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Thursday, June 17, 2021

On Karthi’s birthday, 9 movies that made him ‘Sulthan’ of south cinema

Happy Birthday Karthi: As the actor turns 44, we look at the film that made him one of the most bankable actors of south cinema.

By: Entertainment Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 25, 2021 4:00:13 pm
Karthi truns a year older.

Actor Karthi is celebrating his 44th birthday on Tuesday. He found success in the show business much quicker than his elder brother Suriya. While Suriya took a few years to catch his first major break as a lead actor, Karthi achieved it in his very first film, Paruthiveeran. And his acting career has been on a steady upward arc since. Yes, there has been a handful of disappointments along the way as have been successes. After an Alex Pandian, he delivered Madras. And after Biriyani, he gave us Kaatru Veliyidai. You know yin and yang. Nevertheless, he is a force to be reckoned with in the south Indian film industry.

Here are the top 9 movies of Karthi that made him one of the most bankable actors of Tamil cinema.


He made his debut as a lead actor with Paruthiveeran. And, as they say, the rest is history. He played a village thug in this director Ameer’s heart-wrenching rural drama and delivered a performance of a lifetime. He was a natural, it was hard to believe that it was his first film. However, technically, it wasn’t. Before Karthi tried his luck in acting, he worked as an assistant director under Mani Ratnam. During that stint, he made his first appearance on screen in an uncredited role in Aayutha Ezhuthu, which had Suriya in the lead.

Aayirathil Oruvan

After a rustic rural drama, Karthi next jumped straight into the fantasy world of Selvaraghavan. The film was way ahead of its time but did not receive its due at the box office when it released in 2010. However, it has gained a cult status among movie fans since. In the film, Karthi plays a tough taskmaster, who heads a team of porters in support of a high-risk archaeology mission. The Chennai-bred, foul-mouthed flirt with a good heart goes through a series of soul-crushing trials before he finds the role he will be playing in changing the course of human history.


After two back-to-back films with serious themes and heavy emotions, Karthi delivered a breezy romantic film with plenty of action and chartbuster songs (composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja). In the 2010 film, which was written and directed by N. Linguswamy, Karthi plays a dynamic youngster who accidentally gets an opportunity to take a road trip with a girl of his dreams, played by Tamannaah Bhatia.


The 2011 action film is the remake of director SS Rajamouli’s Vikramarkudu. It also marked the directorial debut of Siva in the Tamil film industry. This film became such a huge hit at the box office that it became an identifier for Siva, who has been called ‘Siruthai’ Siva ever since. Karthi had played a double role in the film and he proved that he could excel in comedy and action at once.


Madras is to director Pa Ranjith, what Siruthai is to Siva. The 2014 drama that discussed caste politics unspooling in modern-day Chennai became Ranjith’s calling card. So much so that he landed a Rajinikanth film next (Kabali, 2016) after its success. Karthi plays a dynamic youngster with a quick fuse whose loyalty to his childhood friend is the reason behind his downfall and eventual redemption.

Kaatru Veliyidai

This film is sort of a personal milestone for Karthi. From assisting Mani Ratnam to leading the star cast in a Mani Ratnam film, his career came a full circle with this film. It is easily one of the most beautiful movies that were made in the last decade in India. However, like many great works, the film did not receive its due at the box office. Nevertheless, the film’s commercial failure doesn’t take away its merit. Karthi channels his inner meanness seamlessly as an air force pilot Varun Chakrapani. While he looks uber cool and cultured, he is a top grade misogynist, who puts himself before everyone else when it comes to relationships.

Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru

Karthi plays an honest officer in the thriller, which is based on a real-life police operation conducted by the Tamil Nadu cops in the early 2000s. The well-researched film was written and directed by H Vinoth, who had delivered a very honest film without fear or favour. And it has Karthi delivering one of the best performances of his career.


The 2019 film further added to the growing reputation of Karthi as a bankable star of the south. The success of the film, however, made director Lokesh Kanagaraj the hottest property of Tamil cinema. Karthi had played the role of a convict, who does time for the murder of passion. And a shot at redemption presents itself the very day he gets out of jail. It is a non-stop action extravaganza with strong emotional beats.


Speaking of redemption, this film came to the rescue of director Bakkiyaraj Kannan, who gave us Remo, a cringy romantic comedy with a twisted sense of morality. Mounted on a huge scale, the film follows the challenges of Karthi’s character, who leads an army of 100 men. And of course, the profession of farming gets its due in the movie.

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