21 January 1980 (age 44) Pozhichalur, Chennai,Tamil Nadu, India (
Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum, Gethu
Kusha Lugha, Raakama, Usha
Vivek (actor), Vadivelu, Silambarasan
N Santhanam is an Indian film actor who has predominantly appeared in Tamil films as a comedian, but now appears in leading roles.
Beginning his career as a comedian on television shows, he rose to fame through his performances in Vijay TV'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. 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". 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 (2014), winning critical and commercial acclaim. In Dec 2015 Forbes India Magazine listed Santhanam in 2015 Celebrity 100, at the 52nd position and at 17 by Money Rank (earnings).
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. 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.
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". 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". 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". 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".
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. 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".
In 2016, after Dhilluku Dhuddu Santhanam has signed in an Untitled project produced by VTV Ganesh and Directed by Sethuraman.
Santhanam was involved in controversy when he made fun of Mukesh Harane, a 24-year-old tobacco user who died of oral cancer and features in health-risk warning cards before films, and a scene was immediately removed from the film All in All Azhagu Raja. In 2013, a dialogue laced with double entendres uttered by him in Endrendrum Punnagai created controversy. He was accused of making remarks against women; due to protests, the dialogue was removed from the film.
Paatha Oru LookulaInimey Ippadithan · 2015
Sivan MaganDhilluku Dhuddu · 2016
Athana Azhagayum (From "Innimey Ippadithaan")Inimey Ippadithan · 2015