RIP Vivekh: From 'take diversion' to 'kaaka biryani', here's a look at the comedian's best one liners and most significant roles
Well-known Tamil actor and comedian Vivekh passed away on Saturday due to heart complications.
The actor had suffered a heart attack on Friday and was admitted to the SIMS hospital in Chennai’s Vadapalani, where doctors said one of the arteries to his heart had a 100 percent blockage. Many prayed for Vivekh’s speedy recovery and hoped he would be alright in a matter of days. However, the South Indian film fraternity and his fan base woke up to the shocking news that the actor passed away early on Saturday morning.
Excluding the fact that he’s an irreplaceable comedian who will be etched in people’s minds forever, Vivekh was also a social activist who volunteered for multiple causes like afforestation, awareness about organ donation, the need for a green, plastic-free environment, and the perils of COVID-19, to name a few.
Vivekh also set the trend for witty humour that is thought-provoking and educational, as his jokes targeted serious, tabooed issues in society.
Even as his fans, followers and the film fraternity mourns his demise, we take a look back at some of Vivekh’s best characters and memorable dialogues:
Manadhai Thirudivittai (2001)
Manadhai Thirudivittai features Vivekh as a staff member at the college where Prabhudeva and Vadivel’s characters are studying.
While Vivek and comedian Vadivel are usually considered rivals in the film industry, this was one movie where the duo came together for a splendid performance. Vivekh and Vadivel are seen vying for the same girl, and end up getting involved in a lot of antics to win her heart.
One unforgettable scene in the movie is when Vadivel arrogantly asks Vivekh to serve him idlis, and what happens as a result. Check out the scene below at 16.02 minutes:
In this movie, Mohan (Vivekh), an educated newbie, moves to Chennai with plans to meet and settle down with his friend Siva (Madhavan). However, he gets conned by every single person he meets, setting the tone for numerous hilarious incidents one after the other. He also takes jibes at various day-to-day issues in and around the town which are relatable even to this day.
In one scene, ‘Mohan’ opens a tap on the roadside to drink some water, only to have air coming out of it. Taking a dig at the lack of sufficient water in metro cities, he says, “Enada idhu, Usha fan la vara maadhri enama kaathu varudhu. Idhulaye oru tube ah sorugi vita cycle ku kaathadichaachu polaikalaam. (Even an Usha fan wouldn't circulate so much air. One could plug in a tube to it, pump air for cycles and make a business out of it).”
Vivekh’s character also threw light on the concept of ‘Rs. 5 biryani’ or ‘Kaaka biryani’ (biryani made with crows), a scam that allegedly existed in Chennai back in the days.
Kadhal Sadugudu (2003)
The role of ‘Super Subbu’, an educated youth who returns to his father’s (the panchayat president’s) village, may be one of the most impactful characters that Vivekh has played till date. This film shows Vivekh’s character as a revolutionary reformist (on a small-scale) who debunks numerous myths and questions almost every superstition that people believed there, all by going against his father.
In the movie, Super Subby is also seen condemning unfair traditions that were practised, including a girl’s forced marriage to her rapist, female infaticide, worship of idols, and the need of condoms.
There’s also a scene here where Vivekh shoots the girl’s rapist below his belt after the latter gets away without fair punishment and says he would continue to assault other girls.
Boys has Vivekh playing the role of a depressed, middle-aged man named ‘Mr. Mangalam’, who is unhappy with his life after an episode of love failure. He later ends up becoming a mentor and father-like figure to five misguided but talented teenage boys who move out from their parents’ houses after disagreements, in pursuit of their passion.
Vivekh perfectly balances teenage humour and mature, fatherly guidance for his character in the film.
A commendable scene in this film is Vivek’s monologue in the second half of the film, which covers topics like proper teenage guidance, healthy parenting strategies, believing in one’s potential and giving them a chance, and more importantly, the influence of technology on a teenager’s mind.
Check out Vivekh's monologue below:
The evergreen comedy scene on ‘take diversion’ where Vivekh’s character ends up in Tirupati from Chennai after being diverted multiple times on the road due to hurdles, is from this film. Vivekh attempts to go for an interview, but fails at least three times due to numerous reasons that are out of his hands.
The obstacles he faces also point out realistic issues in society like unemployment amongst youth, belief in superstitions, never-ending road constructions and open sewages.
Check out the ‘take diversion’ scene below:
Other movies where Vivekh has given hilarious performances include Saamy (2003), Anniyan (2005), Sivaji (2007), Singam (2010), Uthama Puthiran (2010), and Velai Illa Pattadhari (2014), to name a few. In Saamy, the comedian plays the role of a Brahminical temple priest who criticises caste-based discrimination and superstitious beliefs that people follow.
To this day, he continues to be in a league of his own since no other comedian in the Tamil film industry has been able to imitate his style of comedy or incorporate it so neatly and in sync with a film, irrespective of its genre.