Vadivelu in 2016
September 12, 1960
Kumaravadivel Natarajan, known professionally as Vadivelu, is an Indian film actor 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), 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.
He 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's passing. In his free time, he participated in local stage plays, usually in a comic role.
Vadivelu was born on 12 September 1960 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu to Natarajan Pillai and Sarojini. Vadivelu has four children, three daughters, Kannigaparameswari, Karthiga, Kalaivani,, and a son, Subramaniyan.
Early stage (1988–1998)
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, directed by Kasthuri Raja.
Starting as a sidekick to the famed Goundamani-Senthil comedy duo, Vadivelu rose to prominence after his role in Kadhalan (1994), although his debut film was En Thangai Kalyani directed by T. Rajendar.
Dominance in comedy (1998–2008)
He later went on to perform numerous roles, including Bharathi Kannamma, Friends, Vetri Kodi Kattu, Winner, Giri, Thalainagaram, Marudhamalai, and Chandramukhi. As the lead in the film Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi (2006), he played twin brothers. His next lead role was in Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan (2008).
Controversies and decline (2008–2018)
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, 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.
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 and trolls 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.
- "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.
- "Vadivelu's daughter Karthika gets married". Behindwoods. 11 November 2016.
- "Vadivelu's daughter gets married - Tamil News". IndiaGlitz.com. 19 October 2018.
- "Comedian Vadivelu's son gets married". Sify.
- "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.
- "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.
- "தே.மு.தி.க.,வுக்கு தேர்தல் கமிஷன் அங்கீகாரம்: சின்னத்தை இழக்கிறது பா.ம.க.,". Dinamalar. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- 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.
- Lee, Dharmik (16 May 2017). "வடிவேலுவின் ஃபேமஸ் டயலாக்குகள்தான் இந்தப் படங்களின் டைட்டில்ஸ்! – Vadivelu's Dialog as movie's title". vikatan.
- "Decoding Vadivelu: The uncrowned internet 'arasan' of Tamil Nadu". The New Indian Express.