the death of the actor. He wrote, “We miss u Mangalam sir.”
3. Chaari from Anniyan
A blockbuster film and an important one for both director Shankar and actor Vikram, Anniyan won Vivekh the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Best Comedian. He played Chaari, a sub-inspector aiding an investigation headed by Prakash Raj‘s DCP. At the same time, his character is also a playful friend to the protagonist Ambi who tries to woo Nandhini. The dialogue from the film, “Chaari… Sorry,” stills lingers in the memory of many.
4. Asaultu Arumugam from Padikkadavan
Teaming up with Dhanush, Vivekh plays Asaultu Arumugam, a comical, cowardly ‘gang-leader’, who pretends to be stronger on the outside. The comedian dons a retro hairstyle and wears fancy suits as the thug-for-hire whom Dhanush’s Rocky approaches for help when his lover is taken back to Andhra Pradesh. With his comical attempts to help unite the lovers, Vivekh’s Asaultu Arumugam character is definitely one to be remembered.
5. Narain aka Narayanasamy from Dhool
Another pairing with Vikram, in this film, Vivekh plays Narayanasamy, the childhood friend of Vikram’s Arumugam, who migrates to the city and renames himself Narain. His Narain tries to woo Reema Sen with the help of co-star Mayilsamy. One of the most memorable sequences from the film is where he misunderstands the Cancer zodiac sign for the disease resulting in much comedy.