Vadivelu is an Indian 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 the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Comedian five times for his works in Kaalam Maari Pochu (1996), Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Thavasi (2001), Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi (2006) and Kathavarayan (2008). He has also won the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian - Tamil once for his work in Chandramukhi (2005) and was nominated once in the Best Supporting Actor - Tamil category for Aadhavan (2009). He also won the Vijay Award for Best Comedian for his work in Marudhamalai (2007) and was again nominated once in the Best Comedian category for his work in Aadhavan (2009). He has acted as a hero in four films to-date: Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikecei (2006), Indiralohathil Na Azhagappan (2008), Tenaliraman (2014) and Eli (2015).
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 Manasile (1991), directed by Kasthoori Raja. Some of his most famous movies are Friends, Bharathi Kannamma, Vetri Kodi Kattu, Winner,Giri, Thalainagaram, Marudhamalai and Chandramukhi. The actor played the lead in the blockbuster Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi (2006) where he played a dual role of twin brothers. His next movie in a lead role was Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan (2008), 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 22 September 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 criticised 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. He signed up to play a double role in the film Tenaliraman, his third film as hero. The film did decent business at the box office. He will next be seen as the lead character in a film titled Eli, which will be directed by Yuvaraj Dayalan.
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), "aavana nee?!" (are you him?!) and "maapu, vachuttaanya aapu!" (meaning that his antagonists have trapped him purposefully). 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 450 films.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license