Jai (actor)

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Jai at Nadigar Sangam Election.jpg
Jai Sampath

(1984-04-06) 6 April 1984 (age 37)
OccupationFilm actor
Years active2002 - present
RelativesSrikanth Deva (cousin)
Deva (uncle)
Sabesh-Murali (uncles)

Jai Sampath, who is known mononymously as Jai, is an Indian actor working in Tamil films. The nephew of noted music composer Deva & the cousin of music director Srikanth Deva, Jai had worked as a keyboardist in films and had made his acting debut in a supporting role in Bagavathi (2002). In 2007, he successfully auditioned for a leading role in Venkat Prabhu's sports film Chennai 600028.

Jai subsequently garnered praise for diverse roles, including a villager on holiday in Goa (2010), a timid factory worker in Engaeyum Eppothum (2011) and a customer care executive in the romantic drama Raja Rani (2013), which became his biggest commercial successful film. He made his debut as a singer with the tamil movie Jarugandi (2018).[2]

Personal life[edit]

Born into a family of musicians, Jai has stated that music was close to his heart and that it influenced him in his "growing years", particularly crediting his uncle, the composer Deva. He completed his schooling in Lamech School, Valasaravakkam, Chennai. He completed fifth grade in keyboard from Trinity College London and has said that he likes to be involved in the music compositions of his films. He has called himself a "huge fan" of Yuvan Shankar Raja's work, saying that he has "often dreamt of surpassing his work as a composer someday".[1]

Acting career[edit]

2002–2008: Debut and breakthrough[edit]

Jai made his film debut at age 16 as Vijay's younger brother in the 2002 film Bhagavathi, with director A. Venkatesh choosing Jai as a result of his striking similarity in appearance to Vijay.[3] Jai was then set to make his debut in a lead role in a remake of the Telugu film 6 Teens, but the film never took off, as well as through Velmurugan's Ammu and Nambiraj's Touch but neither film materialised.[4][5][6] Several other offers came his way including roles in Alai (2003) and Devathayai Kanden (2005), but Jai was insistent that he earn his place in the film, rather than being chosen on the basis that he was music composer Deva's nephew.[7] He instead chose to concentrate on a career in music, often working for Deva's films a keyboardist alongside his cousins, music composers Srikanth Deva and Bobo Shashi.

His friend, the singer Yugendran, recommended Jai to audition for a role in Venkat Prabhu's directorial debut Chennai 600028 (2007), based on gully cricket. He was the only actor to be auditioned amongst the eleven lead roles and was the final selection for the film.[8] The success of the film began an association with Venkat Prabhu and Jai has repeatedly collaborated in Prabhu's ventures through leading or cameo roles. He was then selected to play a leading role by debutant director Sasikumar in Subramaniapuram (2008), after he had seen him at Deva's residence and Jai signed up for the film without hearing the script under the basis that it was to be produced by director Ameer.[7] The film, set in a Madurai village of the 1980s, told the story of a series of violent happenings on the backdrop of a love story and Jai grew a long beard to reflect the 1980s look for the project. Critics raved about Jai's performance in the film, with a reviewer noting: "Jai, as the romantic killer is the pick of the lot" and that he "lives the role".[9][10] After finding himself unable to appear in a role in Venkat Prabhu's Saroja due to his long beard, he organised and helped plan a scene that would feature cameo appearances from several actors from their first films.[11] Jai subsequently chose to make a switch from acting in off-beat films and attempted to make a career as an actor in commercial films.[8]

2009–2010: Setback[edit]

In March 2009, Jai ran into trouble for making controversial comments about the potential box office fare of his future films that he had signed in that period. The actor, who was filming for Vaamanan, Aval Peyar Thamizharasi, Adhe Neram Adhe Idam and Arjunan Kadhali at the time, revealed that only Vaamanan would do well and the rest would become financial failures. The producer of his films also revealed they wanted to take action against Jai for "making such irresponsible and damaging statements about his own films."[12] Initially, the Nadigar Sangam council had asked him to complete his pending assignments before he could start work on any other project, beginning with Venkat Prabhu's Goa. The film's producer, Soundarya Rajinikanth, intervened and bailed Jai out of the ban.[13] His next release Ahmed's Vaamanan (2009), an action thriller featuring Priya Anand, Lakshmi Rai and Rahman, marked his first commercial role with a critic noting: "from swift stunts to rapid dance movements, Jai has got it all". The film did not replicate the commercial success of his previous ventures, though his performance was described as "commendable".[14] Meanwhile, Adhe Neram Adhe Idam opened to unanimous negative reviews, with a reviewer noting that Jai "with his sleepy eyes looks like he really doesn't want to be in this film at all".[15]

