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Vinu Chakravarthy With His Vibrant Voice and Emphatic Delivery Played Comedian,Villain and Character Actor Roles in Over 1000 Films

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Veteran Tamil film actor Vinu Chakravarthy, who regaled fans with his commanding screen presence in over 1,000 films, including Annamalai and Guru Sishyan, breathed his last on April 27th 2017 evening around 7 pm. He was 71. He was ailing for the past few years. Besides being diabetic, he had high blood pressure.

Vinu Chakravarthy (December 15, 1945 – 27 April 2017)

Vinu Chakravarthy has made over 1,000 films in four South Indian languages – 900 in Tamil, 30 in Malayalam, 5 in Telugu and one in Badaga language. He has also written scripts and directed movies on his own. The 2007 released Tamil movie Muni was his landmark 1000th movie.

Chakravarthy was born on December 15, 1945, in Usilampatti to Adimoola Thevar and Manjuvani Ammal. He studied at Wesley School, Royapettah and graduated in commerce from A. M. Jain College. He was eldest son among other 3 sons and a daughter.

On completion of his education, Chakravarthy worked as a Reserve Sub-Inspector at the Ice House police station for six months before joining the Southern Railways where he worked for four years.

Chakravarthy was working as a script writer for Kannada director Puttanna Kanagal when he was noticed by film producer Tiruppur Mani who, in 1977, gave him a role in the Kannada film Parasangada Gendetimma which was later remade into Tamil.

A regular in Rajinikanth films, the actor had worked with leading stars including Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, and Vijayakant among others. He was considered a lucky charm for the superstar with whom he had shared screen space in 25 films.

Vinu Chakravarthy in a function held in Erode wherein he was presented with the coveted ‘lifetime achievement award’ for serving the film industry for close to four decades made a statement regarding superstar Rajinikanth. He said “I’m always referred to as the ‘lucky token’ by superstar Rajinikanth. I have starred in 25 films with him and all those films have turned out to be super-duper hits. Rajini believed that if I’m cast in his film, the film would be a success. I’m thankful to him for that belief.

Vinu Chakravarthi has written screenplay for a few Tamil films . Vinu Chakravarthy wrote the script for Vandichakkaram (1982), a movie which won filmfare awards for its leads, Sivakumar and Saritha. ‘Silk’ Smitha made her debut in the movie. Years later, when the critically acclaimed The Dirty Picture was released, the man who scripted Smitha’s success was quick to criticise it, saying that Vidya Balan was miscast in the movie. She did not have Smitha’s “wide and inviting eyes”, said Chakravarthy. The actor thought of Smitha as his product and even pointed out that the role of Silk in Vandichakkaram had earned her the moniker. He believed he should have been consulted in writing the script.

Chakravarthy had a workhorse attitude towards his roles. He didn’t exactly pick and choose. He never had to wait for supporting roles as they kept flooding in. Though he acted in Telugu and Malayalam, Chakravarthy did at least 900 films in Tamil. The superhit film, Meleparambil Aanveedu, in which he starred as Veeramuthu Gownder, endeared him to audiences in Kerala. His 1000th film was Muni, the hugely popular horror-comedy flick, directed by Raghava Lawrence. His last film was the sci-fi comedy Vaayai Moodi Pesavum.

However, over a period of time, Chakravarthy, despite his chameleon-like ability to slip into roles, would be typecast in rustic roles. He was mostly expected to mix villainy with comedy, some of it slapstick. He never had the luxury of makeup to change how he looked or a script, innovative enough to cast him against type even though he had the ability to vanish inside his roles. He was constantly undermined and underestimated. But that never seemed to bother him as long as he was in the limelight.
He has won the Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani award, in addition to a host of awards given to him by the Tamil Sangams in Singapore, Malaysia and Canada. He was also named ‘Asthana Vidwan’ by Kanchi Sankara Madam.

Vinu Chakravarthy’s last film was Balaji Mohan’s Vaayai Moodi Pesavum while Muni was his 1,000th film. He in fact didn’t take any remuneration for Thalaivasal Vijay’s Apoorva Mahan, which was based on the life history of Shirdi Sai Baba, since he was an ardent devotee of Baba.

Over the years, critics would be hard pressed to explain why audiences embraced Chakravarthy. True, he was a natural in front of the camera. His acting style, even in the 1980s, by which time he had slowly managed to gain a reputation, reminded you of the classicism of earlier years. And, in due course, the actor managed to upstage hundreds of character actors in Tamil.

Clear,cutting,emphatic and endearing!.All this at one stroke!.That was the singular pattern of dialogue delivery of the voluminous actor Vinu Chakravarthi.His Tamil entries are significant landmarks in the history of Tamil Cinema, because of his rugged looks,striking body language and his inseparable native moorings in looks and language, taking him closer to the Tamil soil like the other great actor Raj Kiran. But while Raj Kiran excels mostly in character roles,Vinu Chakravarthi had always been a three- in -one, performing at excellent ease, his villain,comedian and character roles.

The problem with this unique actor is that he cannot be linked to a particular film and said that his role in the film was the best.He had been a consistent performer not letting down his body and mind while performing any of the given roles.Even the brief appearance he made in Karthik Muthuraman’s Harischandra,in a most laughable scene, could be called one of his best performances.It was his distinct ability to fix himself earnestly in any role, be it small or big, that made his role play outstanding and impressive.

However, he was always the best in the roles of a corrupt police officer { as he exuberantly performed in the Rajini/Prabu hit movie Guru Sishyan}as a village big wig [several films] and as a recalcitrant maternal uncle {Rajathi Rajaa}.

Some of the other notable films of this departed actor were, Sundara Travels,Maapillai Gounder,Naattaamai,Chokka Thangam,Thenkaasi Pattanam, Kunguma Pottu Gounder, Banda Paramasivam , Periya Manushan, Muni and the latest Vaaiyai Moodi Peasvum.

Beyond the vast list of his films, what stays imprinted in our memory, is his characteristic voice mould, by which he determines the way the dialogue should be delivered, so as to strike a note of acceptability in the minds of the audience.He perfectly familiarized the art of stressing words where they needed the stress and where he had to resort to a subdued note of voice modulation, as the context warranted.We have come across so many actors in Tamil Cinema, who have created immortal vibrations by their looks and demeanor.

Vinu Chakravarthi will belong to the classic category of actors, whose voices will surpass the big screen and outlive their mortal barriers, by creating an eternal warmth of intimacy with the audience, through a fountain of words passing through rocks,pebbles and finally settling down in the hearts of men and women as the fountain waters drenching the sand.

Vinu Chakravarthi’s memories will last long, purely by his remarkable tone delivery and thumb rules of intonation, in delivering dialogues.

The actor is survived by wife Karnapoo, daughter Shanmuga Priya and son Saravana Priyan. His death is a loss to his family, fans, and the film fraternity.


(Compiled from reports in Newspapers,Websites and Wikipedia)

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