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Arjun Sarja

Arjun Sarja
Born Srinivasa Sarja
(1964 -08-15) 15 August 1964
Madhugiri,Karnataka State, India
Other names Ashok Babu
Occupation Film actor, director, producer, screenwriter, distributor, playback singer and stunt master
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Asha Rani (m. 1988)
Children Aishwarya Arjun
Parent(s) Shakti Prasad (father)
Lakshmi (mother)
Relatives Chiranjeevi Sarja (nephew)
Dhruv Sarja (nephew)
Rajesh (father-in-law)

Arjun Sarja (born 15 August 1964 as Srinivasa Sarja)[1] is an Indian film actor and director.[2] He has primarily acted in Tamil and Kannada films and also appeared in Malayalam and Telugu films.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]


  • Personal life 1
  • Film career 2
  • Filmography 3
    • As Actor 3.1
    • As director, producer, writer and distributor 3.2
    • As Singer 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Personal life

Arjun Sarja was born on 15 August 1964, to a Kannada family in Madhugiri, in the erstwhile Mysore State.[1] His father was Shakthi Prasad, a Kannada film actor,[10] and his mother was Lakshmi, an art teacher. He had one elder brother Kishore Sarja, who directed Kannada films.[11] He is married to Asha Rani, a former actress who has appeared in the 1986 Kannada film Rathasapthami. Kannada actor Rajesh is his father-in-law.[12] Sarja has two daughters, Aishwarya and Anjana.[13] Aishwarya Arjun made her acting debut in 2013.[14] His nephews Chiranjeevi Sarja and Dhruva Sarja both act in Kannada movies.[15] Another nephew of Arjun, Bharat Sarja, will also be making his acting debut in 2013.[16]

Sarja, inspired by Bruce Lee's 1973 film Enter the Dragon, began training Karate at the age of 16[1] and now holds a black belt.[17]

Film career

Arjun's father Shakti Prasad, an actor of Kannada films, did not want his son to become actor and turned down film offers that Arjun began to receive as a teenager. Film producer Rajendra Singh Babu managed to convince Arjun to begin shoot for a feature film for his production house without Shakti Prasad's express permission, and, consequently, his father agreed to Arjun's career choice. The film Simhada Mari Sainya (1981) featured him as a junior artiste and the director of the film gave him the stage name of Arjun, replacing his original name Ashok Babu.[18] While he began to establish himself in Kannada films, he received an offer from actor-producer A. V. M. Rajan and director Rama Narayanan to do a Tamil film Nandri. Simultaneously, he was offered a Telugu film, Kodi Ramakrishna's Maa Pallelo Gopaludu. His career as an actor began to take off in the mid 1980s and he sometimes worked for up to seven shifts in a day to keep up with the films he had committed to do.[18][19]

He subsequently chose to direct his feature film Sevagan (1992), a crime story which opened to mixed reviews, but became a box office success.[20] Soon after, Shankar cast him in the lead role in his first film, Gentleman. Arjun had initially rejected the film without listening to Shankar's narration but the director's persistence prompted him to feature in the film as a vigilante against corruption. The film opened to positive reviews, while Arjun went on to win the State Award for Best Actor.[21][22] Arjun began to gain ground in action films, including his directorial venture Jai Hind (1994) and Karnaa (1995), where he played a dual role.[23] Kamal Haasan approached Arjun to play a police officer in the crime drama film Kurudhipunal (1995), and the actor agreed to do the film even without hearing the narration. Arjun won positive acclaim for his role, while the film became India's official entry for the 68th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category.[24]