He was then seen in Venkat Prabhu's romantic comedy Goa (2010), where he played a villager on a coming-of-age trip to Goa alongside Vaibhav Reddy and Premgi Amaren. Jai's temporary ban from films had delayed the project and he once again grew a beard to portray his character of Ramarajan. Despite positive hype surrounding the film prior to release, it only won average reviews and collections at the box office. He appeared in Aval Peyar Thamizharasi with different looks throughout the film to reflect his character's growth, with the main ones being that of an eighteen-year-old boy and a twenty-eight-year-old man. He shed weight to sport the school boy look and later added weight and muscle to look a matured man in his late twenties for the film.[16] Critics lauded Jai's performance, citing: "he shows that he is in the process of grooming himself to become a well-rounded actor" and "that he can bring in complex emotions on his face at the drop of a hat", but the film did not fare well at the box office. Similarly, his performance in the romantic film Kanimozhi was described "as endearingly likeable" and that "he had come out with a natural performance", but the film failed commercially.[17] Discussing his five consecutive failure films, Jai admitted that during that period in his career, he had chosen to feature in films without considering the true scope of its potential success, only to avoid a long gap between releases. Since then, he has actively chosen to associate himself with big banner films rather than ventures by debut production houses in order to ensure that his films are well publicized prior to release.[3]

2011–2013: Success in multi-starrers[edit]

After his string of failures, Jai signed up to play a role in AR Murugadoss's debut production Engaeyum Eppothum (2011), after being impressed by Saravanan's script. Portraying a timid working class professional, his role was well received and the film performed well at the box office. A critic noted: "the highlight of the film is its lead actors Anjali, Ananya, Jai and Sharwanand who live the role of the characters they play".[18] Jai then accepted to play a secondary role in Atlee's Raja Rani (2013), and admitted he was initially apprehensive about accepting the offer, only choosing to do so after being convinced by the film's climax. He mentioned that he wanted to portray a memorable guest role like that of Karthik in Mani Ratnam's Mouna Raagam, and worked hard to get into the skin of his character, Surya, taking close to ten takes in certain scenes.[3] His second release of the year was the fantasy comedy Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham (2013), where Jai played a Siddha doctor who becomes deserted on an island after a bachelor party with his three friends. The film opened to mixed reviews and became an average grosser at the box office.[19][20]

2014-present: Recent work[edit]

Jai carried on featuring as the lead actor, as opposed to multi-starrer films, between 2014 and 2016 albeit to limited success.[21] His first release in the period, the comedy film Vadacurry (2014) opened to positive reviews from critics and performed well at the box office, with a critic noting: "Jai is good with romance and comedy, so the role is perfect for him".[22] His subsequent releases including Aascar Films' romantic-comedy Thirumanam Ennum Nikkah (2014) alongside Nazriya and Valiyavan (2015), co-starring Andrea Jeremiah, where the former performed average and the latter performed poorly at the box office, while also receiving negative reviews.[23][24] Likewise, his two releases in 2016, Manimaran's social drama Pughazh (2016) and Gautham Menon's long-delayed production Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum (2016), where he portrayed a mail carrier, also performed average at the box office. During the period, producer T. Siva spoke out against Jai for failing to promote his films despite his lack of stardom.[25] Following a string of unsuccessful films, Jai experienced critical and commercial acclaim with his role in Venkat Prabhu's sequel Chennai 600028 II (2016), where he reprised his role of Raghu from the original film. The story revolved around the reunion of the old cricket team for the wedding of Jai's character, and opened to positive reviews in December 2016, with critics stating that Jai made "a good comeback".[26][25][27] In 2017, Jai appeared in the romantic comedy film Enakku Vaaitha Adimaigal, portraying an IT worker who is unlucky in love.[28] In late 2018, he signed Madhura Raja alongside Mammootty marking his debut in Malayalam Cinema which was release in April 2019.[29] Then next, Neeya 2 (2019), a romantic horror film.[30] His 25th film, Capmaari was directed by S. A. Chandrasekhar.[31]

Racing career[edit]

Jai is also a car racer. "Crazy about racing" since his childhood, he said he was inspired by Tamil actor Ajith Kumar to get into racing.[1] In June 2014, he participated in his first car racing tournament, the JK Tyre National Racing Championship at the Irungattukottai Race Track in Sriperumbudur.[32]

Jai was arrested for allegedly driving a car under the influence of alcohol and hitting a divider in Adyar. Sources said the actor was booked in 2014 after his vehicle rammed a median near Kasi Theatre. The police have recommended the cancellation of his license.[33]


