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When directors donned greasepaint- Friday Spl.Article by Naveen

Last week, carried a detailed article on actors deciding to call the shots (read directing films). And this week, the light is on directors who stood in front of the camera.

Though director is the ‘captain of the ship’, acting has its own charm and acting bug had bitten many of our popular filmmakers. From lead roles to cameos, they had added value to films and themselves by donning the greasepaint, so to speak.


Guru of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan and many more popular actors, Balachander, the celebrated filmmaker, acted mainly in television serials than in films.

As far as movies are concerned, he appeared in ‘Kalki’, ‘Poi’, ‘Rettaisuzhi’, ‘Ninaithathu Yaaro’ and ‘Uthama Villain’. Talking about his entry into TV, the ‘Iyakkunar Sigaram’ said, “This medium helps to reach out to the public. That’s why I am into making serials.”


The ‘Iyakkunar Imayam’, as he is called by his fans, was first seen in front of the camera in ‘Kallukkul Eeram’. After that, he was there playing cameos in ‘Dhavani Kanavugal’, ‘Idhayam’ and ‘Thanthu Vitten Ennai’,

But the big turning point in his acting career came with Mani Ratnam’s ‘Ayutha Ezhuthu’ in 2004, in which he played a wicked politician called Selvanayagam. He was then part of movies like, ‘Rettaisuzhi’, ‘Paandiya Nadu’ and ‘Ninaithathu Yaaro’. At present, he is acting in movies like ‘Padai Veeran’, ‘Kurangu Bommai’ and ‘Om’.


The celebrated cinematographer-director acted in only one film, that too towards the end of his career and life. It was ‘Thalaimuraigal’,  Apart from acting, he also scripted, directed, edited and served as the cinematographer of the film. The film was about the relationship between an ageing man and his grandson.

The film received positive response with Balu Mahendra’s acting being well acclaimed.  At the 61st National Film Awards, it won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.


K S Ravikumar has this peculiar habit of appearing in at least one scene in all the movies he directs. Lately, he has become a busy actor and he was part of two recent films which are currently running successful- Sivakarthikeyan’s ‘Remo’ and Vijay Sethupathi’s ‘Rekka’.

In a career spanning around 25 years, he has directed some of the most recognisable and well-known Tamil films of all time and is considered one of the most popular film makers in Tamil cinema. He has directed numerous films ranging from comedy and drama to action thrillers.


Apart from the above veterans, we have many prominent personalities in Kollywood, who successfully ride in both horses- action and direction- with consummate ease.

To name a few are T Rajendhar, K Bhagyaraj, S J Suryah, Cheran and Sasikumar. These people are good at making movies, and are equally good at acting. In fact, the two trades are their cups of tea and coffee.

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