It’s impossible to imagine Tamil cinema without its comedy actors. Several top-notch comedians enjoy super-star status in Kollywood at par with its lead actors. With their inimitable style and mannerisms, they have often stolen the spotlight from the lead actors. And turned average scripts into massive blockbusters!
Let’s take a look at some exceptionally talented comedians without whom so many great Tamil movies would be incomplete.
Vadivelu is Kollywood’s undisputed king of comedy! With his self-deprecating and satirical style, he has regaled audiences for over three decades. His Madurai Tamil accent, voice modulations, superlative expressions and tacky dressing makes you laugh out loud. His Tanglish (a mixture of Tamil and English) is a riot! His iconic catchphrases have infiltrated everyday conversations such as the characteristic way he says “Ahhaan” or “Ittzz mee”.
He may have retired from films, but his memes still rule the internet. There’s a Vadivelu phrase for just about every occasion. Now, there are Vadivelu versions of movie trailers which release soon after the official trailers are out. When it comes to comedy in Tamil cinema, he is still the gold standard!
2. Senthil and Goundamani
Senthil and Goundamani were the most sought after comedy actors in the 80s and 90s. The Laurel and Hardy duo of Tamil cinema, they had perfect chemistry and an unmatched comic timing. Their outrageous humour and clownish mannerisms were a major crowd-puller.
Their performances in movies such as Cheran Pandian, Jai Hind, Kattabomman and Gentleman are still remembered for its funny quotient. The epic banana joke from their film Karagattakkaran still remains the most famous comedy scenes of all times!
A good actor with perfect comic timing, that’s actor Vivek for you. His punch lines, which he delivers without a pause and with a deadpan expression, are a huge draw. He has acted with all top actors from Rajnikanth to Vijay and Dhanush. His comedy is not overtly slapstick but is engaging and funny.
Even as you laugh at his jokes, you will reflect on the serious issues he’s trying to highlight. And the best part, he doesn’t get too preachy. Vivek is the only comedian in Tamil cinema to have been honoured with a Padma Shri.
It would be criminal to speak about comedy greats of Tamil cinema and not include veteran actress Manorama. Fondly known as Aachi, Manorama has acted with legends such as MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan. She has also worked alongside lead comedians right from Nagesh in the 1960s to Vadivelu and Vivek.
Known as the ‘Queen of Comedy’, she had an impeccable comic timing. Her memorable roles in Singaravelan, Michael Madana Kama Rajan and Apoorva Sagodharargal are still remembered by Tamil movie fans.