R. Sarathkumar is an Indian actor, politician, journalist, filmmaker, and singer. He is known for working prominently in the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries. Some of his popular movies are ‘Pulan Visaranai’ (1990), ‘Surieyan’ (1992), ‘Nattamai’ (1994), ‘Suryavamsam’ (1997), ‘Natpukkaga’ (1998), and more. He has won multiple awards including Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and Filmfare Awards South. His 100th film was ‘Thalaimagan’ (2006) in which he worked as an actor, and also as a director. In 2007, he founded his own political party, ‘All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi’ (AISMK) in Tamil Nadu.
Sarathkumar Ramanathan was born on 14 July 1954 (age 68 years; as of 2022) in New Delhi. His zodiac sign is Cancer. After his family moved to Chennai from Delhi, he did his schooling at Rajah Muthiah High School in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Later, he studied at the Central School in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, in Chennai. He completed his schooling at St. Patrick’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Chennai. He went to Loyola College in Chennai and then pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from The New College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. During his school and college days, he played football, cricket, and hockey; he participated in his school and college sports teams and represented them at different sports events. He was an Air Wing Cadet in National Cadet Corps (NCC) and marched in the 1970 parade of Republic Day.
A childhood photo of R. Sarathkumar with his siblings (From left- Mallika, R. Sarathkumar, and Sudarshan)
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Weight (approx.): 70 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Body Measurements (approx.): Chest: 42 inches, Waist: 34 inches, Biceps: 16 inches
Sarathkumar belongs to a Tamil family.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is M. Ramanathan, who worked at the All India Radio and later, at the Press Information Bureau of India. His mother, Pushpaleela (also known as Leelavathy), was a homemaker, who died on 26 October 2013. He had one elder brother named Sudarshan Ramanathan, who passed away, and he has one elder sister named Mallika Kandaswamy.
R. Sarathkumar’s father, M. Ramanathan
R. Sarathkumar with his mother, Pushpaleela
R. Sarathkumar with his sister, Mallika
Wife & Children
In 1984, Sarathkumar married Chaya Devi. The couple had two daughters, Varalaxmi, an actress, and Pooja. The couple got divorced in 2000. In 2001, he got married to Raadhika, who is an Indian actress and politician. They have a son named Rahul, who was born in 2004. He also has a stepdaughter named Rayanne Hardy, who was born in 1992 to Raadhika and her ex-husband Richard Hardy.
R. Sarathkumar’s first wife, Chaya
R. Sarathkumar with his daughter, Varalaxmi
R. Sarathkumar with his daughter, Pooja
R. Sarathkumar with his second wife, Raadhika and son, Rahul
R. Sarathkumar with his stepdaughter, Rayanne
Reportedly, in the mid-1990s, he was in a relationship with Nagma, an Indian actress and politician, while he was still married to Chaya.
R. Sarathkumar’s ex-girlfriend, Nagma
He belongs to the Nadar community, which is a Tamil caste of India.
Kalyani Nagar, Kottivakkam, Chennai- 600 041
After winning the title of “Mr Madras University” in 1974, he moved to Bengaluru, where he started working as a newspaper boy for the Tamil newspaper Dinakaran. He began to distribute newspapers to shops as a cycle boy. Later, he began to manage newspaper circulation, and then he became a reporter for the same newspaper. He played a major role in expanding Dinakaran business in Bengaluru, and later in Chennai. In Chennai, he opened his own travel agency. He is the founder and editor of the weekly magazine in Tamil ‘Media Voice.’ In an interview, he talked about how he still remembers his journalism days and said,
Although I am a politician and actor now, the journalist in me is still alive. I love multitasking.”
In 1986, he debuted in the Telugu film industry with the film ‘Samajamlo Sthree’ in which he played the role of Surendar Babu.
R. Sarathkumar in a still from the 1986 film ‘Samajamlo Sthree’
In the 1990 film ‘Magaadu,’ he was cast to play the role of SP Raju. He played the role of Pruthvi Raj IPS in the 1991 film ‘Surya IPS.’ In 1992, he acted in the film ‘Agreement.’ In the 2005 film ‘Bunny,’ he had a guest appearance and played the role of Ranga Rao and Bhupathi Raja. He made a special appearance in the 2018 film ‘Bharat Ane Nenu.’ In 2020, he played the role of Appal Naidu in ZEE5’s drama films ‘Meka Suri’ and ‘Meka Suri 2.’
In 1988, he debuted in the Tamil film industry with the film ‘Kan Simittum Neram’ in which he played the role of Inspector Sarath.
