Crazy Mohan Dies, and With Him an Era of Comedy and Theatre

Crazy Mohan, Tamil playwright, screenwriter, comedian and actor suffered a cardiac arrest and died at 2 pm on Monday, 10 June. With the 66-year-old’s demise, the era of Tamil comedy theatre and comedy in Tamil films comes to an abrupt end.

With Girish Karnad’s death this morning as well, the day marks a grave loss for South Indian cinema.

Kamal Haasan paid tribute to Crazy Mohan’s ‘childlike’ attitude, his deep knowledge of comedy and the legacy he is leaving behind.

Also Read: Girish Karnad: Playwright, Activist Who Stood for Secular India

From Balachander to Kamal Haasan; He Wrote for Them All

Crazy Mohan’s first foray into cinema was as the screenwriter for K Balachander’s Poikkal Kuthirai (1983). Balachander had an eye for spotting exceptional talent – Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan... who went on to become legends in their own right.

Crazy Mohan is easily the biggest reason behind Kamal Haasan’s hit films, starting from the 90s up until 2004. Beginning with Aboorva Sagotharargal (Appu Raja) in 1989 to the remake of Munnabhai, Vasool Raja MBBS in 2004, it was Crazy Mohan’s whiplash comedy that conceived of a new generation in the genre: quick-repartee, pun-intended, alliterative and completely out of the box.

Crazy Creations and Chocolate Krishna

It was in 1979, three years after he had earned the ‘Crazy’ in his name for the hit Crazy Thieves in Paalavakkam, that Crazy Mohan founded ‘Crazy Creations’, his very own drama troupe. It would go on to produce the Maadhu series, Crazy series, Meesaianaalum Manaivi, Jurassic Baby and, of course, Chocolate Krishna.

In fact, Chocolate Krishna has such great recall that, as of 2018, it has been staged over 1,000 times, with Kamal Haasan attending the 100th show. How the troupe will manage without its lead actor and writer is anyone’s guess.

Within a small circle of his friends and well-wishers, Crazy Mohan is also known for his prolific (daily) short poems, composed in the venba meter which is rooted in classical Tamil. Typical to his authorial instinct, Crazy Mohan occasionally infused these poems with English words and phrases and derived puns of them, either by the way they sounded when mixed with another language or by their connotations.

Crazy Mohan will be deeply missed for his ingenious comedic timing, plays that were bastions of the slowly crumbling medium, and for the genuinely warm and funny person he was known to be. 

His legacy of incisive wit and affable comedy hinged on puns and alliteration will survive him as one of our greatest for a long time to come.

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