About The Leader
Sarath Kumar Ramanathan is a thinker, reformer, politician, journalist, and most well-known as an award-winning South Indian actor with an established reputation in Kollywood (the Tamil film industry) as well as the Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries.
Sarath Kumar was born in New Delhi, on July 14, 1954, the third child of Shri. M. Ramanathan, who worked at the All India Radio before joining the Press Information Bureau of India, and Smt. Pushpa Leela, a homemaker. He has a sister, Mallika Kandaswamy and had a brother, the late Sudarshan Ramanathan.
Sarath Kumar started his schooling at the Raja Muthiah High School, after his family relocated from Delhi to Chennai. He then moved on to the Central School in the IIT Madras Campus, and finished at St. Patrick’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School. Being an avid sports enthusiast, he played football, cricket, and hockey, representing his school and college teams. He also joined the NCC, becoming an Air Wing Cadet. He was one of the cadets that marched in the Republic Day Parade of 1970. After completing his pre-university levels at Loyola College and subsequently graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from The New College in Chennai.
He moved to Bangalore to become a reporter for the Dinakaran News Daily. Journalism had always been close to his heart and he didn’t hesitate to start out as a newspaper boy, managing newspaper circulation before moving on to become a reporter. Sarath Kumar still feels great pride and a sense of dignity when he remembers his time as a journalist. After establishing Dinakaran in Bangalore, he was called to Chennai to expand their business there. Soon afterwards, he shifted his energies towards running his own business, a travel agency, in Chennai.
He is married to Smt. Radikaa Sarath Kumar, a reputed South Indian film and television personality.
Sarath Kumar has always been a fitness enthusiast and his focused efforts led to his becoming a body builder and earning the ‘Mr. Madras’ title in 1974. While running his travel agency in Chennai, he got an opportunity to act in as well as produce his first film Kan Simittum Neram.
Sarath Kumar started out in the Tamil film industry playing negative roles, before making the shift to playing minor roles and then lead ones, working hard to build his current reputation and star status. Taking cues from leading Hollywood stars, Sarath Kumar carefully honed his onscreen persona and by the 90s, had emerged as one of Tamil cinema’s leading heroes. His first break came when he was chosen to play the lead in the 1992 blockbuster Suriyan, and since then his career has taken off, with his winning three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards (South) along the way. He received his first Best Actor award for playing a villain in Pulan Visaranai (1990), and won his first Best Actor award in a lead role for Nattamai (1994).
These accolades were only the beginning in a long and illustrious career. With more than 130 films in various languages and several awards under his belt in the last couple of decades, the once modest yet strong-minded journalist has indeed come a long way. However, even today, he contributes articles to his magazine.
Sarath Kumar is also the President of the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association. This is yet another role that shows his real life versatility, after having played all kinds of characters onscreen from villains to cops to transgender. He has proven himself a thorough professional, adept at multi-tasking in all his endeavours. His passion to cleanse society, displayed convincingly in the characters he has played on-screen, drives him in real life as well. This drive has motivated him to take up politics, in a bid to do his best to serve society and mankind.
On August 31, 2007, Sarath Kumar, started the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK) party. Steeped in the M G Ramachandran legacy, he stated that the purpose of creating this party was to instil a sense of ‘real citizenship’, where every citizen is inspired to act for the welfare of society.
Sarath Kumar is currently an MLA of the Tenkasi constituency.
The two images that come to mind when someone mentions Sarath Kumar are ‘actor’ and ‘politician’, but when one meets the man in person, one is pleasantly surprised to note that there is so much more to him than just these labels. Contrary to one’s idea of a superstar, Sarath Kumar comes across as very down to earth, practical, and progressive in his thinking. He has always been a ‘hands-on’ leader, being at the forefront of things. This action-focused nature is complemented by an innocence and idealism that always emphasizes on doing the right thing. He is certainly someone who practices the credo, ‘actions speak louder than words’, on an everyday basis.