Hero to Jayalalithaa and Villain to Rajinikanth: Veteran actor Srikanth's journey in Tamil cinema!

Popular actor Srikanth has passed away on Tuesday in Chennai at the age of 82 due to age-related ailments. Condolences have been pouring in for the deceased veteran, who was Jayalalithaa's first co-star. The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had made her debut in the Tamil cinema through the movie 'Vennira Aadai', which was released in 1965, in which she co-starred with Srikanth. Hundreds of fans and celebrities including Rajinikanth had paid tribute to Srikanth and consoled his family.

The veteran actor has been suffering from his age-related ailments for some time and the Tamil Nadu Nadigar Sangam had announced his demise on Tuesday. Besides being played as Jayalalithaa's co-star in the latter's first movie, Srikanth had also acted in lead roles in several movies directed by legendary filmmaker K Balachander, including 'Poovaa Thalaiyaa', 'Ethir Neechel', and 'Bama Vijayam'. Srikanth had also played the role of a comedian in an everlasting movie 'Kassethan Kadavuleda' and played the lead role in more than fifty movies. 

In his nearly five-decade-long career, Srikanth had earned prominence by appearing as a protagonist. However, in later years, he had played the roles of villain and became one of the celebrating antagonists in the Tamil cinema. While Srikanth played the role of hero in Jayalalithaa's first movie, he has acted as a villain for Rajinikanth in the movie 'Bairavi', which was released in 1978. Srikanth's versatile acting had made him a towering thespian, with a long-living legacy. 

Srikanth had also shared screen space with legendary artists in the industry including Sivaji Ganesan, Jaishankar, Muthuraman, and Ravichandran. He also appeared as a villain opposite to actors Kamal Haasan and Sivakumar from the late seventies to early nineties. Before entering the cinema, Srikanth was working in the American consulate and was also acting in various dramas staged by troupes between 1960 and 1965. Srikanth was born as Rajavenkataraman in Erode on March 19, 1940. He had performed the character of Srikanth in 'Major Chadrakant', a drama directed in 1962. 

This drama had given him huge popularity following which he adopted his name as Srikanth. He was introduced into the cinema by CV Sridhar, who directed 'Vennira Aadai'. This stellar movie has introduced four new faces to Tamil cinema - Srikanth, Jayalalithaa, Vennira Aadai Nirmala, and Venniradai Moorthy. Srikanth was one of the very few artists who played the role of hero in his debut movie. From then on, no turnbacks as Srikanth went on to work with K Balachander. 

Some of his notable movies include 'Vietnam Veedu', 'Praptham', 'Gnana Oli', 'Vasantha Maligai', 'Rajapart Rangadurai', 'Sivagamiyin Selvan', 'Vani Rani', 'Thanga Pathakkam', 'Anbai Thedi', 'Rojavin Raja', and 'Ilaya Thalaimurai'. Srikanth had also acted in dramas from the 1970s to 1980s with Sowcar Janaki, Muthuraman, Lakshmi, and later even in the 1990s with the next generation. He was active in the industry till 2009 and recently, he had developed health complications. 

His health had worsened and on Tuesday, he breathed his last at 82 in Chennai. After learning about his demise, hundreds of celebrities have been paying tribute to the departed soul. Superstar Rajinikanth took to Twitter and wrote, "The demise of my dear friend Thiru Srikanth deeply saddens me. May his soul rest in peace." Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had also expressed his tribute to Srikanth.