N Santhanam is an Indian actor and comedian who primarily works in the Tamil film industry. He began his career as a TV comedian and has successfully established himself as one of the leading comedians of Tamil cinema. After the popular actor Silambarasan
gave him a role in the movie Manmadhan (2004), he went on to star in many successful movies and has been applauded for his comic abilities. Santhanam`s consistent performance as an entertainer has earned him several awards with the Tamil film industry giving him the title of `Comedy Superstar`.
Born and brought up in the Pozhichalur suburb of Chennai, Santhanam completed his schooling from Marya Nivas Matriculation Higher Secondary School. He holds a diploma in Electronics and Communication.
Santhanam is married to Usha and the couple bears a child.
Santhanam`s first break as an actor in a movie came when actor Silambarasan offered him a supporting role in the movie Manmadhan (2004). Prior to making his acting debut on the big screen, Santhanam was a popular face on television. He was known for enacting in spoofs of Tamil movies in the television series, Lollu Sabha, which was aired on Vijay TV. After his successful debut, Santhanam went on to appear in several movies.
In 2005, Santhanam starred in the movie Sachein, which also marked the Tamil cinema debut for the Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu
. The movie was declared a hit at the box office. A long way away from establishing himself as a credible comedian, Santhanam appeared in many movies between 2005 to 2009. Some of his notable movies during the period include Oru Kalluriyin Kathai (2005), Something Something... Unakkum Enakkum
(2007), and Jeyam Kondaan
(2008), Arai En 305-il Kadavul
(2008). His performances were highly praised by the critics and audience alike and in 2009 he won his first Vijay Award for Best Comedian for the movie Siva Manasula Sakthi
This movie was the first of the comic trilogy directed by M Rajesh
, the other two movies were Boss Engira Bhaskaran
, starring Nayanthara
and Oru Kal Oru Kannadi
which released 2012. Both the movies were a huge hit and Santhanam was lauded for his performances and he also won the Vijay Award for Best Comedian for both the movies. He was also nominated for a Filmfare award for his performance in the movie Boss Engira Bhaskaran.
While Santhanam was praised for his work, he also received criticism for some of the roles he portrayed. He particularly faced a lot of flak from advocates for his contemptuous act that ridiculed the lawyers in the movie Deiva Thirumagal
Soon, Santhanam not only established himself as a top rated comedian but unlike other comedians he appeared in movies as one of the main characters. While traditional comedians generally be a part of the sub-plots, Santhanam was offered significant roles. This was hugely apparent with his roles in the movie Leelai
(2012) and Kadhal Pisase
In 2013, Santhanam appeared in the movie, Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya
, produced by his own production house, Handmade Films. Santhanam portrayed one of the leading characters in the movie and impressed the critics and audience alike. So much so, that one of the critics cited Santhanam as a potential lead actor rather than the sidekick that he is cast in, stating: "there is a serious actor hidden somewhere inside Santhanam, who seems to be waiting for the right opportunity or role to break out of the comedian and sidekick roles he is confined to now", adding that "he can put many commercially successful actors to shame. In the same year, he was a part of Kannan`s
comedy movie, Settai
, and also served as an assistant director for the movie. However, he was also involved in a controversy when he made a mockery of a 24-year-old tobacco user, Mukesh Harane, who died of oral cancer and featured in the cancer-warning advertisements that are aired in cinema halls. The scene was, however, removed from the movie All in All Azhagu Raja
Santhanam continued to be a part of successful movies and received critical and commercial acclaim for his roles in movies such as Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru
(2013), Vanakkam Chennai
(2013), and Raja Rani
(2013). Further, his performance in the movie Endrendrum Punnagai
(2013) with Vinay
was applauded; one of the critics quoted - "with his spot-on comedy, measured histrionics and his immense likeability, he is a revelation and provides some hearty laughs". However, his next outing in the box office was a failure as the movie All in All Azhagu Raja
(2013) was declared as a flop.
Santhanam`s next lead role came with the 2014 movie Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham
, directed by Srinath
. For his role, Santhanam lost weight and also took dancing lessons. The movie opened to positive critic and commercial reviews with one of the critic quoting: "it is a Santhanam show all the way" and that "he also delivers as a complete actor, displaying a range of emotions". Santhanam produced his next movie, Inimey Ippadithaan (2015), while also playing the lead role in it. In 2016, the actor appeared in the movie Dhilluku Dhuddu
directed by Rambhala
. His 2017 projects include the movies Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan
and Oodi Oodi Uzhaikanum
. His 2020 release includes Dagaalty.
In 2012, Santhanam began his production house named, Handmade Films, The first movie produced by the company was the critical and commercially acclaimed Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham
(2014). In 2015, the production house released the movie titled, Inimey Ippadithaan.