Samuthirakani (born 26 April 1973) is an Indian film actor and director who predominantly works in the Tamil film industry besides appearing in a number of Malayalam and Telugu films. He worked as an assistant to director K Balachander. His 2009 directorial Naadodigal was a runaway hit, which was later remade in three languages. He has acted in several films as well and is best known for his performances in Subramaniapuram, Easan (both directed by M Sasikumar), Saattai and Oppam. He won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2016 for Visaranai.
Samuthirakani studied school in T.N.P.M.M.N.Hr.Sec School and B.Sc.(Mathematics), in Rajapalayam Rajus College, and Bachelor of Law from Ambedkar Law College, Chennai. He entered cinema with dreams of making it as an actor. "People said I don't have the looks or the physique for it. I was unfazed. ‘Insults are a part of life,' I told myself and persevered. So when did he finally get a chance to don the greasepaint? "Pandiarajan's Padikkira Vayasu in which I had just a line to say! And to squeeze myself into the scene I had to cringe and crawl before the assistant director!" Not a tinge of self-pity! "Why at all? Slights can't hold me back."
In 1997, he joined as an assistant director under K. Vijayan. Samuthirakani who always used to keep himself busy with work was noticed by K. Balachander and was roped in as assistant director for his 100th film Paarthale Paravasam. He also assisted Balachander in the mega-serial Anni telecasted by Jaya TV. The director recalls that the work experience he gained under his mentor helped him in many ways while shooting Arasi and Selvi, the mega-serial telecasted in Sun TV, which were massive hits among housewives.And that's bharath writing out scenes and dialogue which he would enact within the confines of his room. Soon it led to the discovery that inside him was a capable storyteller.
M. Sasikumar's Subramaniapuram (2008) showcased Samuthirakani as an actor with potential and his own Nadodigal (2009) helped him prove his mettle as a director. From maker of megas to director of films that began with Unnai Charan Adaindhain, Kani has always been busy, primarily because he's absolutely ego-less. The lukewarm response to his début film and the disaster ero—didn't deter him. "If the film is a hit everyone vies for the laurels. And if the result is negative, it's the director who has to bear the onus," he shrugs. He went back to television, joined his mentor K Balachander's unit, worked as an assistant of Ameer for Paruthiveeran and kept himself as busy as ever. "I continued working till better things came my way". And the best did happen—Sasikumar gave him that solid role in Subramaniapuram, followed it up with another in Easan, played hero under Sasikumar's direction, and is back with him for Porali. His performance in Vetrimaaran's Visaranai (2016) fetched him the Best Supporting Actor Award at the 63rd National Film Awards.
Sang along with M Sasikumar and Pandiraj
Sundar C Babu