Kumaravadivel Natarajan (born 13 September 1960), known professionally as Vadivelu, is an Indian actor, comedian and playback singer, having acted in supporting and lead roles in Tamil cinema.[3] He gained widespread acclaim in Kollywood in the 2000s. His first film as a lead actor, Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi (2006), achieved commercial and critical success. His career declined in the 2010s due to various controversies, and culminated in him receiving a ban from performing in future films at the time.[4][5][6]

Vadivelu at Trailer & HD Songs Launch of Kaththi Sandai .jpg
Vadivelu in 2016
Kumaravadivel Natarajan

(1960-09-13) 13 September 1960 (age 62)[1]
OccupationActor, comedian, playback singer
Years active1988- present

Vadivelu has also received awards in the Best Comedian category for his performances in Kaalam Maari Pochu (1996), Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Thavasi (2001), Chandramukhi (2005), Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi (2006), Pokkiri (2007), Marudhamalai (2007) and Kathavarayan (2008). His popularity led to his media-coined nickname, Vaigai Puyal, meaning "Vaigai storm",[7] referring to the river that flows through his hometown Madurai. Vadivelu's comic dialogues in films served as an inspiration for memes in social media.[8] In 2019, Vadivelu was featured in the sudden viral memes related to the hashtag Pray for Nesamani which was the most trending hashtag in India in 2019.[9]

In 2021, Vadivelu confirmed the lifting of the ban, after 4 years, and returned to play the lead in Naai Sekar Returns (2022), a spin-off of his character from Thalai Nagaram and also signed on more projects to be released in the future, both as lead and comedian.[10]

Early life

Vadivelu was born on 12 September 1960[1] in Madurai, Tamil Nadu[2] to Natarajan and Vaitheswari. He worked in his father's glass cutting business and continued it with his brothers after his father died. In his free time, he participated in local stage plays, usually in a comic role.[11]

Personal life

Vadivelu is married to Sarojini and has 4 children: daughters Kannigaparameswari, Karthiga,[12] Kalaivani,[13] and a son, Subramaniyan.[14]


Early stage (1988–1997)

In 1988, he was launched through a small character in T. Rajendar’s En Thangai Kalyani.[15]

Vadivelu met Rajkiran on a train while on his way to Chennai to visit his bride-to-be. Rajkiran later recalled that he was so amused by their conversation during the train ride that he agreed to give Vadivelu a role in his upcoming film, En Rasavin Manasile (1991), directed by Kasthuri Raja. It was also the beginning of the Goundamani-Senthil-Vadivelu combination that produced a few skits in the early 90s.[16]

Actor Vijayakanth was the person who supported Vadivelu during his early career. He says that it was Vijayakanth the substantial in casting Vadivelu in Chinna Gounder (1992).[17]

In 1992, he played contrasting characters in both Kamal Haasan films. Vadivelu joined Goundamani and Charle in the comedy film Singaravelan.[18] Then in the movie Thevar Magan, Vadivelu played a worker in patriarch Sivaji Ganesan’s household.[19][20]

Vadivelu’s first solo came in director Shankar’s Kadhalan (1994), in which he played the friend of Prabhu Deva’s college student character.

He won his first Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Comedian in Kaalam Maari Pochu (1996).[21]

In the same year, he starred in the movie Kadhal Desam (1996).

The following year, Vadivelu acted in many films, but his work in Bharathi Kannamma (1997) was successful and its combination with actor Parthiban.

Superstardom in comedy (1998–2008)

Vadivelu is known to assist directors, with his own input being used during sets. The hallmark of his comedy was self-deprecation. Vadivelu’s characters thought very highly of themselves – they were clownish versions of the gang leader.[22]

He starred in movies as Kaathala Kaathala (1998), Kannathal (1998), Viralukketha Veekkam (1999), Nesam Pudhusu (1999), Mudhalvan (1999), Thirupathi Ezhumalai Venkatesa (1999) and Paattali (1999).

He later went on to perform numerous roles, including Kandha Kadamba Kathir Vela (2000), Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Koodi Vazhnthal Kodi Nanmai (2000), Friends (2001), Middle Class Madhavan (2001), Manadhai Thirudivittai (2001) and Thavasi (2001).[23]

Vadivelu did comedy scenes with Vivek too. After a certain stage of his success, he started to act as a solo comedian, with some small comedians accompanying him.[24]

By this phase, he was a colossus in the Tamil film world, which came with the freedom to meddle with scripts and override even established directors. He has acted with almost all the top heroes in Tamil cinema.[25]

His part in movies like Vetri Kodi Kattu (2000), Friends (2001), Thavasi (2001), Winner (2003), Chandramukhi (2005), Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikecei (2006), Pokkiri (2007), Marudhamalai (2007) and Kathavarayan (2008) are typical of his performances that have brought him laurels and accolades from the Tamil movie-goers.[26]

