Indian actor and environmentalist Vivek dies at age of 59

April 17, 2021
Indian actor and environmentalist Vivek dies at age of 59i following a heart attack in Chennai on Saturday.
Indian actor and environmentalist Vivek dies at age of 59i following a heart attack in Chennai on Saturday.

CHENNAI, India — Tamil actor and comedian Vivek died early Saturday morning, 17 April, at a private hospital in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He was 59-years-old. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of SIMS hospital in Vadapalani after suffering from a heart attack on Friday.

Several prominent personalities including politicians, actors, filmmakers and music composers expressed their grief and shock over the untimely death of actor Vivek.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences saying that, “Both in his films and his life, his concern for the environment and society shone through.”

“The untimely demise of noted actor Vivek has left many saddened. His comic timing and intelligent dialogues entertained people. Both in his films and his life, his concern for the environment and society shone through. Condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti,” Modi tweeted.

Vivek had a 100 percent blockage in the LAD (left anterior descending artery) vessel and reportedly underwent an angioplasty and stenting procedure for the same. However, he passed away at 4:35 a.m. on Saturday.

The actor was rushed to the SIMS hospital at 11 am on Friday in an unconscious state after which he underwent an emergency coronary angiogram. Before being taken to the hospital, he had complained to his family members about chest pain and fell unconscious at his residence.

Vivek was a Padma Shri recipient in 2009 and appeared in more than 200 films. Well known as ‘Chinna Kalaivaanar’, the actor received several awards for his performances and will always be remembered for his work in movies like Kushi, Dum Dum Dum, Sivaji, Minnale, Alaipayuthey, Mugavaree, and many others.

The world of Tamil cinema was shaken to the core when the news of actor Vivek's demise broke out. The entire south film industry is in shock following his sudden death. Celebs have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their grief.

Vivek's real name was Vivekanandan, and he was introduced in films by director K. Balachander. He started his career with the 1987 film Manathil Uruthi Vendum.

He was one of the most popular comic stars in the south film industry and 3 Filmfare Awards for Best Comedian —Tamil at Filmfare Awards South for Run in 2002, Saamy in 2003 and then Perazhagan in 2004.

R. Madhavan tweeted that he was “heartbroken and stunned” at Vivek’s sudden demise. “I will so miss your laughter, wisdom and care,” he commented online. “RIP @Actor_Vivek sir.Heart broken and stunned that you would embark on your heavenly journey so suddenly and early. The world is deprived of a truly good man who genuinely cared for everyone and everything in it. I will so miss your laughter, wisdom and care. The heavens are lucky.”

Music maestro AR Rahman also remarked that he could not believe that Vivek had left us. “@Actor_Vivek can’t believe you’ve left us ..May you rest in peace’ve entertained us for decades ..your legacy will stay with us,” Rahman tweeted.

Mohanlal also offered his heartfelt condolences via Twitter. And another Malayalam star Prithviraj offered his condolences online and said that he was privileged to have worked with Vivek. “Rest in peace Vivek sir! Privileged to have worked with you. Prayers and condolences to family and friends.”

Actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu put a message on Instagram saying, “My heart feels heavy as I write this. Vivek sir's passing feels like a personal loss. He was an actor, comedian, environmentalist and a great human being. My deep condolences to Vivek sir's family. You will forever be a part of us. May your soul rest in peace.”

Actor and filmmaker Suhasini Hasan said that she was shattered and had lost a brother and dear friend.

South Indian actor Gautham Karthik tweeted, "Not able to believe this... He made us laugh, he educated us through his performances, he cared for this world and helped teach us how to take care of it. There will never be another like you sir. We will miss you. Rest in peace @Actor_Vivek sir #ripvivek"

Music composer Devi Sri Prasad tweeted, "OMG..cant believe I woke up to this Shocking news abt Legendary @Actor_Vivek sir. Folded hands Heartbreaking.. Greatest Comedian of our Times who always incorporated a Social Message into his COMEDY I hav always been his diehard FAN U wl live in our Hearts.“

Actor Vikram Prabhu shared, "You were a reason for many smiles and laughters sir. A great comedian, wonderful actor and a socially conscious citizen. Unbearable to think you are not there anymore. Will miss you as one of your fans. #RipVivek sir. "

Prakash Raj tweeted, "Ahhh.. #vivek ...gone too soon dear friend ..thank you for planting thoughts n trees ...thank you for entertaining and empowering us with your wit and humour..will miss you...RIP"

On Thursday, the actor was declared as state’s ambassador for creating public health messages. He took the Covaxin in Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital in Chennai and urged many others to come forward to take the vaccine.

Born in Kovilpatti in Tuticorin district in south Tamil Nadu, Vivek started his film career as an assistant director cum script writer with veteran director K. Balachandar in the 1980s. Impressed by his timing sense and comedy, Balachandar offered Vivek a small role in the Tamil film “Manathil Urudhi Vendum” in 1987.

Vivek made his mark as a comedy actor in this film, where he repeatedly uttered the dialogue — "Innikki Setthaa, Nalaiku Paal" (pointing to a ritual that happens a day after the cremation).

There was no looking back for his acting career since then, even though he took a few years to establish himself as a solo comedian. His career flourished since the late 90s and stayed steady for almost the next two decades.

He was known for his sharp tongue, timing sense and ability to mimic others. Leading heroes, including Rajinikanth, offered Vivek enough screen space to shine.

With his penchant for social reforms, he highlighted the perils of the society including girl child infanticide (a practice that prevailed in south Tamil Nadu), caste clashes and religious superstitions.

"Even if thousand Periyars are born here, you people cannot be changed," — was one of his famous dialogues, while drawing the social reformist E. V. Ramasamy (popularly known as Periyar) for support.

Vivek was popularly called “Chinna Kalaivanar” for his penchant on social reforms in his dialogues — something that yesteryear star and comedian N. S. Krishnan, who was known as Kalaivanar, did in the late 40s and 50s.

A comedian who became a social awareness creator — he carried the message of Dr. Abdul Kalam to the youth of the state — he excelled both in slapstick and verbal comedy.

Vivek had also developed a close bonding to the principles of Dr. Abdul Kalam and highlighted them through his roles. Vivek called on Kalam when the latter was the president of India.

Kalam advised him to propagate the need for a green movement and growing more trees. Soon, Vivek started a movement to plant a billion trees across Tamil Nadu by reaching out to students and the society at large.

Vivek leaves behind his wife and two daughters. His son died a few years ago after suffering from dengue and brain fever. — Agencies

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