Everyone will have a list of favorite movies. Mine will start with Andha Naal, one of the earliest Rashoman like thriller. The second place goes to a movie called “Server Sundaram”. I saw it for the first time when I was a small kid in Shanthi Theatre in Pudukottai along with my cousins. I could only laugh at the lighter moments in the movie at that age. I started remembering the actor as the person who holds about 7 coffee cups in both the hands.
During my teens when I started serious movie watching, I saw it again in TV. That’s when I started understanding the character of that server sundaram, who falls in love with his friend’s fiancée and becomes a big actor, loses his mother and eventually lose his love of life too.
The movie is slightly based on Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. I was startled to see the actor’s prowess and subtlety in emotions. Those were the days, where Tamil Cinema was full of over acting (over reacting) actors. This guy would have been the first actor, who can show natural emotions on screen.
His name is Nagesh.Born as Gundu Rao, started his career as a drama artist and slowly rose to stardom. Although known for his famous comedy portrayals like the Tharumi of Thiruvilayadal, his association with Balachander and Kamal provided him with some memorable roles. “Maadi Veetu Maadhu” in “ethir neechal”, Baama Vijayam,Major Chandrakanth, Neerkumizhi, Nawab Narkali, the stammering satiristic guy in Navagraham are some roles that can be named. If KB got one side of Nagesh on screen, Kamal excellently portrayed the other side. He got him to do the Villain in his master piece Aboorva Sagotharargal. Wow, Nagesh was so good that the role made so much impact. Another memorable villain role made by him in his early days was the Vaithi of Thillana Mohanambal, a sadisitic pimp role that he enacted with panache. Avinashi of Michael Madana Kamarajan, Joseph in Avvai Shanmughi, Professor in Nammavar were some of the roles given by Kamal gave him accolades.
A self-made actor went in to exile due to financial losses during the 80s. His revival of sorts came through Kamal. He left his mark in whatever role he did.
But somehow I remember him for his personal life more than anything else. After earning so much money, he bought a imported car and with lots of money, he went to see his mother. And the misery is he could see only her last rites being done and he never had the chance to rejoice his sucess with his loving mother.
I lost my mom when I was in 12th standard. She never had the chance to see even my small successes in life.
Whenever I finish a quiz and people congratulate me, I am always left with the lump in the throat when I think my mom is not there to be proud about me. Somehow I could relate to Nagesh, because he was a man who was not happy when he made us laugh..