T. R. Silambarasan, also credited by his initials STR or nickname Simbu, is an Indian film actor, director, writer, composer, dancer, lyricist and playback singer in the Tamil film industry. He began his career by playing roles as a child artist in films directed by his father T. Rajendar, before his first lead role in Kadhal Azhivathillai (2002), under his father's direction and produced by his mother Usha.
Simbu in February 2010
Silambarasan Thesingu Rajendar
|Other names||Simbu Rajendar, S T R|
|Occupation||Film actor, film director, screenwriter, playback singer, lyricist, voice actor, music director|
|Years active||1984–1995 (child actor),|
2002–present (lead actor)
|Parent(s)||T.Rajendar (father) Usha Rajendar (Mother)|
Early and personal life
Silambarasan was born in Thogarapalli Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, as the eldest child of T. Rajendar and Usha Rajendar. He has a younger brother Kuralarasan, and sister Ilakiya. He studied at the Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School. He Studied at Loyola College. Simbu entered the film industry from a young age and acted in many of his father's films until 2002, when he acted in Kadhal Azhivathillai, his first main role as a hero.
Silambarasan made his acting debut Uravai Kaatha Kili
He further acted in his father's movies, including Thai Thangai Paasam, Oru Vasantha Geetham, En Thangai Kalyani, Enga Veetu Velan, Monisha En Monalisa, Oru Thayin Sabhatham, Samsara Sangeetham, Shanti Enathu Shanti, Pettredutha Pillai, Thiruvalla and Sabash Babu. In Samsara Sangeetham, Silambarasan danced to a song singing "I am a Little Star, Aaaven Naan Super Star".
Silambarasan played his first protagonist role in Kadhal Azhivathillai (2002), directed by his father. The movie had a successful run. His second film was Dum (2003), which was loosely based on Jagannadh's 2002 Kannada film Appu. It had mixed reviews but a good run at the theatres. His release, in 2003, Alai, which marked the first collabration of Simbu and Trisha. This movie was eventually declared a flop by the critics. Silambarasan had three releases in 2004. The first was Kovil. This film, which deals with the relationship between a Hindu boy and a Christian girl, became a super hit, but Simbhu was praised due to his "restraint and matured" performance. It was a box office hit. After this, Silambarasan acted in a movie called Kuththu, a remake of the Telugu film Dil. It opened with mixed reviews, but had a successful run at the theatres. His final release in 2004 was Manmadhan. It was his first blockbuster hit movie.
In Thotti Jaya, Silambarasan played the role of an orphaned gangster who finds love. This movie was described by the critics as realistic. In 2006, he starred in Saravana, directed by K. S. Ravikumar. This was the second time that Simbu and Jyothika worked together after the success of Manmadhan (2004).
He next starred in and directed Vallavan (2006), as well as writing its story, screenplay and co-dialogue. It was featured, prior to release, in "most awaited" lists from entertainment sites. The film got a grand release during Diwali, and was a box office hit. The song "Loosu penne" became a chartbuster among the youths.
In 2008, he starred in the action masala film Kaalai, which was a flop. Later that year, he appeared in another action masala film Silambattam. The film opened to mixed reviews but became a commercial success.
In 2010, his film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, directed and written by Gautham Menon, became a Tamil 'cult classic' film. Director K. Balachander in an open letter called Silambarasan's performance as his best in his career.
The following year he appeared in two films. In early 2011, he appeared in the multi-starrer Vaanam (2011) as Cable Raja, a poor youngster. Malathi Rangarajan from The Hindu called it a significant film in his career. Later that year, his next release was Osthi (2011) in which Silambarasan played a police officer, had a decent box office run. After a year, Podaa Podi was released on 13 November 2012, and became a flop. After a sabbatical of three years, he acted in Vaalu, which was released on 14 August 2015 to mixed reviews.
In 2016, Idhu Namma Aalu became a super hit. The most expected project Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada became an instant hit with lots of positive response. The background music by Oscar-winner A. R. Rahman adds to the intensity of the film and the songs are just the icing on the cake. Gautham said that Thalli Pogathey is the "best picturised song in a long time," and is played at an unexpected moment in the film. In 2017, it was reported that Silambarasan had signed up for an English-language film. His film Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan was panned by critics and was commercially unsuccessful. It led to controversies that were reported in the media involving the film's producer Michael Rayappan blaming Silambarasan for being uncooperative during the film's production. In 2018, he appeared in Mani Ratnam's successful Chekka Chivantha Vaanam as part of an ensemble cast that included Arvind Swamy, Vijay Sethupathi and Arun Vijay. In 2019, STR acted in Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven. This movie created a lot of expectations for STR fans, because it was the first collaboration between him and Sundar.C. Unfortunately for STR fans, this movie turned out to be a flop at the box office.
