Construction-site engineer plays ‘yama’ to send across message on road safety

Dhilipkumar interacts with motorcyclists at Purasaiwalkam junction. Photos: Ragu R
D. Madhavan 23 January 2021 13:55 IST
Updated: 23 January 2021 13:56 IST

Here is how this resident from Chennai got pitchforked into the traffic police’s road safety awareness campaign

D. Dhilipkumar, a 22-year-old construction-site engineer, is donning a role that he would not have expected to, in the wildest of his dreams. The traffic police have picked him for playing “Yama” for its awareness programmes centred around Road Safety Month.

On January 19, he donned the role for the first time. Seniors from the firm he works for asked Dhilipkumar to go to the Vepery Police Station with an instruction that he had to do what the police personnel at the station would ask him to do.

He was nervous, worrying about what could in store for him.


A resident of Kolathur, he rushed to Vepery in his moped. At the police station, he was welcomed by a team of traffic police personnel led by K. Pandivelu, Inspector (traffic wing), Vepery police station. One of the police personnel took Dhilipkumar to the dressing room. An hour later, Dhilipkumar came out as “Yama”, ready to play a pivotal role in an awareness campaign on road safety at key intersections including Doveton and E.V.K. Sampath Road junctions.

“I have not acted even in plays during my school days. But I was happy to play the role of Yama for the first time as it is meant for a cause. There is not much dialogue to mouth. It is just about encouraging motorists to wear a helmet and follow other safety rules on the road,” says Dhilipkumar, a science graduate.

Dhilipkumar says he would usually leave his house in Kolathur at 7. 30 a.m and spend most of his time at the work site.

“Now, this task has made my day entirely and unbelievably different,” he says.

It was Dhilipkumar’s strong build that had landed him the role of Yama. The Vepery police station is among a few police stations under the Greater Chennai Police Commissionerate that started the road safety awareness campaign. This year, the awareness campaign on road safety is being carried out for a month.

“Usually, such roles for awareness campaigns are played by professional artistes. In contrast, we wanted a regular resident to play the role as it would help increase the campaign’s reach,” says Vepery traffic inspector Pandivelu.

Motorists at Doveton, Purasawalkam High Road, Poonamallee High Road intersections were sensitised about having to obey traffic rules including halting before the stop line and wearing helmets and seatbelts. The Vepery traffic police also distributed sweets and gifts to those motorists who followed traffic rules. The month-long exercise will be carried out at other key intersections in the neighbourhood.