It is International Joke Day and the conversation turns to Tamil films that have made us snort, bellow and groan with laughter. …Subha J Rao and K. Jeshi ask some comedy actors and writers what their favourite funnies are. They also list a few must-see movies to set you off

S.Ve. Shekher

Film : Poove Poochuduvaa

Actor: Nagesh and Vadivelu

I have acted as hero in over 70 films and in most of them I have had a comic role. I remember Poove Poochuduva. The heroine, Nadiya, appears sporting dark glasses. She says she can see through people’s clothes when she wears those. The hero is shocked but can’t resist stealing them, and finds out that she had been fooling him all long. “It’s been over 30 years but even now when people ask me, “ Poove Poochuduvaa glassaaa?” when they see me wear sun glasses.

In Manal Kayiru I play Kittumani who sets down 10 pre-requisites that the woman who marries him should fulfil. Of course, he is conned into a marriage. As I walk out of the house, I see rice bags stacked outside the girl’s home and I bitterly complain, ‘Intha veetila poiyya moota mootaiyya katti vachrinkaanga’!

In Sahadevan Mahadevan, I tell the heroine, ‘Intha pudavaiyla rombha azaha irukkey,’ to which the heroine answers, ‘poi thaaney solreenga’ and the hero says ‘correctaa kandu pidichittey’. So famous is this dialogue that a couple exchanged these lines when they met a friend’s wedding and fell in love!

My favourites are Nagesh’s train scenes in Anubavi Raaja Anubavi and the performances of Vadivelu.

Sivakarthikeyan

Film: Ullathai Allithaa

Actors: Karthik and Goundamani

In director Sundar.C’s Ullathai Allithaa, the face off between Goundamani and Karthik at the dining table, the kidnap plan which goes awry, the comedy of errors and the mistaken identities…always has me in splits.

Bosskey

Film: Tik Tik Tik, Thillu Mullu

Actor: Thengaai Srinivasan

Thengaai Srinivasan is my all-time favourite. His scenes in Tik Tik Tik and the interview scene in Thillu Mullu can enliven any boring day. And then, there’s Vadivelu’s contractor character in Friends. You roll about in laughter as he gets progressively more tense.

Santhanam

Film: Thirudadhey

Actor: Thangavelu

In Thirudadhey, Thangavelu perches on a tree, shells salted groundnuts and eats them. Sitting below the tree is M. Saroja, his co-star. When Saroja wonders if their families will agree to their union because their backgrounds are so different, he says, “If the salt from the sea and mangoes from the trees can come together to make a pickle, why can’t we?”

Crazy Mohan

Film: Kaadhalikka Neramillai

Actors: Nagesh and Balaiah

My all-time favourite is Kaadhalikka Neramillai, a film I watched seven to eight times in Casino Theatre, Madras. Amid the claps and laughs, one could hardly hear the dialogue. In the film directed by Sridhar, I particularly like the story narration scene between Nagesh and Balaiah. Nagesh was brilliant in his serious narrator act and Balaiah’s expressive face left us in splits.

Harathi

Films: Padikaadhavan, Giri

Actor: Nagesh and Vadivelu

Today is also International Doctors day. Quite appropriate, as both doctors and comedians heal! Two films of mine that I like are Padikaadhavan, where I play an Arukkani kind of character and propose to Dhanush, and Giri. Vadivelu’s comic timing as he says, ‘Evlo Adichaalum Thanguven’ is rib-tickling.

And, of course, there’s the evergreen comedy of Nagesh in Kaadhalikka Neramillai.

BRING ON THE LAUGHS

Manal Kayiru

Director: Visu

Man sets 10 conditions for the girl he wishes to marry. Man marries the girl. Man discovers that his wife meets none of the conditions he has laid down.

Thillu Mullu

Director: K. Balachander

Cult film. Rajinikanth steals the show in a double role. Performances of Thengaai Srinivasan and Sowcar Janaki sparkle.

Ullaithai Allithaa

Director: Sundar C

Mistaken identities, comedy of errors and brilliant comic timing of Karthik, Goundamani and Manivannan make it a hold-your-sides-with laughter kind of a film.

Michael Madana Kama Rajan

Director: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao

Four brothers separated at birth come together in this falling-about-with laughter kind of a comedy written by Crazy Mohan. Watch out for Kamal Haasan, Urvashi and Manorama.

Thillana Mohanambal

Director: A.P. Nagarajan

A star musician and a dancer fall in love. Helping them in their romance is a motley bunch of accompanists. Watch the train scene and the laugh-a-minute dialogues of Balaiah and Manorama, who plays Jil Jil Ramamani.

Thiruvilayadal

Director: A.P. Nagarajan

It is divine comedy as Lord Shiva (Sivaji Ganesan) decides to have some fun. Nagesh brings the house down as an impoverished poet.

Kaadhalikka Neramillai

Director: Sridhar

Chitralaya Gopu wrote the comedy scenes in this landmark film. Mistaken identities and impersonations court the three couples as they romance. Starring R. Muthuraman, Ravichandran, Balaiah and Nagesh

Thenali

Director: K.S. Ravikumar

What happens when a person who is afraid of everything latches on to a psychiatrist and his family? Watch this film for the performances of Kamal Haasan, Jayaram, Delhi Ganesh and Madan Bob.

Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi

Director: Chimbu Devan

This political satire turned Vadivelu into a hero. Two princes, one sharp, the other a dimwit, are separated at birth. How they join hands to save the country forms the plot.

Kadhanayangan

Director: Muktha V. Srinivasan

Two men (Pandiarajan and S.Ve. Shekher) duped by an employment broker think they are in Dubai when they are actually walking around in Arab gear in Kochi. The director has the laughs coming continuously.

Sathi Leelavathi

Director: Balu Mahendra

When a married man plays truant and keeps a mistress, his aged father, doctor friend and his wife join hands to yank him back into the straight and narrow. Watch for Kamal Haasan, Kovai Sarala, Kalpana and Chokkalinga Bhagavathar.

(copy has been corrected for a factual error)