Nagesh : Biography
Nagesh, a veteran comedy actor of Tamil Film industry. Even when the charismatic MGR and versatile Sivaji were ruling the roost, the lithe and not so attractive Nagesh managed to attract the crowds to movie houses. Even today the name evokes a mixed response in the minds of Tamil filmgoers, not just as a comedian who had them rolling in the aisles, but also as a character artiste who moved them to tears with his sensitive performance in films like 'Neer Kumizhi' and 'Edhir Neechal'.
Born in a Brahmin community, the son of Brahmin Madhwa parents, Krishna Rao and Rukumani ammal in Dharapuram. 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 actor Srikanth. He found a small time job in the Railways and this was not sufficient to keep himself and to feed him three meals a day.
One day he saw a Tamil play 'Kambar Ramayanam' enacted by his colleagues and he felt that he could do a good job and asked the secretary of the railways cultural association to give him a role to act. He was given a role of a man suffering from stomach pain. MGR then chief guest seeing this play, in his speech praised Nagesh for his performance. From then onwards Nagesh played small roles in various drama troupes and kept himself busy.
Nagesh : Career
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 has acted in is his role in 'Thiruvillayadal' in which he speaks a soliloquy that is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. He played a poet falling on bad times in the film. When Sivaji who played Siva in the film saw it he asked the director to retain it in full without a cut.
Directors like Sridhar and Balachander were those who brought out the acting talents of Nagesh. In 'Kathalika Neramillai' Nagesh narrates a story to Baliah and the way it was narrated brought down the theatre in laughter. In 'Apoorva Raagangal' he plays a drunkard who talks to his shadow and then finishes his dialogue by saying 'Cheers' and throwing the cup on the wall. In the theatres where the film was shown the audience imitated him and threw cups on the wall of the lobby during interval. Yet another memorable performance was as the villainous comic pimp in 'Thillana Mohannambal' starring Sivaji and Padmini. More recently he played a dead man in 'Magalir Mattum' produced by Kamalhassan. A perfect accolade that he received was that from kamal hassan. Kamal Hassan used to say that he was very much jealous about Nagesh. Apparently when Kamal Hassan used to work with Balachander, at instances when he found it diffcult to bring the emotions in front of the screen,KB used to say "had this scene done by Nagesh he would have done this in the first shot". This lets us know what a great actor nagesh has been. Also once Balachander used to say that, Nagesh and himself were driving very fast in the Radhakrishnan salai (Those days it was not that busy as it is now),when KB asked him why are you driving so very fast, for which Nagesh replied "Dont get scared!, I know i have the responsibility that i am holding the life of one of the India's great future directors"