Silambarasan has frequently worked as a playback singer in the Tamil film industry. He first sang in Sonnal Thaan Kaadhala and went on to sing over 90 songs for various composers. He predominantly sings in his own films and has collaborated mostly with his friend and fellow composer Yuvan Shankar Raja. Silambarasan also wrote the lyrics for several songs of his films.
In 2010, Silambarasan sang and composed the song "Evan Di Unna Pethan" as a part of the soundtrack album for his film, Vaanam (2011) and the song faced severe opposition for its provocative lyrics. A women's rights organisation in Chennai criticised the lyrics and issued a statement to Silambarasan for the lyrics being "chauvinistic" that "demean women". Further it was argued that "music needs to appeal to larger sections than to the ‘thrill-seeking’ youth who are often misguided into ‘cheap thrills’ because of such songs", demanding censorship. However, several prominent people from the film industry came to support Silambarasan stating that there have been more objectionable scenes in films in the past and that there were "bigger issues in society" and applying censorship was not "the ideal way out in democracy."
After releasing a promotional version of "The Love Anthem" song in 2011, Silambarasan announced that a final version would be released thereafter and announced his desire to bring in international artists Akon and Rihanna for the venture. He subsequently headed to Los Angeles in January 2012 and recorded an original version of the song by himself at Studio Zappa with music producer Elan Morrison on the keyboards. The failure to sign in the international artists prompted the project's producer, Silambarasan's father T. Rajendar to lodge a police complaint against two agents who had misled his production company into supposed connections with the international artists concerned. Rajendar noted that the sound editor Ramji Soma and a Canadian entrepreneur Talvinder Bathh had charged Rs 12 million ($200,000) from his company and failed to return it despite promises made to sign on Akon, David Guetta and either Rihanna or Nicole Scherzinger for the project. In May 2013, Silambarasan was finally successfully able to bring in Akon to collaborate for an alternate version of the song, with the move being facilitated by Tracktical Entertainment. The latest version of the song is yet to be released, with Silambarasan hinting in early 2014 that the song may be launched before the end of 2014. In an interview in June 2015, he revealed that the venture would be resumed soon, though that he was busy with other commitments.
In December 2015, a song, referred to by the media as the "Beep Song" was leaked online and was widely circulated. The song was initially reported to be written and sung by Silambarasan and composed by music director Anirudh Ravichander, and featured an expletive degrading women which had been beeped out. Subsequently, Anirudh denied any involvement in the song and Silambarasan clarified that he had written, composed and sung the song himself, stating he was unsure how the song was leaked and uploaded onto the internet. The song provoked widespread criticism from pressure groups and film personalities. Women activists organised protests in front of Silambarasan house in T. Nagar and other places. Meanwhile, the Left-wing of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) alleged that the song was sexist and derogatory to women and filed a case against Silambarasan in Coimbatore. Based on the complaint, The Racecourse Police Station registered FIR against the actor and Anirudh. Likewise, the Cyber Crime Police in Egmore also registered a similar case against them. Silambarasan stated on his Twitter page that he will not hide anywhere and will face the course of law. However, he failed to appear in the Racecourse Police station on 19 December 2015 as per the summons sent to him. Fearing arrest, Silambarasan had moved the case to the Madras High Court for anticipatory bail. The Madras High Court consequently refused to issue an interim stay to arrest Silambarasan. In late February 2016, Silambarasan appeared before the Coimbatore City police in connection with the "Beep Song" case and claimed that he had composed the song long ago when he was depressed due to a love failure; he further stated that Anirudh had no role in it.
Relationship with directors
Silambarasan experienced difficulties with director A. J. Murugan during the making of his breakthrough film, Manmadhan (2004) and was widely reported by the media to have "ghost-directed" the project. Murugan later suggested that Silambarasan and his family then continually deprived him of royalties deriving from the film, such as the story credits, the Hindi remake rights and sequel rights. Murugan was later demoted and worked in Silambarasan's directorial venture, Vallavan (2006) as an associate director, and was consequently critical of the actor's insistence on interfering with the director's role. Another associate director of Silambarasan, G. T. Nandhu, also fell out with the actor during the making of Kettavan in 2007. The project was launched with Nandhu as the director but he later complained that Silambarasan actively encroached his role and subsequently left his name out of the film's promotional posters. Despite completing a schedule, the pair could not sort out their differences and the film was shelved.
Soon after the failure of their collaboration in Kaalai (2008), director Tarun Gopi was critical of Silambarasan's involvement in the project and stated that the actor grossly interfered with his duties as a director. Gopi labelled the actor "unprofessional" and stated that he could not recognise the film from his original script. He later apologised for his remarks in late 2011. Cinematographer Madhi also had similar problems with the actor during the making of Silambattam (2008). In 2010, Linguswamy sacked Silambarasan from the production of Vettai (2012) after the actor suddenly began production on another film, Vaanam, without letting the director know. In reply, Silambarasan argued that Linguswamy had wasted hundred days of his time without telling him the script of Vettai and called the director "unprofessional". Silambarasan was later replaced in Vettai by Arya, while he chose to launch another new project titled Vettai Mannan immediately after his removal from Vettai and that movie was also shelved.
