By SM .17 Apr, 2021
CHENNAI: Popular Tamil actor and comedian Vivekh died this morning in the hospital hours after he was admitted after a cardiac arrest.
The 59-year-old actor was brought to the emergency room of the hospital in an unconscious condition around 11 am on Friday by his wife and daughter after he complained of discomfort. He was resuscitated, subsequently underwent a coronary angiogram and then angioplasty. The medical bulletin said he was critical on ECMO support, which pumps and oxygenates blood outside the body, but died at 4:35 am today.
On Thursday, Vivek had taken his first Covid vaccine shot at a public event in the presence of Tamil Nadu"s Health Secretary to promote vaccination. His vaccination was at a public event with TV channels carrying photographs of him taking the shot. As the cardiac arrest happened less than 24 hours after the inoculation, there were questions raised, which have been clarified by doctors.
Hospital vice-president Dr Raju Sivasamy said the sudden attack was due to an acute coronary syndrome with a cardiogenic shock. It was not related to the Covid-19 vaccine he took on Thursday, they said. Test and CT reports showed that he did not have Covid-19. This was the first time that the actor had come to the hospital with an attack like this, Dr Sivasamy said. Vivek had a “mild elevated blood pressure.”
On Thursday, the actor was declared as the 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.
Vivek leaves behind his wife and two daughters. His son died a few years ago after suffering from dengue and brain fever.
Born in Kovilpatti in Tuticorin district in south Tamil Nadu, Vivek started his film career as an assistant director cum scriptwriter 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.
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. His roles in films like Run, Perazhagan, Dhool, Anniyan, and Sivaji became very popular among the hundreds of roles he played over three decades. He was even cast as a hero in the Tamil film Solli Adippen, but the film never saw the light of the day.
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 a 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 for 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.
Vivek was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 by the central govt.
Vivek had also developed a close bonding to the principles of A P J 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.
"Vivekh was one of those who voluntarily came forward to create awareness on public health and social issues. The cardiac arrest he suffered had no link with the Covid vaccine shot that he took," Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr Radhakrishnan said.
His sudden death has sent his fans of over two generations into mourning. Many of his colleagues tweeted their tribute to the evergreen actor.