Naan Nagesh – நான் நாகேஷ் – Book Review

The history of Tamil cinema cannot be written without Nagesh. Nagesh has left his unique way of his body, mouth and eye language. He was captivated as a promising actor and protagonist by Director Sridhar and K Balachander. So stamping him as a comedian is like an attack on his personality. He was a full fledged actor who acted in different roles like comedian, hero, villain and supporting actor. He was super busy in the industry to the extent of participating in the shooting of two to three film companies on same day. It was written like, many cars of different film companies will be waiting for him. Whatever the car he chose, will be followed by the rest, to take him to the other shooting spots. He was also the one abandoned by the same film industry. He has also been overlooked by the award committees of Government of India.

About the book

The newsletter from Kizhakku Pathippakam had information about ‘Nan Nagesh’. It was also in Amazon Prime Reading. It was written in a very simple (spoken) style so I was able to read it quickly.

Nagesh said that he was proud of his beauty at his young age. He thinks that he was punished by God for losing his face due to the subsequent measles for boasting his beauty. He has been humiliated in various places due multiple scars of chickenpox on his face.

He has worked in various places like factory, supermarket, drama companies and Indian Railways. Two kind of people can not stick to same job for long time. One – who does not know any work. Another one – someone who is not interested in doing same job repeatedly. Nagesh is of the second type. Even more, his interest in acting has pushed him into the screen industry.

Facial makeup is more addictive than alcohol.

-Nagesh

He faced various insults. So he nullified them over by his unique way of acting.

T.M.S. tried to know the actor for whom he will be singing. He used to mimic his voice while singing the songs. Accordingly, he asked “For whom I am singing this song?”. M.S. Viswanathan said “Nagesh”. On hearing the name, T.M.S. Laughed jokingly to say “I sing for him? Should I sing it? Such a big setup for him?” in a tone T.S. Balaiya’s dialogue of Thiruvilaiyadal.
……
One day I was going for a walk on the beach. Then I met T.M.S. On seeing , he said “You won sir!, I said that the song will not be well received and there will be no one in the theater. Anyway, I heard that people watch the movie just because of that Song. I’m Happy sir” and greeted before he left.

A.V.M Kumaran,  Dhina Thanthi

This book is a compilation of auto-biography articles published in Kalki magazi with the title ‘Sirithu vaazha Vendum’.

Why this book is important?

Nagesh does not talk much. He does not have much media exposure like present day actors. This is a book containing 58 biographical articles to document his words.

It is written in a easy-reading style

Nagesh’s view on other artists (Director Sridhar, Actor Balaji, MGR, Sivaji, Rajini, Kamal, MR Radha, Manorama, Poet Vaali etc)

Could have done more

This book seems to be written with some restrictions to keep it simpler. Nagesh had concerns about the National awards avoiding Tamil artists. He raised his voice in an interview in The Hindu that Actor Sivaji Ganesan in particular was not given a good recognition by Delhi. These were not found anywhere in this book

This may be okay for the light readers of the magazine. The book should have shed more light on his personality to suit different set of readers.

Conclusion

Nagesh is no more. No further attempt is going to take place. In that sense, thanks to the effort of S Chandramouli to record his words.

As far as I am concerned, actor Nagesh deserves any major award presented in Cinema. If he was born in France, America or Germany, I can guess the kind of recognition he would have received. Despite 12 years having passed since his death, the government continuing to ignore him is a disappointment

Kamal Hassan, The Hindu, September 28, 2021,

Naan Nagesh – நான் நாகேஷ் (autobiography)
Publisher : Kizhakku
Writer : S Chandramouli
Language: Tamil
Price : ரூ. 239 / Kindle Prime / Kindle Unlimited
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 8184935625
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-8184935622

I’m participating in the #TBRChallenge by Blogchatter.

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