Siddharth Suryanarayan (born 17 April 1979) is an Indian film actor who is known for his roles in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi language films. Apart from acting, he has also been involved in films as a screenwriter, producer and playback singer. He has been featured in advertising because of his "pan-Indian" appeal.
Siddharth at screening of Chashme Baddoor, 2013
17 April 1979
|Alma mater||Kirori Mal College|
|Occupation||Film actor, producer, playback singer|
(m. 2003; div. 2007)
After completing his business management studies, Siddharth chose to work in film making and assisted Mani Ratnam, before going on to make an acting debut in S. Shankar's coming-of-age Tamil film Boys (2003). The success of the film provided an opportunity to feature in Mani Ratnam's multi-starrer Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004), before he branched off to receive critical and commercial acclaim in Telugu and Hindi cinema through Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005), Rang De Basanti and Bommarillu (2006). In the late 2000s, he established himself as a bankable lead actor in Telugu films and subsequently chose to become more selective with his projects, while also winning acclaim for his work as a carrom player in Striker (2010) and as a blind warrior in the fantasy film Anaganaga O Dheerudu (2011).
In 2011, he returned to Tamil films after a sabbatical and produced Balaji Mohan's commercially successful romantic comedy Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (2012). The actor then had a prolific year in 2014, winning critical acclaim and box office success for his two ventures; Jigarthanda, where he portrayed an aspiring film maker, and Kaaviya Thalaivan, in which he played an actor from the 1920s Madras theater scene.
Siddharth was born to a Tamil-speaking family in Chennai, India. He began his education at DAV Boys' Senior Secondary School, Chennai and then studied at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi. He subsequently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from Kirori Mal College, New Delhi. Siddharth participated extensively in extra-curricular activities during college, serving as the president of the college's debating society and attending the World Debating Championships. He then went on to complete his MBA from S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, while also ultimately winning a speaking skills competition which earned him the CNBC Manager of the year award in 1999.
Siddharth's first tryst with media came through dubbing for the Banish mosquito repellent ad in eight different languages in 1988, as instructed by his father's close friend, ad director Jayendra. He noted that he knew he was headed for a career in films since childhood, showing particular fascination for writing and directing, and thus only signed up for business school as a "safety cushion" as insisted upon by his father. He then briefly pursued amateur theatre during his time in Delhi through live stage performances with the theatre group Players, while also honing his writing and directorial skills.
After finishing his education, he apprenticed with ad film maker Jayendra and cinematographer P. C. Sreeram, who both helped him join as an assistant director for Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal. He worked on the film throughout 2001, also making an uncredited appearance as a passenger on a bus. The script writer of that film, Sujatha, was insistent that Siddharth audition for Shankar's ongoing project Boys (2003), where the director had hoped to cast new actors. After consulting with Mani Ratnam, Siddharth met Shankar for an audition and was signed on the following day to play the lead role of Munna. Siddharth shot for the film throughout 2002 alongside fellow debutants Genelia D'Souza, Bharath, Nakul, Thaman and Manikandan, while also suffering an injury which led to him being hospitalised for three days. The story centred on six youngsters, conveying a message about the importance of a good education and career over other distractions, such as romance and sex, and marked a move away from Shankar's usual brand of vigilante films, gaining much publicity prior to release. The film opened to mixed reviews but became a moderate success at the box office, with reviewers noting the ensemble cast as "excellent". Before the release of Boys, Siddharth signed on to feature in his mentor Mani Ratnam's political drama film, Aaytha Ezhuthu (2004) where he played the student Arjun Balakrishnan, a role which he described was similar to his real life persona. Featuring in an ensemble cast including Madhavan, Suriya and Trisha, Siddharth revealed that the sync sound method of filming that the team had employed, worked in his favour, as he was able to draw experience from his stage performances. The film was released in May 2004 to positive reviews, with a critic from The Hindu noting Siddharth's portrayal as "neat", while another reviewer noted that Siddharth "is cool and discovers his comic side with some great one-liners."
