Thambi Ramaiah
Camera : Maran | Text : Prathap
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Catch the National Award winning actor Thambi Ramaiah in conversation with where he discusses about his cinematic journey, achievements and his projects.

About you

I was born in the Dharapuram village in Pudukottai district in a farming family. My dad was a Tamil poet while mom, a housewife. I was their eldest son. I was brought up in a humble background so I got the jitters after I finished my twelfth standard. That’s a deciding point in every student’s life. If you aren’t cut out for engineering or medicine, you will become a teacher. That’s what I wanted to become. Other than that, I had these inherent qualities in me. I had no stage fear and had inclination towards arts. Since it was a village, there used to be cultural activities during the religious festivals. I have seen a lot of stage plays when I was a kid. Stage actors like Ponnamaravathy Arumugam and Orathanadu Santhanam used to be my idols in those days since I had no access to cinema.

Since I used to watch those plays a lot, my interest in arts started to slowly sprout. My dad was also artistically inclined since he was a Tamil poet. He writes poetry about social situations and reads it out to his audience. Naturally, I inherited those qualities and begun to write poetry. So I wanted to become a lyricist and I looked up to legends like MSV and Kannadasan.

I wanted to become a lyricist

National award was a huge


Moving to Chennai is part of taking risk in life according to me. After reaching Chennai, I couldn’t even meet a light man in film studios and I had to work in a private company for about 9 years. So now I have the experience of working in a city apart from what my village life thought me. And then I got married. And I got into movies with Manuneedhi. I straddled between many professions in cinema, I wrote lyrics. And then acting happened. Now I am glad that I am a recognized actor. I am also extremely happy about my national award since it was a huge honor. I am happy because I am setting an example for my colleagues. I had worked so hard to achieve this and if it inspires people around me, it makes me happier.

About your movie entry

I have visited many directors for story discussion and I had the opportunity to join the story discussion of Malabar Police. P Vasu realized my acting potential during the discussion and launched me as an actor in Malabar Police. I appeared with Goundamani in the movie.

Will you go back to direction?

I make no such plans in life. I believe life will not go according to your plans. Right now I am focused in acting. But if an opportunity comes across in direction, I will definitely consider it.

Life will not go according to your


What’s your fondness for cop roles?

It just happened in the past few movies continuously. I did not plan for it though. Myna, Osthi and Vettai are the movies.

Do you have any favorite actors or directors?

I am like water. I will take the shape of the vessel I am in. If you want me to flow and be a river, I will be one. Everybody likes me and I like to act with everyone.

National Award does not fulfill

your financial needs

Has national award put pressures on your selection of movies?

National award is just recognition of your efforts and talent. That does not fulfill your financial needs. In fact, it was in news recently that there are people who could not even spend for ticket to go to Delhi to collect the award. It’s only your hard work that pays, at the end of the day.

What are your future projects?

Kazhugu, Pechiyakka Marumagan, Kizhakku Partha Veedu, Saattai and Kumki. Of these movies Saattai and Kumki are the movies I think will take me to the next level. Kumki is directed by Prabhu Solomon and I am doing a full-length role in this. Even in Myna my role appears only later in the movie but my role in Kumki starts much earlier in the movie. I am hopeful that my performance will be the appreciated in the movie.

Saattai and Kumki will take me

to the next level

Debut directors have zero ego

You work with a lot of new directors. Do you provide suggestions to them in their direction?

Except Kumki, I am working with only debut directors. I find the debut directors are passionate and want to achieve. They have zero ego and they agree to the tips and suggestions I provide. And I love working with them.

Any offers from other languages?

I was offered movies by Sathyan Anthikkad and Padmakumar. So Malayalam movies are in the cards. I am looking for opportunities in Telugu and it might work out soon.

Where do you derive inspiration from?

I derive inspiration from my own life, from where I come. My village has taught me a lot and that’s where my inspiration comes from.

How do you treat success?

There are legends who have achieved much more than I am and humble about it. Of course I am happy about my success but I tend to be realistic about it and live for the moment.

What do you think is your specialization?

I think I am good with comedy. I also believe that I have carved a name for myself in that area and I am thankful to God for that. However, I do not look myself as a comedian but as an actor who can perform all roles.

Tags : Thambi Ramiah, Kazhugu, Kumki
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