Jaishankar (12 July 1938 – 3 June 2000) was an Indian actor known for his work in Tamil cinema. He was credited onscreen with title of Makkal Kalingnar Jaishankar in most of the films starring him and is sometimes referred to as the "Thennagathu James Bond" (South Indian James Bond) because of his roles in films such as Vallavan Oruvan and CID Shankar.
Jaishankar was called Subramaniam Shankar at birth, on 12 July 1938. His father was a magistrate, and Jaishankar was educated at PS High School and The New College, Chennai, where he was awarded an honours degree. He studied law but gave it up after a year because of his interests in the theater and other art forms.
He joined Cho's Viveka Fine Arts, which consisted mostly of Mylaporeans where he did insignificantly small roles. Obviously not happy he moved out and the break came with Koothabiran's Kalki Fine Arts where he made a mark playing a lead role in Kalki's 'Amara Thaara'.
In an era dominated by Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran and Gemini Ganesan, he created his own niche with portrayals of Westernised characters. He was popularly known as South Indian James Bond because of his roles as the investigative detective in Vallavan Oruvan and CID Shankar, and "Friday star" because he invariably had a release every week, He was also adept at comedy and contemporary portrayals as seen in Pattanathil Bhootham, Noottrukku Nooru and Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum. With the emergence of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan, he began to play villain and father roles in many films, among them Murattu Kaalai, Apoorva Sagodharargal and Thalapathi.
He is also remembered for his philanthropy as he helped the needy without any publicity.
Among his more memorable roles was the teacher's role in the K Balachander film, Noothukku Nooru. His first film was Iravum Pagalum, which had also been the title of his debut film.
Jaishankar died of heart attack on 3 June 2000, at the age of 61 in Chennai. He is survived by his wife and sons.
Each year his son, Dr.Vijay Shankar, conducts 15 free eye surgeries on his father's birthday. He planned to create a trust in his father's memory and conduct these camps on a larger scale and later include some more specialities like cardiac surgeries also.