Vivekh the 'BOSS': An ode to a comedian who reached out to the thinker in us

The characters Vivekh played reflected the times we lived in. He dealt with issues ranging from superstitions, caste and religion to taxes, water problems and other ills plaguing present-day society.

Published: 17th April 2021 08:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2021 09:03 PM   |  A+A-

Actor Vivekh

Actor Vivekh - the last of a great tribe of comedians? (File | EPS)

Online Desk

Vivekh no more! 

Tamil cinema's ageless comedian might have been put on ECMO Friday night, but the news was still hard to digest when it broke in the wee hours of Saturday. With his endearing personality and split-second humour, the 59-year-old was indeed the last of a great tribe.

Vivekh's full name was Vivekanandan – and he took it upon himself to spread good ideas like his namesake. Albeit in his own way.

A look at Vivekh's career graph tells us that the actor always played roles we could relate to and raised questions we inevitably failed to ask in our lives. Be it the skinny spectacled boy from a middle-class family or the US-returned youngster, with his animated mannerisms and mimicry, Vivekh always took aim at those who needed to be brought down a peg. This earned him the title Chinna Kalaivanar, linking him forever to the great NS Krishnan. And Vivekh proved to be a worthy successor not just to Krishnan, but also to legendary comedians like MR Radha, Nagesh, Chandrababu and many more.

The characters Vivekh played reflected the times we lived in. He dealt with issues ranging from superstitions, caste and religion to taxes, water problems and other ills plaguing present-day society. This is something all good artistes have done. Sadly, this Saturday we seem to be at a point where there is no one to carry this illustrious legacy ahead.

For most, the earliest memories of Vivekh will be of him as a college student -- often as the best buddy of heroes like Ajith, Vijay, Madhavan and others. The humour he conjured up in their company while taking potshots at modern concepts and age-old traditions alike (after sprinkling them with a liberal helping of his inimitable inquisitiveness of course) was always in keeping with the times. 

As his career evolved, Vivekh's charming personality and nuanced performances helped him enrich a host of characters. Be it Vaali, Badhri, Dum Dum Dum, Lesa Lesa, Boys or Saamy, Vivekh proved he could employ humour deftly and with surgical precision. He played a careless bachelor, educated youth, woke-rebel, family man and comfortable mentor, without ever compromising on the laughs.

If you were to set aside that era, you will still find him next to Dhanush, Jayam Ravi or Hip Hop Tamizha, playing his age and yet stealing the scenes to remind us all that an artiste never surrenders. Yes, there were the odd occasions during this period when Vivekh turned preachy -- some might say even petty with some of his barbs -- but the intention fuelling him was never in doubt.

ALSO READ | Photo actor Vivekh was searching for 38 years found at last after his death

A writer and orator as well, there was no age limit -- either to his characters or to his fans. The actor never failed to reinvent himself and knew how to take his cause forward without losing the audience's attention through needless exaggeration. 

Unlike the majority, Vivekh practised what he preached. Handpicked and tasked by former President APJ Abdul Kalam to plant 1 crore trees, the actor not only took it upon himself but also created an army of followers to accomplish the task. A punchline that evoked applause and laughs on screen in Sivaji fits him well – the Bachelor of Social Service (BOSS).

Let me end with a personal memory. Years ago, my first introduction to Periyar was through him, when he uttered the line 200 Periyar illa, 400 Periyar vandhalum mudiyathu ungala thirutharthuku (Not just 200 Periyars, even if 400 Periyars come, they can't change you lot). There was a soothsayer in him after all! Here's looking at you, Vivekh Sir. RIP.


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    Learn to know faith better before naming it as superstitious.
    1 year ago reply
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