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Wake Up Santhanam

Wake Up Santhanam

By Balachandar Venkataramani

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Santhanam, a name that might be more popular in Tamil Cinema than the superstars!! There are even producers and directors who are ready to orient the script and schedules to suit Santhanam. Such has been his importance in today's Tamil films. In fact, Santhanam also ensures that he often does movies that make him play not just a sidekick but a kind of supporting role to the heroes. All his movies with Rajesh and also movies like 'Kalakalappu' are some examples. His gradual increase in popularity coupled with slump of form of Viveks and Vadivelus ensured that he became no.1 comedian in Tamil Cinema in no time. It has been really a long journey from being an actor of the evergreen 'Lollu Sabha' to becoming a sidekick to the Superstar Rajni in Enthiran.
 
 
His timing and counter punches have been strength for years. But of late may be after Kalappu  one may feel he is getting monotonous. Especially after movies like Saguni, Alexpandian, Settai,etc did not tickle much. Every comedian goes through such a phase where audience might start thinking a comedian is getting repetitive. Vivek was at his best between1998-2003 but soon one got a feel that he is getting monotonous with too much of delivery of social messages and later often appearing in lady get ups which weren’t well received. Same was the case for Vadivelu where his antics of getting beaten up went overdose. Personally I just get the feeling that Santhanam is just starting to get monotonous with counter punches. Moreover, he has also been using more 'crude' double meaning dialogues in recent movies which hasn’t gone down well with the family audience. The recent trailers of 'Theeya Velai Seiyanum Kumaru' and 'Madha Gaja Raja' clearly show he will be again following what he has done before. Also, it’s time for Santhanam to understand that using Power Star Srinivasan as a source of comedy will not generate humour in the long run. Moreover it was really pathetic to see a director like Bhagyaraj complaining that Santhanam betrayed him in falsely promising that 'Kannada Laddu Thinga Aasaiya' was not based on his classic 'Indru Poi nalai Vaa' . Clearly KLTA was based on 'Indru Poi Naalai Vaa' which made me lose a little bit of respect to Santhanam.
 
 
Comedy' is of course is one of the most difficult things to think and perform. Building up a comedy track and performing it with correct voice modulation, acting and with perfect timing sense isn't easy at all. Santhanam has shown tremendous consistency over the years. Many of the comedians including the legendary Nagesh haven't been able to rise up much once they lost their steam. Only Goundamani and Senthil have retained their dominance for close to a decade and a half. Santhanam is only 33 and has age in his side. This is the right time for Santhanam to make some refreshing changes to his comedy which could help him in extending the dominance he has had over the years (especially when there seems to be no comedian in hindsight now to challenge him)
Balachandar Venkataramani
balacs109@gmail.com
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