Cashing in on his popularity, he starred in the lead role of the historical comedy in the film Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikecei. The movie was declared a blockbuster and was widely acclaimed for its 'clean' comedy. Vadivelu played in a dual role, playing twin brothers of a heartless but comical dictator king and a revolutionary. His next venture as the lead star was in the movie Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan (2008).[27]

Controversies and decline (2008–2017)

On 21 September 2008, Vadivelu's residence in the Saligramam neighbourhood in Chennai was pelted with stones by a gang, leaving several windows broken and furniture 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 that he had filed against the latter for assault and because the final court hearing was to take place the following day. He suspected that the attack may have been carried out to prevent Vadivelu from attending the hearing.[28] As a result, Vadivelu filed another case against Vijayakanth for attempted murder. He later mentioned his interest in contesting against Vijayakanth in the upcoming assembly elections and in his words, "teaching him a lesson." In response, actor Vijayakanth, in a press meet on 22 September, claimed that Vadivelu's allegations were based on hearsay.[29][30]

Vadivelu appeared in notables roles with Villu (2009), Kanthaswamy (2009), Peranmai (2009), Aadhavan (2009), Kacheri Arambam (2010), Sura (2010), Thillalangadi (2010) and Nagaram Marupakkam (2010).

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 against the latter.[31][32]

In the year 2011, Kaavalan movie with actor Vijay was a remarkable one.[33]

During the legislative assembly elections that 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 Jayalalithaa. 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.[4] In a turn of events, the election was eventually successful for the AIADMK alliance, and Vijaykanth won his constituency by a considerable margin.[34]

As his career as a lead actor was waning such as Tenaliraman (2014), Eli (2015), Vadivelu chose to return to portraying supporting and comedy roles in films headlined by other actors.[35][36] He portrayed a role alongside Vishal in Suraj's Kaththi Sandai (2016), before collaborating again with P. Vasu in the horror comedy Shivalinga (2017). Vadivelu then portrayed a supporting role alongside Vijay in Mersal (2017), with the film becoming a blockbuster at the box office. A critic from The New Indian Express noted that it was a "brilliant comeback for Vadivelu" and that "his comedy is subtle, yet sufficient".[37]

Banning (2018–2020)

After agreeing to work with Chimbu Deven on Imsai Arasan 23th Pulikesi, a sequel to their successful film, he fell out with the director over an issue regarding his costume designer and subsequently refused to cooperate. The film's producers, S. Shankar and Subaskaran Allirajah, later filed a legal case over his unexplained absence. Likewise, R. K. and Stephen, the producers of Neeyum Naanum Naduvula Peyum and another untitled film, also opted to file complaints to the Nadigar Sangam against Vadivelu's lack of cooperation.[5] The Tamil Film Producers Council issued a ban against casting Vadivelu in future films.[6]

In his crisp video footage sent to Sun TV, Vadivelu said that a few vested interests are trying to stop his growth in the film industry.[38]

In 2019, Vadivelu was interviewed by Behindwoods, in which he criticized Chimbu Deven and Shankar for their creative differences. Producer T. Siva and director Naveen (who worked as an assistant to Chimbu Deven in Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi) spoke out against Vadivelu's comments.[39][40]

In 2020, Vadivelu, who had recently joined Twitter, has not been taking up as many roles as he did earlier. Adding that he would soon take up a project, the comedian said, “You’ve also been asking why I’m not acting yet. Soon, I will make my entry in a grand manner”.[41]

Re-entry (2021-present)

In 2021, in a significant hint about his return to the Tamil cinema, Vadivelu has said that a good thing will happen definitely.[42]

On 28 August 2021, joining an over the phone interview with Puthiya Thalaimurai TV, Vadivelu confirmed that his ban was lifted and he has agreed for 5 films with Lyca Productions. First of which will commence shooting in September 2021, named Nai Shekar. He also mentioned that it feels like it is his first film and this is his rebirth in Cinema.[43][10]

Vadivelu confirmed the lifting of the ban, after 4 years, and returned to play the lead in Naai Sekar Returns.[10]


Acting style

Vadivelu's roles involve heavy use of slapstick and puns, which has led him to be typecast.[44] His comedy sequences typically end with him getting soundly thrashed and a closing one-liner from him bemoaning his situation or antagonists. His popularity could be ascribed to the general audience being able to identify with him thanks to his rustic looks, accent and body language.[45]


Vadivelu's dialogues served as an inspiration for memes in social media.[8][46] Many meme creators use Vadivelu's dialogues for all ongoing situations in the world to express irony.[44] His dialogues have been part of daily conversation and also inspired the titles for various Tamil films.[47] In 2019, Vadivelu was featured in the sudden viral memes related to the hashtag Pray for Nesamani.[9]


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External links