12 September 1960
|Years active||1988- present|
Kumaravadivel Natarajan, known professionally as Vadivelu (born 12 September 1960), is an Indian film actor, comedian and playback singer. Since the 1990s, he has performed in supporting and lead roles as a comedy actor in Tamil films.
While having worked in more than 200 films, Vadivelu received awards in the Best Comedian category for his performances in Kaalam Maari Pochu (1996), Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Thavasi (2001), Chandramukhi (2005), Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi (2006), Pokkiri (2007), Marudhamalai (2007) and Kathavarayan (2008). His popularity led to his media-coined nickname, Vaigai Puyal, meaning "Vaigai storm", referring to the river that flows through his hometown Madurai.
Vadivelu was born on 12 September 1960 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu to Natarajan and Vaitheswari. Vadivelu has a spouse, Sarojini, four children, three daughters, Kannigaparameswari, Karthiga, Kalaivani, and a son, Subramaniyan.
Vadivelu did not have a formal education, instead he worked in his father's glass cutting business and continued it with his brothers after his father died. In his free time, he participated in local stage plays, usually in a comic role.
Early stage (1988–1997)
Vadivelu met Rajkiran on a train while on his way to Chennai to visit his bride-to-be. Rajkiran later recalled that he was so amused by their conversation during the train ride that he agreed to give Vadivelu a role in his upcoming film, En Rasavin Manasile (1991), directed by Kasthuri Raja. It was also the beginning of the Goundamani-Senthil-Vadivelu combination that produced a few skits in the early 90s.
In 1992, he played contrasting characters in both Kamal Haasan films. Vadivelu joined Goundamani and Charle in the comedy film Singaravelan. In this movie, Vadivelu’s role was very interesting, talking butler English with curling hair. Then in the movie Thevar Magan, Vadivelu played a worker in patriarch Sivaji Ganesan’s household.
In the same year, he starred in the movie Kadhal Desam (1996).
Superstardom in comedy (1998–2008)
Vadivelu has played as many as 15 to 20 movies a year in the late 90s. He is known to assist directors, with his own input being used during sets. The hallmark of his trade was self-deprecation. Vadivelu’s characters thought very highly of themselves – they were clownish versions of the gang leader.
As the 2000s began, Vadivelu became the undisputed "king of comedy". He later went on to perform numerous roles, including Kandha Kadamba Kathir Vela (2000), Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Koodi Vazhnthal Kodi Nanmai (2000), Friends (2001), Middle Class Madhavan (2001), Manadhai Thirudivittai (2001) and Thavasi (2001).
During his peak in the mid-2000s, Vadivelu’s imagination knew no bounds. By this phase, he was a colossus in the Tamil film world, which came with the freedom to meddle with scripts and override even established directors. He has acted with almost all the top heroes in Tamil cinema.
His part in movies like Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Friends (2001), Winner (2003), Chandramukhi (2005), Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikecei (2006), Pokkiri (2007), Marudhamalai (2007) and Kathavarayan (2008) are typical of his performances that have brought him laurels and accolades from the Tamil movie-goers.
Cashing in on his popularity, he starred in the lead role of the historical comedy in the film Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikecei. The movie was declared a blockbuster and was widely acclaimed for its 'clean' comedy. Vadivelu played in a dual role, playing twin brothers of a heartless but comical dictator king and a revolutionary. His next venture as the lead star was in the movie Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan (2008).
Controversies and decline (2008–2017)
On 21 September 2008, Vadivelu's residence in the Saligramam neighbourhood in Chennai was pelted with stones by a gang, leaving several windows broken and furniture damaged. The actor had taken refuge in a room in his home and was safe. Vadivelu is said to have suspected Vijayakanth because of a recent case that he had filed against the latter for assault and because the final court hearing was to take place the following day. He suspected that the attack may have been carried out to prevent Vadivelu from attending the hearing. As a result, Vadivelu filed another case against Vijayakanth for attempted murder. He later mentioned his interest in contesting against Vijayakanth in the upcoming assembly elections and in his words, "teaching him a lesson." In response, actor Vijayakanth, in a press meet on 22 September, claimed that Vadivelu's allegations were based on hearsay.