Year Film Role Notes
2002 Bhagavathi Guna Debut movie as an actor
2007 Chennai 600028 Raghuvaran
2008 Subramaniapuram Azhagar
Saroja Himself Cameo appearance
2009 Vaamanan Anand
Adhe Neram Adhe Idam Karthik
2010 Goa Vinayagam
Aval Peyar Thamizharasi Jyothi Murugan
Kanimozhi Rajesh
2011 Ko Himself Cameo appearance
Engaeyum Eppothum Kathiresan
2013 Raja Rani Suriya Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Tamil
Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham Ramarajan
Biriyani Jai Kanth Cameo appearance
2014 Bramman Himself Cameo appearance
Vadacurry Sathish
Thirumanam Ennum Nikkah Vijayraghavan Chari (Abu Bakar)
2015 Valiyavan Vinod
Masss Kathiresan Special appearance
Vaalu Himself Special appearance
2016 Pugazh Pugazhendhi
Idhu Namma Aalu Suriya Guest appearance
Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum Tamilselvan
Chennai 600028 II Raghuvaran
2017 Enakku Vaaitha Adimaigal Krishna
Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae Jai Cameo appearance
Balloon Jeeva, Charlie, Himself
2018 Kalakalappu 2 Raghu
Jarugandi Sathya
2019 Madhura Raja Chinnan Malayalam movie
Neeya 2 Sarva & Vikram
Capmaari Vijay
2021 Breaking News Filming
Yenni Thuniga Kathir Filming
Party Charlie Delayed
Kuttrame Kuttram - Susienthiran Filming
Shiva Shivaa - Susienthiran Filming

Also music director

Untitled project with Gopi nainar Filming

Web series[edit]

Year Program Name Role Network Notes Ref.
2020 Triples Ram Kumar Hotstar [34][35]


Year Film Notes
Shiva Shivaa - Susienthiran Filming


Shivudu - Susienthiran Filming



  1. ^ a b c Catching up with Tamil actor Jai. GulfNews.com (19 June 2014). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  2. ^ "'Jarugandi' producer supports Jai!". Sify. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Subha J Rao (26 October 2013). "Back in the race". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20030624022305/http://www.chennaionline.com/entertainment/filmplus/thirumalai.asp
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20041108091310/http://www.dinakaran.com/cinema/english/cinenews/2002/april/24th.html
  6. ^ "A Tamil entertainment ezine presenting interesting contents and useful services". Nilacharal. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  7. ^ a b Stardom smiles on Jai – CHEN. The Hindu (28 July 2008). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b Life isn't the same – CHEN. The Hindu (6 November 2009). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  9. ^ Review : Subramaniapuram. Sify.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  10. ^ Review: Subramaniyapuram. Rediff.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  11. ^ Actor Jai – Behindwoods.com – Tamil Movie Actor – Vamanan Subramaniapuram Goa Chennai-28. Behindwoods.com (21 January 2009). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Breaking News- Jai in a jam!". Sify.com. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Jai goes Goa!". The Times Of India.
  14. ^ Vamanan – Behindwoods.com – Tamil Movie Reviews – Vamanan Jai Rahman Priya Lakshmi Rai Santhanam. Behindwoods.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  15. ^ Review : Adhe Neram Adhe Idam. Sify.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  16. ^ Actor Jai – Tamil Movie Interview – Aval Peyar Tamilarasi | Jai | Nandagi | Moser Baer Entertainment. Behindwoods.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  17. ^ Sify Movies – Review listing. Sify.com (2 December 2012). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  18. ^ Sify Movies – Review listing. Sify.com (2 December 2012). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  19. ^ Review : Naveena Saraswathi Sabadam. Sify.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  20. ^ Review: Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham disappoints – Rediff.com Movies. Rediff.com (3 December 2013). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  21. ^ "The 5 WORST Tamil heroes". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Review: Vadacurry is worth a watch". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  23. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj. "Thirumanam Enum Nikkah: Wedding woes". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  24. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj. "Valiyavan: An easy contender for the year's worst screenplay". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Actor Jai does a Thala Ajith, irks Chennai 600028 II producer". 15 September 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Review : Chennai 28 - II review: Satisfying watch". www.sify.com. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  27. ^ Menon, Vishal. "Chennai 600028 II: Life's a pitch". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  28. ^ https://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/enakku-vaaitha-adimaigal-movie-review-this-jai-starrer-is-a-hotchpotch-of-cliches/story-yF346ucCGOtJMxtXWEWJfP.html
  29. ^ http://www.newindianexpress.com/entertainment/review/2019/apr/15/madhura-raja-review-mammootty-shines-in-an-improved-sequel-1964357.html
  30. ^ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/tamil/movie-reviews/neeya-2/movie-review/69492172.cms
  31. ^ https://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movies-cinema-news-16/first-look-of-sacs-next-a-film-with-jai-and-athulya-released.html
  32. ^ Jai gears up for his first car race – Times of India. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com (20 June 2014). Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  33. ^ "Tamil actor Jai arrested for drunk driving". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 22 September 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 4 March 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  34. ^ Kumar, Pradeep (4 December 2020). "Karthik Subbaraj: 'Triples' is a tribute to Crazy Mohan". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Karthik Subbaraj to produce a web series starring Jai and Vani Bhojan". India Today. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.

External links[edit]