Serious comedy

Tamil cinema

Serious comedy

A new trend is emerging in Kollywood. Moving away from traditional mass heroes, Tamil cinema has started promoting comedians as heroes. Santhanam, Vadivelu, Vivek, Karunas, ‘Ganja’ Karuppu and ‘VTV’ Ganesh — all known comedians — are now playing protagonists in upcoming films.

While Santhanam is doing the lead role in Vaaliba Raja and the remake of Telugu super hit Maryada Ramanna, Vadivelu is planning a big comeback with Gaja Buja Buja Gaja Tenali Ramanum Krishnadevarayarum.

Karunas is busy with Ragalaipuram and Machan along with Vivek, who also has Palakattu Madhavan in the pipeline. ‘Ganja’ Karuppu with Mannar Valaikuda and Velmurugan Borewells; and ‘VTV’ Ganesh with Inga Enna Solludhu is also raring to hit the big screens.
Moreover, Vaiyapuri and Jeeva (of Lollu Sabha fame) too have upgraded themselves as heroes, with one upcoming movie each. And not to forget the all-important ‘Power Star’ Srinivasan, who has performed in a handful of films, but is now cooling his heels in jail (he was arrested on cheating charges).

Change in trend

“The trend in cinema changes once in seven years. Now the latest seems to be comedy,” says Singham star Surya, who is known for action-packed roles. On how he sees this change, he says, “I am happy that small films are making it big and more and more comedies are being made. Also, it is a welcome change that the standard rules to become a hero are being broken.”

Former Tamil Film Producers Council President Rama Narayanan, who had made a string of funny films, says, “Comedy and comedians have always been an integral part of Tamil cinema, right from black and white days. Comedians turning heroes is also not something new. But this shows that the audience is ready for a change, provided they are fed with enough dose of entertainment. Producers are now happy since they can make profits by investing less, as the cost of making such films is low.”

Ask Santhanam why he decided to turn a hero, he says, “When I came across the script for Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya (which he produced as well), I felt that the role would suit me. And no traditional action hero would accept it. So I decided to take up the challenge. And as expected, the audience enjoyed the film.”

“I don’t mind going for scripts like Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya as long as I get appreciated for my roles. For me, comedy is a serious business and I want to entertain the audience. I really work hard on that,” he adds.

What will be the future plans of the comedy artistes who have turned heroes? Karunas, who graduated from a side actor to a comedian says, “Why should I stop being a comedian just because I have played the protagonist. I got introduced to the audience because of my comic roles and I am happy to do it. At the same time, I will continue to play lead roles as well.”

A late starter, ‘VTV’ Ganesh, who is producing his maiden lead venture Inga Enna Solludhu, says, “It was a tailor-made role, hence I accepted it. I am fully aware that I am not a regular hero. I know my plus and minus points. I am hopeful that the audience will like the film.”

Apart from comedians, more and more new directors are trying their hand at comedy scripts these days. Balaji Tharanitharan, who had made Naduvula Konjam Pakkathai Kaanom, a film which was appreciated for its simple humour, says, “Comedy is the safe bet if a newcomer wants to make his mark in the industry. The audience will enjoy it, and the producer will be happy too.”

Echoing his sentiments, Karthik Subburaj of Pizza fame, says, “Although my debut film was a thriller, I decided to infuse enough dose of humour in it, since I want to keep the audience engaged from the beginning till the end. For that, comedy is the best ingredient.”

Since this formula worked well in Pizza, Karthik is now doing a full-fledged comedy, titled Jigarthanda. With Siddharth in the lead, the film is soon to hit the floors.

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