Vadivelu is a Tamil film actor, comedian and playback singer. Since the 1990s, he has acted mainly as a comedian in Tamil films and is renowned for his slapstick comedies. Vadivelu has won several Filmfare and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards.
Born in Madurai. Vadivelu is popularly known as "Vaigai Puyal", meaning "the storm from the Vaigai River" (which flows through Madurai), for his high sense of humour. Before his film career, he was working in a small shop where glass frames for photos and paintings were made. He was struggling with his monthly income of just a few hundred rupees. His fortune improved when his film career took off. By 1994, he owned a Tata Sierra (which was then considered a luxury) and credit goes to Rajkiran who introduced Vadivelu in his film.
Starting as a sidekick to the famed Goundamani-Senthil comedy duo, Vadivelu rose to prominence after his role in Kadhalan (1994), although his debut movie was En Rasavin Manasiley (1989), directed by Kasthoori Raja. Some of his most famous movies are Bharathi Kannamma, Vetri Kodi Kattu, Winner and Chandramukhi. The actor played the lead in the blockbuster Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi where he played a dual role of twin brothers. His next movie in a lead role was Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan, which was however a big failure.
On 21 September 2008, Vadivelu's residence in the Saligramam neighbourhood in Chennai was pelted with stones by a gang, leaving several windows and furniture smashed and damaged. The actor had taken refuge in a room in his home and was safe. Vadivelu is said to have suspected Vijayakanth because of a recent case he had filed against Vijayakanth for assault and the final court hearing was to take place the next day. He suspected that the attack may have occurred to prevent Vadivelu from attending the hearing. As a result, Vadivelu filed another case against Vijayakanth for attempted murder. He later mentioned his interest in competing against Vijayakanth in the next assembly elections and "teaching him a lesson." In response, actor Vijayakanth told a press meet on September 22 that Vadivelu's allegations are based on hearsay.
In 2010, Vadivelu held a press conference, accusing fellow comedian and actor Singamuthu for forgery and financial cheating. Vadivelu, who was previously friends with Singamuthu, purchased land from him but later came to learn that the documents were void. This resulted in the former taking legal action on the latter.
During the legislative assembly elections that took place in Tamil Nadu during April 2011, Vadivelu vehemently campaigned for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its alliance. During his public speeches, he predominantly condemned politician and actor Vijayakanth, whose party, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), allied with the opposition party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), headed by J. Jayalalitha. His allegations of Vijayakanth included him being a "drunkard". In a campaign speech in Tiruvarur, Vadivelu stated that "(his) only aim is to sweep out Vijayakanth's whole team and to campaign vigorously for DMK's victory". Vadivelu was criticized as being biased, only supporting a DMK-led victory for personal gains and not once mentioning anything against the official opposition, the AIADMK, or its leader. In a turn of events, the election was eventually successful for the AIADMK alliance, while Vijayakanth was victorious by a significant margin in his own constituency. Vadivelu later admitted his defeat and warned that he hopes to see Vijayakanth fulfill his role as an elected politician.
Afterward, Vadivelu became absent from media appearances and took a two year hiatus from acting. As of 2013, he signed up to play the two lead roles in the film Jagajala Pujabala Thenaliraman, his third historical comedy film.
Vadivelu's roles involve heavy use of slapstick and puns, which has led him to be typecast. His comedy sequences typically end with him getting soundly thrashed and a closing one-liner from him bemoaning his situation or antagonists. Some of his famous lines are "Aaha oru guruppa thaaanya alayaraangaya" (roughly translates to "These people seem to roam around in groups to pick on him"), "vanduttangayya, vandutanngya" (in Tamil this announces the arrival of his soon-to-be tormentors) and "aavana nee?!" (are you him?!). His popularity could be ascribed to the general audience being able to identify with him thanks to his rustic looks, accent and body language. This is unlike other actors, especially heroes, who are generally perceived as ideals, adored but not seen as the guy or girl next door. He has worked in over 275 films.
Vadivelu joined Twitter on 2 December 2013 and publicized his account via a video uploaded to YouTube, in which he said, "My friends have been asking me to open an account soon. I told them that I have a bank account what is this new account for? So they told me that a bank account is for transferring money but this account is for transferring people's love. So I told them to open an account right away."