Suruli Rajan was an Indian film comedian and character artiste. He was extensively popular for his appreciative comic timing and overwhelming acts. He was born in 1938 in Periyakulam, near Theni, Tamil Nadu. His father, Ponniah Pillai, was a middle-class man working as an accountant for farm owners around the nearby areas in Theni.
Rajan got his name after the family deity, Suruli Velappar, who got worshipped at temple atop a hill whose beauty was enhanced by the magnificent and scenic Suruli Falls. Rajan faced difficulties since his childhood when he lost his parents and thus had to discontinue schooling and move to Madurai with his brother.
Suruli worked as an apprentice mechanic at a workshop for a while, but this was never enough for him. He had dreams and aspirations while a spark of acting ignited in his heart. He worked in several amateur plays in Madurai but soon realized that this wouldn't help him make his dreams a reality and thus moved to Madras in 1959 looking for exposure.
Once in Madras, he started working with drama troupes like those of O.A.K.Devar, pier Ramarao, T.N. Balu and in Karunanidhi's 'Kagithapoo.' He debuted in cinema with a brief role in movie Iravum Pagalum in 1965 with the help of filmmaker Joseph Thaliayath of The Citadel Film Corporation Pvt. Ltd., but it was his comic role in the movie, 'Kaadhal Paduthum Paadu,' which gave him more recognition the next year.
His part in the motion film began with his impressive acting career which brought him much fame, money, and awards. Rajan's flair with the nonsense, perfection with timing and beautiful performance of satire and over the top roles won hearts making him one of the most popular comedians in the late 70s.
He became a necessity in every movie that decade. He married Muthulakshmi and had three sons. Though the life of Ranjan looked like a beautiful glass from the outside, alcoholism was rotting the foundation of his life. He couldn't control his fame and invited his untimely death at the peak of his career on 5 December 1980 at the age of 42.
He set a record of acting in 50 films in the single year 1980. It was a shame that most of his movies got released after his death. Rajan also received Best Comedian Award, by the Government of Tamil Nadu, for the year 1981–82 as an honor of his contribution to cinema.
Suruli Ranjan was one of the best comedians of his time, and his story is till date An example of reaching heights with hard work, talent and dedication and also fame went terribly.