Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goundamani: The comedy king of Tamil cinema

Tamil movie industry is one of the most prosperous movie industries in India. Over the years, the industry created many fine actors of whom Indian cinema is immensely proud. Goundamani is one such actor. He is renowned for his comedy in Tamil cinema. Goundamani was born in the village of Kannampalayam, in Coimbatore.

Prior to acting in movies, Goundamani used to work in theatres. His actual name is Mani but during his days as a theatre actor, he became very popular for portraying the role of “Oor-Gounder” and from there, he got the name Goundamani. He was also known as Koundamani. At the age of twenty six, Goundamani got into movies.

In the beginning, Goundamani used to act alone. He did movies like 16 Vayadhinilae. In this movie, he played the role of Rajinikanth’s sidekick. Pretty soon, he was paired up with another brilliant comedy actor named Senthil. Senthil always played Goundamani’s sidekick. Together, they formed a comedy duo which became very successful and came to be known as the Laurel and Hardy of Kollywood. Senthil and Goundamani became very popular with their blockbuster movie, Karagattakkaran. Audience liked their acting very much in the movie and their "Valzhaipalam" (Banana) joke was a big hit. In the movie, Senthil always irritates Goundamani and puts him into trouble. The movie established Goundamani and Senthil in Kollywood. Normally, comedy actors have short presence in movies but Goudamani and Senthil changed all that. From the late 1970s to 2000, the Goundamani-Senthil duo entertained Tamil audience.

Goundamani became a household name in Tamil Nadu and set a new standard of comedy acting in Tamil cinema. Goundamani and Senthil did a wide range of comedy styles such as slapstick, double entendre, irony, satire and sarcasm. Goundamani’s jokes such as “lollu,” “nakkal,” jokes and “Coimbatore Kusumbu” are very much popular among audience.

Goundamani acted as a villain in few movies and played hero in some movies such as Raja Enga Raja and Pirandhaen Valarndhaen. He is a talented actor and could adapt to any situation in the movie. He also worked with many top Tamil actors such as Sathyaraj, Karthik, Rajinikanth, Arjun, Parthiban, Jayaram, Kamal Hassan, Vijay, Ajith Kumar, Sarath Kumar and Prabhu. In several Tamil movies, he played long characters and even appeared in songs. In the early 80’s Goundamani had several hit movies like Unnai nan santhithen, Vaidhegi kathirundal. Then there was a slump in his career. With Karagatakkaran Goundamani made a huge comeback and the movie became a milestone in his acting career. In the 90s, his success continued and like the top heroes, he also became the most sought after actor in Kollywood. So popular he was that movie makers could not think of making movies without him.

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