Siddharth then ventured into Telugu films by signing on to appear in Prabhu Deva's first directorial project, the romantic drama Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005) in which he was again paired alongside Trisha. Portraying the NRI youngster Santhosh, Siddharth revealed he worked hard to depict his character as "hyperactive, and unpredictable, to the point that the audience does not know what to expect from him" in order to differentiate the role from other NRI depictions in Indian films. He also was insistent that he dubbed for himself and learned the Telugu language during the making of the film. The film opened in January 2005 to unanimously positive reviews, with critics dubbing it a "must see". A reviewer from Idlebrain.com noted Siddharth is "the surprise" of the film, adding "he epitomized the essence of his character and won the hearts of audiences with his zest portrayal of mischievous yet lovable guy". Similarly Sify.com added "the surprise packet is Siddharth as the hyperactive, young man and he is just a riot". The film consequently went on to become an all-time blockbuster in the Telugu film industry, and Siddharth became a much sought after actor in Telugu films. The film also dominated award ceremonies the following year, with his performance winning him his first Filmfare Best Telugu Actor award for his portrayal of Santhosh. He then wrote the story and worked on the screenplay for his next release, the Telugu film Chukkallo Chandrudu (2006) directed by Sivakumar, also being credited as a playback singer for the first time. Described as a "sophisticated comedy film for multiplex crowds", it opened to mixed reviews with Siddharth's contribution described as a "redeeming factor", but failed at the box office.
The success of Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana saw Siddharth shift base to Hyderabad and pursue a career primarily in Telugu films, and was non-committal about taking up films in other languages. After rejecting an initial approach by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's team, he later agreed to work on the film Rang De Basanti (2006) after being impressed upon reading the film's bound script. He was further attracted to the offer through the opportunity of working with Aamir Khan as well as by the film's ensemble cast of Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor and Soha Ali Khan. The drama film tells the story of an incident of government corruption radicalising a group of friends from being carefree to passion-driven individuals. Rang De Basanti opened in January 2006 to unanimously positive reviews and went on to become a blockbuster, quickly gaining "classic" status from critics. It was chosen as India's official entry for the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film category, while also winning the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and Best Film at the Filmfare Awards. Portraying an angry, young man named Karan Singhania, Siddharth's performance was highly appreciated by critics, who stated he was "excellent". He was subsequently nominated in the Best Supporting Actor and Best Debut Actor categories for his performance at the Filmfare Awards, Zee Cine Awards and IIFA Awards.
Siddharth's next release was the Telugu family drama Bommarillu (2006), directed by Bhaskar. The film portrayed the relationship between a father and son, in which the father's excessive concern for his son, and interference in his life, leads to the latter harbouring bitterness towards his overbearing father. Cast opposite Genelia for the second time, Bhaskar revealed he chose Siddharth to play the lead role because of his similarities in body language with the character. During the shoot, the director praised the actor's versatility and dedication to the role, adding he was "mesmerised" after Siddharth performed a scene close to four minutes without a cut. Upon release in August 2006, several critics gave the film "classic" status, with Idlebrain.com noting it was "picture perfect". The lead pair won extremely favourable reviews, with a reviewer from Sify.com adding it is "another tailor-made role for Siddharth. He is very natural, charming and elegant" and he "melds effortlessly from a casual sangfroid to utter seriousness". Bommarillu went on to do blockbuster business in India, while proceeding to become the highest grossing Telugu film internationally at that date. He then worked with director Vishal Bhardwaj and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro on a short film titled Blood Brothers, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival as part of Mira Nair's AIDS Jaago project. His next release was Aata (2007), an action drama film alongside Ileana D'Cruz, for which he won positive reviews from critics. Following this, Siddharth chose to become cautious about his future ventures, revealing he "rather achieve with one good film at a time, as opposed to a barrage of mediocrity" and rejected a series of offers in Hindi and Telugu films.
Siddharth then went twenty months without a film release, taking a sabbatical and then working extensively on the making of his second Hindi film. He had two Telugu films which released in 2009, with the family drama Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam opposite Tamannaah receiving good responses from critics and audiences. Anand Ranga's Oye!, saw Siddharth appear in another role as a romantic hero and paired opposite actress Shamili, while he also oversaw duty as the film's soundtrack album producer working with Yuvan Shankar Raja. The film opened to mixed reviews and had an average run at the box office, with a critic noting "Siddharth has given a brilliant performance as a lover boy, but his acting is not up to the mark in some emotional scenes". His second Hindi film, Striker (2010), was a period drama set in the 1990s portraying the life of a carrom player. Siddharth became extensively involved with the making of the film and in order to adapt into the role, he took training in the sport for two months and relocated to the Malwani district in Mumbai. Prior to release, Siddharth noted that his career as an actor in Hindi films would depend on how well the film is received and contemplated relocating his base to Mumbai. Striker became the first Indian film to be released in theatres and on YouTube on the same day, though failed to do well at the box office. However, Siddharth won positive reviews for his performance with a critic from Rediff.com noting that "this is a Siddharth vehicle from start to finish" and that "to his credit, he channelises his spontaneous presence to slip nimbly under the skin of a carrom genius, shifting his body language from a concentrating player to a smooth-talking, snarky lad entangled in a web of crime with restraint and conviction." His other release that year was the Telugu film Baava, a romantic family entertainer, which he accepted because it would show him in the different light of a village-based character. The film opened to negative reviews, with an industry pundit noting the film was "another misplaced attempt for a break" for the actor.