During the making of Idhu Namma Aalu, the film's production delays meant that director Pandiraj and Silambarasan had difficulties. In July 2014, Silambarasan had changed his hairstyle in between schedule breaks, leaving Pandiraj unhappy. Silambarasan subsequently disclosed to the media that Idhu Namma Aalu was his production and that others should not question his involvement in the project. Pandiraj later also publicly clashed with Silambarasan's brother, the composer Kuralarasan, stating his annoyance at the delay in providing the film's music. He also defended actress Nayanthara against a complaint made by Silambarasan's father to be, producer T. Rajender, and stated the actress had wasted almost two years on the film due to the producers' poor organisation and was still yet to be paid for her work. He further stated that Silambarasan was insisting an extra "kuthu" number that the script did not warrant and that Rajender, Kuralarasan and Silambarasan were unnecessarily interested in making sure that the song was included against Pandiraj's wishes. Gautham Menon has also spoken out against the actor's lack of punctuality, revealing that the actor failed to turn up for a shoot abroad during the making of Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada, prompting a delay in the film's production. However he has also labelled Silambarasan as an "outstanding actor" and noted his high levels of comfort and trust in Silambarasan's ability.
Relationship with producers
Silambarasan's Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (2017) opened in June 2017 to negative reviews and became a box office failure. Several months after the release, the film's producer Michael Rayappan and director Adhik Ravichandran met the media to criticise the actor's unruly behaviour and interference during the course of the project. They alleged that during the first schedule, production was delayed by two months because several actresses refused to star opposite Silambarasan knowing his unprofessionalism and that later, the actor insisted that the team shift to a different town from the finalised town of Madurai, as he did not like the warm climate. After moving the shoot to Dindigul, he continued to refuse to shoot in public areas or on Sundays and regularly failed to turn up as per the agreed schedule. They alleged that during the first schedule, Silambarasan refused to film a song sequence, unfairly requested Shriya Saran to be replaced after she had finished her portions, demanded the shoot to be moved to London from Dubai and made false promises about reducing his body weight as required for the script. During the second schedule, it was alleged that he out-rightly refused to undergo makeup sessions, refused to turn up to shoot on time, demanded a hotel room on the East Coast Road, refused to provide hotel expenses and demanded that a production executive was sacked. Silambarasan also cancelled the third schedule and demanded that the film was released in two parts against the makers' wishes, while sending his team to Thailand to have leisure time on the producers' money. He later refused to coordinate when completing necessary scenes to make it a two-part film and also half-heartedly provided dubbing work. The producer revealed that out of an agreed schedule of seventy-six days, Silambarasan only worked on thirty-eight days, meaning that the dates of Tamannaah and Shriya Saran were widely wasted. As a result of the incident, Silambarasan was widely criticised by his peers in the Tamil film industry.
In 2018, the Madras High Court ruled that Silambarasan had to pay back the money that he received as an advance from the producers at Passion Movie Makers. The ruling was in relation to the actor's failure to turn up for the shoot of a project titled Arasan, directed by Narayan Nagendra Rao, during the development of the film in 2015. Despite reluctance from the director to begin a civil suit, the producers filed a complaint and recovered the advance. In August 2019, producer Suresh Kamatchi announced that he had ousted Silambarasan from his film Maanaadu owing to the actor's failure to commit to dates properly. The film, which was directed by Venkat Prabhu, had undergone pre-production work for close to a year before Silambarasan's exit. Silambarasan later chose to launch another new project titled Maghaa Maanaadu immediately after his removal from Maanaadu. Along with Michael Rayappan and Suresh Kamatchi, several other producers came forward with an official complaint to the Tamil Film Producers Council about Silambarasan's poor punctuality during August 2019. Gnanavel Raja of Studio Green, Vijaya Raghavendra of All in All Pictures, and Madan of Escape Artists Motion Pictures were among those who were keen to get the body to compel the actor to return their advances. Gnanavel Raja had been making an untitled film with the actor directed by Narathar, while Raghavendra had paid the actor a deposit for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa 2.
The actor's films have also languished in development hell since 2011, with the media widely labelling his interference as a reason behind the delays. Vignesh Shivan's Podaa Podi (2012) took four years to complete after production had started, while his next release Vaalu (2015) took three years. Another film, Nelson Dilipkumar's Vettai Mannan, began in November 2010 and was ultimately shelved, with the actor shooting for the film intermittently. Likewise Idhu Namma Aalu and Gautham Menon's Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada, began in 2013 and both were released in 2016 after publicised production delays. Silambarasan has also announced various directorial projects, which have failed to materialise, including Valiban in 2009, Manmadhan 2 in 2012 and an untitled English film in 2017.
