Nagesh is considered as one of the most prolific comedians in Tamil Cinema , but he is something beyond a comedian he is such a powerful actor that he was resurrected on screen in Kochadaiiyaan several years after his death.
7) Thiruvilayadal (1965)
Though he comes on the screen for a very short time, his presence remains etched in viewers' minds. Nagesh plays the role of Dharumi, a poor temple priest. He steals the show with his humorous tongue-in-cheek exchanges with Sivaji Ganesan .The soliloquy which he indulges in within the temple premises is a scene which can be rarely forgotten while talking about this movie. Such is the influence of his performance.
6) Nammavar (1994)
Nammavar saw Nagesh playing the role of a college lecturer. In the movie, Nagesh gets the news of his daughter’s suicide. What follows for the next few minutes leaves the audience dumbstruck. Our hands automatically come together in unison to clap for this legend. He was bestowed with the National award for ‘Best supporting actor’ for his role in Nammavar.
5) Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989 )
To make people laugh is tough. But to make people laugh and cry is tougher. He is one of those rare comedians for whom villainous roles is a cakewalk too. The impeccable portrayal of the role of Dharmaraj bears testimony to this fact. But there is no dearth of his humor. For instance, when his henchmen bring Appu (dwarf Kamal Hassan) presuming him to be Raja (Kamal Hassan), Nagesh instantaneously asks them “Meedhi Enga da?” referring to the character’s short height. Crazy Mohan and Kamal had spent hours thinking about a dialogue for this scene and were astounded by Nagesh’s spontaneity.
4) Thillana Mohanambal (1968)
Nagesh’s role as ‘Savadaal’ Vaithi in the movie gives a new definition to how humor can be blended with wiliness. He plays a sycophantic assistant to the Maharaja . The versatility in acting shown by Nagesh is commendable. The exchanges between him and Baliah have the audience in rolls of laughter. The hyperactive Vaithi leaves an indelible presence on audience’s minds.
3) Kadhalikka Neramillai (1964)
Nagesh plays the son of Viswanathan (T.S.Baliah), an estate owner in this romantic comedy by director Sridhar.Nagesh is a wannabe filmmaker, who has his own production house- ‘Oho Productions’. Out of the many memorable scenes featuring Nagesh and Baliah, the one in which Nagesh narrates his horror movie script to his father stands out and went on to become the defining scene of the movie.
2) Ethir Neechal (1968)
Another movie from the Nagesh-Balachander duo, has Nagesh playing the protagonist. Madhu (Nagesh) is an orphan who meets his living by serving the people in a bourgeois apartment. The name ‘Maadi-Padi’ Maadhu became extremely popular. The role of a diligent youth swimming against the tide is exquisitely personated by Nagesh. Though the movie is full of instances warranting his supremacy in acting, the scene in which he mimics Major Sundarrajan by saying ‘Badava Rascal’ leaves you all praise for this phenomenal actor.
1) Server Sundaram (1964)
Written by K Balachander, this is a rags to riches story of how a waiter in a restaurant goes on to become an acclaimed actor. This performance saw his rise as a star and was a turning point in his career.In the film Nagesh’s friend introduces him to a producer asking for a chance to act. He gives such a realistic performance in the audition that his friend and producer presume that he has been mentally disturbed, only to marvel at his wonderful acting skills later. The variation in body language shown by him as a waiter and then as an actor is par excellence.
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