J. P. Chandrababu

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J. P. Chandrababu
J. P. Chandrababu.jpg
Casual Poster of CB
Born (1927-08-05)5 August 1927
Tuticorin, India
Died 8 March 1974(1974-03-08) (aged 46)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Comedian, actor, director, playback singer, singer and dancer
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Sheila (m. 1958; div. 1958)

Joseph Panimayadas Rodriguez Chandrababu (1927–1974) was a Tamil film comedian, actor, director, singer and dancer, whose Chaplinesque style on-screen movements and singing style made him popular from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. His style has also been likened to that of Jerry Lewis. He had a mastery of the Madras Bashai, a dialect unique to the Madras region His slapstick style of comedy has been emulated by subsequent actors, such as Prabhu Deva in Kaadhalan movie. Many of his songs have remained popular.

There is confusion regarding his full name. His last name has been variously given as Chandrababu, Rodriguez and Fernando, whilst his middle name has been shown as Panimayadas or Pichai, and his first as Joseph or Jacob. His father was Joseph Pichai Rodriguez and his mother Roselin Fernando.

Early life[edit]

Chandrababu was born to a Christian family in 1927 at Tuticorin, India.[1] His father, a freedom fighter,[1] ran a paper called Sudhandhira Veeran which, along with the family assets, was seized by the British government in 1929 when he was arrested for participating in the satyagraha movement.[citation needed] He and the family were exiled to Colombo, Sri Lanka on his release[when?], where his father worked for a Tamil newspaper. Chandrababu was educated at St. Joseph's College, Colombo and Aquinas College prior to his family moving once more, this time to Chennai in 1943. Here they lived in Triplicane, where his father worked for the Dinamani newspaper.

Film career[edit]

Chandrababu was very passionate about acting despite opposition from his family members. His friend Ganapathy was the only person who motivated his acting skills. From his childhood, he was an expert in singing and whenever he got together with his friends or family, Chandrababu was asked to sing. He had spent many days starving himself and searching for a chance in films. In 1952, he attempted suicide by ingesting copper sulphate crystals in the canteen of Gemini Studios. He had written a suicide note explaining his reasons, which included that he had been unable to meet the director S. S. Vasan, and that his body was to be handed over to B. S. Ramaiah, the director of his only film at that date. Suicide was a criminal offence and so he was arrested. But when his case came to trial the judge asked him to prove his acting ability. Chandrababu rendered a Shakespearean monologue that so impressed the judge that he was not jailed.[1]

Sri Lanka had a very western outlook in those times and Chandrabubu picked up on western styles of singing and dancing while there.[1] In these early years Chandrababu made acquaintances of the actors Sriram, B. R. Panthulu and, through them, T. R. Mahalingam. They appreciated his talent in singing and mimicry of Hollywood stars such as Charles Boyer.[citation needed] He made his debut with a small role in the 1947 film Dhana Amaravathi[1] but struggled thereafter to obtain parts.

One of those who had assisted him in being taken to hospital at the time of his attempted suicide was Gemini Ganesan. When Vasan came to know of this episode he gave Chandrababu a small role in the 1952 film Moondru Pillaigal, which impressed Vasan so much that he predicted a successful career.[1] for him.

Chandrababu also filmed Chinnadurai and Mohanasundaram in the same year. In Chinnadurai, produced and directed by T. R. Mahalingam, he sang the song Poda Raja Podi Nadaya, the first time that yodelling had been heard in an Indian film.[citation needed] It is claimed that, as of 2009, he remained the only person capable of yodelling in south Indian cinema,.[1] Chandrababu loved western music and learned the art of yodelling by listening to singers such as Gene Autry and Hank Williams.

Chandrababu was paid Rs 200 for his role in Mohanasundaram.[citation needed] At his peak he was to command over Rs 100,000, becoming the first South Indian comedy actor to command such a sum.[1]

When A. V. Meiyappan filmed Sahodari, he found that it lacked an ingredient that would ensure box office success. Chandrababu was called and after watching the film he added a comedy track for himself, wrote it and also sang the song Naan oru muttalunga, converting the film into a hit.

