20 Best Tamil Actors of All Time

Tamil cinema is the pioneer of indie-movie culture in India. Predominantly based in Chennai, Tamil Cinema is famous for its raw energy and intensity in its movies. The industry has produced many superstars like Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan and also some of the greatest directors like Mani Ratnam and K. Balachander. The themes portrayed in Tamil cinema are culturally significant and technically brilliant. Here is the list of top 20 best Tamil actors ever.


20. Vijay Sethupathi

Vijay Sethupathi is the pioneer of Tamil-Indie films. Popularly known as, ‘Makkal Selvan’ (People’s Star), he began his career with small roles and later debuted with Kartik Subbaraj’s ‘Pizza’ which was a smash hit. Vijay Sethupathi’s performance was raved by the critics. In the recent times, Vijay Sethupathi has garnered immense popularity with the versatility in acting. His recent film, ‘Vikram Vedha’ turned out to be the biggest blockbuster in his career.

Notable films: Pizza, Sethupathi, Iraivi, Vikram Vedha.


19. Vijay

‘Thalapathy’ Vijay is considered to be the next big thing from Tamil Cinema. An electrifying screen presence, impeccable comic timing, and his trademark dance, make millions of fans go gaga for him. Vijay debuted with this father’s directorial venture ‘Naalaya Theerpu’. His first breakthrough film was ‘Poovae Unnakaga’, which was a blockbuster. Vijay’s Ghilli is the first south Indian movie to collect more than 50 crores. It was the movie, Pokkiri, that made him the favorite of masses. AR Murugadoss’ military drama ‘Thuppaki’ catapulted Vijay into the big league. He then acted in the social drama ‘Kaththi’ which was critically acclaimed and considered his best movie till date. Vijay is regarded as one of India’s best dancers.

Notable films: Poovae Unnakaga, Pokkiri, Thuppaki, Kaththi.


18. Ajith Kumar

Ajith Kumar is one of the biggest movie stars acting in Tamil Industry today. He has a huge fanbase, which ensures earth-shattering openings for all his movies. Primarily, he started his career as romantic hero, before foraying into mainstream commercial cinema. Vaali was his first breakthrough role that helped him gain a strong foothold in the industry. AR Murugudoss’ Dheena established him as action hero. Films like Villain, Mankatha, Aarambham, Veeram made him a superstar. One of the most handsome men in the Industry, Ajith Kumar’s Vivegam opened to a humongous response from the audiences.

Notable films: Citizen, Dheena, Mankatha, Vivegam.


17. Dhanush

Dhanush is the actor that broke the stereotypical hero-figure with his unconventional and impeccable acting reportoire. Belonging to a film family, it was never easy for him to gain a foothold in the industry. Born to film director, Kasthuri Raja, Dhanush debuted with the coming-age-of-drama Thulladho Ilamai. He awed everyone with his acting, and broke the formula for the protagonist. His second film, Kadhal Kondein, was an outright blockbuster and made him an overnight star. Dhanush’s collaboration with the director Vettrimaaran, Pudhu Pettai was critically acclaimed. Aadukalam garnered him the National Award for Best Actor. Who can forget the ‘Kolaveri’ fever? It was the song ‘Why this Kolaveri Di?’ brought international recognition to Dhanush. His Bollywood debut, Raanjhana, was also critically acclaimed.

Notable films: Pudhu Pettai, Aadukalam,VIP, Raanjhana.


16. Aravind Swamy

‘I am not Bad, I am just evil’ -an iconic dialogue that Aravind Swamy used in the movie, Thani Oruvan. Aravind Swamy, one of the most charming men of Tamil Cinema, debuted with Mani Ratnam’s cult-classic, “Thalapathy”. He later colloborated with Mani Ratnam twice, Roja and Bombay. Roja introduced the genius of AR Rahman to Indian Cinema. Bombay was critically acclaimed and was the first movie in Mani Ratnam’s Terror trilogy. Owing to health complications, he was away from films for over a decade. It was the movie, ‘Thani Oruvan’ that re-introduced the great actor in Aravind Swamy. It was a blockbuster and he was flooded with offers from various languages. A long way to go, Aravind Swamy.

Notable films: Bombay, Roja, Thalapathi

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