Popular Tamil actor Vivekh passes away

Popular Tamil actor Vivekh passes away

The actor suffered a cardiac arrest a day after he got vaccinated for Covid-19 on Thursday

Tamil actor Vivekh. Credit: Twitter/@balajimarudu

Popular Tamil actor Vivekh, who made generations laugh with his humour often laced with social messages, passed away in Chennai early Saturday, a day after he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was 59 and is survived by his wife Arulselvi, and daughters Amritha Nandhini, and Tejaswini.

Vivekh, who was brought to a multi-speciality private hospital in an unconscious state on Friday morning, breathed his last at 4.35 am, following failure of treatment that included Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) ECMO.

The popular actor, who ruled the comedy space in Tamil cinema for decades together with his wit and sharp dialogue delivery, suffered cardiac arrest, a day after he got vaccinated for Covid-19 on Thursday. However, SRM Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), the hospital that treated him, and Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said the cardiac arrest may not be due to the jab.

Read | RIP Vivekh: An integral part of Tamil cinema

The actor, after taking the vaccine shot, urged people to shed their hesitation and get vaccinated. The last rites of the actor will be held at an electric crematorium in Chennai on Saturday evening, his family said.

Not just for the memories he gave making one laugh uncontrollably watching comedy scenes, Vivekh will also be remembered for another noble cause – setting out on an ambitious mission to plant one crore saplings across Tamil Nadu, and his organisation has reached around 40 lakhs.

Vivekh was closely associated with former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, and had taken his message to college students across Tamil Nadu, while nudging them to plant saplings.

Nick-named Chinna Kalaivanar for social messages that his comedy delivered much like the legendary N S Krishnan, known as Kalaivanar, Vivekh made his debut in the 1987 film Manathil Urudhi Vendum directed by late K Balachander and became popular with his witty dialogues in the 1989 movie Pudhupudhu Arthangal. It was Balachander who gave Tamil cinema some of its finest actors with Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan topping the list.

"Inaikku setha nalaikku paal" from the 1989 movie is one of the popular dialogues of Vivekh who created awareness about several social issues including superstitious beliefs, and female infanticide.

Another dialogue that will be etched in the memory of Tamil film lovers is "1000 periyar vanthalum ungala thirutha mudiyathu da" (you people won't reform even if there are 1000 Periyars) in the film Tirunelveli (2000) while look at a milestone being converted into a temple smeared with turmeric and kum kum.

Vivekh shared the screen with almost all top actors of Tamil cinema like Rajinikanth, who in his condolence message, recollected the “fond memories” of their interaction on the sets of 2007 movie Shivaji. For three decades, Vivekh made generations laugh with his humour – he acted in more than 200 films and 50 of them were between 2000 and 2010 his peak years in his career. Vivekh had also acted in movies of popular actors Ajith, Vijay, Dhanush, and others.

Condolences poured in from various quarters for Vivekh from his colleagues in the tinsel town, political leaders, and the public. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, DMK President M K Stalin, are some of the prominent leaders who sent condolence messages.