Goundamani, the veteran comedian who appeared in Tamil films, turns 83 today. Often known for adding an element of comic relief in films, mostly alongside his regular collaborator and comedian Senthil, Goundamani worked in the industry for over five decades. With a background in theatre, Goundamani entered films by doing minor roles, before eventually rising to become a prominent comedian in the 80s and 90s.
The octogenarian’s first notable role was in 16 Vayathinile where he appeared as the antagonist Rajinikanth‘s sidekick and uttered his iconic dialogue, patha vachithiya parate (you have sparked it, parate). From then on, Goundamani has appeared alongside the likes of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Sathyaraj, R Parthiban, Prabhu, among many other veteran actors, and delivered comical punch dialogues and comedy tracks that still have a tremendous recall value.
On the comedian’s birthday, Silverscreen India brings you a list of Goundamani’s iconic comedies.
Karagattakkaran (Thavil Vidvan Thangavelu)
A film that became a blockbuster, Karagattakkaran marks the 100th combination film in which Goundamani and Senthil acted together. However, this is not the only highlight of the film. Appearing as thavil (drums) and nadaswaram (trumpet) musicians of a karakattam dance troupe, Goundamani and Senthil’s famous banana joke has a great recall value. The scene plays out when Goundamani sends out Senthil to buy him two bananas. While the latter gobbles one of them, the rest of the scene ensures a laughter riot with Goundamani going “bananas over” and finding where the other banana is.
Vaidehi Kathirunthal (All in All Azhaguraja)
In this 1984 film, Goundamani plays a cycle shop owner All in All Azhaguraja, who claims to excel in everything. With the firm belief that he is supposed to be in America, Goundamani Azhaguraja’s dialogue, Petromax light eh dhan venuma line (do you only need petromax light), has become so relevant today, with people equating it to a stubborn need for something. The dialogue also found its relevance in the lyrics of Aranmanai song, Petromax Light.
Ullathai Allitha (Vasu)
Pairing up with Karthik in this film, Ullathai Allitha follows the adventures of a man who escapes from his home to avoid a forced marriage, but unknowingly falls in love with the same woman. As Goundamani who plays a con man Vasu, ends up taking the place of Karthik at the girl’s household, the film follows a series of comedy of errors, that delays the union of the couple but cements the luxurious life that the con man desires.
Chinna Gounder (Vellai)
Essaying the role of a washerman, Goundamani’s Vellai finds himself at the receiving end of logical, yet simplistic questions posed by Senthil who works as his assistant. As Vellai often ends up fumbling to answer questions like ‘why seawater is salty’ and ‘why facial hair is called beard’, the situation ends up being comical with Vellai getting irritated with Senthil. One such instance where Goundamani gets tired of Senthil’s questions is when he utters a famous dialogue, ‘nee sonna vaakiathe thanjavur kalvetula porichuttu, athukku pakkathile nee ukkandhukko. unakku pinadi vara sandhathinga paarthu therinjukkatum’ (etch your words on Thanajavur’s stones, your future generations will read and learn). The film also features Vadivelu, the then-upcoming comedian in a minor role.
My Dear Marthandan (Idea Mani)
As his name suggests, Goundamani plays Mani who never runs out of ideas to give. Starring Prabhu as a royal prince, in disguise of poor, (but failing in it because he is obliviously still flaunting his richness), Goundamani plays a washerman who extorts money from Prabhu in return of giving him ideas to survive in the city and find girls of his dreams. The film is loosely based on the 1988 American film Coming to America.
Surieyan (Panikutti Ramasamy)
The Sarath Kumar starrer not only was the first major break for the actor in his career, but also a blockbuster hit for its comedy track performed by Goundamani. The comedian who appears as a so-called powerful politician Panikutty Ramasamy, has uttered some viral dialogues, that are still some pop culture references. Indha kosu thola thanga mudhiyala (cannot bear the mosquito’s irritation) referring to Omakuchi Narasimhan, arasiyalla ithellam satharanampa (all this is routine in politics), to name a few.
Japanil Kalyana Raman (Mayilsaamy)
This 1985 film can be called the first sequel for a Tamil cinema. Directed by SP Muthuraman and starring Kamal Haasan, the film is the sequel of Kalyanaraman (1979). While the film features the actor in dual roles, Goundamani comes as Mayilsamy, husband of Muppaathaa (Kovai Sarala). As the rural and innocent couple win a lucky draw to visit Japan, the antics of the duo, from mistaking noodles as snakes, to a water fountain as rain, the comedy plot revolves around the couple along with their tourist guide Munusamy (Chitra Lakshmanan), sight-seeing Japan and a comical take on the cultural and lifestyle differences of Japan and India.
Tata Birla (Ranjith)
A 1996 film, Goundamani, and Parthiban plays petty thieves who wish to become millionaires like Tata and Birla. After the duo fails pathetically to rob a bank in broad daylight and hold the manager at gunpoint, the thieves are roped in by Manivannan to kill his niece to acquire her fortune. As the film calls for a laughter riot, with duo calling each other “partner” and Parthiban’s role falling in love with the niece.
Koyil Kaalai (Ramasamy)
Directed by Gangai Amaran, in this film, Goundamani essays the role of a coconut water vendor, assisted by Senthil. This film also features Vadivelu as supporting comedian where Senthil and he try to trick Goundamani in his business.
In this 1996 vigilante action film, Goundamani once again reunites with Senthil where the duo plays characters working at Regional Transport Office. While this is one among the few films where Senthil’s role get better of Goundamani’s given the former plays a senior officer and at the upper hand of the other, the film still provides plenty of laughter on how Goundamani tries his luck to get Senthil doing what he wants. The dialogues, ‘good morning aapicer (officer)’, ‘inga Chandru nu oru maanasthan irundhaan, avana thedunen’ (I am searching for Chandru who is known to be a good person) have still got a great recall value.