Sathyaraj, who is now popular as Kattappa is Tamil cinema’s one of the most celebrated actors. He has been in the industry for over 35 years. He started off his career by doing small roles in films and then started playing the antagonist, he even played villain to Kamal Hassan in many films. Sathyaraj never played an antagonist like it was typically done in Tamil cinema, he made it look casual rather than dramatic and the change was well received by the audience. He achieved success as a hero in the film Kadalora Kavithaigal and from then there was no turning back. Sathyaraj’s comic timing was his biggest plus and he also performed fights really well. Sathyaraj did films of all genres and both the family audience and the youngsters liked him. His collaboration with director-actor Manivannan was widely appreciated.
Manivannan introduced the political satire to movies and Amaidhi Padai directed by him starring Sathyaraj is considered as a classic. Sathyaraj’s rapport with comedian Goundamani was also a much loved factor. Till the 1990’s end Sathyaraj had ruled the box office many times. He also donned the hat of a director in the film Villathi Villan which received box office success. The 2000’s were unlucky to the actor even though the 2007’s biopic on Periyar received great appreciations and also won him a Tamil Nadu State Award Special Mention. The actor reinvented himself in the start of 2010’s. Sathyaraj started being active in doing supporting roles in Tamil and Telugu movies, he even did Malayalam film Aagathan directed by Kamal.
People fell in love with the actor all over again in Shankar’s Tamil remake of the blockbuster Hindi film 3 idiots. His roles in Telugu film Mirchi and Tamil films Thalaivaa and Raja Rani were also accepted well. He also appeared in the Hindi film Chennai Express alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. Sathyaraj’s satirical sense of humor in films were always enjoyed by the audience and he was back in such an avatar in Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam. That film had made sure that Sathyaraj’s second innings in the movie business is going to be strong. And then Baahubali came his way. The whole country was chanting Kattappa’s name for almost one and a half years. The magnum opus was known for the question ‘Why Kattappa Killed Baahubali?’
Karikala Kattappa Nadar is one of the most prominent characters in Baahubali. His loyalty to the Maahishamthi kingdom is surprising. He is a well trained warrior and is a part of both the generations. His character travels with the story and of course by the end of the first part we were shocked to know that Kattappa killed Baahubali and the question of why he did that made rounds in the entire nation. Kattappa’s loyalty, bravery, devotion to Rajamata Sivagami Devi and love towards Amarendra Baahubali was seen in the first part and his fun side and the emotional trauma was shown in the second part.
As an actor Sathyaraj had to convey every emotion through Kattappa. The actor’s physical fitness and the conviction in his appearance made Kattappa more real. Now when we look back we cannot imagine any other actor as Kattappa. Baahubali 1 and 2 are more than enough to know the range of the actor. He had very sensitively handled the scenes like Kattappa comes to Devasena in the first part where he pleads to release her. His introduction in the beginning of the flashback was also terrific! In the second part’s beginning, Kattappa mildly teases Bijjaladeva (Nasser) with a stone face and that was enjoyable, his comic scenes were never over the top and tickled few of the laughing bones.
My favorite Kattappa moment in the conclusion was when he arrives at Sivagami’s chamber after killing Baahubali, the man is filled with anger, guilt and shame on himself. He is in the pain of losing a son. The way the actor managed to give life to Kattappa in that scene was marvelous. That is the first time we see him shouting and that too at Sivagami. Like some characters from the Mahabharatha, Kattappa receives all the needed importance. There is never a question on any of his behavior or mannerisms. Karikala Kattappa Nadar and the Actor who played it will be remembered till Indian Cinema exists.
Everything about Baahubali is celebrated and the hype for the second part was mainly due to people’s anxiety to know why Kattappa killed Baahubali. A bunch of people’s brilliance in putting this project together has given Indian cinema it’s biggest blockbuster. We are in love with every actor who made the fierce character come live on screen and we are proud to have actors who are as versatile as Sathyaraj. Hoping to have more films that will give such wonderful actors the exposure they deserve.
Hardcore Film Lover and Ardent Movie Goer, Aspiring Film Maker.