On Wednesday, decks were cleared for the release of his film ‘Tenaliraman’

“Please don’t keep referring to the two years’ break,” actor Vadivelu says. “I am squirming as you ask that question. I never felt like I was away for that long. Feels like I have been away for two weeks.”

On Wednesday, after learning that the decks have been cleared for the release of his film Tenaliraman and after having addressed a joint press conference as a sign of a truce with the Telugu groups that had challenged the release of the film, Vadivelu was keen to focus only on the positives and said he looked forward to a continued stint at the box office.

The court battle against the film seemed to have come to an end with the producer submitting before the Madras High Court that a disclaimer would state that the film was purely a work of fiction and did not affect the sentiments of any individual or community as a whole. After hearing the submissions of the parties, a Division Bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and M. Sathyanarayanan disposed of a writ petition. The petitioner C.M.K. Reddy, founder-trustee of All India Telugu Foundation, had alleged that the film depicted king Krishnadevaraya and his court jester Tenaliraman, who were held in high esteem among the people of South India, in poor light.

In a telephonic interview to The Hindu, Vadivelu clarified that the film had not in any way portrayed any sections or communities in poor light.

He was also profusely thankful to the film’s producers, AGS Entertainment, for having backed his comeback film. “Over the past two years, I was happy to spend more time with my family. I had several offers but I was just waiting for the right project to come up,” he says. “Tenaliraman was simply the best project that I could have done. Even my mother, who is ailing because of her old age, sits up and smiles when I tell her I am acting as Tenaliraman.”

The actor will be in his hometown, Madurai, when the film hits the screens on April 18 and says he will watch it with his family on the day of release.

When asked about his political role in 2011 as a campaigner, which eventually led to his sabbatical, Vadivelu is quick to clarify that it is the people’s decision to see him as a comedian and that alone. Makkal theerpu magesan theerpu (people’s will is God’s will), he says.

“A lot of people kept telling me that I was their medicine because I made them laugh and laughter is the best medicine. They kept urging me to get back to acting for their good health. That’s the reason I am back. God has given me this gift to entertain people and this is what I intend to do from here onwards.”

Vadivelu plays a dual role in the film — that of the king and his court jester.

“I have taken the effort to modify my body language, which is my strength. My comedy is universal because of my body language and I have taken a conscious effort to bring out something new in this film.”

He says he has already planned his next film but won’t reveal it yet.

“There has been a comedy drought in recent times. But the cure is here,” he says before signing off with his trademark ‘Vandhutenyaa’. (I am back.)

(With inputs from K.T. Sangameswaran)

Keywords: VadiveluTenaliraman

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