A force to reckon with

Tamil superstar

Perfectionist: Suriya

The actor, who has followed in the footsteps of mega stars like Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan and works on only one film at a time, has been hitting the bull’s eye with every single film. Now, he is keenly awaiting the release of his magnum opus, 7 am Arivu, directed by A R Murugadoss. The film is produced by Udayanidhi Stalin at a whopping cost of Rs 84 crore. Suriya and Murugadoss have earlier worked together in Ghajini which broke several box office records and was remade in Hindi by the same director with Aamir Khan in the lead.

Expectations of an encore by the actor-director duo (Suriya-Murugadoss) are high, and the film, which has enthralling action sequences (most of which have been performed by Suriya  himself), will see the actor essay the roles of a trapeze artiste and a Chinese monk, Bodhi Dharma, the man who is said to have exported martial arts from India to China. The actor-director duo and the rest of the cast aren’t divulging any details about the film’s plot. According to sources, the plot of the film is supposed to revolve around the actress of the film, Shruthi Haasan, the elder daughter of Kamal Haasan and Sarika.

7 am Arivu is expected to be the next big hit in Tamil cinema and with Aamir Khan keen on procuring remake rights, the producers are already on cloud nine. The film’s unique features include, among other things, a song rendered in Mandarin,  and the villain’s role, which has been played by Vietnamese actor and martial arts exponent, Johnny Tri Nguyen. 7 am Arivu’s special effects are credited to the renowned Stan Winston Studios in the US. Suriya  has already completed the shooting and dubbing for 7 am Arivu and is now focussing on his next film, Maatraan, to be directed by cinematographer-director K V Anand, who earlier worked with the actor in Ayan, declared a hit at the box office.

Suriya  debuted in Tamil cinema with Nerukku Ner, directed by Vasanth. Early on in his career, he found it difficult to secure a strong toehold in the industry and had to play second fiddle to actors like Vijay. Gradually, Suriya  came into his own and since then, there has been no looking back. Suriya has worked with Tamil cinema’s biggest directors, including Mani Ratnam who directed him in Ayutha Ezhuthu, K S Ravikumar (Aadavan), Bala (Nanda and Pithamagan) Gautam Vasudev Menon (Khaka Khaka and Varanam Aayiram) and Hari (Vel and Singham).

Perazhagan, the remake of the Malayalam film Kunjukoonan, saw him in a dual role. He portrayed the challenging character of a buck-toothed hunchback, something which no marquee star would have touched with a barge pole, with ease and finesse. Suriya  also fitted the bill perfectly in the role of a cop in films like Khaka Khaka and Singham, deemed superhits at the box-office. Vaaranam Ayiram, directed by Gautam Menon, for which he received the Filmfare Award for best actor, was another challenging assignment where the actor played a dual role — of a teenage son and his 65-year-old father. Suriya is not averse to special appearances and in two films — Manmathan Ambu and Avan Ivan — he played himself.

Bollywood has been knocking on Suriya’s doors for quite some time now but the actor has always fought shy of signing Hindi films. He, however, made an exception for maverick filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who cast him as the protagonist Suri in his revenge saga, Rakta Charithra. The bloodcurdling film had a surfeit of violence and Suriya  is still remembered for his memorable performance in the film that also garnered critical acclaim.

Suriya, whose father — actor Sivakumar — was a household name in Tamil cinema, now, has to compete with another actor from the family, his brother Karthi. However, Karthi has a lot of catching up to do, so do his contemporaries in the industry like Vijay, Ajit, Vishal and Arya, if they desire to be as versatile and dedicated like Suriya .

The actor has also taken on another avatar as a film distributor with his company Studio Green, which has secured the distribution rights for some of his and his brother’s films.

Suriya has a philanthropic side too. He is involved with organisations that provide education to the underprivileged. One of the highest paid stars in Tamil cinema, he continues to be a favourite with top directors in the industry and the audience. 

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