Relationships with colleagues
Silambarasan has regularly had differences of opinions with fellow actors in the Tamil film industry. He has had a long-running rivalry with actor Dhanush, which has been widely reported in the media. Initial hostility between the pair began after certain punch dialogues from Silambarasan's Manmadhan (2004) had seemed to be directed at Dhanush, including a reference to his sudden rise to fame with Kadhal Kondein (2003) and his marriage to Aishwarya Dhanush, the daughter of leading actor Rajinikanth. When questioned about their rivalry in 2005, Silambarasan stated that the pair were not friends and that Dhanush failed to reciprocate his pleasantries at a wedding. Silambarasan continued to take shots at Dhanush through film dialogues in Kaalai (2008) and during the teaser trailer of Vaalu in 2012.
Following the widespread acclaim of Dhanush's song, "Why This Kolaveri Di" from 3 (2012), Silambarasan claimed that he began the trend of writing songs with simple lyrics and releasing single tracks for films, in reference to his "Evan Di Unna Pethan" from Vaanam (2011). He subsequently also recorded, filmed and released a promotional video to his "The Love Anthem" within a month of "Why This Kolaveri Di"'s release. The actor's actions and song were criticised by the media during the period, who felt he purely just wanted to compete with Dhanush. In 2012, the pair reconciled and sorted their difference during an awards ceremony held in Dubai, and later celebrated Dhanush's birthday together. Dhanush dismissed reports that the pair were rivals and stated that misunderstandings had grown as a result of their lack of interaction. Dhanush later offered Silambarasan the opportunity to feature in a cameo role in his production, Kaaka Muttai (2015).
Silambarasan had a dispute with veteran comedian Goundamani following the release of Manmadhan (2004), with the comedian feeling that the actor had edited out too many of his scenes. In reply, Silambarasan noted that the cuts were necessary for the pace of the film, while adding that Goundamani as a senior actor, should have known better. During the making of Vallavan (2006), actress Reemma Sen threatened legal action against Silambarasan after he made changes to the scope of her role in the film. She later stated she regretted her claim and was proud to have won critical acclaim for the character. Actress Lekha Washington was also critical of her experience working with Silambarasan on the shelved film Kettavan, and noted that she faced harassment on the sets. In 2007, Silambarasan had a televised spat with actor Babloo Prithiveeraj during the filming of the dance show Jodi Number One, in which Silambarasan appeared as a judge. The actor argued with Prithveeraj regarding his dancing ability and later stormed out of the sets in tears, before being brought back by the other judges.
In early 2011, Silambarasan and actor Jiiva briefly displayed public enmity after Silambarasan had talked down the success of Jiiva's Ko (2011). Silambarasan had walked out of the production of Ko after a photoshoot in early 2010 over creative differences with director K. V. Anand, particularly on the issue of the casting of Karthika Nair as the lead actress. Jiiva publicly called Silambarasan a "back stabber", though soon both actors decided to stop their respective public name calling. Following the release of Vaanam (2011), actor Bharath expressed his disappointment at being largely left out of the film's promotions and alleged that Silambarasan had asked the producers to reduce publicity for the film's other actors. Bharath called the incident a "sad phase in his career" and stated he was unsure if he would work with Silambarasan again. In return, Silambarasan denied any involvement in the film's promotional strategy and hinted that the film's success was largely dependent on his star image.
During the campaigning process for the 2015 Nadigar Sangam elections, Silambarasan launched a scathing personal attack on actor Vishal during a press conference. Silambarasan had run for the position of Vice-President as a part of Sarathkumar's team, and in a bid to denounce Vishal's credibility for the opposing party, the actor alleged that Vishal had a personal vendetta against Sarathkumar. He further added that Vishal was behaving like a "fox" and ridiculed Vishal's stature to be a part of the election. Silambarasan's actions were widely criticised, with Vishal subsequently thanking the actor for tilting public opinion further towards his team. Subsequently, Sarathkumar's team and Silambarasan unanimously lost in the election process.
- SIIMA Award for Stylish Star of South Cinema (2012) IK
- SIIMA Award for Best Playback Singer - Telugu Diamond Girl From Baadshah (2014)
- ITFA Best Actor Award for Vaanam (2011)
- Edison Award for Best Actor for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (2010)
- Big FM Tamil Entertainment Awards – Most Entertaining Actor Award for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (2010)
- Isaiyaruvi Tamil Music Awards – Rising Star Lyricist for "Where is the Party" for Silambattam (2009)
- Isaiyaruvi Tamil Music Awards – Best Dancer for Silambattam (2009)
- Edison Award for Best Actor for Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (2016)
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