Nagesh (Born on September 27, 1933) was a veteran Indian comedian actor in Kollywood who had acted in more than 1000 films. He was more than a comedian and showed his versatility in different kind of roles with ease and professional approach. As a character artiste, he moved the viewers to tears with his sensitive performance in films like Neer Kumizhi, Yarukkaga Azhuthan and Edhir Neechal.
Born as Gunddu Rao, Nagesh was born to Kannada speaking Brahmin Madhwa parents. He walked out of his house telling his parents that he would be back only after establishing himself in some career. In Chennai, he stayed in a one-room bed-sit at West Mambalam (then a remote area) with lyricist Vaali and veteran actor Srikanth. He found a small time job in the Railways but that didn't satisfy him.
One day, he saw a Tamil play 'Kambar Ramayanam' enacted by his colleagues and felt that he could do a good job. He persuaded the secretary of the Railways cultural association to give him the role of a man suffering from stomach pain. MGR, then chief guest, seeing this play praised Nagesh for his performance in his speech. From then onwards, Nagesh played small roles in various drama troupes and kept himself busy.
It was producer Balaji who spotted him and gave him his first break in films. The most memorable performance of Nagesh out of the 1000 odd films he acted in was his role in Thiruvilayaadal, in which he spoke a soliloquy that's one of the most memorable scenes in the film. In the film, he played the role of a poet falling into bad time.
Directors like Sridhar and Balachander brought out the acting talents in Nagesh. In Kathalika Neramillai, Nagesh narrated a story to Baliah and the way it was narrated brought down the theatres. The movie Server Sundaram had Nagesh in the role of a restaurant waiter who later became a successful movie actor; case of life imitating art and art imitating life for this great comedian.
His close friendship with legendary superstar MGR was well known to the Tamil fraternity. MGR gave chances with good payment to Nagesh in almost all his films. His films with MGR like Vettaikkaran, Aayirathil Oruvan, Anbe Vaa, Enga Veettu Pillai and Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban are still considered as masterpieces.
Yet another memorable performance of Nagesh was as the villainous comic pimp in Thillana Mohannambal starring Sivaji and Padmini.
His professional connection with Kamal Hassan is also well known. He was one of the four bad guys in Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989), where Kamal played three characters. In Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990), where Kamal played four characters, Nagesh showed his funny side in his impeccable style. His character of Avinashi uttering rib tickling dialogues and great punchlines was an example of his everlasting brilliance. Later, he played a dead man in Magalir Mattum (1993) produced by Kamal Hassan.
His son Anand Babu known for his dancing skills made an impressive start as a hero but soon lost out and he is now said to be hitting the bottle. For having married a Christian, Nagesh was kept out of his family. He exhibited glimpses of the old Nagesh in the rare film appearances he made but in his personal life, he remained a loner. His last appearance was in Kamal's Dasavatharam, in which he played a goodhearted Muslim.
Oneindia.in deeply condoles the demise of Nagesh, one of the greatest actors of this era!
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