R. Sarathkumar in a still from the 1988 film ‘Kan Simittum Neram’
In the 1990 film ‘Sirayil Sila Raagangal,’ he played the role of Antony. He was to play the role of Rajamanickam, opposite actress Rekha, in the 1991 film ‘Vaidehi Kalyanam.’ He made a guest appearance in the 1994 dance film ‘Indhu.’ In the 1994 film ‘Killadi Mappillai,’ he appeared in a cameo role as himself. In the 1995 film ‘Ragasiya Police,’ he played the role of ACP Suriya IPS. In 1996, he acted in the film ‘Mahaprabhu,’ which turned out to be a hit film. In the 2011 horror comedy film ‘Muni 2: Kanchana,’ he appeared as Karthik, who played the role of Kanchana. He played the lead role of Bose Kaalai, opposite his second wife, Raadhika Sarathkumar, in the 2020 drama film ‘Vaanam Kottatum.’ In 2022, he portrayed the character of Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar in the epic period drama film ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I,’ directed by Mani Ratnam.
R. Sarathkumar on the poster of the 2022 film ‘Ponniyin Selvan 1’
In 2009, he debuted in the Malayalam film industry with the film ‘Pazhassi Raja.’
R. Sarathkumar in a still from the 2009 film ‘Pazhassi Raja’
He worked in the 2010 comedy film ‘Oridathoru Postman’ in which he played the role of Yasin Mubarak. In 2011, he acted in three Malayalam-language films including ‘The Metro,’ ‘Christian Brothers’ and the historical film ‘Veeraputhran’ in which he portrayed the character of Vimal Menon. In the 2014 film ‘Asha Black,’ he played the role of ASP Anwar Ali.
In 2012, he debuted in the Kannada film industry with the film ‘Saarathi.’
R. Sarathkumar in a still from the 2012 film ‘Saarathi’
In the 2013 romantic drama film ‘Myna,’ he played the role of ACP B. B. Ashok Kumar. He portrayed the character of Sikandar Lodi in the 2016 biopic-drama film ‘Santheyalli Nintha Kabira,’ which was based on the Hindi play ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein’ by Bhisham Sahni. In 2019, he acted in the film ‘Seetharama Kalyana.’ He played the role of a supporting character, Joseph Antony, in the 2022 film ‘James.’
In 2000, he hosted Sun TV’s game show, ‘Kodeeswaran.’ He appeared as a guest on the Tamil language talk show ‘Ninaithale Inikkum’ in 2014. In 2020, he appeared on the Tamil quiz show ‘Kodeeswari,’ along with her daughter Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. In the same year, he hosted the show ‘Madras Maamis.’ In 2021, he played the role of Nagendra Naidu in the Disney+ Hotstar TV series ‘Parampara.’ He appeared as a special host on the Tamil version of the reality TV show ‘Bigg Boss’ in 2022. In the same year, he acted in the web series ‘Irai.’
R. Sarathkumar in a still for the 2022 web series ‘Irai’
In 1988, he produced his first film ‘Kan Simittum Neram,’ which was in the Tamil language. He produced a Tamil film titled ‘Jithan’ in 2005. In 2006, he produced the film ‘Thalaimagan,’ which was also directed by him. He was the producer and writer of the 2015 film ‘Sandamarutham.’ Some other films that are produced by him are ‘Mr Karthik’ (1990), ‘Kannamoochi Yenada’ (2007), ‘Jaggubhai’ (2010), ‘Pulivaal’ (2014), ‘Maari’ (2015), and more.
He debuted as a singer with the song ‘Orunnu Onnu’ from the 2004 film ‘Aai.’ In 2005, he sang the song ‘Tharuveeya Tharamattiya’ from the film ‘Chanakya.’ He sang the songs ‘Mugam Parthen’ and ‘Muthamidhave Ennai’ from the 2014 film ‘Ilakkanam Illa Kaadhal.’ In 2014, he lent his voice to the song ‘Unnai Mattum’ from the film ‘Sandamarutham.’
R. Sarathkumar on the poster of the song ‘Unnai Mattum’ from the 2014 film ‘Sandamarutham’
R. Sarathkumar began his career in politics in 1996 by joining the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). In 1998, he contested the Lok Sabha elections from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu; however, he lost the elections by a margin of only 6904 votes. In July 2001, he became a Rajya Sabha member, but before the Assembly elections in 2006, he left DMK and joined the AIADMK party with his second wife, Raadhika. In November 2006, he quit the AIADMK saying that as the president of the South Indian Artistes’ Association needed “undivided attention.” In an interview, he said,
As my profession and presidentship of the South Indian Film Artistes Association need my undivided attention, I have tendered my resignation to party supremo J Jayalalithaa. I have fulfilled my commitments to the AIADMK alliance. In the last five years, I have campaigned for the alliance in local body elections and byelections and stood by the party in all crises. The general body meeting of the party authorised me to take a decision on the alliance, and I have decided to walk out.”
On 31 August 2007, he launched his own political party named the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK).
