Santhanam (actor)

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Santhanam at Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham Thanksgiving Meet.jpg
Santhanam at Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham's Thanksgiving Meet
OccupationFilm actor, producer
Years active2002–present
WebsiteOfficial website

N. Santhanam is an Indian film actor and producer whose main works are in Tamil cinema. Beginning his career as a comedian on television, he rose to fame through his performances in STAR Vijay's Lollu Sabha enacting the lead role in spoofs of Tamil films. He was subsequently given a chance by actor Silambarasan to feature in a supporting role in Manmadhan (2004) and then was signed on to appear in a host of films, notably winning good reviews for his work in Sachien (2005) and Polladhavan (2007). He appeared in a one-off leading role in Shankar's production Arai En 305-il Kadavul (2008) and subsequently became a staple feature as a comedian in successful Tamil films during the period, with his market popularity helping stuck films find distributors.[2][3]

Santhanam has also had embarked on collaborations with directors including gaining positive reviews for his work in M Rajesh's comic trilogy of Siva Manasula Sakthi (2009), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010) and Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (2012), winning the Vijay Award for Best Comedian for each one. He has also repeatedly collaborated in the films of A L Vijay, Siva and Sundar C as well as in films featuring Silambarasan, Arya and Udhayanidhi Stalin.

His consistently well-received performances and box office appeal in the early 2010s prompted the film industry to dub him as the "Comedy Superstar".[4] In 2012, he began a film production company named Handmade Films and produced his first film, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya (2013), which went on to become a commercially successful venture. Meanwhile in 2014, he starred in the leading role again in the action comedy Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham, winning critical and commercial acclaim.[5]


Unlike comedians such as Vadivelu and Vivek who usually appear in comedy tracks separate from the main plot, Santhanam mostly plays either the male protagonist's friend or enemy, forming an essential part of the plot.[2] He has noted that he actively avoided being a part of separate comedy tracks within films, maintaining that appearing as an actor in the story would stop his comedy from becoming monotonous.[6]

His appeal at the box office was evident after films such as Leelai and Kadhal Pisase were able to find distributors following long delays, while Telugu film-makers S S Rajamouli and Sai Kiran Adivi partially shot scenes with the actor before releasing a Tamil version of their Telugu films, through Naan Ee and Vinayaga.

Santhanam's first production venture, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya directed by Manikandan, became a commercially successful venture upon release in January 2013. Producing the venture under his newly formed studio Handmade Films, Santhanam opted to introduce a predominantly new cast and keep a low budget for the project understanding that film production had "previously ended the careers of many".[7] Featuring Santhanam as one of the three lead characters alongside his close friend and dermatologist Sethu and Power Star Srinivasan, the film was well received by critics, with a reviewer noting "there is a serious actor hidden somewhere inside Santhanam, who seems to be waiting for the right opportunity or role to break out of the comedian and sidekick roles he is confined to now", adding that "he can put many commercially successful actors to shame".[8] He featured a journalist in Kannan's comedy film Settai alongside Arya and Premgi Amaren, also serving as an assistant director, while he then also played a popular role of a love guru in Sundar C's Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru. He continued to feature in well received roles in commercially successful films like Raja Rani and Vanakkam Chennai, and his work in Endrendrum Punnagai with Jiiva and Vinay, was also praised with a critic noting that "with his spot-on comedy, measured histrionics and his immense likeability, he is a revelation and provides some hearty laughs".[9] A set-back came in the form of his fourth collaboration with Rajesh in All in All Azhagu Raja which became a surprise failure, and a critic wrote "though he does have his moments, the comedy seems to be forced, many of the scenes greatly exaggerated, and his portrayal of Kareena Chopra is a disaster".[10][11]

In 2014, he appeared in the leading role in Srinath's Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham, a remake of the 2010 Telugu film Maryada Ramanna. In preparation for the film, Santhanam lost weight, sported a different look and attended dance classes as well as reducing his work by being more selective on accepting other scripts.[12] The film opened in May 2014 to positive reviews and box office success with a critic noting that "it is a Santhanam show all the way" and that "he also delivers as a complete actor, displaying a range of emotions".[13]

Personal life[edit]

Santhanam grew up in Pozhichalur, near Pallavaram in Chennai. Santhanam married Usha in 2004 . It was an arranged marriage by their parents. They have three children.[14][15]


Santhanam was involved in controversy after he performed an impersonation of Mukesh Harane, a 24-year-old tobacco user who died of oral cancer and featured in health-risk warning cards before films in India, in the film All in All Azhagu Raja.[16][17] In 2013, a dialogue laced with double entendres uttered by him in Endrendrum Punnagai created controversy.[18] He was accused of making remarks against women; due to protests, the dialogue was removed from the film.[19]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2009 Siva Manasula Sakthi Vivek
2010 Boss Engira Bhaskaran Nallathambi
2011 Siruthai Kaatuppoochi
Vaanam Seenu SIIMA Award for Best Comedian
2012 Oru Kal Oru Kannadi Parthasarathy
2013 Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya KK Also producer
Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru Mokia/Sathish
2014 Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham Sakthi Also producer
2015 Inimey Ippadithaan Seenu Also producer
2016 Dhilluku Dhuddu Kumar
2017 Sakka Podu Podu Raja Santa Mariya
2019 Dhilluku Dhuddu 2 Viji Also producer
Accused No. 1 Saravanan


Year Show Role TV Channel
2000-2001 Tea Kadai Bench Win TV
2001–2004 Lollu Sabha STAR Vijay
2003 Annamalai Jeeva Sun TV
2003 Sagalai Vs Ragalai STAR Vijay


  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Tamil for Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Tamil for Siruthai (2011)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Tamil for Deiva Thirumagal (2011)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor - Tamil for Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (2012)
  • SIIMA Award for Best Comedian for Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (2012)
  • Vijay Award for Best Comedian for Aranmanai Kili (2014)


  1. ^ "I will write and direct a film soon: Santhanam". 8 December 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Santhanam the most wanted!". The Times of India. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ K. R. Manigandan (14 April 2012). "Comedy is serious business". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Santhanam named 'Comedy Superstar'".
  5. ^ "Santhanam Biography". Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  6. ^ subha j rao (20 March 2011). "Fun Factory". The Hindu.
  7. ^ subha j rao. "Everything to laugh about". The Hindu.
  8. ^ "Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya". The Times of India.
  9. ^ "Movie Review : Endrendrum Punnagai". Sify.
  10. ^ "Review: All in All Azhagu Raja is a waste of time". Rediff. 5 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Movie Review : All in All Azhaguraja-A profoundly irritating film". Sify.
  12. ^ Udhav naig. "The rise of a hero". The Hindu.
  13. ^ "Movie review 'Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham': Santhanam steals the show". Deccan Chronicle.
  14. ^ . thebridalitle= Santhanam Marriage: The Simple Shaadi Of The Popular Comedian. 16 August 2016 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Santhanam and His Lovely Wife Usha : How They Met and In Loved?". 7 November 2016.
  16. ^ "All in All Azhaguraja faces ban? – Times of India". 18 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Actor Santhanam's joke has anti-tobacco lobby fuming". The Times of India. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Santhanam Breaks his Promise – Tamil Movie News". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Santhanam's controversial dialogue removed, again – Times of India". 31 October 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.

External links[edit]