Ravichandran

  • Actor

May 08, 1937  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Also Known as: Crazy Star, P.S. Raman, Kalaingnar Thilagham

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B.S. Raman, better known by his screen name Ravichandran was an acclaimed Malaysian-born Indian actor and director who worked primarily in Tamil films. In his illustrious career spanning over four decades, the actor was credited as 'Kalaingar Thilagham' in many of his films. Before entering the world of cinema, Ravichandran appeared in several dramas during his college days and won wide appreciation. The actor's fans, journalists and movie director gave him several titles viz. Kalai, UlagaIlavarasar, KalaiNilavu, Romantic Hero, VelliVizhaKathanayagan, Style King, and Chennai MGR.

Ravichandran, a veteran actor who appeared in more than 105 films in his career, made his debut with the KaadhalikkaNeramillai in 1964. Some of his other most popular films include KalyanaMandapam (1966), Moondrezhuthu (1968), Justice Viswanathan (1971), Guru Sishyan (1988), EnRajangam (1994), Thendral (2004), and Aadu Puli (2011). On 25th July 2011, the actor passed away in Chennai, because of organ failure and lung infection.

Early Life
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ravichandran moved to Tiruchirappalli, India in 1951. After living there for 12 years, he later moved to Chennai to pursue a career in the film industry. After his initial struggle, the actor got his first major breakthrough when he auditioned for C.V Sridhar who was looking for a fresh face and he eventually bagged his debut role in Kadhalikka Neramillai (1964).

Personal Life
The actor was first married to Vimala and the couple had three children, a daughter named Lavanya and two sons named Balaji and Hamsavardhan. After the couple separated, and Ravichandran married for the second time and tied the knot with Sheela, a Malayalam actress. The couple has a son named George who along with his step brother Hamsavardhan followed in their father's footsteps to become film actors.

Movie Career
As an Actor
Ravichandran began his career on the silver screen with C.V Sridhar's Kadhalikka Neraimillai (1964). The romantic-comedy was critically acclaimed and ran in theatres for more than 175 days, and eventually went onto become a trend-setting cult comedy in Tamil cinema.

This was followed by appearances in movies such as Idhayak Kamalam (1965), Kumari Penn (1966), Naam Moovar (1966), Motor Sundaram Pillai (1966) and the super hit and the critically accliamed comedy film Madras to Pondicherry. Following the huge success of the film, it was later remade in Hindi as Bombay to Goa with Amitabh Bachchan, Aruna Irani and Shatrughan Sinha in the lead roles. In 1967, after starring the lead roles in films like Adhey Kangal and Ninaivil Nindraval, Ravichandran focused his attention to appear in minor roles. The move was strategic in order for him to be able to explore his skills as a director. These small roles included performances in the hit thriller film Ethirigal Jakkirathai (1967), Kaaviya Thalaivi (1970), Vimochanasamaram (1971), which marked his debut in Malayalam cinema.

In 1972, the actor appeared in three Malaylam films, viz. Aromalunni, Omana and Sakthi before eventually making his comeback to Tamil cinema. He got his next major hit with Neeya (1979) where he shared the screen with Kamal Haasan, Sripriya and Latha. The film, which was the remake of Hindi film, Nagin was a huge box office hit. The actor continued his good run over the next several years and once again delivered a stellar performance in the crime action film Oomai Vizhigal (1986) where the played a supporting but an important role. The film was a massive commercial hit and it completed more than 100 days run in the theaters.

By 1990's Ravichandran was a veteran star and he appeared mostly in supporting and he showcased his brilliant acting abilities in the Tamil-language film Karnaa where he played the role of the lead actor, Arjun Sarja's father. The film also feature Ranjitha and Vineetha in the lead roles was declared a super hit. Two years later, the actor played the role of superstar
He next appeared in a crime action film Oomai Vizhigal (1986), the action-comedy
Guru Sishyan (1988), Sattathin Thirappu Vizhaa (1989), En Rajangam (1994) and the super hit Karnaa (1995). After a gap of two years, Ravichandran appeared in Arunachalam (1997), the film featuring actor Rajnikanth in a lead role, received positive reviews and went on to bag three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, in the category of Best Film.

In 2000, Ravichandran released his directorial debut ManaseegaKaadhal starring his son Hamsavardhan. The film was a box office disappointment, receiving negative reviews. This was followed by Manthiran (2005) which was a moderate success. The actor's final film before his passing away was Aadu Puli (2011), a Tamil action film which featured Ravichandran in the minor role of Sabapathy.

In 2002, the actor starred in Tamil-language comedy film Pammal K. Sambantham directed by Moulee. The film starring Kamal Haasan, Simran Bagga, Abbas and Suhasini Rajaram Naidu opened to positive reviews and it was remade in Hindi as Kambakkht Ishq in 2009. The following year, the actor appeared in Tagore, the last Telugu film of his career. The crime-drama featuring Chiranjeevi, Jyothika and Shriya Saran in the lead roles was the remake of the Tamil film, Ramanaa, which was directed by A.R. Murugadoss. The film, which is considered to be one of the biggest hits in Chiranjeevi's career ran for more than 100 days in 191 centers across India and it grossed more than 23 crores INR in its full running. His next major hit was the romantic comedy, Kanden Kadhalai (2009). The film, which was the Tamil remake of the Hindi-language film Jab We Met featured Bharat, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Santhanam in the lead roles.

As a Director
In his illustrious career spanning more than four decades, Ravichandran directed two films. His maiden directorial venture was the Tamil-language film Maanaseega Kaadhal. His next film was the director was Manthiran, which released in 2005.

T.V Career
In 1986, Ravichandran performed in the T.V serial GEE Boom Baa.

Theatre
Ravichandran began his acting career on the stage in Trichy with performances in AanaiyidungalAnna and UdhayaSuriyan. After joining the film industry, he starred in Mapplley Yen Magalaik Kadha and That Man from Poonthamallee where he played a dual role for the first time in theater. His brilliant performance earned critical praise and also earned him the title 'Nadaga Singamani', which was bestowed on him by the spiritual leader, Thirumuruga Kirupanandha Variyar.