Sathyaraj (born 3 October 1954) is an Indian film actor and media
personality who has predominantly appeared in Tamil films. He is
popularly known for his works in
Baahubali (franchise) and Chennai
Express. He started his career in villainous roles and later played
lead roles. He has acted in over 200 films, including Telugu,
Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada films. He met with success with his lead
Vedham Pudhithu (1987),
Nadigan (1990), Amaidhi Padai
(1994) and the Tamil Nadu government-sponsored film Periyar (2007). He
also received acclaim for supporting roles in Nanban (2012), Raja Rani
(2013) and his role as Karikala
Kattappa Nada in the two-part epic
Baahubali. He was also the director of the film Villadhi Villain
(1995), starring himself in three different roles.
In 2011, he had a brief career as a television host for the game show
Home Sweet Home on STAR Vijay. He has also served as a brand
Pothys and Kumaran Jewelry Shop.
1 Early life
2.1 1978–1985: Early career
2.2 1986–1988: Lead roles
2.3 1989–1999: Breakthrough
2.4 2000–2009: Comedy and Drama films
3 Personal life
5 Awards and nominations
7 External links
Sathyaraj was born as Rangaraj on 3 October 1954 to Subbaiyan and
Nathambal, with two younger sisters, namely Kalpana Mandradiar and
Roopa Senapathy (wife of Dr. Periannan Senapathy). He is an ardent fan
of M. G. Ramachandran.
Sathyaraj completed his primary school
education in St Mary's Convent school,
Coimbatore and later studied
for tenth standard from Suburban High School, Ramnagar, Coimbatore. He
went to Government Arts College,
Coimbatore for a Bachelor of Science
degree in Botany.
Sathyaraj's dream was to become a film actor, but his mother was
against it and forbid him to join cinema. In 1976, in spite of his
mother's opposition, he left
Coimbatore to enter the Tamil film
industry based in Kodambakkam, Chennai.
Sathyaraj entered the film industry after witnessing the shooting of
the film Annakili, where he met actor
Sivakumar and producer Thiruppur
Manian. He joined the drama troupe of Komal Swamynathan.
Sathyaraj's first film in a credited role as an actor was Sattam En
Kaiyil, in 1978, where he played a henchman to the main villain
played by Thengai Srinivasan in the film. Later, he worked as
production manager for the film Kannan Oru Kaikkuzhanthai. In
addition to his managerial role, he also had a small acting part in
the film. His first film as the leading hero in Tamil was Saavi in
1985, which was a box office success, but his character was negative
one. He acted in about 75 films from 1978 to 1985 till films such as
Kaakki Sattai and Vikram (1986) starring Kamal Hassan, most of which
Sathyaraj in antagonist roles.
1978–1985: Early career
In his early career between 1978 and 1982, the negative roles he
played were often henchman to the main villain M. N. Nambiar and other
villains and his role would be minuscule, while the main lead was
Sivaji Ganesan, Jai Shankar, Kamal Hassan or Rajinikanth. His college
Sathyaraj for the first time in the Tamil
film January 1 in 1984, where
Sathyaraj had a supporting role.
Sathyaraj in about 25 films from 1984 to 2013 and
of them 18 had
Sathyaraj as the main lead. His screen space as a
villain increased after Irupatthi Naalu Mani Neram (1984), directed by
Manivannan, in which Sathyaraj's role was on par with that of lead
actor Mohan. His acting skills in the film were noticed by many
and he became famous among the Tamil film audience.
felt that his villainous roles in Nooravathu Naal and Anbin
Mugavari, both again directed by Manivannan, had better footage than
that of Vijayakanth's and Mohan's.
Sathyaraj started receiving
offers to act as the hero in Tamil films from 1985. Directors were
reluctant to cast him as the protagonist as his second film as a lead
actor Iravu Pookkal (1985) was not a success. Most of the films he was
part of were of the action genre in this period.
1986–1988: Lead roles
In the 1986 film Kadalora Kavithaigal, he played the lead romantic
role and Behindwoods said: "
Sathyaraj broke his image of an
action hero and came up with a rollicking performance. He is the real
star of the film." He received appreciation for playing his role
in Mr. Bharath (1986), which revolved around the conflict between
father, played by
Sathyaraj and son (Rajinikanth).
Sathyaraj acted as
Rajinikanth's father in the film, though he was in fact 4 years
younger than Rajinikanth. Manivanan, being friends with Sathyaraj,
kept casting him in pivotal roles in his directorial ventures,
regularly showcasing different emotions from
Sathyaraj in films such
as Vidinja Kalyanam, Palaivana Rojakkal and Muthal Vasantham. After
Sathyaraj had box office hits as the lead hero
between 1986 and 1988 such as Kadamai Kanniyam Kattupaadu, Makkal
En Pakkam, Mandhira Punnagai (in which he had dual roles), Poovizhi
Vasalile, En Bommukutty Ammavuku, Chinappadas and Annanagar Mudhal
Theru. Manivanan from 1987 onward started casting
positive roles and their combination had box office hits like
Jallikkattu, Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi, Ganam Kortaar Avargale and
Chinnappadas in this period.