In 2010, Vadivelu held a press conference, accusing fellow comedian and actor Singamuthu for forgery and financial cheating. Vadivelu, who was previously friends with Singamuthu, purchased land from him but later came to learn that the documents were void. This resulted in the former taking legal action against the latter.
During the legislative assembly elections that place in Tamil Nadu during April 2011, Vadivelu vehemently campaigned for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its alliance. During his public speeches, he predominantly condemned politician and actor Vijayakanth, whose party, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), allied with the opposition party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), headed by Jayalalithaa. His allegations of Vijayakanth included him being a "drunkard". In a campaign speech in Tiruvarur, Vadivelu stated that "(his) only aim is to sweep out Vijayakanth's whole team and to campaign vigorously for DMK's victory". Vadivelu was criticised as being biased, only supporting a DMK-led victory for personal gains and not once mentioning anything against the official opposition, the AIADMK, or its leader. In a turn of events, the election was eventually successful for the AIADMK alliance, and Vijaykanth won his constituency by a considerable margin.
As his career as a lead actor was waning such as Tenaliraman (2014), Eli (2015), Vadivelu chose to return to portraying supporting and comedy roles in films headlined by other actors. He portrayed a role alongside Vishal in Suraj's Kaththi Sandai (2016), before collaborating again with P. Vasu in the horror comedy Shivalinga (2017). Vadivelu then portrayed a supporting role alongside Vijay in Mersal (2017), with the film becoming a blockbuster at the box office. A critic from The New Indian Express noted that it was a "brilliant comeback for Vadivelu" and that "his comedy is subtle, yet sufficient".
After agreeing to work with Chimbu Deven on Imsai Arasan 24th Pulikecei, a sequel to their successful film, he fell out with the director over an issue regarding his costume designer and subsequently refused to cooperate. The film's producers, S. Shankar and Subaskaran Allirajah, later filed a legal case over his unexplained absence. Likewise, R. K. and Stephen, the producers of Neeyum Naanum Naduvula Peyum and another untitled film, also opted to file complaints to the Nadigar Sangam against Vadivelu's lack of cooperation. The Tamil Film Producers Council issued a ban against casting Vadivelu in future films.
In 2019, Vadivelu was interviewed by Behindwoods, in which he criticized Chimbu Deven and Shankar for their creative differences. Producer T. Siva and director Naveen (who worked as an assistant to Chimbu Deven in Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi) spoke out against Vadivelu’s comments.
In 2020, Vadivelu, who had recently joined Twitter, has not been taking up as many roles as he did earlier. Adding that he would soon take up a project, the comedian said, “You’ve also been asking why I’m not acting yet. Soon, I will make my entry in a grand manner”.
Vadivelu's roles involve heavy use of slapstick and puns, which has led him to be typecast. His comedy sequences typically end with him getting soundly thrashed and a closing one-liner from him bemoaning his situation or antagonists. His popularity could be ascribed to the general audience being able to identify with him thanks to his rustic looks, accent and body language.
Vadivelu's dialogues served as an inspiration for memes in social media. Many meme creators use Vadivelu's dialogues for all ongoing situations in the world to express irony. His dialogues have been part of daily conversation and also inspired the titles for various Tamil films. In 2019, Vadivelu was featured in the sudden viral memes related to the hashtag Pray for Nesamani.
- ""ஏன்யா... எனக்கு மாச மாசமா பொறந்தநாளு கொண்டாடுவீக!" - கலாய்த்த வடிவேலு". vikatan. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Happy birthday Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu: There is no stopping this humour storm!". The Indian Express. 10 October 2017. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Vadivelu – profile". Nilacharal.com. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Vadivelu's daughter Karthika gets married". Behindwoods. 11 November 2016. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- "Vadivelu's daughter gets married - Tamil News". IndiaGlitz.com. 19 October 2018. Archived from the original on 11 October 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- "Comedian Vadivelu's son gets married". Sify. Archived from the original on 11 October 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- "நடிகர் வடிவேலு பற்றி பலரும் அறியாத 10 உண்மைகள்" (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020 – via www.youtube.com.