In 2011, he joined the AIADMK alliance and was given two seats in the alliance, before the 14th Legislative Assembly Elections. His party won in two assembly constituencies; he won from Tenkasi and Ernavur A. Narayanan won from Nanguneri. In 2016, he participated in the Assembly elections; however, he lost. In an interview, he shared his wish to become a possible Chief Minister candidate, he said,
For the last 10 years, I have been closely associated with AIADMK. In fact, I have even been identified as the party’s propaganda secretary. Though I don’t regret this identification, my party couldn’t grow. Now, I want to focus on my party and be seen as a possible Chief Minister candidate.”
Reportedly, R. Sarathkumar was close to the politician Jayalalithaa. In 1994, Sarathkumar’s film ‘Nattamai’ was released. According to some sources, he gave a videotape of the film to Jayalalithaa for her personal viewing. The film was aired by Jayalalithaa’s television channel JJ TV, while the movie was still running in the theatres of Tamil Nadu. The event turned into a controversy when the producer of the film R. B. Chowdary threatened the actor for violating the rules and misusing the videotape, which was given to him for his watching it personally. Surprised by Jayalalithaa’s actions, Sarathkumar explained that he never thought that she would do something like this. He sought an explanation from both Jayalalitha and JJ TV, but never received it.
Cases where Cognizance Taken
- 1 charge related to Illegal payments in connection with an election (IPC Section-171H)
- 2 charges related to Punishment for Being a member of an unlawful assembly (IPC Section-143)
- 2 charges related to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant (IPC Section-188)
- Won Best Villain – Tamil Award for the 1990 film ‘Pulan Visaranai’ at Cinema Express Award
- Won Cinema Express Award Special Prize for Best Actor for the 1992 film ‘Surieyan’
- Won M.G.R. Award at Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
- Won Best Tamil Actor Award for the 1997 film ‘Surya Vamsam’ at Filmfare Awards South
- Won Best Actor Award for the 1997 film ‘Surya Vamsam’ at Cinema Express Awards
- Won Best Actor Award for the 1997 film ‘Surya Vamsam’ at Dinakaran Cinema
- Won Best Actor Award for the 1997 film ‘Suryavamsam’ at Cinema Fans’ Association
- Won Best Tamil Actor for the 1998 film ‘Natpukkaga’ at the Filmfare Awards South
- Won Best Actor for two films, ‘Natpukkaga’ and ‘Simmarasi,’ at Tamil Nadu State Film Award
- Received Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award
- Won MGR Award for the 2006 film ‘Thalaimagan’ at Sivaji Awards
- Won Best Supporting Actor Award for the 2009 Malayalam film ‘Pazhassi Raja’ at Sathyan Memorial Film Awards
- Won Jai Hind Patriotic Pride Award for the 2009 Malayalam film ‘Pazhassi Raja’
- Won Best Supporting Actor for the 2011 film ‘Muni 2: Kanchana’ at SIIMA Awards
- Won Best Supporting Actor for the 2011 film ‘Muni 2: Kanchana’ at Vijay Awards
- Won Rainbow Ambassador Award for contributing to the community by highlighting LGBT issues
- Won Icon of Tamil Cinema Award at Norway Tamil Film Festival
- Won Incisive Charisma award by WE Magazine
R. Sarathkumar received the Incisive Charisma Award by WE Magazine in 2016
- Won Best Actor in a Negative Role (Telugu) for the film ‘Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India’ at the SIIMA Award
- Honoured with Kalaimamani Award in 1994
- Premiere Padmini (TN 04 A 9999) (1990)
- Bajaj Auto (TN07 AJ6116) (2006)
- Scorpio (TN07 AL 0014) (2006)
- Tempo Traveller (TN07 AP 0014) (2007)
- Toyota Fortuner (TN07 BX0009) (2011)
- Volvo (TN07 BX0009) (2011)
- Audi (TN07 BT0014) (2012)
- Ford Endeavor (TN07 BU1499) 2014
- Pajero Sport (TN07 CD0014) (2014)
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class
R. Sarathkumar walking past his Mercedes-Benz C-Class car
Assets & Properties
- Bank Deposits: Rs. 43,136
- Bonds/Shares: Rs. 8,20,178
- LIC/Other Insurance Policies: Rs. 10,86,000
- Motor Vehicles: Rs. 1,81,31,683
- Non-Agricultural Land: Rs. 75,00,000
- Residential Buildings: Rs. 19,00,00,000
Note: The given estimates of movable and immovable assets are according to the year 2016.
R. Sarathkumar’s net worth for the financial year 2020-2021 is estimated to be Rs. 16 crores (as of 2016).
- Actor: M. G. Ramachandran
- After working in the 1992 Tamil film “Natchathira Nayagangot,” he earned the title ‘Super Hero.’
- He earned the title of ‘Supreme Star’ after working in the 1995 Tamil film “Ragasiya Police.”
- In 2011, he acted in the Tamil film ‘Muni 2: Kanchana’ after which he earned the title “Puratchi Thilagam.”
- During his college days, he started bodybuilding. In 1974, he won the title of “Mr Madras University.”
- He speaks all south Indian languages fluently and is quite an expert in Russian too.