Monday, November 11, 2013

The Two Handsome Tamil Comedians.














    At a time, when the theory that performing heroes need not look handsome is becoming an acceptable phenomenon,to talk of handsome comedians may sound paradoxical. However,let us give the individuals the tag that is reasonably due to them.I would also like to say categorically that this title is not intended to undermine the looks of other talented comedians of the huge Tamil film industry.To me the appearance of these two comedians, gives them a hero status, by certain conservative norms held so far, as a determined yardstick for developing a commanding screen image.The two comedians who would honour this title without prejudice to others, are Vivek and Santhanam.
     Both in terms of age and time of entry into the field of acting,Vivek is a clear senior to Santhanam by at least a decade and a half. Vivek also holds the proud position of being a K.Balachander  product.His first two films Manathil Urudhi Vendum and Puthu Puthu Arthangal directed by K.B made Vivek  establish a solid foundation for himself as an actor meant to reckon with. Particularly as a character with a loose tongue, he made his role distinctly memorable in Puth Puthu Arthangal. But what a meteoric growth it has been to Santhanam, after his firm entry in Manmadhan that made his earlier role in Kadhal Azhivadhillai insignificant.With in a decade, he has become the busiest ever actor to be seen almost in every other release, with small,big and selling comedy shows.Starting his film career with the renowned T.Rajender  and his son Simbu, Santhanam continued to act in Simbu's films like Kaalai,Vallavan,Vaanam and Osthi,the last two in this list showing him in the best comedy form. 
     The skit matters a lot for the success of a comedy scene, that takes the comedian closer to the audience for their continued acceptance and patronage.Gone are the days of decent comedy scenes, without any semblance of vulgarity and scatological connotation.We do not know if the decline in quality of humour is due to an itch to satisfy the audience mood, or the inherent calibre of the comedians themselves.Quite often, even decent comedy providers like the duo Goundamani and Sendhil  resorted to  toilet humour as though comedy could generate only in the rest rooms. Vivek  and Santhanam are no exception to this kind of comedy presentation. Vivek's comedy scenes were particularly undesirable in the film Shajahaan and Santhanam periodically takes his humour  skit to the toilet side.
     Both Vivek and Santhanam  have excelled in verbal comedy by taking their fellow comedians and sometimes even their team heroes for a ride.In the same spirit, they have allowed themselves to be bullied and exploited by their fellow comedians as Goundamani  very many times, let Sendhil make him a scapegoat.Incidentally, it should be mentioned here, that both Vivek  and Santhanam have acted in a few movies, without any significant scenes for a meeting point.Some of the films in this list are, Ajith's Kireedom,Suriya's Singam2 and Vinay's Jeyamkondan. But they did have a meeting ground in Sundar C's Veeraappu. Both these comedians have contributed solidly to the comedy spirit of Sundar.C. In films like Naam Iruvar Namakkiruvar,Unakkaaga Ellaam Unakkaaga, Ullam Kollai Pogudhei, Sandai, Auyudham Seivom and Aindhaam Padai  Vivek added wonderful moments of laughter.In the same manner, Sathanam made his mighty humour shows, in movies like Rendu, Kalakalappu and the most fabulous comedy film Theeyaa Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru. 
     Not less than twenty five popular films could be recommended for a healthy and happy watch of Vivek's intelligent and appealing comedy scenes.Unlike Santhanam,Vivek has effectively demonstrated his strength for mimicking several great actors of the last generation like Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan,M.R.Radha M.N.Nambiyar  and later his own contemporary heroes like Rajini and Kamal.No one can forget his parodying the court scene of Sivaji Ganesan's  debut film Parasakthi and then the Sivaji- Radha platonic love episode in Mudhal Mariyaadhai. Srikanth's Paarthiban Kanavu scored an additional point for repeated audience view because of Vivek's  parody of the famous scenes from Mudhal Mariyaadhai. He has also mimicked the voices of Rajini and Kamal  and their style of dialogue delivery.Some of the films of Kamal that he has parodied are Guna and Nayagan.