- "10 Lesser known facts about Vijayakanth". Behindwoods. 12 May 2016.
- "How Vadivelu's comedy gave Tamil people a language of mockery and memes". 4 August 2019.
- "Vadivelu fans, rejoice! Actor to make comeback in Kamal's 'Thalaivan Irukkindraan'". The News Minute. 18 November 2019.
- "When Vadivelu's overacting caught Sivaji Ganesan and Kamal Haasan off-guard". 19 November 2019.
- "Vadivelu - Actor". Just Dial Entertainment. 20 December 2020.
- Yamunan, Sruthisagar. "Why every day in Tamil Nadu is a Vadivelu day". Scroll.in.
- "Tamil Comedy King is back". Bangalore Mirror.
- "Vaigaipuyal Vadivelu - An Invisible Member of Family Ration Cards, Vadivelu". Behindwoods. 5 January 2016.
- "ItÂ's between Vivek and Vadivelu - Tamil News". IndiaGlitz.com. 25 August 2009.
- "Kollywood comedy actor Vadivelu journey into films so far". nettv4u.
- Ramanujam, Srinivasa; S, Srivatsan (6 August 2019). "Who's the king of comedy? Vadivelu or Vivekh?" – via www.thehindu.com.
- "Exclusive biography of #Vadivelu and on his life". FilmiBeat.
- "Vadivelu's house attacked". IndiaGlitz. 22 September 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- "Vijayakanth explains... – Behindwoods.com Politician Koyambedu Vadivelu Ajith Billa INDIRALOGATHIL NA AZHAGAPPAN IMSAI ARASAN 23 PULIKESI tamil movie news images picture gallery images". Behindwoods.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Settu Shankar (8 December 2008). "Vadivelu declares war with Vijaykanth". Oneindia. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Vadivelu roars against Singamuthu". Indiaglitz.com. 3 February 2010. Archived from the original on 17 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Settu Shankar (12 April 2010). "Its Vadivelu Vs Singamuthu again!". Oneindia. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Kavalan review. Kavalan Tamil movie review, story, rating". IndiaGlitz.com.
- "Vadivelu blasts Vijayakanth at Thiruvarur Meeting Video". Kolly Talk. 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "கருணாநிதி முன்னிலையில் விஜயகாந்த்தை தாறுமாறாக விளாசி விமர்சித்த வடிவேலு". filmibeat.com. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 11 October 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- "தே.மு.தி.க.,வுக்கு தேர்தல் கமிஷன் அங்கீகாரம்: சின்னத்தை இழக்கிறது பா.ம.க.,". Dinamalar. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (19 April 2014). "Tenaliraman: Clown of thorns" – via www.thehindu.com.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (19 June 2015). "Eli: Seriously unfunny" – via www.thehindu.com.
- Thimayya, Daniel (19 October 2017). "Mersal review: Vijay makes this entertainer seem terrific". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 23 February 2018.
- Subramanian, Anupama (23 February 2018). "Is Vadivelu becoming the 'real' Imsai Arasan?". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Tamil film industry blacklists comedian Vadivelu". 17 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
- Palani, Dhiwaharan. ""Even Sathish, Soori Are Far Better Than Vadivelu" Leading Producer's Shocking Statements !! WATCH !!". Chennaiyin Adaiyalam. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- ChennaiJune 9, India Today Web Desk (9 June 2019). "Moodar Koodam director Naveen slams Vadivelu for his comments on Chimbu Deven". India Today. Archived from the original on 10 June 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- Yamunan, Sruthisagar (9 February 2018). "Why every day in Tamil Nadu is a Vadivelu day". Scroll.in. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- "Vadivelu – Biography". Chakpak. Archived from the original on 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "Happy birthday Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu: There is no stopping this humour storm!". 10 October 2017. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Lee, Dharmik (16 May 2017). "வடிவேலுவின் ஃபேமஸ் டயலாக்குகள்தான் இந்தப் படங்களின் டைட்டில்ஸ்! – Vadivelu's Dialog as movie's title". vikatan. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
- "Decoding Vadivelu: The uncrowned internet 'arasan' of Tamil Nadu". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2020.