Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Crazy' Venkatesh

In 'Meesai Aanalum Manaivi' he played 'military'. Where he cutely said "aiyoo enakku thalai sutthardhu" to which Maadhu would reply "unnoda heightukku thalai sutthina fan sutthara madhiri irukku". He became famous for the dialog "rendu gundu vechirukken" and he would use those 2 bullets in many contexts "nikka vechu oru gundu suduven oda vittu oru gundu suduven" or "idupukkukku mela oru gundu iduppukku keezha oru gundu". Yes! the same 'militree' who falls in love with Maadhu's wife sumangali and takes the drama to new heights of confusion.
'Crazy' Venkatesh - that tall lean guy with a handle bar moustache is no more. He was a regular in 'Crazy' Mohan's drama group. Possibly one of the favorite members of the troupe for many folks. The last I spoke to him was during a show in Madras. During the interval I went behind the stage and introduced my to-be wife to him. He could barely walk and was really in pain. He was playing the role of the turbaned iyengar in 'Crazy Ghost'. He had began limping during his 2002 American tour and persevered bravely through Madhu +2 show in Dallas.
His biggest break came when he was called upon to act in Michael Madana Kamarajan, which went to become such a huge cult hit that every character in that movie became etched in people's minds. He chased down Kamal Hasan after Kamal Hasan in a TVS 50. When he says "thooki kaatu da" and the gets the response "che ponga annen vekkama irukku" the entire theater erupted with laughter. Somehow the best memories of him comes from Doordarshan days when they showed a 13 episode series of 'Crazy' mohan dramas.

12 comments:

blackaccord said...

that was really shocking.. I didnt know that he had so many ailments.. He did have a few notable roles in the movies like Arvind swamy's childhood buddy in bombay, Anu hassan's relative in Indhira... Though he didn't appear in all of crazy's dramas he was there in most of them.. Another important role was 'Kalimuthu' in the doordarshan serial madhu-cheenu..

Gradwolf said...

I was just going to mention that Kalimuthu role in Crazy serial in doordarshan. Was that the 13 episode series you were talking about? Because I don't remember seeing him in Here is Crazy(was that the name?) where we had Mambalam Madhu and Perambur Madhu looking for marriage prospects.

But yeah, he played really good roles and his voice was kinda unique. And I did not know he had so many ailments.

A long time ago, when I was a kid, I spotted him at the Archana gift shop on Arya Gowder, Srinivasa Pillar st. corner and mentioned to my dad, "Isn't that kalimuthu"

vigneshjvn said...

Not to forget, "en thangachiya emathinadukku oru gundu, enna emathinadukku oru gundu." He was legendary, may he rest in peace.

hari said...

He was a very versatile and under-rated actor. I wish he had got a lot more recognition than he had, actually. He doesn't even have a wikipedia page. Could somebody rectify that?

Anonymous said...

Sad to know he was suffering from so many ailments.. 'Military' may ur soul RIP
-Raj

dagalti said...

//Because I don't remember seeing him in Here is Crazy(was that the name?) where we had Mambalam Madhu and Perambur Madhu looking for marriage prospects.//

He was there. He is Janaki's brother, a medical school aspirant for whom Madhu needs to get a seat through an MLA

Madhu: unga uyarathukku neenga MBBS enna..embAmayE BS paNNalaam.

Tailor Babarao (Krishnan) acts as an MLA and Crazy Mohan interviews him - quite a riot.

Venkat said...

gutwrenching news.. any idea what he was ailing from ?

blackaccord said...

gradwolf,

The one you are talking about is 'Here is Crazy' and on stage they called it 'beware of madhu'..
Crazy creations had the habit of swapping their supporting cast based on availability. In the initial days of 'marriage made in saloon', crazy venkatesh is Janaki's brother but in the more recent version (available on dvd), he's replaced by some other person.. In 'Return of Crazy thieves' Crazy venkatesh's voice is used for 'Sambal Gopi' whereas the role is played by 'varadhu kutti'.. kavithalaya Krishnan acted a lot in the earlier plays but hardly made any appearances in newer ones.. Sumangali was replaced by several other janakis and even cheenu-mohan was replaced a few times.. It was only madhu-balaji, appa-ramesh and crazy mohan who were constant..

A few days back I saw Comedy time on sun tv where Crazy venkatesh and Vivek try to do a kamal-nasser scene from devar magan..

Pot said...

How sad. I liked him.

Pipa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chengayan said...

Hi,

He was my colleague in our bank.He took VRS to concentrate on theatre and cinema. We used to stage dramas in inter bank competitions. Our famous drama was Panchali Sabataham by Bhrathiyar.He played Duryodana and i played Arjuna.

He was a great guy. Never had a harsh word for anyone.He was ailing with so many things but had a fantastic spirit. That carried him thro all these days.I will never forget our stage days.

May his soul rest in peace.
sri

Krishna Prasad said...

I am his nephew. He was suffering from several ailments, most notably kidney failure..He had a transplant around 5 years back and even the new kidney failed in early 2009, after which he was on dialysis for around 6 months..the next question people ask is, does he drink? No, he doesn't..probably prolonged diabetes led to renal failure..he was a gem of a person..a perfect gentleman..fun loving, ambitious, sincere and extremely hardworking..there never used to be a dull moment when he is around..his enthusiasm was infectious! He kept fighting till the very end, trying his hand at assistant direction, artist sourcing etc..His physical condition might not have allowed him to become as big as he wanted to..he might not have made it as big as he deserved to..but he is truly a legend and an source of inspiration to me!!
some links:
http://www.hindu.com/2006/11/11/stories/2006111114780200.htm
http://www.thehindu.com/fr/2007/12/21/stories/2007122151020200.htm
http://www.thehindu.com/fr/2009/08/21/stories/2009082150610400.htm