It was Chandrababu who first spoke and popularised the Madras Baashai in films. He learned this dialect from the rickshaw pullers and street vendors near his home in Triplicane and later in Mir Sahib Pet.

Sabaash Meena was one of the best Tamil comedy movies of its time, in which Chandrababu acted with Sivaji Ganesan, in dual roles.

Chandrababu also established himself as a good singer. He was a playback singer rendering voice for himself in films. He lent his voice for S. Balachander for the song Kalyanam Kalyanam... Ullasamagave Ulagathil in Penn and for Sivaji Ganesan for the song Jolly Life Jolly Life in Kalyanam Panniyum Brammachari .

He sang under almost all of the music directors of the 1950s till the 1960s namely T. G. Lingappa, G. Govindarajulu Naidu, S. V. Venkatraman, R. Sudharsanam, Viswanathan Ramamoorthy, G. Ramanathan, S. M. Subbaiah Naidu, S. Rajeswara Rao, T. R. Papa and K. V. Mahadevan.

He sang along duets mostly with K. Jamuna Rani and L. R. Eswari. Other singers include A. G. Rathnamala, Jikki, A. P. Komala, T. M. Soundararajan, P. B. Sreenivas, A. L. Raghavan, P. Suseela, P. Leela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi and Manorama.

Failed marriage[edit]

Chandrababu first met Sheila at her residence and subsequently marriage was arranged in 1958. Famous film personalities and politicians including chief minister Kamaraj attended their marriage. The initial days of married life had gone well. One day Sheila confessed that, she was not living a truthful life with him and had been raped while unconscious by someone. Later she fell in love with another person. After learning this, Chandrababu was heartbroken and ended up in a confused state. In the subsequent days, she attempted suicide which was foiled by Chandrababu. Considering Sheila's fortune, they divorced formally. He continued to offer support to her until she left for London. After a few days, she married a doctor in London with the acceptance of Chandrababu by a letter communication. In a business mired by sycophancy, he chose not to mince his words and this restricted his opportunities[1] from the 1960s onward. After this, he had decided to take a temporary break from his film career, and he went to Delhi without informing even his close friends. He spent those days consuming alcohol. Later he restarted his career in the industry despite his failed love and marriage.

Financial misfortune[edit]

Chandrababu directed the film Maadi Veettu ezhai with M. G. Ramachandran as hero. Eventually, he failed on this venture as Ramachandran did not cooperate with him. The film was also dropped. The reasons for Ramachandran's non-cooperation is well explained by script writer Aroordhas, in his 2002 memoirs Naan Muham Paartha Cinema Kannadigal. It's because Chandababu became abusive towards Ramachandran's elder sibling M. G. Chakrapani.

His last work was to direct and act in Thattungal Thirakkappadum, which was highly acclaimed for its cinematography but was not a box office success. Due to the loss in the film Maadi Veettu Ezhai, he spent his last days penniless. Later he died on 8 March 1974.

Popular Tamil songs[edit]

The following are some of Chandrababu's songs that have remained popular:

