Movies

Comedy is God’s gift to me: Senthil

Comedian Senthil is trying to sing ‘Adiye’ from Kadal. His voice quivers when he hits the top notes while delivering the ‘Pallankuzhi’ phrase from the popular song sung by Sid Sriram. It’s truly a sight to behold. The ace comedian is still busy doing what he does best — making people laugh.

“Isn’t that what I’m here for?” he asks in his inimitable style, as he takes a break from the shooting of Colors’ Comedy Nights , where he’s a guest. For those who thought he was past his prime, he’s still very much busy. “I’m doing a few films now, and am also dabbling in politics. That’s what keeps me going,” he smiles.

A young Senthil arrived in Madras when he was just 13 — he ran away from his hometown when his father scolded him for some reason and he wanted to make a name for himself in the big city. At that time, his only tryst with cinema was watching films. “I also watched a lot of dramas. I had several friends associated with the tinsel world — like A Veerapan, Bhagyaraj, R Sunder Rajan. Thanks to them, I got a few roles in films.”

Those few roles would go on to become many, and soon, Senthil was the go-to comedian for Tamil film directors. “I’d say that comedy is my God-given gift. I still don’t know how I became famous. It all happened so fast,” he says.

Back then, he studiously watched films, and looked up to actors like Chandrababu and Nagesh for inspiration. “Even today, I watch those films. They are evergreen. They were the Himalayas. We are just small mountains.”

He credits dialogue writer Veerappan for his success. “He was responsible for giving me a lot of roles and wrote my dialogues back then,” says Senthil. Besides introducing him to actor Goundamani, with whom he’d go on to have a long association, it was Veerappan who wrote the iconic ‘vazhapazham’ comedy track from Karagattakaran . “The concept was entirely director Gangai Amaran’s. There was plenty of laughter on his sets and he brought out the best in us. In fact, when we were shooting it, we didn’t realise that it would become a big deal. It was only when the film released that we knew we had hit the jackpot.”

 

When he’s free and travelling, Senthil digs up a lot of stand-up comedians on the Internet. “New media and TV have given rise to so many new comedians. Take a look at the musical world: earlier, we had only S Janaki and P Susheela singing, but today we have 500 new singers every month on television. There have been so many good voices out there... it was just a matter of time to bring them out, and new media has done that. Similarly, these platforms are introducing so many new comedians.”

This may be the current state of affairs, but a couple of decades ago, it was Senthil ruling the roost. “My philosophy was simple: audiences shouldn’t say that I just came, stood, and copied another comedy star. They should say ‘Senthil acted in this’. I’m happy that they still think that way,” he says, flashing a smile.

Senthil will feature in this weekend’s Colors Comedy Nights, which airs every Saturday and Sunday at 9.30 pm on Colors Tamil


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 5:56:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/senthil-on-his-association-with-goundamani-and-his-comedy-tracks/article59864085.ece