The actor was then selected to portray the lead role of a blind warrior in Prakash Kovelamudi's fantasy epic Anaganaga O Dheerudu co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and veteran director K. Raghavendra Rao. Beginning production in June 2009, it became the actor's most expensive film till date and marked the debuts of actresses Shruti Haasan and Lakshmi Manchu in Telugu cinema. The film opened with high expectations following positive pre-release promotions, but only garnered average collections and reviews from critics. While a critic from Rediff.com noted Siddharth "shines in his first true-blue action film" and that "he displays quick reflexes, agility, and keenness as the swordsman", another reviewer was more critical, stating that Siddharth "tried his best to get into the shoes of a warrior, the attire does not suit him and he displayed much innocence on his face, rendering the show a pale drama." He was next seen in the Tamil and Telugu bilingual 180 directed by his mentor, the ad director Jayendra. The venture marked his return to Tamil films after a seven-year hiatus, and he was seen portraying a doctor who flees from his American life to begin fresh in India. The film had an average run at the box office, though garnered positive reviews from critics. His third release of the year was the romantic college drama, Oh My Friend co-starring Shruti Haasan and Hansika Motwani, which opened to mixed reviews but went on to garner positive response commercially.
Siddharth then chose to produce his first film under his newly launched production studio, Etaki Entertainment Private Limited, which he had registered in October 2010. He financed the bilingual college romantic comedy Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (2012), based on the same-titled short film by Balaji Mohan, and featured in the lead role alongside Amala Paul. He revealed that after watching the ten-minute Tamil short film, he found it interesting and developed an interest to turn it into a mainstream full-length feature film. The film was shot in Tamil and Telugu over a period of eight months under a moderate budget. The film opened in February 2012 in both languages to commercial acclaim, becoming a profitable venture at the box office. Both the film and Siddharth won positive reviews, with a critic calling it "earnest" and "well-written" In 2013, Siddharth had his most prolific year and appeared in seven film across four languages. Siddharth was selected to be a part of the ensemble cast for Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children, a 2012 British-Canadian film adaptation of Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel of the same name. He sped read the book to prepare for his role and attended a series of workshops to portray the role of Shiva, earning positive reviews for his performance. Siddharth then worked on Nandini Reddy's Telugu romantic comedy Jabardasth opposite Samantha, with the pair portraying wedding planners. Despite receiving attention prior to release, as a result of the pair's off-screen relationship, the film garnered poor reviews with critics noting their characters "were poorly written". The film became a commercial failure, while also becoming entangled in a legal tussle soon after release of story theft. He also was subsequently seen in Srinu Vaitla's Baadshah, performing a guest appearance in a flashback sequence. His fourth release was David Dhawan's Hindi comedy film Chashme Baddoor, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, which released to a negative response from reviewers. Next, Siddharth collaborated with debutant director Manimaran for the romantic thriller Udhayam NH4, written by Vetrimaaran. The film won positive reviews and performed strongly at the box office, with a critic from Rediff.com adding the actor "has given a very mature, yet understated performance". He then featured in Sundar C's commercially successful Tamil comedy film Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru portraying a timid IT employee who seeks the help of a love guru. His popularity in Telugu cinema meant that the makers re-shot a few scenes and released a Telugu version titled Something Something.