Year Film Song Music Co-Singer
1951 Mohanasundaram "Hello My Dear Darling Hello My Rose Charming " T. G. Lingappa
1952 Andhaman Kaidhi "I love you..I love you.. Aasaiyanene Un Mele" G. Govindarajulu Naidu A. G. Rathnamala
1952 Chinnadhurai "Poda Raja Podi Nadaya " T. G. Lingappa
1953 Kangal "Aalu Ganam Aanal Moolai Gaali" S. V. Venkatraman
1954 Kalyanam Panniyum Brammachari "Jolly Life, Jolly Life" T. G. Lingappa playback for Sivaji Ganesan
1954 Penn "Kalyanam Kalyanam... Ullasamagave Ulagathil" R. Sudharsanam playback for S. Balachander
1955 Gulebagavali "Paraanda Mannar Ellam.... Achi Nimirndha Vandi" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy A. G. Rathnamala
1955 Maman Magal "Gova Mambazhame Malgova Mambazhame" S. V. Venkatraman
1957 Mahadhevi "Un Thirumugathey Oru Mugama" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy A. G. Rathnamala
1957 Mahadhevi "Thanthana Taalam Poduvom" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy A. G. Rathnamala
1957 Pudhaiyal "Unakkaga Ellam Unakkaga" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1957 Pudhaiyal "Hello My Dear Ramy" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy A. L. Raghavan
1957 Pudhumai Pithan "Araichi Mani.... Thillaana Paatu Paadi Kullathaara" G. Ramanathan Jikki
1957 Pathini Dheivam "Aathukku Paalam Avasiyam" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy T. M. Soundararajan
1957 Manamagan Thevai "Bambara Kannale " G. Ramanathan
1957 Samaya Sanjeevi "Paper Paper" G. Ramanathan
1958 Padhi Bhakti "Rock Rock Rock" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy V. N. Sundaram
1958 Padhi Bhakti "Intha Thinnai Paechu Veeranidam" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy T. M. Soundararajan
1958 Padhi Bhakti "Kosari Kosari" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1958 Kathavarayan "Jigu Jigu Jigu" G. Ramanathan Jikki
1958 Kathavarayan "Thanthaane Thane Thanthaane" G. Ramanathan
1958 Nadodi Mannan "Thadukkadhe Ennai Thadukkadhe" S. M. Subbaiah Naidu K. Jamuna Rani
1959 Sahodari "Naan Oru Muttalunga" R. Sudharsanam
1959 Pandi Thevan "Nee Adinal" T. G. Lingappa K. Jamuna Rani
1959 Pandi Thevan "Solluratha Solliputaen" T. G. Lingappa
1959 Naan Sollum Ragasiyam "Vilaiyadu Raja Vilaiyadu" G. Ramanathan A. P. Komala
1959 Maragadham "Kunguma Poove Konjum Puraave" S. M. Subbaiah Naidu K. Jamuna Rani
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan "Pirakkum Podhum Azhukindrai" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan "Kavalai Illaadha Manithan" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1960 Petra Manam "Paadi Paadi Paadi" S. Rajeswara Rao Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi
1961 Sri Valli "Ayyo Machan Mannaru" G. Ramanathan
1961 Kumara Raja "Aan Ondru Aada Penn Ondru Paada" T. R. Papa P. Leela
1961 Kumara Raja "Onnume Puriyalae Ulagathile" T. R. Papa
1961 Kumara Raja "Moodinaalum Thiranthaalum" T. R. Papa K. Jamuna Rani
1961 Kumara Raja "Ennai Paartha Kannu" T. R. Papa K. Jamuna Rani
1962 Paadha Kaanikkai "Kadhal Embathu Edhu Varai" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy P. B. Sreenivas, P. Suseela & L. R. Eswari
1962 Paadha Kaanikkai "Thaniya Thavikkira Vayasu" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1962 Annai "Buthiyulla Manidharellam" R. Sudharsanam
1962 Policekaaran Magal "Porandhalum Aambalaiya Porakka Koodadhu" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy L. R. Eswari
1962 Bandhapaasam "Eppo Vachikkalaam Eppadi Vachikkalaam" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1962 Senthamarai "Thangadhamma Thangadhu Samsaram Thangadhu" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy K. Jamuna Rani
1963 Kadavulai Kanden "Konjam Thallikanum" K. V. Mahadevan K. Jamuna Rani
1963 Kadavulai Kanden "Ungal Kaigal Uyarattum" K. V. Mahadevan P. B. Sreenivas
1963 Yaarukku Sondham "Ennai Theriyalaiyaa"
1963 Yaarukku Chondham "Oho Meri Bul Bul" K. V. Mahadevan K. Jamuna Rani
1964 Aandavan Kattalai "Sirippu Varudhu Sirippu Varudhu" Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
1966 Thattungal Thirakkappadum "Kanmani Pappa"
1967 Valiba Virundhu "Ondra Kannu Doriya" R. Sudharsanam K. Jamuna Rani
1968 Nimirnthu Nil "Pudichalum Pudhicha Puliyankomba Pudicha" L. R. Eswari
1972 Neethi "Engaladhu Boomi" T. M. Soundararajan, P. Suseela & Manorama


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Guy, Randor (25 September 2009). "Actor with mercurial feet". The Hindu. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 

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