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Veteran Actor NAGESH's Profile

Born as: Gunddu Rao
Birth Day: September 27, 1933
Died on: January 31, 2009

Nagesh, a veteran Indian comedy actor of Tamil Film industry. Even when the charismatic MGR and versatile Sivaji were ruling the roost, the lithe and not so attractive Nagesh managed to attract the crowds to movie houses. He was called the "Jerry Lewis of India". Even today the name evokes a mixed response in the minds of Tamil filmgoers, not just as a comedian who had them rolling in the aisles, but also as a character artiste who moved them to tears with his sensitive performance in films like 'Neer Kumizhi' and 'Edhir Neechal'.

Born in a Brahmin community, the son of Kannada speaking Brahmin Madhwa parents, Krishna Rao and Rukumani amma in Dharapuram. He walked out of his house telling his parents that he would be back only after establishing himself in some career. In Chennai, he stayed in a one-room bed-sit at West Mambalam (then a remote area) with lyricist Vaali and actor Srikanth. He found a small time job in the Railways, but this was not satisfactory to him.

One day, he saw a Tamil play 'Kambar Ramayanam' enacted by his colleagues, and felt that he could do a good job. He persuaded the secretary of the Railways cultural association to give him the role of a man suffering from stomach pain. MGR, then chief guest, seeing this play, in his speech praised Nagesh for his performance. From then onwards, Nagesh played small roles in various drama troupes and kept himself busy.

It was producer Balaji who spotted him and gave him his first break in films. The most memorable performance of Nagesh out of the 1000 odd films he has acted in is his role in 'Thiruvillayadal' in which he speaks a soliloquy that is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. He played a poet falling on bad times in the film. When Sivaji who played Siva in the film saw it he asked the director to retain it in full without a cut.

Directors like Sridhar and Balachander were those who brought out the acting talents of Nagesh. In 'Kathalika Neramillai' Nagesh narrates a story to Baliah and the way it was narrated brought down the theatre in laughter. The movie 'Server Sundaram' portrayed Nagesh in the role of a restaurant waiter who later becomes a successful movie actor; case of life imitating art and art imitating life for this great comedian. Yet another memorable performance was as the villainous comic pimp in 'Thillana Mohannambal' starring Sivaji and Padmini. In 'Apoorva Raagangal' (1975) he plays a drunkard who talks to his shadow and then finishes his dialogue by saying "Cheers" and throwing the cup on the wall. In the theatres where the film was shown the audience imitated him and threw cups on the wall of the lobby during interval.

His professional connection with Kamal Hassan is of great relevance. He was one of the four bad guys in 'Apoorva Sagodharargal' (1989), where Kamal played three characters. In Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990), where Kamal played four characters, Nagesh showed his funny side in his impeccable style. His character of Avinashi uttering rib tickling dialogues and great punchlines was an example of his ever lasting brilliance. Later he played a dead man in 'Magalir Mattum' (1993) produced by Kamalhassan.

A perfect accolade that he received was that from Kamal Hassan himself. Kamal Hassan used to say that he was very much jealous about Nagesh. Apparently when Kamal Hassan used to work with Balachander, at instances when he found it difficult to bring the emotions in front of the screen, KB used to say "had this scene done by Nagesh he would have done this in the first shot". This lets us know what a great actor Nagesh has been.

Also once Balachander used to say that, Nagesh and himself were driving very fast in the Radhakrishnan salai (those days it was not that busy as it is now), when KB asked him why are you driving so very fast, for which Nagesh replied "Don't get scared!, I know I have the responsibility that I am holding the life of one of the India's great future directors"

Nagesh is a self-taught man who believes that an actor can learn from watching life and its characters. He often sat in his car in busy roadsides and watched the people on the streets to grasp the mannerisms of people that he would later reproduce on screen.

His son Anand Babu known for his dancing prowess made an impressive start as a hero but soon lost out and is now said to be hitting the bottle. For having married a Christian, Nagesh was kept out of his family. He still exhibits glimpses of the old Nagesh in the rare film appearances he makes but in his personal life he remains a loner.

As Actor

1. Imsai Arasan 23 M Pulikesi (2006) .... Mokkayappar
2. Kadhal Konden (2003)....Fr.Rozario

3. Panchatanthiram (2002) .... Annoying father-in-law

4. Minnale (2001) .... Subbuni (Grandfather)
5. Rhythm (2000)
6. Subhakankshalu (1998)
7. Deseeya Geetham (1998)
8. Tholi Prema (1998)
9. Avvai Shanmugi (1996) .... Joseph
10. Nammavar (1995) .... Nirmala's Father
11. Brahmachari Mogudu (1994)
12. Gandeevam (1994)
13. Magalir Mattum (1994) .... Dead body
14. Madam (1993)
15. Allari Mogudu (1992)
16. Brundavanam (1992)
17. Michael Madana Kamarajan (1991) .... Avinashi
.18. Adisaya Piravi (1990)
19. Apoorva Sahodarargal (1989)
20. Indrudu Chandrudu (1989)
21. Kachchi Kali (1987)
22. Karu Diddina Kapuram (1986)
23. Padikkathavan (1985)
24. Justice Chowdhary (1982)
25. Devudu Mamayya (1981)
26. Gadasari Attaha Sosagara Kodalu (1981)
27. Kadal Meengal (1981)
28. Kondaveeti Simham (1981)
29. Thillu Mullu (1981) .... Nagesh
30. Valarthu Mrugangal (1981) .... Nanu
31. Oru Nadigai Natakam Pakiral (1978)
32. Indradhanusu (1977)
33. Manushulanta Okkate (1976) .... Ganapathi
34. Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal (1975) .... R. K. Viswanatha Sarma
35. Papam Pasivaadu (1972)
36. Vasantha Maligai (1972)
37. Vietnam Veedu (1970) .... Son
38. Ethir Neechal (1968) .... Madhu
39. Soappu, Seeppu, Kannadi (1968)
40. Thamarai Nenjam (1968)
41. Thillana Mohanambal (1968) .... Vaithy
42. Jewel Thief (1967)
43. Aalayam (1967)
44. Anubavi Raja Anubavi (1967)
45. Athey Kangal (1967)
46. Bama Vijam (1967)
47. Bhavani (1967)
48. Engaluckum Kalam Varum (1967)
49. Farz (1967)
.50. Iru Malargal (1967)
51. Pattanathil Bhootham (1967)
52. Anbe Vaa (1966)
53. Chitthi (1966) .... Widower's son
54. Major Chandrakant (1966) .... Mohan
55. Yarukaka Azhudan (1966) .... Joseph
56. Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum (1965)
57. Thiruvilayadal (1965) .... Tharumi
58. Pudhiya Paravai (1964)
59. Kadalikka Neramillai (1964)
60. Server Sundaram (1964) .... Sundaram
61. Thayilla Pillai (1961)

Sound Department:

1. Sahasa Veerudu Sagara Kanya (1996) (dubbing)

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