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N S Krishnan

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Nagercoil Sudalaimuthu Krishnan, popularly known as Kalaivanar and also as NSK was a leading Nagercoil Tamil film comedian, drama artist, playback singer and writer in the early stages of the Tamil film industry – in the 1940s and 1950s. He is considered as the "Charlie Chaplin of India."

 

Born in Ozhuginachery, Nagercoil, in the princely state of Travancore, India on 29 November 1908, his stage and cine-screen comedy performances were unique and always carried a message for the people. 'Kalaivanar' N. S. Krishnan died at the age of 49, on 30 August 1957.

N S Krishnan started his career as a Villu Paatu artist (the Tamil way of reciting stories while singing songs and playing a musical instrument in the form of a bow called 'Villu'), He later became involved in Tamil drama and stage shows, as were many film artistes. At one time he owned a touring drama company. When cinema gradually became popular in South India, he entered the Tamil film world to become one of the leading Tamil comedians ever, with a unique style. He generally wrote his own comedy dialogues and expressed them in his drama and films so that the message came across, but the subject was not offended.

He acted in nearly 150 Tamil films and the matinee-duo of N S Krishnan and T. A. Madhuram (later his wife) was very popular in his days; he also did roles along with leading stage and cine artists like T. S. Durairaj, Pulimootai Ramasamy, C.S. Pandian and writers like Udumalai Narayana Kavi and Subbu Armugham and gave a number of hits. He was a talented singer and his hits include Sivakavi, Raja Rani, and Manamagal.

Though he was more popular among the Tamil populace as a film comedian, Kalaivanar was instrumental in bringing a number of leading Tamil stage and film personalities to the fore. He was a Gandhian, patriot and philanthropist, yet a very controversial figure — with his name linked to a murder and marital controversies.

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