Interview
Yogi Babu is currently the most sought after comedian in Kollywood.
Facebook/Yogi Babu

Pick almost any entertainer in Tamil cinema, and there’s one man who’s sure to be a part of it. Yes we are talking about Yogi Babu, easily the busiest comedian in Kollywood right now. TNM caught up with the actor who is currently juggling between two of the biggest films being canned in the industry – Thalapathy62 and Viswasam.

While most famous comedians in the industry always have a team behind them to pen ripostes and comic lines, Yogi Babu stands out from the lot for being someone who does not need even a single person helping him with his part.

“Leave alone having a team, I have never even spoken dialogues from another outsourced writer. All of my comedy is spontaneous, after working out the situation with the director. For some specific scenarios, the comedy is written beforehand by the director or the writer, where we will not have a say. But otherwise, it’s just me,” he says.

Asking him about his exclusive style that is a favourite with all audiences, he says, "I don’t think I have a style of my own, I just behave on screen normally just like I am in real life. Thankfully, the audience finds it funny and it has worked in my favour.”

After being treated only as a comedian in his other films, Yogi Babu’s character in Manikandan’s Aandavan Kattalai stood out from the rest, as it held a solid amount of emotions as well. The actor is quick to agree on the same, saying, “It was Vijay Sethupathy who asked me to tone down my wisecracks in the serious portions of the film. I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without his support. When I went for the theatre visit, the entire hall was silent for those ten minutes. I’ll always look back at it as one of my most important films ever.”

Yogi Babu has already worked with almost all the top heroes in Tamil cinema, ranging from Vijay to Suriya to Sivakarthikeyan, Vijay Sethupathy, GV Prakash and now Ajith. Viswasam is the actor’s 100th film, which he has signed in a very short span of time. Apart from these films, what Yogi has scored with recently, is the hit number ‘Kalyaana Vayasu’ from Kolamaavu Kokila, where the actor is seen romancing Nayanthara.

“Her fans are screaming at me already,” he says, with a laugh. “This actually happened after the entire shoot of the film was over, when director Nelson called me and informed me about a montage song shoot with Nayanthara and myself. I was shell shocked, in fact uncomfortable. I’m happy that Nayanthara herself took it so sportively, being such a top heroine, it’s great of her.”

Interestingly, Yogi Babu says that he is not here in the industry to quote high remunerations and get rich. “Even if I have ten lakhs in hand, I will be overthinking on what to do with it. A lot of producers have asked me why I take less money, but that’s because I’m here to please everybody and make friends. Maybe that is the reason why I’ve done a 100 films so quickly.”

When asked about which hero in the industry he is interested to work with, Yogi Babu replies, “Having worked with almost all heroes, I am looking forward to share the screen with Dhanush soon. Hope things fall into place.”

Yogi Babu admits that he is facing a problem with scheduling his call sheets after the strike, since he has signed several films. According to him, there are people within the industry who are blaming him for committing to a lot of projects at the same time. However, he says that will deal with it without any panic, even if he is handed a red card. To keep up with the schedules, he is taking up multiple shoots simultaneously, during the night and day, accommodating as much as possible.

When it comes to the type of comedy he has been associated with, the actor has sometimes been body shamed and trolled for his appearance in many films. While a section of the audience have found it hurtful, Yogi Babu thinks otherwise: “It’s normal. Sometimes I myself ask for it. I don’t have the looks of a Vijay or Ajith, people will tear off the screen if I say that. Take the example of Vadivelu sir – in some situations, even kids have made fun of him on screen. The same with Goundamani sir and Senthil sir, who are my favourites. I think body language is an important aspect of comedy, I’m happy to use it this way.”

However, Yogi Babu does draw the line at times. “It is okay to get insulted on screen. What I will not do, is double entendre. It won’t be nice to watch my film with my parents, where I’ve indulged in smutty humor. So I refrain from that. It has happened previously in a couple of occasions, but that’s something to be avoided in the future,” says the actor.

Yogi Babu’s next release will be the GV Prakash starrer Sema, which hits the screens on May 25. The actor has quite a bit of screentime in the film, with his character travelling along with the hero. “I’ve also signed another upcoming biggie, the announcement will come very soon,” he signs off.

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