K. D. Santhanam

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K. D. Santhanam
Occupation(s)Actor, writer and lyricist

K. D. Santhanam was an Indian actor, writer and lyricist who worked mainly in Tamil films. [1] [2]



He was a teacher at Madurai Sri Mangala Bala Gana Sabha training young boys in dramatics. He was known as a strict disciplinarian. He punished erring boys beating them with a cane, sometimes chasing the running boys. One of his students became a renowned actor later who acknowledged to his friends that it was due to the discipline of his tutor he was able to reach heights. The actor is Sivaji Ganesan. Later Santhanam has done minor character roles in which Sivaji Ganesan featured as the hero. This information has been recorded by writer Aroordas in his biography.

As an actor

He is a character artiste and has featured in more than 100 films.

In Pasamalar , he featured as Rajaratnam, a village senior who arranges the marriage of Sivaji Ganesan with M. N. Rajam.

"Ahaa Enna Porutham" is a hit song from the film Ragasiya Police 115 . In between the verses one can hear a commanding voice asking "Ange ennamma saththam?" (What is the noise there?). The voice is of Santhanam, who featured as Dhanapal Muthaliar (a filmmaker), father of Neela (Jayalalithaa) in the film.

He featured as the father of M. G. Ramachandran in the film Aasai Mugam .

As a Lyricist

During the 1950s, Tamil Cinema had a number of classic lyricists who enriched the films with their variety of songs. Udumalai Narayana Kavi and Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram wrote leftist oriented songs. A. Maruthakasi specialised in agricultural songs. Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam wrote melodious songs. Kannadasan wrote on life and philosophy. Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass wrote songs that appealed to the common man. Santhanam made his mark by writing songs with rhythmic flow known in Tamil as Santham.

A classic example of his "santham" song is "Thamizh Maalai Thanai Chooduvaal" from the film Ambikapathy . The sequence is: a poet takes up a challenge thrown by the King to sing 100 songs without referring to earthly pleasures, in order to win his daughter, the princess. Practically, in a film, it is impossible to sing 100 songs at a stretch. Santhanam wrote five songs for this scene. It was shown on screen using the running notation method. The fifth song becomes the 99th song. The poet gets excited. He sings the last five lines of the last verse in one breath. The word flow was such that it made the audience spellbound. This song is said to be the stamp song of Santhanam.

Music director Ilaiyaraaja once said that he got the inspiration for his song "Vaa Vennilla" from the film Mella Thirandhathu Kadhavu (1986) was a song written by Santhanam – "Vaan Meedhile Inba Thaen Maari Peyudhe" from the film Chandirani (1953).

His dance song "Laalu Laalu", written for the film Vijayakumari (1950) was rendered by Vyjayanthimala and became popular. [3]

There are many noteworthy songs written by K. D. Santhanam.


Actor and Lyricist

1948 Gnana Soundari Yes check.svg1 Song
1948 Vedhala Ulagam Yes check.svg
1949 Kanniyin Kaadhali Yes check.svg2 Songs
1950 Parijatham Yes check.svg
1950 Vijayakumari Yes check.svg
1951 Kaithi Yes check.svg
1951 Mohana Sundaram Yes check.svg
1951 Sudharshan Yes check.svg
1952 Chinna Durai Yes check.svg
1952 Kaadhal Yes check.svg
1952 Velaikaran Yes check.svg
1953 Velaikari Magal Yes check.svg
1953 Azhagi Yes check.svg
1953 Chandirani Yes check.svg
1953 Devadas Yes check.svg
1953 Marumagal Yes check.svg
1954 Kalyanam Panniyum Brahmachari Yes check.svgYes check.svg
1955 Gomathiyin Kaadhalan Yes check.svgYes check.svgas Sinnavely Zamindar
1955 Menaka Yes check.svg
1955 Mudhal Thethi Yes check.svgYes check.svg
1957 Ambikapathy Yes check.svgYes check.svgas Sadayappa Vallal
1957 Chakravarthi Thirumagal Yes check.svg
1957 Manamagan Thevai Yes check.svg
1958 Pathi Bakthi Yes check.svgas Nallasivam Pillai
1958 Engal Kudumbam Perisu Yes check.svg
1959 Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali Yes check.svg
1960 Aadavantha Deivam Yes check.svgas Singaram Pillai
1960 Aalukkoru Veedu Yes check.svg
1960 Kadavulin Kuzhandhai Yes check.svg
1960 Kairasi Yes check.svg
1960 Kavalai Illaadha Manithan Yes check.svgas Paramasivam
1960 Vijayapuri Veeran Yes check.svg
1961 Kumara Raja Yes check.svg
1961 Nallavan Vazhvan Yes check.svg
1961 Palum Pazhamum Yes check.svgas Paramasivam
1961 Pasamalar Yes check.svgas Paramasivam
1962 Aadi Perukku Yes check.svgYes check.svgas the publisher
1962 Senthamarai Yes check.svg
1963 Ezhai Pangalan Yes check.svg
1963 Kaanchi Thalaivan Yes check.svg
1964 Pasamum Nesamum Yes check.svg
1965 Aasai Mugam Yes check.svgas Siva Shankaran Pillai
1965 Kalangarai Vilakkam Yes check.svgas Neela's father
1968 Poovum Pottum Yes check.svg
1968 Ragasiya Police 115 Yes check.svgas Dhanapal Muthaliar
1969 Akka Thangai Yes check.svgas Judge (Guest appearance)
1969 Vaa Raja Vaa Yes check.svgas the elder sculptor
1970 Thirumalai Thenkumari Yes check.svgas Chokkalingam, Tamil Professor
1971KankatchiYes check.svg
1971 Kulama Gunama Yes check.svg
1972 Agathiyar Yes check.svg
1972 Sange Muzhangu Yes check.svgas Judge in the final scene
1973 Karaikkal Ammaiyar Yes check.svgYes check.svgas Wealthy Leprosy patient
1973 Rajaraja Cholan Yes check.svgYes check.svgas the chief sculptor
1973 Thirumalai Deivam Yes check.svg
Ilaya Thalaimurai
1977 Sri Krishna Leela Yes check.svg

Script writer

  1. Chinna Durai (1952) [4]

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  1. Guy, Randor (9 June 2012). "Vazhkai 1949". The Hindu . Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  2. Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen. Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (PDF). Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1998. pp. 321, 346 & 367.
  3. Guy, Randor (5 November 2009). "Blast from the past: Vijayakumari (1950)". The Hindu . Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  4. Guy, Randor (23 October 2011). "Chinnadurai 1955". The Hindu . Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017. - name written as K. T. Santhanam