Sathyaraj received the Best Tamil Actor
award in Filmfare Awards South for his performance in Vedham Pudhithu
In Needhiyin Nizhal (1985), which featured Prabhu in the lead role,
Sathyaraj had a minuscule supporting role and played second fiddle to
the main villain M.N. Nambiar, but by 1988,
Sathyaraj had established
himself as a leading actor and in Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi, in
which Prabhu and
Sathyaraj were cast in the starring role, Prabhu's
character played second fiddle to Sathyaraj's character. He played a
bespectacled leading man in the commercially successful Ganam Courtaar
Avargaley and his performance was critically acclaimed and it
established him as a versatile actor.
His 99th film was Dravidan and his 100th film was Vaathiyaar Veettu
Pillai, but the latter fared better at the box office. After 1988, he
had very few unsuccessful film such as Jeeva, Madurai Veeran Enga
Saami, Pangali, Magudam and Kattalai in this period as he became
selective of choosing his roles as main lead hero. In the 90s, he
attempted more films of comedy and action genres and occasionally did
romantic films. Many of them were commercially successful, such as
Velai Kidaichuduchu, Airport, Veera Padakam, Nadigan, Pudhu Manithan,
Rickshaw Mama, Walter Vetrivel,
Thai Maaman and Azhagarsamy. Sathyaraj
played a dual role as father and son in the box office hit Amaidhi
Padai, which is considered among his best performances. With regard to
the film, he has stated: "I have no words for that film, as it took me
to the next level as an actor". He also said that he almost did
not sign up for the film as it was a negative character and he had
moved away from negative roles and "gained some respectability" with
films such as Poovizhi Vaasalile, Vedham Pudhidhu and Walter
Thai Maaman became successful in 1994, the same
Sathyaraj and director Guru Dhanapal decided to do their next
venture Maaman Magal in 1995, which was also a moderate hit. He
directed his first film in 1995 Villadhi Villain, which had him in
three distinct roles and it was a successful project.
His pairing opposite actress Kushboo and Meena became popular in this
decade. The box office hits of the pair Kushboo-
Nadigan, Rickshaw Mama, Bramma, Kalyana Galatta, Malabar Police,
Suyamvaram and Unnai Kann Theduthey, whereas Thozhar Pandian and
Veeranadai were not successful at the box office. The on-screen pair
of Sathyaraj-Meena together had average grossers such as Thai Maman,
Maman Magal, Valal and later in 2003 with Aalukkoru Aasai. His
chemistry with actors Goundamani and Senthil has been well received
and appreciated by the public and hence they have appeared in many
movies together from Vaazhkai Sakkaram in 1990 to Thangam in 2008.
2000–2009: Comedy and Drama films
The year 2000 proved to be unsuccessful for Sathyaraj. 4 films between
2000–01 Puratchikaaran, Veeranadai, Aandan Adimai and the comedy
film Looty were failures while his commercially successful films were
P. Vasu's comedy film Asathal, Sundar C's Unnai Kann Theduthey and G.
Sai Suresh's Kunguma Pottu Gounder. As many new young actors such as
Ajith Kumar, Vijay and Madhavan, who debuted in the 1990s had
established themselves successfully by 2000, and others such as Jeeva
and Srikanth made their mark in the mid-2000s and also since Sathyaraj
had been using wigs since 1985 in films as he had begun losing hair
since then, critics felt Sathyaraj's career as solo lead actor may end
Sathyaraj re-invented himself as a hero with the 2002 film
Maaran and as a romantic hero in Vivaramana Aalu and with his
performance in the comedy film Aalukkoru Aasai in 2003.
director Shakthi Chidambaram's combination gave 3 consecutive films,
Ennama Kannu, Maha
Nadigan and Englishkaran. Ennama Kannu was a super
hit. Few films like Sena, Ramachandra, Alagesan, and
Gowravargal received negative reviews in this decade. He co-starred
with his son
Sibiraj for the first time in
Jore which was average.
Bizhat described "It's interesting to watch the father – son
combination together in Jore.
Sathyaraj then acted with his son in
3 more films Mannin Maindhan, Vetrivel Sakthivel and Kovai Brothers,
in which the two were seen as brothers. In 2007, he produced a Tamil
film Lee, starring his son, which was critically acclaimed.
Films in the 2000s with
Sathyaraj in the lead role that fared well at
the box office were 6'2, Vanakkam Thalaiva, his 170th film
Kurukshetram (2006), Periyar and Thangam. He received the Vijay Award
for Best Actor for
Onbadhu Roobai Nottu
Onbadhu Roobai Nottu in 2007 and was also nominated
for his performance in Periyar in the same year, in which he portrayed
the life of social reformer and rationalist Periyar E. V. Ramasamy.
