A stand-up comedian, mimicry artist and an actor, Badava Gopi did so many achievements. Thiru K. Balachander, a veteran director, cast him in the 2005 film Poi, which marks the beginning of his film career. He has performed his comedy shows all over the world, and the show he created specifically for Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has earned him numerous accolades. He has worked as an actor, frequently playing comedic supporting roles.

How did you start your career?
I was a software engineer but I had an interest in mimicry, so I started participating in many college events. I used to compete with colleges like MCC, Loyola and Christ King College in Bangalore. I never dreamt of becoming an actor.

Every role you have played in movies so far is unique and versatile. How do you prepare yourself for the roles?
I observe and learn. Chances are really rare in the industry so I try to perform better in every role I get and that is how I can grow. For instance, I acted as a television journalist for Thodari (2016) for which I observed several television hosts and incorporated their body language into my performance. I always take challenging roles so that I can perform as realistic as possible.

You are said to be Venkat Prabhu’s go to choice for comic roles. How did it all start?
It started during the Chennai 600028 movie, where I played a role as a commentator. Venkat Prabhu was not available and that scene was directed by his assistants. I did the commentary without any script and it went viral. It opened me a platform for commentary.
I used to play cricket with my friends and I started mocking them once I was out and that is how commentary started. Game knowledge is essential along with humour that is how the concept will work.

About 3 movie:
In the movie I played a role as a tuition teacher and it went viral because of everyone’s performance in that scene. Actor Dhanush gave me the freedom to perform. But, even though I had freedom I cross-checked with him because sometimes humour works and sometimes it doesn’t.

In “3” movie Actor Sivakarthikeyan was a side actor. Did you have any idea that he will become the star he is today?
Sivakarthikeyan was successful in the field he was in. if there is a mass of 4 he will be famous for that. He was introduced as a contestant there he was a star performer. After that he was an anchor and he won hearts with his charm. Then he got his exclusive show in Vijay Television where he carried himself as a charmer and entertainer. His growth was stable and he stood out in everything he did. I think that only made him of what he is today.

“Sivakarthikeyan is extremely talented and a well-balanced character”
Tell me about your experience working with K. Balachander sir.

I was scared of him at the beginning because he screws people till he gets his desired shot. I was performing in a private hotel in Chennai and the crowd was cheering. K.B sir’s 75th birthday celebration was happening there and director Vasanth came down to see what was happening. After a while he came back with the news of K.B sir wanting me to attend an audition for his upcoming movie. I went to the audition and there was a huge crowd waiting. I barged in and did my performance and that is how I got my role in Poi movie. He was a good teacher and his way of teaching was hard but the 60 days working with him was a life lesson for me. He always expected actors to contribute to the role and he shaped the character the way he composed.

What is your opinion on stand-up comedy with double meaning jokes?
It’s just western influence I guess. People are tuned to laugh at bad words in English but when we say the same in Tamil people take that as an offence. It’s now purely based on the audience and their mindset. I think it is changing because of the western influence and other factors. We were the ones who started standup comedy, everything started in the east and it got modified and came back to us. Nowadays the general audience just likes the concept of double meaning jokes and normal jokes are not welcomed by the audience.

Lockdown was hard on everyone and people in the media field are the most affected ones. How was your lockdown?
It was hard for me too. I was doing world tours and all of a sudden everything stopped. To distract myself I started doing podcasts and once the movie shooting started I was fully into it.

Your experience with cricket commentary:
Celebrity league was hard for me because I cannot make fun of any stars. We have certain guidelines and since it is live, I was monitored by 4 people all the time. When it comes to players, Dhoni was my favourite. I will say that I like him. I even mimicked his voice and he genuinely appreciated me for that.

Your upcoming projects:
Am working with in a project with actor Jeyam Ravi in a movie and few more projects held up in a row.

Rapid fire:

1. What would be your field of choice if you didn’t come to cinema?

2. What’s your favourite food?
Bitter Gourd dishes.

3. Favourite actor and comedian?
Nagesh and V K Ramasamy.

4. Favourite field to work with?
Anything creative.

5. Your dream role
Sports mentor