Tamil Features

Novel Confidence: Karunakaran And His Inspirations

Karunakaran started off as a regular in those televised short films families watched every Sunday. Working closely with Nalan Kumarasamy here got him his chance to work in major films. And the rest, as they say, is history. Today, he is one of the busiest actors in Kollywood. On the verge of his debut lead roles in films like Uppu Karuvadu and Kanneer Anjali, Karunakaran talks to us about what inspires him, and his work.

Family : His father was a RAW agent. Though he wasn’t supported to talk about it, little Karunakaran loved to brag about his father to his friends. Inspired by him, he tried several times to pass the examinations at RAW, Civil Services, and the National Defence Academy. To no avail. In fact, he missed the NDA qualification because he forgot to add an acknowledgement letter in the application! But his family always encouraged him, in the smallest things. Like the school plays he participated in. That’s what eventually paved the way to his collaboration with Nalan Kumarasamy, whom he met at a school event at Trichy. Nalan included Karunakaran in his projects because he was the one and only friend he had who could act!

Stint in IT : Like a gadzillion other Indian youths, Karunakaran got himself an engineering degree, and joined an IT company (Accenture). The experience turned out to be great motivation, “The best thing about my company was that they concentrated on developing our personal skills. And I wasn’t just passively interested in their training sessions. They helped me improve myself on a personal level. They made me a more confident person.”

Sundar C : In Kollywood, this director’s name is synonymous with entertainment. And it was with Sundar C’s Kalakalappu that Karunakaran entered films. “He is my mentor in the industry and taught me everything I know about cinema. He taught me about growth, and how things would pan out. He filled me with confidence, with the knowledge that I would definitely make it big in the industry. And, he instructed me on how and when to launch myself.”

Kamal Haasan : “He is an ocean of knowledge. There is no craft in cinema that he is not familiar with. Meeting him was my lifelong dream, a dream which came true after the release of Soodhu Kavvu. He invited the entire team over and congratulated us on the film,” says Karunakaran. “He made a huge impression on me. His comic capers like Michael Madana Kamarajan, Avvai Shanmughi and Panchathandhiram have been my favourites. I never get bored of watching them.”


Karthik Subbaraj : “I have always loved the way Karthik runs the entire film through in his mind. He is never in a hurry to complete the film. I can confidently say that all of Karthik’s will be quite original, and will be worthy of being preserved. Audiences will always love his work. I have always had tremendous respect for his passion in cinema, and the way it drives him to deliver good films,” says Karunakaran.

Santhanam : “Enaku yaar joke adichalum pudikum,” (I like jokes, no matter who cracks them) says Karunakaran. “I have always liked Santhanam’s brand of humour. I’ve worked with him, and I can say that he is definitely as funny in real life as he is on screen. He once advised me to dress better. Sabu Cyril was with us that day. I pointed to him and asked Santhanam, ‘Avar satta nalla iruku, andha madiri enga edukalaam?’ to which he replied, ‘Avar sattaiya thovachu kaaya podumbodhu eduthuko’.” Santhanam’s spontaneity has quite the fan in Karunakaran.