Nagesh born as a Cheyyur Krishna Rao Nageshwaran is one of the versatile actors of Indian Cinema. Famous for his roles alongside the stars such as MGR and Sivaji Ganesan as a sidekick or comedian, Nagesh made a mark. But it is the writer-director K. Balachander who unleashed the full potential of this versatile actor. In the later stage, it was Kamal Hassan. Reducing the actor to a comedian is a sin, his wavelength spectrum was wide and deep at the same time he never failed to entertain. Here I have incorporated few films which I thought are the must-watch movies of Nagesh.
Thiruvilayadal directed by A.P. Nagarajan stars Sivaji Ganesan in the role of Lord Shiva. Nagesh plays the role of Tharumi, a poor struggling poet. His interactions with Sivaji and his expressions in the Pandiyan’s Court is unbeatable and still remains fresh.
In this movie, Nagesh plays the titular role of Sundaram. This movie revolves around Sundaram who starts his career as a server in a hotel and his rise as a star. Written by K Balachander and directed by Krishnan – Panchu, this movie utilises the complete spectrum of Nagesh’s acting. His range of acting can be seen very well in this movie and it shouldn’t be missed by any movie geeks at any cost.
Neerkumizhi(1965) marks the directorial debut or K. Balachander. The story revolves around the Sethu, a terminally ill patient in a hospital. Upon knowing his illness, he tries to enjoy his last moments and make the most out of it. This movie has comedy, sentiment and it’s a complete entertainer with an interesting screenplay.
4.Major Chandrakanth (1966):
Another K. Balachander flick where the titular role is played by Major Sunderrajan. This movie gave Sunderrajan the prefix Major for his brilliant portrayal of the blind retired major. Nagesh portrays the role of an over-enthusiastic brother to a situational criminal. He evokes every possible emotion through his performance. Although Major Sunderrajan steals the show it is Nagesh’s subtle performance in the latter half that shows why he’s a great actor.
Inspired by Surya Narayanan Murder case, director A. Bhimsingh wrote a thriller. The movie starred TR Ramachandran, Kalpana, OAK Thevar along with Nagesh. Nagesh plays the role of a Taxi driver. A Corpse ends up in his taxi without his knowledge, and the whole sequence is hilarious. You shouldn’t miss this movie at any cost.
6.Anubavi Raaja Anubavi(1967)
Anubavi Raaja Anubavi is a full-fledged comedy starring Nagesh in a dual role. In this movie, Nagesh excels in Madurai accent and Thoothukudi accent. Again written and directed by K. Balachander this movie is a complete joyride giving full scope to the actor to perform. The songs composed by M.S Viswanathan and written by Kannadasan are a rage. Muthukulikka vaaregala and Madras Nalla Madras is still fresh. Along with Muthuraman and Major Sunderrajan’s performances, this movie makes your watch worthy.
Before the chosen one at the Privet Drive, Madhu was the one who lived under the stairs. Maadippadi Maadhu played by Nagesh is an orphan and does odd jobs for the tenants of the houses. His struggle in life and overcoming each hurdle form the rest of the movie. The innocence of Nagesh is completely captured by the writer-director K. Balachander. Thamarai kannangal sung by P.B Srinivas, P. Susheela and Sethi ketto songs are a pleasure to listen and to watch. All the lyrics are written by Vaali and music composed by V. Kumar and M.S. Viswanathan. This is a must watch a movie to understand the excellence of Nagesh.
Thillana Mohanambal written by Kothamangalam Subbu and directed by A.P. Nagarajan says the story of two artists. Nagesh plays the cunning man Vaithe who is actually the villain of the movie. One of the brilliant performance of Nagesh in a different shade. Watch this movie for excellent songs, wonderful performance and a different Nagesh.
Nammavar was written by Ananthu, Kamal Hassan and Kanmani Subbu. This movie about a professor who tries to bring in a change in a troubled institution. In this movie, Nagesh plays the role of the college principal Prabhakar Rao. He nails the character in the best possible way which fetched him a national award for best supporting actor that year.
Apoorva Sagothararkal starring Kamal Hassan in a triple role was directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao saw Nagesh in a full negative role. His performance as Dharmaraj is chilling and it gave a new image to him.
Rudra Thaandavam says the story of a poor priest played by Nagesh. He prays and blames lord Shiva so hard that Lord himself comes in front of him to answer his queries. The movie written by A. Veerappan and directed by K. Vijayan features one of the best conversation about God and the combination of V.K. Ramasamy and Nagesh is still fresh. Although the movie fumbles a little at the end, it is definitely worth watch for its satire.
- Kaadhalikka Neramillai(1964):
Kaadahlikka Neramillai written by C. V. Sridhar and Chitralaya Gopu and directed by C. V. Sridhar is what I call as a perfect rom-com. It would be a sin if I fail to mention this movie in the list of memorable performances of Nagesh. His role as an aspiring filmmaker Chellappa is one of the best ever comedic roles written. His story narration sequence to his father Viswanathan brilliantly played by T. S Balaiah stands as one of the best ever comedy in the history of Indian cinema.
Pattanaththil Bootham is a fantasy movie adapted from the Hollywood flick The Brass Bottle. Javar Seetharaman who adapted the movie to Tamil also played the role of the Genie. Bhaskar and seenu played by Jai Shankar and Nagesh receive a vase as a gift and accidentally they release the Genie trapped in it. How the Genie helps them forms the rest of the movie. Watch it for the brilliant music by Govardhan, camera tricks of that time and above all subtle performance of Jai Shankar along with Nagesh’s role.