Right side of comedy

Tamil cinema

Right side of comedy

Most people would attribute actor Santhanam’s success to just his razor-sharp, witty responses, both on and off screen. True, his humour and comic timing have played a major part in helping him establish a huge fan base. But then, these aren’t the only factors that make him the man he is.

Santhanam, who has been blessed with both the courage to take risks and an ability to understand issues far better than many of his peers, accords importance to his friends and promises. Filmmaker Murugan, who along with Anand has directed Santhanam’s latest film Inimey Ippadithaan, says, “We have been with Santhanam for the last 12 years. Seven years ago, Santhanam told us that we would direct a film one day. We left it at that. Then suddenly out of the blue, he asked us if we had a script and whether we could narrate a one-liner to him. We narrated a one-liner but he wanted a better one. He kept pushing us to come up with better ideas and we kept trying. After several rounds of discussion, we finally zeroed in on a concept, which has been developed into this film Innimey Ippadithaan.”

Wit or without

When asked about his writers, Santhanam said, “Murugan and Anand have been my biggest strengths. In fact, the inputs for most of the punch dialogues in my films often come from them.”

The comedian seems to have mastered the art of winning people’s hearts and top heroes too are no exception. No wonder then that they help him out. The actor confesses with a smile, “It is true. All my friends help me out. For instance, Arya scolds me when I put on a little weight. Simbu gives me tips on fashion. Udhayanidhi Stalin gives me suggestions on how to market my films.”

Santhanam has never hesitated to explore new territories. Starting off as a TV show host to becoming a comedian, graduating into a hero and emerging as a producer and distributor, he has donned several hats. However, he hasn’t directed a film yet. Does he intend to do that as well? The actor says, “I will certainly direct. I have a script ready. I haven’t decided on the title yet, but I have narrated the story to some of my friends like Arya, Udhayanidhi, Vishal and Karthi and all of them are interested. However, I will need some time to get into direction because I have to first satisfy my fans who want to see me act. I don’t want to disappoint them.”

Cautiously funny

To be successful, a comedian needs to be bold. However, we live in a time when tolerance levels are coming down. In such a scenario, how does he decide on his boundaries? Santhanam explains, “Earlier, I would never worry about all this. My responses and jokes were spontaneous. However, of late, I am cautious. Comedy by itself is a difficult art. Comedy here is further complicated because there is no freedom. Despite all this, we still try to do our best to make people laugh.”

On a lighter note, ask Santhanam about when his friends Arya, Simbu and Vishal will tie the knot and the comedian says with a laugh, “As far as I know, their weddings will take place only after all the heroines who are in the industry now get married.” Not many know that Santhanam is deeply spiritual. Get him to talk about it and he signs off saying, “At the end of the day, what matters is the happiness you find within yourself. It is that happiness which gives you the energy to take on life. That happiness can come only from spirituality.”

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