Chennai: Popular Tamil playwright and theatre and film comedian ‘Crazy’ Mohan, whose rib-tickling one-liners and repartees won him a huge fan following, died here on Monday following a massive heart attack, a city hospital said.
Mohan (66) suffered “cardiac arrest following acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and the measures taken to resuscitate him did not succeed and he passed away at 2 PM,” a release from Kaveri hospital said.
He is survived by his wife and son.
The comedy legend’s over four-decade career began with him taking the theatre by storm with his hilarious middle-class centric content and laughter built on ubiquitous themes before he moved on to the silver screen.
An original, creative thinker, he successfully reprised his theatre expertise in cinema by clinging on to simple but hugely successful one-liners and wordplay, as seen in films like “Panchathantiram,” that went on to redefine comedy in Tamil films.
Mohan entered the movie industry after a successful career as a theatre personality. Noted director K Balachander’s “Poikkal Kudhirai” was his launch pad to cinema, for which he wrote the story and dialogues. The film was based on his laugh riot “Marriage made in saloon.”
An engineer by qualification, Mohan’s penchant for comedy found expression even during his college days and he went on to set up the Tamil drama troupe “Crazy Creations” in 1979.
The troupe, which came out with hugely successful plays, including the present day popular “Chocolate Krishna”, staged over 1,000 times, has been popular both in India and abroad.
He prefixed ‘Crazy’ to his name, synonymous with his theatre group and reminding his hit stage play “Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam (1976).”
Mohan’s association with Kamal Haasan, which began with ‘Aboorva Sagodarargal’ in 1989 evolved and eventually resulted in movies that became iconic for their comedy like “Panchathanthiram,” “Pammal K Sambandam,” and “Thenaali.”
He also penned scripts for several other super hit Haasan starrer films like “Avvai Shanmugi”, “Vasool Raja MBBS” and “Michael Madhana Kamarajan”, besides acting in many other movies.
Mohan wrote dialogues for the 1997 film ‘Ratchagan,’ in which Girish Karnad essayed the role of the heroine’s (Sushmita Sen) father. Incidentally, both passed away today.
A recipient of many awards, including the ‘Kalaimamani’ by the Tamil Nadu government, he first wrote the script for a college skit, the “Great Bank Robbery.”
His last work as a dialogue writer was for the drama “Crazy Premier League.” Totally, he has penned 25 full-length dramas, including Chocolate Krishna. His dramas have been staged over 6,500 times in India and abroad, including 150 plus shows in the USA.
He was also a painter and had an avid interest in writing ‘venba,’ a form of Tamil poetry.
Many from the southern film industry remembered Mohan for his contribution to the world of cinema and theatre.
Kamal Haasan paid rich tributes to his longtime associate and hailed him as a ‘Nagaichuvai Gyani,’ who possessed an envious childlike heart. Mohan played down his talent and was always people friendly, he said.
“Mohan’s comedy will continue to live through his fans,” Haasan said.
Tamil poet and film lyricist Vairamuthu said Mohan was also a good poet, whose Tamil ‘venba’ was flawless.
“Crazy Mohan sir is no more. What a sad day for cinema, theatre, laughter and life. There will never be another like him. Prayers for his soul. Deepest condolences to the family. He was a huge part of our collective Tamil consciousness and our ability to make or laugh at a joke,” actor Siddharth tweeted.
Music composer G V Prakash Kumar said, “No one can ever replace you Crazy Mohan sir… A legendary writer who will be missed forever…Condolences to the family…RIP Crazy Mohan.”
Noted comedian S Ve Shekar said Mohan’s death was a huge, irreparable loss. He had an “extraordinary sense of humour and his dialogues did not even have a small shade of double entendre.”
Chief Minister K Palaniswami said he was grieved to learn of Crazy Mohan’s demise.
Tracing Mohan’s career in stage and the silver screen which had its origin in his college days, he said the playwright carved a niche for himself in both the spheres.
Recalling the government bestowing him with the Kalaimamani award for his services, the Chief Minister said the screen writer’s passing away was a huge loss to filmdom and theatre and extended his condolences to the actor’s family.
In his condolence message, DMK President M K Stalin said Mohan created a fan following for himself through his comedy which made everyone laugh.
His death was a huge loss for the film industry and theatre, he said.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary T T V Dhinakaran said he was shocked by actor’s death.
“Crazy Mohan made lakhs of people laugh in dramas, the small screen and films,” he said, adding he has made several achievements in his 40-year career.
Mohan’s last rites will be conducted at 11 am on Tuesday, the comedian’s longtime associate S B Khanthan told PTI.