Sunday, February 01, 2009

Nagesh - excellence personified !

The first ever film in which I saw Nagesh was Thiruvilayadal. I was a small boy and my neighbors had newly shifted to the house. I was invited for their movie screening (those days, TV and video player – affectionately called as ‘Deck’, were a rarity). I was elated to the core, and ran to the open terrace where there was a good multitude of people seated in chairs. I too went to my uncle, and there started the film. People who have seen Thiruvilayadal will remember about the Technicolor and the actors. To me, it was a new experience, seeing the elephant faced god (Vinayaka) and the bull faced Nandhi playing Mridangam. I was watching it with utter amusement, and there he came.

Dharumi. The poor poet, who craves to live a good life. I was laughing my guts out as he starts questioning Shivaji Ganesan (who plays Lord Shiva, who gives a poem to Dharumi which answers the King’s doubt about do women have natural scent of their tresses or the scent is because of the oil and perfumes they use). As the poet (Lord Shiva in disguise) answers every question, Dharumi leans backwards a little, and finally when all of his questions get answered, he jumps straight to the poet’s feet and declares he is the ultimate poet. The way he calls Shivaji (“pattuduthina pulavaaa”), meaning the one who wears the silk dress, during his legendary soliloquy, a few scenes later, is quite a famous one.

After that movie, I became his instant fan. We saw almost all of his hits in video those days. Sarvar Sundaram, Neerkkumizhi, Pattanathil bootham, Anbe vaa, Galatta kalyanam, Soppu seeppu kannadi, Thillana moganambal, Thenkinnam.. Many more. His body mannerisms, his tone, his timing, they all were quite exceptional, and he had mentioned that he considers Jerry Lewis as his inspiration. Walking out of his home and parents declaring that he will be back only after he excels in his career, Nagesh got a job in Indian Railways, and started playing in various roles in drama troupes. He utilized his major breaks provided by Directors Sridhar and Balachandar and went on to become the unconquored supremo of Tamil comedy.

Mehmood had mentioned that he considers Nagesh as his guru. Nagesh has handled every role with flamboyance and ease. Almost all the MGR films have had Nagesh, as the side kick.

I loved his roles in Magalir mattum (as a dead body), Aboorva Sagotharargal (as one of the four villains), Michael madhana kama raajan (as the cunning yet funny Avinashi). Who ever can forget kadalikka Neramillai (which was later remaked by the same team as 'Pyar kiye Jaa' in Hindi) where Nagesh plays the wannabe movie director Chellappa! The story he recites to his father (Baalaiya) - "அப்பா இது ஒரு சஸ்ஸ்ஸ்பென்ஸ் கத.. அந்த சுவர்க்கோழி இல்ல.. ஜிகுஜிகுஜிகுஜிகு ஜிக்கு.. ஜிகுஜிகுஜிகுஜிகு ஜிக்கு.. " – unforgettable!

Nagesh expired on 31st Jan 2009. Indian movie industry has lost an all time great man, who can make even the most hardcore irate to laugh. One of my most favorite actors, let his soul rest in peace. Now, I know all magazines would start publishing his biography. But, at this time, is it not a disgrace to the government for having not confered nagesh with any award? Even in the recently given Padma awards, his name was not futured. This is not a disgrace to Nagesh, but to the government. Now, I know immediately they will confer the award posthumously to him. These politicians and their politics!

R.I. P dear Nagesh. Thanks a lot for making us laugh all these years.

PS:- The picture taken from Was unable to get a quality pic of Nagesh from the net! Thanks for them too.


Mega said...

He was the well known & best comedian of 60's & 70's, next to NSK he become popular of his body language. Nowadays comedians are using double meaning words or awkward words to express their comedies, but the legend Nagesh is the one person who made people to laugh from heart without using bad words. He too proved his acting in "Nammavar"(an unforgottable movie) with Kamal Hasan as a real life dad expression which was pictured so well.

Great Man, he is known forever....

The S c o r p said...

Absolutely Megala. While posting, I totally forgot about Nammavar. Thanx for reminding :). A true legend, indeed.

Vyazz said...

I have lived all my life in maharashtra, so technicaly I havent had the sort of exposure to tamil cinema and culture. But nevertheless, thnx to my mom I saw quite a few tamil movies with nagesh in them. Man he was awesome. I have the thiruvilayadal dvd with me, and its one of the movies I keep watching time and again. I liked his role in Saraswati Sabadham as well. Truth be told, I am yet to see any comedian worth his salt today who can match up to the genius of nagesh.
I didnt know he passed away!!...May he rest in peace!

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