The versatile Indian actor whose stage name was Vivek, passed away due to cardiac arrest in the early hours on Saturday morning (17 April 2021), in a private hospital in Chennai, where he was being treated. He had 100% block in a major artery in the heart. He was 59 years old.
Padma Shri Vivek fondly called as “Chinna Kalaivanar”, was born as Vivekanandan on 19 November 1961 in Tamil Nadu, India. Being an economics graduate, he worked at the Secretariat in Chennai initially and since he had a passion for comedy, he performed as a stand-up comedian in the Madras Humour Club.
He began his movie career as a script-writer. Impressed by his comic sense, the legendary film director K.Balachander introduced him in the movie Manadhil Urudhi Vendum in 1987. He has acted in more than 220 movies till date. He was known as an actor to impart social messages including revolutionary and though-provoking ones though his movie dialogues and roles.
In addition to being an Indian film actor, he was also a comedian, television personality, theatre-artist, playback singer and highly respected social activist.
Vivek being an environmental enthusiast, under the guidance of the late former President of India, A.P.J Abdul Kalam he founded the ‘Green Globe’ project in 2010 with a mission to plant 1 billion tress across Tamil Nadu. Under this initiative, he gathered volunteers and planted over 33,00,000 saplings till date. He encouraged the concept of giving back to the Environment. In 2018, he was appointed the ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Free Tamil Nadu campaign by the Chief Minister Eddapadi K. Palaniswami. He was associated with the Public Health Programme of the state in many of its campaigns. Recently he campaigned for the Covid-19 vaccine and was an insoiration by receiving it.
He was the recipient of many Awards and Honors. In 2006 the Government of Tamil Nadu presented the Kalaivanar Award, honouring him for his contribution to Tamil Cinema. He was the recipient of the highest civilian honour by the Government of India, Padma Shri Award for his contribution to Indian cinema in 2009. He was also conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in 2015. He has also been awarded the 3 Filmfare Awards for Best Comedian and 5 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Best Comedian, 4 International Tamil Film Awards. He married Arulselvi and has three children: Amrithanandini, Tejaswini and Prasanna Kumar. His son, Prasanna Kumar passed away in 2015 at the age of 13, due to brain fever.