Siddharth is an Indian film actor who has appeared in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi language films. Apart from acting, he has also been involved in films as screenplay writer, producer and playback singer. He has been described as one of the few actors in India who is able to achieve pan-Indian appeal.
Siddharth was born to a Tamil-speaking family in Chennai, India. He began his education at DAV Boys’ Senior Secondary School, Chennai and then studied at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi. He subsequently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from Kirori Mal College, New Delhi. Siddharth participated extensively in extra-curricular activities during college, serving as the president of the college’s debating society and attending the World Debating Championships. He then went on to complete his MBA from S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, while also ultimately winning a speaking skills competition which earned him the CNBC Manager of the year award in 1999.
Siddharth’s first tryst with media came through dubbing for the Banish mosquito repellent ad in eight different languages in 1988, as instructed by his father’s close friend, ad director Jayendra.He noted that he knew he was headed for a career in films since childhood, showing particular fascination for writing and directing, and thus only signed up for business school as a “safety cushion” as insisted upon by his father. He then briefly pursued amateur theatre during his time in Delhi through live stage performances with the theatre group Players, while also honing his writing and directorial skills.
Though he worked as assistant with director Mani Ratnam in Kannathil Muthammittal in 2001 and also acted as a passanger in a bus, His first movie as a full fledged actor was with Shankar’s Boys in 2003.
The movie got mixed response. After that movie his next project was Mani Ratnam’s Azhudha Ezhuthu where he played the student Arjun Balakrishnan, a role which he described to be similar to his real life persona. The sync sound method of filming was employed in this film and it worked to his benefit due to his experiences on stage performances in college.
His next movie was the Telugu movie by Prabhu Deva. The movie Nuuvostanante Nenoddantana was Prabhu’s first directorial project and Siddhart had to work hard to depict his character as “hyperactive and unpredictable”.
This movie opened in Jan 2005 to unanimously positive reviews with critics dubbing it a “must see”.
After this movie became a super hit, he became a much sought after actor in Tollywood and he shifted base to Hyderabad to pursue a career primarily in Telugu films.
But fate struck as the script of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang de Basanti and the ensemble cast with the opportunity to act with Aamir Khan and his Aazhudha Ezhuthu co-star Maddy forced him to sign up for Rang de basanti as the spoiled brat Karan Singhania and Bhagat Singh in the flash backs.
Rang de Basanti turned a jackpot as it went on to win various awards and he also got the Best Supporting Actor and Best Debut Actor awards.
After a couple of films in Telugu Bommarillu with Boys co-star Genelia D’Souza and Ata opposite Ileana D’Cruz he went with 20 months with no movies to sign and the few movies that came his way he rejected.
His next film in 2009 was Oye opposite Shamili and in 2010 his second film in hindi viz Striker where he played the role of a carrom player opened to positive reviews.
The actor was then selected to portray the lead role of a blind warrior in Prakash Kovelamudi’s fantasy epic Anaganaga O Dheerudu co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and veteran director K. Raghavendra Rao. Beginning production in June 2009, it became the actor’s most expensive film till date and marked the debuts of actresses Shruti Haasan and Lakshmi Manchu in Telugu cinema.The film opened with high expectations following positive pre-release promotions, but only garnered average collections and reviews from critics. He was next seen in the Tamil and Telugu bilingual 180 directed by his mentor, the ad director Jayendra. The venture marked his return to Tamil films after a seven-year hiatus, and he was seen portraying a doctor who flees from his American life to begin fresh in India. The film had an average run at the box office, though garnered positive reviews from critics. His third release of the year was the romantic college drama, Oh My Friend co-starring Shruti Haasan and Hansika Motwani, which opened to mixed reviews but went on to garner positive response commercially.
