Actor Vadivelu, whose character Neasamani in the film Friends has been trending on Twitter since Wednesday evening, remained clueless about the tweet storm centered around him. “In one day, they (Twitterati) seem to have made me more famous than Modi, on his swearing-in day,” he remarked in surprise when told that his name was trending worldwide with the international press also picking up the Twitter thread.
He knows for sure that performing comedy was a ‘God-given gift’ and it was his life mission to make people laugh.
“My job is a super job,” the ace comedian told The Hindu in a telephonic interview on Thursday, after tweets of #pray_for_Naesamani trended on Twitter worldwide.
“I am a person who makes people laugh. People should laugh and be happy, that’s my goal,” he said. Mr. Vadivelu said all the fame for Neasamani should go to the film’s director Siddique. “They came up with dialogues for the character. Basically, they give me the sambhar and I added seasoning to it. That comes naturally to me,” he said.
Snags in Pulikesi sequel
But the actor has not been seen often on screen in the past few years has been mired in a controversy over the movie 24am Pulikesi . When asked about his absence, Mr. Vadivelu said he had 10 films on hand, but alleged that director Shankar, who is producing 24am Pulikesi , and the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) were blocking his progress.
“Without my output, how can the film [Pulikesi] go on? I am playing not two, but three characters in the film. My involvement needs to be there. Without that, how can we succeed?” he said.
He said there were issues with certain parts of the script. “Action and comedy are different. I have no connection with action. Even in 23am Pulikesi they asked me to kill Nasser’s character, who plays my uncle. I am against killing anyone. They changed it after that. Even in this film, there’s a specific situation, which is not acceptable to me,” he said.
The Nadigar Sangam and the TFPC were not listening to him, he said. “They are saying come here [for discussions]. Why should I go? I am saying I am ready to act. If what you say is good, I will take it,” he said.
Responding to the allegations, a close confidante and senior member of director Shankar’s creative team, said changes demanded by the actor led to the delay in the completion of the film. But, even after agreeing to 13 of 17 changes requested by the actor, he refused to shoot for the film.
“We want to make a sequel of the successful film with the legendary actor. But, we also want to ensure that the script stays true to the franchise as we agreed on before proceeding with the film,” he said.
“We had spent several crores and created expensive sets in the hope that he would finish his commitments and act in the Pulikesi sequel. But, he kept on delaying it — by seeking more remuneration than what was originally agreed, demanded several changes in the script and also wanted to change the director of the film, Chimbudevan”.
“He has to honour what he agreed to. He cannot dictate every single aspect of the film. We still want to do this film. We are waiting for his answer,” he said.