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New BBC Tamil series chronicles Tamil film comedy

MUMBAI: BBC Tamil is embarking on an exploration of film comedy with a new 15-part weekly radio series. From Sunday 30 March, ‘The History Of Tamil Film Comedy’ will look at the origins and evolution of comedy as a dominating genre in Tamil film industry.

From their beginnings in the silent movies and on to the ‘talkies’ age, Tamil films had developed a tradition of original comedy, with comedians such as N.S. Krishnan, Thangavelu, M.R.Radha, T.S.Baliah and Nagesh, and female comediennes such as Manorama, who dominated the silver screen in the early days. The tradition has continued, with a range of artistes firmly established in the comedy genre – Gaundamani, ‘Kovai’ Sarala, Vivek, Vadivel and Santhanam.

‘The History Of Tamil Film Comedy’ is produced and presented by the former BBC journalist, Sampath Kumar.

Kumar said, “Actors, directors, comedy writers, film critics and researchers, brought together in these programmes, share their memories, helping to chronicle the amazing story of Tamil film comedy. I had a wonderful experience working on this radio series, researching a genre that has brought so much joy and entertainment to so many lives”.

BBC programmes have explored various aspects of Tamil cinema in the past – from the impact of Tamil cinema on regional politics to the history of Tamil film music and the doyens of Tamil cinema.

BBC Tamil editor Thirumalai Manivannan said, “Through its nearly 100 years of vibrant history, the Tamil film industry has nurtured a uniquely original comedy tradition. Our new series highlights the fact that, as a genre, Tamil film comedy has reflected the Tamil cultural mores, occasionally drawing on the ‘non-Tamil’ traditions such as Hindi and Western slapstick comedy. We hope our audiences enjoy this addition to our Sunday schedule in the coming weeks.”