Many people think that being an actor is an easy job. But getting established as a popular actor is very difficult job. One such actor is Surya who struggled a lot from the beginning and took more time to prove himself as an skilled artist.
Born to veteran actor Sivakumar, Suriya aka Saravanan Sivakumar, had not planned on being an actor. After completing B.Com, and working in a garment factory for six months hiding his real identity.
He was introduced in “Nerukku ner(1997)” directed by Mani Rathnam when he was 22 years of age. It was Mani Rathnam who gave his stage name Suriya to avoid confusions with the established actor Saravanan. Though the film was a hit, Surya didn’t get enough recognition. After “Nerukku Ner” he did a series of films which became unsuccessful in the late 1990’s. Surya struggled mainly because of his lack of self confidence and dancing skills. Also due to his height and simple appearance people didn’t accept him as an Hero. After series of flops his mentor and actor Raghuvaran advised him to stand on his own instead of staying under his father’s shadow. Suriya himself told in an interview that it was actor Raghuvaran who made him realize the importance of uniqueness in cine field and asked to create an identity of his own.
Raghuvaran’s mentoring made him to act in different challenging roles. His major break through came from the movie “Nandha” directed by Bala in 2001. Suriya received best actor award from Tamilnadu state film.
He became popular because of his stunning performance in Gautham menon’s movie “Kaakha Kaakha” in 2003. Suriya kept on experimenting on challenging roles which gave him a unique name in the industry. His collaboration with A R Murugadoss for “Ghajini(A movie inspired by christopher nolan’s ‘memento’)” in 2005 became a huge success.
After continuous success Suriya again worked with Gautham menon’s biopic “Varanam Aayiram” in 2008. Suriya appeared as father and son, with both characters also demanding scenes shot throughout their lives ranging from scenes as a 16-year-old to scenes as a 65-year-old. A critic from Rediff labelled the film as his “magnum opus”, citing that he is “perfect” and that the film for him is a “justified triumph”.
When asked about his inspiration, Suriya said, “Kamal Hassan sir has always challenged himself. He has no success formula. He’s kept changing patterns and proving everything wrong. We don’t forget his films for that reason”.
After tasting success as an actor, Suriya started “Agaram foundation” a Charitable trust in 2008 to educate poor students.
Suriya said in an interview, “It is just an extension of what my father did through his Sivakumar Educational Trust for more than 35 years. I just expanded his vision,” he says of his work.
“Few years ago, I met a school kid named Rajnikanth, a first generation student belonging to a gypsy community. He was a brilliant student and also excelled in sports and extra curricular activity. Impressed with his scores in Class X board exams, we presented him a cash award of Rs.8,000 from our foundation and he enquired if he could donate the money to the girl students in his class to help them get new skirts,” recalls Suriya. Living in abject penury, the boy was prepared to part with the sum meant for his well being and it turned out to be an eye opener for Suriya and the inspiration to start Agaram.
In 2010, he had his 25th release with Singam directed by Hari which was a blockbuster and went on to make the tri-quel.
In 2013, Suriya founded the production house 2D Entertainment. The company was named by the starting letter of Suriya’s children Diya and Dev.
Today Suriya is one of the leading actor in Tamil Cine industry and a well known for charity through his Agaram foundation.
Suriya’s life story teaches us to believe in ourself no matter how long it takes to get through. Hard work is as important as patience.