By early 2014, Siddharth worked simultaneously on three Tamil projects claiming in an interview to The Hindu newspaper that the year was likely to "be a turning point in his career". His first release of the year was Karthik Subbaraj's musical gangster film Jigarthanda, where he portrayed an aspiring film director who travels to Madurai to make a film based on the life and times of a notorious rowdy. Siddharth was chosen by the director as "he had not done a role like it before", and his on screen character was named after and drew allusions to Karthik Subbaraj's career as a film maker. Co-starring Bobby Simha as the rowdy and Lakshmi Menon, Jigarthanda opened to unanimously positive reviews in August 2014. Reviewers noted Siddharth "gives a commendable performance" and that he "was simply terrific in the scenes where he plays a cat and mouse game with the gangster". The film subsequently went on to become among the most profitable Tamil films of the year, while earning "cult status" amongst the audience. The success of the film meant that Siddharth had four successive commercially successful films in Tamil and was at the peak of his career in the industry.
His next release was Vasanthabalan's historical fiction film, Kaaviya Thalaivan, depicting the life of performers from the Madras theatre circuit from the 1920s. Siddharth was associated with the project right from the scripting stages in 2011, and was instrumental in helping bring the producers and A. R. Rahman become a part of the venture. Working alongside Prithviraj and Vedhika, he portrayed the leading role of Thalaivankottai "Kaali"appa Bhagavathar, a Madras theatre artiste, loosely based on the life of actor S. G. Kittappa. To prepare for the role, he studied the work of actors from the 1920s and made himself familiar with the lives of artistes from that time period, noting his stint in theatre was helpful. The film opened to unanimously positive reviews in November 2014, with Siddharth's performance receiving critical acclaim. A reviewer from Rediff.com noted "This is a role of a lifetime for Siddharth, a truly memorable performance. He sports innumerable looks in the film and is perfect in every one of them, totally at ease with the character and the body language", while Sify.com added "he has done a magnificent job and his eyes speak the sadness of his character." Siddharth's next appearance was in Enakkul Oruvan (2015), a remake of the successful Kannada film Lucia, which was produced by C. V. Kumar. Appearing in two roles as a successful actor and as a village theatre operator, Siddharth appeared in one sporting a dark complexion for the first time. The film opened to positive reviews, with a critic from Sify.com stating that Siddharth does "an extraordinary job of sinking his teeth into the two characters with consummate ease", adding that the film was a "bold and unique attempt with sharp performances and a tight script". Similarly, a reviewer from Behindwoods.com stated he gave "a neat and apt enactment" in the two roles. However both Kaaviya Thalaivan and Enakkul Oruvan failed commercially at the box office, prompting the actor to take a break from films.
After a six-month sabbatical, Siddharth announced that he had finished work on another acting and production venture, Jill Jung Juk by newcomer Deeraj Vaidy. He has also worked on Sundar C's horror comedy, Aranmanai 2 alongside Trisha and Hansika Motwani. Furthermore, Siddharth has signed on to appear in a Malayalam film directed by ad film maker Rathish Ambat in his feature film debut.
Siddharth married Meghna on 3 November 2003, after the pair had fallen in love growing up in the same neighbourhood in New Delhi. However, by early 2006, the pair were living separately, and subsequently secured a divorce on January 2007.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2019||The Lion King||Simba||English|||
|2012||Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi||Tamil|
|2016||Jil Jung Juk||Tamil|
|2017||Aval / Gruham / The House Next Door||Tamil, Telugu, Hindi|
|2006||Chukkallo Chandrudu||Telugu||"Everybody", "Edhalo Epudo"||Chakri|
|Bommarillu||"Appudo Ippudo"||Devi Sri Prasad|
|2008||Santosh Subramaniam||Tamil||"Adada Adada"|
|2009||Oy!||Telugu||"Oy Oy"||Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|2010||Striker||Hindi||"Bombay Bombay", "Haq Se"||Amit Trivedi, Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|2011||Oh My Friend||"Maa Daddy Pockets", "Sri Chaitanya Junior College"||Rahul Raj|
|2012||Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi||Tamil||"Parvathi Parvathi", "Ananda Jaladosam"||S. Thaman|
|2013||NH4||Telugu||"Neevevvaro"||G. V. Prakash Kumar|
|2014||Enakkul Oruvan||Tamil||"Prabalamagavey"||Santhosh Narayanan|
|2016||Jil Jung Juk||"Shoot The Kili"||Vishal Chandrasekhar|
|2017||Taramani||"Unn Badhil Vendi"||Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|2019||Simba||"Bow Wow Vadai"||Vishal Chandrasekhar|
|2019||Ninu Veedani Needanu Nene||Telugu||"Excuse Me Rakshasi"||S. Thaman|
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