Why is Vadivelu iconic even today?

Kumaravadivel Natarajan known to us as Vadivelu is one of Tamil Cinema's all-time favourite comedians. Although we might not have been seeing him too often on screen these days, we can’t deny the fact that no one can reach the mark he has created in the Comedy Genre of Tamil Cinema.

In fact, one can also say that he is probably the biggest content giver to any meme page or comedy channel. Every inch of his body is so involved in a character and he truly creates magic each time he comes on screen. So, what is it about this actor that makes his comedy so immortal? 

Vadivelu is probably one of the most versatile actors that our industry has had the privilege of working with. He can be a very convincing thief and at the same time play the role of a loyal cop.

It gets really hard to understand how this man could capture the essence of so many different kinds of characters and portray them so effortlessly. The way he adapts to not just the body language of these characters but also the slang and the accent that defines there nativity is just stunning.

Many aspects of his acting can be viewed in isolation and still be enjoyed. The kinds of comical sounds and gibberish phrases that he has invented can have its own dictionary.  These sounds do not mean too much but their mere usage can instantly bring a smile on our faces due to their association with him. I might not even remember the movie, but the memories of his scenes will always remain fresh in my head. Even when you watch his comedy for the 100th time it's still as funny as the first watch and that says a lot about his craft!

Even if you keep the linguistic aspects of it aside, Vadivelu is also well-known for using his whole body to create comedy. So much so that watching him on mute could also make us laugh. I honestly can’t figure out if it’s the kind of situation that gives him the scope to be so comical or if he can just make anything look so seamlessly funny. To make someone laugh is not that easy. It's an actual emotion and to trigger that is definitely a task! It is really hard to make someone feel as relieved and light-hearted as we do while watching him perform. His getups just enhance all of this! The way he carries himself with those peculiar costumes is brilliant! An actor should not have any inhibition and he takes this statement to another level. Whatever the role demands he has always given it. 

That brings me to yet another interesting aspect of his film career. The names of his characters. So crazy and unique are these names that they become a brand in themselves. How does someone land up with a Snake Babu, a Kaipulla, or even a Sangi Mangi? What does Body Soda even mean? We’ll never know the answers to these questions except for the fact that it all just adds up to the humour. He can be named after a car (Sumo) and still manage to be funny. This kind of humour that does not harm or demean anyone to get some laughter is something very unique. 

During difficult times we can just watch a little bit of his work and instantly feel lighter and more joyful about ourselves. His comedy has this tendency to transport us to better space where we can put our problems aside and treat ourselves to some hearty laughter. A good old-school therapy. Artists like Vadivelu who are gifted with this brilliant art of being able to spread joy and laughter despite age and time will always remain an icon and will always be celebrated. But most importantly, they’ll always hold a special place in our hearts!

Sharmila GM

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