Vivek was a popular South Indian actor, singer, and social activist. In 2009, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award for his contributions to Indian Cinema.
Vivekananthan popularly known as Vivek was born on Sunday, 19 November 1961 (age 59 years; at the time of death) in Nalla Village, Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. He did his schooling at G.H.S.S Vannavasi, Tamil Nadu, and Govt Boys High School, Pallipalayam, Tamil Nadu. He then pursued graduation in commerce from American College, Madurai. He then attended SRM Arts & Science College, Tamil Nadu, and Vels Institute of Science, Technology & Advanced Studies (VISTAS), Tamil Nadu. He did post graduation in commerce.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Angayya, and his mother’s name is Maniyammal.
Relationships, Wife & Children
He was married to Arulselvi Vivek, and he had two daughters, Tejaswini and Amritha Nandini. His son, Prasanna Kumar, passed away at the age of 13 due to dengue and brain fever.
As a Stand-Up Comedian
He started his career as a secretariat in Tamil Nadu government, and at that time, in his leisure time, he used to work as a stand-up comedian at the Madras Humour Club. He then moved to Chennai to pursue his graduation and continued working at the Madras Humour Club. Later, the founder of Humour Club P. R. Govindarajan introduced him to the Indian film director K. Balachandar, and Vivek got an opportunity to work as a scriptwriter in one of his films.
As an Actor
While he was working as a scriptwriter in the Tamil film ‘Manathil Uruthi Vendum’ (1987), K. Balachandarn offered him a role in this film to which he agreed and played the role of the Suhasini’s (South Indian actress) brother in the film. In his initial films, he played supporting roles including ‘Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal’ (1989), ‘Oru Veedu Iru Vasal’ (1990), ‘Vanaja Girija’ (1994), ‘Muthukulikka Vaariyala’ (1995), and ‘Mayabazar’ (1995).
In 1996, his career took a kick start when he started playing the role of a comedian in the Tamil films. Some of his popular Tamil films are ‘Anniyan’ (2005), ‘Sivaji’ (2007), ‘Velaiyilla Pattathari’ (2014), ‘VIP 2’ (2017), and ‘Dharala Prabhu’ (2020).
Till 2021, he worked in more than 220 films, and his last film as an actor was ‘Indian 2’ (2021).
As a Social Activist
Apart from working in films, he was actively involved in various social activities. He was a green environmental activist, and on 6 June 2019, he planted 10,000 saplings on the eve of environment day. Later, he started an NGO “Go Green Initiative” of “Thuimai Arunai” to promote a green environment, and he also worked to promote the “Green Kalam Project.”
He was motivated by work of the former President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and he worked for promoting the “Green Globe Project,” a campaign against global warming. In an interview, he talked about this project, he said,
Kalam sir gave me an assignment of planting one crore trees. I have planted 21.5 lakh trees in the past three years and next month I will complete planting three lakh more saplings. Normally when showbiz people are committed to social work, it is very difficult to sustain the momentum because of the nature of our work. For his stature Kalaam sir could have easily chosen a Shahrukh Khan or a Salman Khan, even Aamir Khan would have obliged. But I asked him, why he chose me for this assignment? He quoted a verse from Thirukkural. The gist of it means that there are missions which are to do be done by people who are most apt for the mission.”
He was appointed as the brand ambassador for plastic-free Tamil Nadu along with the South Indian actress Jyothika to promote plastic-free Tamil Nadu campaign which was started by the Tamil Nadu government.
Awards & Honours
- Filmfare Awards for the Tamil films ‘Run’ (2002), ‘Saamy’ (2003) and ‘Perazhagan’ (2004)
- Tamil Nadu State Film Awards as Best Comedian for the Tamil films ‘Unnaruge Naan Irundhal’ (1999), ‘Run’ (2002), ‘Parthiban Kanavu’ (2003), ‘Anniyan’ (2005), and ‘Sivaji’ (2007)
- Kalaimamani award for his contributions to Tamil Cinema (2006)
- Edison Awards as Best Comedian for ‘Guru En Aalu’ (2007)
- Padma Shri award for his contribution to the arts (2009)
- Degree of Doctor of Literature for contribution to the society through cinema by Sathyabama University (2015)
Note: He had many more accolades to his name.
On 16 April 2021, he suffered from a severe cardiac arrest, and he was immediately admitted to SIMS Hospital in Vadapalani. He underwent an angioplasty and stenting procedure, but he could not survive the attack, and on 17 April 2021, at 4:35 am, he took his last breath. The hospital made a statement on his demise, they said,
An acute coronary syndrome with cardiogenic shock. This is a separate cardiac event. It may not be due to Covid vaccination.”
On his demise, many Indian celebrities like A. R. Rahman, Radikaa Sarathkumar, Mohan Raja, and Gautham Karthik shared their grief.
- While he was in college, he used to participate in various dramas and other extra curricular activities.
- Reportedly, he named his son Prasanna on the name of his friend who had passed away and was a co-scriptwriter along with Vivek in the Tamil film ‘Run’ (2002).
- He had recorded a few songs for some of his Tamil films.
- Vivek was appointed as the brand ambassador of Mirinda soft drinks (2003) and Nathella jewellery (2011).
- He appeared in a few TV commercials like Bajaj Boxer and Medimix Ayurveda.
- In 2019, in the audio launch of the Tamil film ‘Bigil,’ he made a statement that was not well-received by the public, he said,
Nenjil Kudiyirukkum was a song in the 1960 movie Irumbuthirai starring Sivaji Ganesan, and the song did not have much appeal, but now this Nenjil Kudiyirukkum from Vijay has a bigger reach.”
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