Siddharth then chose to produce his first film under his newly launched production studio, Etaki Entertainment Private Limited, which he had registered in October 2010. He financed the bilingual college romantic comedy Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (2012), based on the same-titled short film by Balaji Mohan, and featured in the lead role alongside Amala Paul. He revealed that after watching the ten-minute Tamil short film, he found it interesting and developed an interest to turn it into a mainstream full-length feature film. The film was shot in Tamil and Telugu over a period of eight months under a moderate budget. The film opened in February 2012 in both languages to commercial acclaim, becoming a profitable venture at the box office. Both the film and Siddharth won positive reviews, with a critic calling it “earnest” and “well-written”
In 2013, Siddharth had his most prolific year and appeared in seven film across four languages. Siddharth was selected to be a part of the ensemble cast for Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, a 2012 British-Canadian film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s 1981 novel of the same name. He sped read the book to prepare for his role and attended a series of workshops to portray the role of Shiva, earning positive reviews for his performance Siddharth then worked on Nandini Reddy’s Telugu romantic comedy Jabardasth opposite Samantha, with the pair portraying wedding planners. Despite receiving attention prior to release, as a result of the pair’s off-screen relationship, the film garnered poor reviews with critics noting their characters “were poorly written”. The film became a commercial failure, while also becoming entangled in a legal tussle soon after release of story theft. He also was subsequently seen in Srinu Vaitla’s Baadshah, performing a guest appearance in a flashback sequence. His fourth release was David Dhawan’s Hindi comedy film Chashme Baddoor, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, which released to a negative response from reviewers.Next, Siddharth collaborated with debutant director Manimaran for the romantic thriller Udhayam NH4, written by Vetrimaaran. The film won positive reviews and performed strongly at the box office.He then featured in Sundar C’s commercially successful Tamil comedy film Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru portraying a timid IT employee who seeks the help of a love guru. His popularity in Telugu cinema meant that the makers re-shot a few scenes and released a Telugu version titled Something Something.
His first release of 2014 was Karthik Subbaraj’s musical gangster film Jigarthanda, where he portrayed an aspiring film director who travels to Madurai to make a film based on the life and times of a notorious rowdy. Siddharth was chosen by the director as “he had not done a role like it before”, and his on screen character was named after and drew allusions to Karthik Subbaraj’s career as a film maker. Co-starring Bobby Simha as the rowdy and Lakshmi Menon, Jigarthanda opened to unanimously positive reviews in August 2014. The film subsequently went on to become among the most profitable Tamil films of the year, while earning “cult status” amongst the audience. The success of the film meant that Siddharth had four successive commercially successful films in Tamil and was at the peak of his career in the industry.
His next release was Vasanthabalan’s historical fiction film, Kaaviya Thalaivan, depicting the life of performers from the Madras theatre circuit from the 1920s. Siddharth was associated with the project right from the scripting stages in 2011, and was instrumental in helping bring the producers and A. R. Rahman become a part of the venture. Working alongside Prithviraj and Vedhika, he portrayed the leading role of Thalaivankottai “Kaali”appa Bhagavathar, a Madras theatre artiste, loosely based on the life of actor S. G. Kittappa. To prepare for the role, he studied the work of actors from the 1920s and made himself familiar with the lives of artistes from that time period, noting his stint in theatre was helpful. The film opened to unanimously positive reviews in November 2014, with Siddharth’s performance receiving critical acclaim.
Siddharth’s next appearance was in Enakkul Oruvan (2015), a remake of the successful Kannada film Lucia, which was produced by C. V. Kumar. Appearing in two roles as a successful actor and as a village theatre operator, Siddharth appeared in one sporting a dark complexion for the first time. The film opened to positive reviews
After a six-month sabbatical, Siddharth announced that he had finished work on another acting and production venture, Jill Jung Juk by newcomer Deeraj Vaidy.
He has also worked on Sundar C’s horror comedy, Aranmanai 2 alongside Trisha and Hansika Motwani. Furthermore, Siddharth has signed on to appear in a Malayalam film directed by ad film maker Rathish Ambat in his feature film debut.