S. J. Surya

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S. J. Surya
S. J. Surya

S. Justin Selvaraj, known by his stage name S. J. Surya is an Indian film director, screenwriter, actor, music composer and producer who has worked in the Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film industries. He sought to become an actor but ended up directing, assisting Vasanth and Sabapathy.

Born in Vasudevanallur near Puliangudi, Tamil Nadu, he moved to Chennai to complete a Physics degree at Loyola College. Despite getting an opportunity to pursue further studies at an engineering college in Madurai, he declined the offer and stayed in Chennai, with the hope of finding a breakthrough as an actor in Tamil films. To be financially self-dependent, he began working in hotels and as a steward, before receiving an offer to apprentice under K. Bhagyaraj. He subsequently worked as an assistant director in the teams of Aasai (1995) under Vasanth and Sundara Purushan (1996) under Sabapathy, while also being seen in uncredited appearances as an actor, notably as a cock fighter in Bharathiraja's Kizhakku Cheemayile (1993).

The film also titled as Kushi (2001), opened to positive reviews and went on to become the most successful Telugu film ever at release in June 2001. In 2016 Surya acted in Iraivi and his performance got highly positive reviews from both critics and audiences but the film was a commercial failure. His performance in Iraivi was nominated for national award but did not win. Later, Surya signed 2 films, Spyder, a bilingual and Mersal. He played a dark villain in Spyder as a terrorist/serial killer, whilst playing a stylish villain in Mersal.

Spyder received mixed response in telugu, eventually failing at the box office. It received good reviews in tamil. Meanwhile, Mersal became a blockbuster hit, along with the telugu dubbed version, Mersal, which earned good reviews. Surya made his directorial debut with Vaali in 1999 whose success catapulted him to stardom. His other notable films include Kushi (2000), New (2004), Anbe Aaruyire (2005) and Isai (2015). He made his acting debut with New and went on to act in films like Kalvanin Kadhali (2006), Vyabari (2007) and Thirumagan (2007) and has also worked as Antagonist in Spyder (2017) and Mersal (2017).

In March 2017, Surya signed a new project which is to be directed by Maya fame Ashwin Saravanan to star along with Sshivada and Wamiqa Gabbi.

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