Manobala (1953-2023) was an Indian actor, film director, producer, comedian, and YouTuber. He mainly worked in Tamil films. On 3 May 2023, he died of liver-related ailments at his residence in Chennai. The Indian Express
Manobala Mahadevan Instagram – Manobala Mahadevan born as Balachander YouTube – Touring Talkies was born on Tuesday, 8 December 1953 (age 69 years; at the time of death) in Marungoor, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. He did his graduation in painting at the Government College of Arts, Tamil Nadu. India Herald
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information available about his parents and siblings.
Wife & Children
He was married to Usha Mahadevan. His son, Harish Mahadevan, works in the USA.
Manobala acted in more than 350 films.
In 1979, he made his debut as an actor with the Tamil film ‘Puthiya Vaarpugal’ in which he played the role of a panchayat member.
Some of his Tamil films from the 90s era are ‘Gopurangal Saivathillai’ (1982), ‘Gangai Karai Paattu’ (1995), ‘Swarnamukhi’ (1998), ‘Minsara Kanna’ (1999), and ‘Sethu’ (1999).
Gradually, he started gaining popularity as a comedian in Tamil films. He then acted in Tamil films like ‘Nala Damayanthi’ (2003), ‘Ethir Neechal’ (2013), ‘Aranmanai’ (2014), ‘Ghajinikanth’ (2018), and ‘Murungakkai Chips’ (2021).
His last released film is the Tamil film ‘Ghosty’ (2023).
In 2008, he made his Telugu film debut with the film ‘Kathanayakudu’ in which he played the role of a sub-inspector.
Some of his other Telugu films are ‘Punnami Naagu’ (2009), ‘Manasunu Maaya Seyake’ (2014), ‘Dega’ (2016), ‘Rajadhi Raja’ (2016), and ‘Mahanati’ (2018).
In 2018, he made his Malayalam film debut with the film ‘B. Tech’ in which he played the role of Mano.
He acted in a few other Malayalam films like ‘Jomonte Suvisheshangal’ (2017) and ‘Viddikalude Mash’ (2022).
Manobala made his TV debut as an actor with the Tamil serial ‘Alli Rajjiyam’ (2005; Sun TV) as Namachivayam.
Some of his other Tamil TV serials are ‘Maya’ (2018; Sun TV) and ‘Sembaruthi’ (2020; Zee Tamizh).
In 1978, he made his debut as an assistant director with the Tamil film ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail.’
He directed many Tamil films like ‘Paaru Paaru Pattanam Paaru’ (1986), ‘Dhoorathu Pachai’ (1987), ‘Moondrezhuthil En Moochirukkum’ (1991), ‘Annai’ (2000), and ‘Naina’ (2002).
In 1986, he worked as a director in the Kannada film ‘December 31.’
In 1990, he directed the Hindi film ‘Mera Pati Sirf Mera Hai.’
He directed a few Tamil TV serials such as ‘Panchavarnam’ (1999; Sun TV), ‘Punnagai’ (2007; Sun TV), and ‘777’ (2009; Polimer TV).
In 2019, he started his YouTube channel ‘Manobala’s Waste Paper’ in which he uploaded interviews of various South Indian celebrities. He had around 449k subscribers on his channel.
In 2001, he directed the Tamil telefilm ‘Siragugal.’ The telefilm was aired on Sun TV. In 2019, he dubbed the animated character Zazu (originally dubbed by John Oliver) in the Tamil version of the Hollywood animated film ‘The Lion King.’ In 2022, he participated as a contestant in the Tamil reality TV show ‘Cooku with Comali season 3.’ The show was aired on Star Vijay.
- 2015: Best Debutant Producer by SIIMA – Tamil
- 2019: Best Comedian by M. G. Ramachandran Awards
- 2021: Jananaayakan Pride of Tamil Cinema
- 2022: Honorary Doctorate by Global Achievers
- 2022: Subaskaran Udhayanidhi Stal Sivakarthikeyan Award
Note: He won many more awards.
On 3 May 2023, Manobala died of liver-related ailments. Fifteen days before his death, he felt unwell and was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Later, he was shifted to his residence in Saligramam, Chennai. In January 2023, he had an angio-treatment. The Indian Express On his demise, the legendary South Indian actor Rajinikanth tweeted,
I am deeply saddened by the passing away of my dear friend Manobhala, a famous director and actor. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
- He was lovingly called Mano by his family and friends.
- Manobala was a part of the South Indian actor-director group ‘Azhwarpet’ including Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam, and Santhana Bharathi. During their struggling days, the members of the group used to stay at Kamal’s house.
- In one of his interviews, he shared that he was once a chain smoker. His friends used to call him Chimney, as he smoked around 200 cigarettes a day, adversely affecting his health. He also had breathing issues which affected his work. India Today He said,
When I was at my peak as a director, I had a terrible cigarette habit. They called me ‘Chimney’ because I kept smoking. Hindi actress Rekha tied two panparak pockets and hung them around my neck. The arrangement is to tap the cigarette ash into it. I smoked 200 cigarettes a day. That’s why all my bones are weak. In fact, at one point, doctors said that if I smoked one cigarette, I would die. That’s when I stopped.”
- Manobala was a spiritual person and used to visit various temples.
- He loved travelling, dancing, listening to music, and reading books.
- His blood group was B+.
- In 2020, he was appointed as the president of Chinnathirai Nadigar Sangam.
- In 2021, he was selected as one of the jury members of the Blacksheep Digital Awards.
- On 27 February 2022, he was appointed as one of the members of the Tamil Nadu Film Directors Association.