     Vivek has the time sense and aptitude to include song and scene sequences from other films relevantly to his own comedy scenes, as he pointedly did in Dhool and several other movies. Vivek was found doing an amazing job in the line of N.S.Krishnan, by performing comedy with social sense, with deliberate inclusion of messages of social awakening through comedy scenes. This is how he went on to impress the audience by his clean performance in films like Kaadhal Sadugudu,Youth,Samy,Thirunelveli  and quite a few other movies.
     Besides these films,the other movies of Vivek  that would go a long way into the memory interiors of the audience are Run, Pennin Manadhaithottu,Kadhal Mannan, Dhool, Minnale, Poovellaam Un vaasam, Perazhagan Azhagi,Dum Dum Dum, Sandhitha Velai,M.Kumaran S/o Mahalakshmi, Thirumalai, Kushi, Middle Class Madhavan,Whistle,University,Anniyan, Thenkasipattanam, Thambikku Indha Ooru,Sivaji, Uthama Puthiran of Danush, and Singam1. One can hardly ignore Vivek's hilarious comedy ride with Vadivelu,  in films like Pongalo Pongal, Looty and Manadhai Thirudivittai .
     Santhanam too has in his kitty more than a dozen great films out of his numerous rapid releases,that  would vouchsafe his capacity to tickle humour. However, unlike Vivek's continued flow of humour generating dialogues,Santhanam can be proud of  his one line verbal strokes that would spontaneously augment the comedy feel with  utmost relevance to sense of timing.Some of the historic comedy scenes of Santhanam are from films like Siva Manasula Sakthi,Boss Engira Baskaran,Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi, Velayudham, Kandein Kadhalai, Theeeradha Vilaiyaattuppillai, Thillaalangadi, Settai, Thaandavam [very sensible play of humour to the extent of taking out the patience of the police officer played by Nasser}, Mirattal, Naan Yee,Kanna Laddu Thinna Aaasaiyaa,Raja Rani, Vanakkam Chennai and the three films Siruthai,Saguni and Alex Pandian in which he carried on the taunting team celebration of comedy with Karthik Sivakumar.
   The similarities between these two comedians have certain significant traits.Both are quite often loud mouthed because comedy needs audible delivery of dialogues more than any other segment of cinema.Both are fair complexioned with a kind of charm in their appearance that helps them have a pleasing reach with the audience.Both have a flair for dancing and Vivek  in fact donned the role of a dance master in Kushi .Both have acted with all leading actors including the Superstar and both have not so far shared the screen space with the world class hero Kamalahasan. Santhanam would perhaps be a happy man now, looking forward to the scope of sharing screen space with Kamal, in the proposed film Uthama Villain, to be directed by Ramesh Arvind. Both Vivek and Santhanam have been directed by Shankar  but not by Manirathnam.
    But the rocking note of difference between the two, is the most cherished sense of continuity and coherence in the comedy skits meticulously developed and delivered by Vivek, that seem to be invariably void in the one- liner- bound comedy drive of Santhanam. I personally feel that Vivek has an inspiring spirit of latent humour like the noted, other commendable comedian S.V.Sekar. But unlike S.V.Sekar,  who has a sense of control over his comedy delivery,Vivek appears to be more unbridled in enjoying his job of making others genuinely laugh for a while,without any reservation. 
    Vivek's  comedy could be compared to the traditional mode of poetry composition;whereas, Santhanam's comedy track could be equated with the free verse category.To me, Vivek seems to be a perfect combination of N.S.Krishnan and K.A.Thangavel Whereas, Santhanam appears to travel on the track of Goundamani without the support of a soul-sustaining companion like the innocently mischievous Senthil, boosting the energy levels of not only the comedy mood of Goundamani, but also that of the audience.But to carry on the laughter wagon evenhandedly,without a solid team mate is not that easy. It is in this respect, Santhanam gains his winning streak.
   As far as the comedy track of new wave Tamil Cinema is concerned,one could notice the obvious absence of female pairs for the present day comedians, unlike T.A.Madhuram M.Saroja and Manorama{ and Madhavi too} joining hands with the best comedians like N.S.Krishnan, K.A.Thangavel, Chandrababu ,Nagesh and Thengai Srinivasan of the previous generation.Starting from Goundamani, the new generation comedians have mostly been playing humour games without female partners.Nevertheless,Tamil film industry should really be proud of being endowed with a galaxy of talents in all areas, more significantly, in the ever important comedy side of screen play and presentation.In this regard,these two handsome comedians definitely hold an important place. 

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