About the role he said, "I myself being a rationalist, I found it easy
to portray his character on screen. His principles and ideologies,
like fighting for women's liberation and untouchability, have
influenced me to a great extent".
A production still of his pan-India critically acclaimed role as
Kattappa (disguised here), from Baahubali: The Conclusion
He accepted pivotal supporting roles in Tamil films such as Aayiram
Vilakku, Uchithanai Muharnthaal, Nanban,
Thalaivaa and Raja Rani. In
Nanban, he played a college professor and won the Best Supporting
Actor awards at the Filmfare, Vijay and SIIMA ceremonies, while in
Thalaivaa, Raja Rani, Mirchi and
Chennai Express he played father
Manivannan worked together for the last
time in Nagaraja Cholan MA, MLA, which was Manivannan's 50th and last
directorial venture before his death. A sequel to Amaidhipadai, it was
also the 200th film of
Sathyaraj and became a box office bomb.
He ventured into Telugu cinema after long time as a supporting actor
Sankham in 2009 and later did Mirchi in 2012, both of which were
successful. He also entered Malayalam cinema with
Aagathan in 2009. He
played the critically acclaimed role of
Kattappa in Baahubali: The
Beginning (2015) and has reprised the role in the sequel Baahubali:
The Conclusion (2017).
In 2015, at the age of 60, the media and public at large rechristened
him as Kattappa, as he received nationwide popularity for his role in
India's biggest motion picture Baahubali: The Beginning. Since the
time he made his debut as junior artiste at 24 years of age, he had
been wanting to do a historical or a folklore film and it was his long
cherished dream. He quoted in an interview in 2015: "I am a great fan
of MGR who is popular in folklore films, like NTR in Telugu movies. My
dream of doing a folklore at 24 has been realised at 60 through
Rajamouli. I played Rajinikanth's father when I was 31 and Rajini was
35, so I never cared for age..it never mattered to me."
Sathyaraj was married to Maheswari in 1979, niece of producer
Sivakumar and the couple has a daughter Divya and a son
Sibiraj. His son
Sibiraj is also an actor. He is an
Manivannan shared a close friendship since college and
became frequent collaborators in notable films in Tamil cinema. The
Hindu wrote: "His (Manivannan's) friendship with actor Sathiyaraj
translated to several memorable moments on screen. Manivannan...along
Sathyaraj epitomised on screen what is colloquially known in
Tamil as "nakkal" (snideness)". According to Behindwoods.com,
Manivannan (as the director) and
Sathyaraj had 12 consecutive hit
films together beginning from 1987 to 1994; Jallikattu, Chinna Thambi
Periya Thambi, Ganam Kortaar Avargale, Manidhan Marivittan, Ullathil
Nalla Ullam, Vazhkkaichakkaram, Pudhu Manithan, Therku Theru Machan,
Government Mappillai and Amaidhi Padai. About working with
Manivannan, he has said that it "is a pleasure. There's no script, no
dialogue sheet. It's all in his head. But, he extracts great
Manivannan also acted together in
several films directed by other directors.
Sathyaraj was also personally close to Manivannan. He said: "I still
reminisce about the beautiful moments that I had with...Manivannan, a
genius of a person. In fact, he is the one who taught me many things
in life, and changed me, I became a good human from being just an
actor. Every day, we used to have conversations over the phone on a
wide range of topics. It was a 30-year relationship. No one could
understand me the way he did".
Manivannan died in 2013 and
Sathyaraj has said that just 24 hours before his death they had
discussed their next project and that he narrated him a story.
Awards and nominations
Filmfare Best Actor Award (Tamil) for Vedham Pudhithu
Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for Nadigan
Kalaimamani Award from the Government of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award (M.G.R Award)
Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for Periyar
2007 – Periyar Award for his role in the film Periyar
2007 – Vikatan Award for Best Actor for Periyar
Honorary Doctorate from Sathyabama University
Vijay Award for Best Actor for Onbadhu Roobai Nottu
Vijay Award for Best Supporting Actor for Nanban
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award (Tamil) for Raja Rani
2015 – IIFA Utsavam Award Best Supporting Actor for Baahubali
2015 – Vikatan Award Best Supporting Actor for Baahubali
2017 – Vikatan Award Best Supporting Actor for
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சத்யராஜ் நடித்த 'நூறாவது
நாள்' மகத்தான வெற்றி sathyaraj
acted nooravathu nal cinema history
^ பாரதிராஜா படங்களில்
கவிதைகள்' மூலம் கதாநாயகன்
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^ கதாநாயகனாக சத்யராஜ்
நடித்த 'கடலோரக் கவிதைகள்'
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^ BizHat.com –
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^ Lee Review – Tamil Movie Review by PVS. Nowrunning.com (20
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