In the late 1990s, his action films often carried a patriotic theme, though he was still able to attract prominent producers and directors.[25] After a series of unsuccessful action films, including his own venture Thaayin Manikodi (1998), he teamed up again with Shankar in the political drama film Mudhalvan (1999). Portraying an ambitious TV journalist who receives the opportunity to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a day, Arjun offered bulk dates for filming the project to Shankar.[26] The film subsequently won positive reviews with Arjun described as having "acquitted himself with aplomb in the challenging role".[27] Arjun received the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor for his role as well as numerous other nominations. Arjun then briefly experimented in softer roles, portraying critically acclaimed characters of businessman with "shades of grey" in Prabhu Solomon's Kannodu Kanbathellam (1999) and as an energetic civil service officer in Vaanavil (2000). He then featured in Vasanth's romantic drama film Rhythm, where he played a photographer, who eventually falls in love with another widower. Featuring a popular soundtrack and opening to positive reviews, Rhythm also became a commercial a success, with a critic noting "Arjun is as polished as ever" and adding "who would have conceived this idea that the "Action King" could attempt a soft-natured role of this kind".[28] He carried on with a lighter theme in his next directorial venture, the love story Vedham (2001), while he ventured into Telugu cinema again by appearing in Raja's Hanuman Junction and as a Hindu devotee in Sri Manjunatha (2001).

He chose to specialise in action films, often collaborating with directors who specialised in them such as Sundar C, Venkatesh and Selva. In the mid 2000s, he appeared in several action films with the same premise, often portraying a police officer or a local do-gooder. He directed and featured in lead roles in both the action films Ezhumalai (2002) and Parasuram (2003), while also being involved in Maharajan's Arasatchi (2004). Some of his films, Giri (2004) and Marudhamalai, were box office successes, with several of his projects were not, including Madrasi, Vathiyar (2006) and Durai, in all of which he was the story writer.[29] Despite not achieving any significant hit films in the 2000s, producers often considered Arjun as a "minimum guarantee" actor and felt his sizable fan following the four Southern States of India would help recover money even through dubbed versions.[30][31] In a rare experimental film for him in the decade, he portrayed the role of the Hindu deity Hanuman in Krishna Vamsi's devotional film Sri Anjaneyam (2004) and worked on the film without receiving remuneration as a self-confessed worshipper of the deity.[32] He was also cast for a change as a realistic police officer in Bharathiraja's critically acclaimed Bommalattam (2008), where a reviewer felt his "showcase of the soft, subtle yet unrelenting cop was noteworthy".[33]

Since the turn of the decade, Arjun has attempted to move away from his "action king" image and accepted roles in films where he would play the antagonist or a supporting role, with the move drawing praise from film critics.[34] In 2011, Arjun accepted the opportunity to play an extended guest role alongside Ajith Kumar in Venkat Prabhu's crime thriller Mankatha, with critics praising his performance as a police offer in the blockbuster.[35] The following year he appeared in his 150th film, the Kannada film Prasad, for which he won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor. Portraying a middle-class father with a deaf and dumb son, Arjun noted it was a rewarding experience for him to break the monotony of his standard roles and attempt something different, admitting he was moved by the script.[36] The film opened to unanimously positive reviews in March 2012 and then was selected to be screened as the Berlin Film Festival, with critics labelling Arjun's portrayal as a "stunning performance" and his "career best".[37] Arjun collaborated with director Mani Ratnam in Kadal (2013), in which the actor portrayed a negative role of a smuggler in coastal Tamil Nadu. While the film opened to mixed reviews and became a box office failure, Arjun won positive reviews for his portrayal with noting Arjun is "deliciously despicable in his career's most memorable negative role" and The Hindu labelling him as "brilliant".[38] He then won acclaim for his portrayal of real life police officer K. Vijay Kumar in the bilingual film Vana Yuddham, the biopic of notorious forest brigand Veerappan, as well as for his role of a paralysed swimming coach in Vasanth's romance film, Moondru Per Moondru Kadal.[39] His latest directorial venture, Jai Hind 2 contained a message about the declining state of the Indian education system. Made at a cost of 20 crore rupees, the film became a box office.[40]


As Actor

Year Title Role Language Notes
1981 Simhada Mari Sainya Kannada
1983 Aasha Kannada
1984 Pooja Phala Kannada
Male Bantu Male Kannada
Pralayantaka Kannada
Nandri Tamil Tamil debut
Kadamai Jeeva Tamil
1985 Na Ninna Preetisuve Kannada
Avan Tamil
Maa Pallelo Gopaludu Telugu
Yaar? Jagan Tamil
Ilamai Tamil
Sivappu Kili Tamil
Vesham Ashok Tamil
Engal Kural Raja Tamil
Naagam Tamil
Terror Telegu
1986 Prathidvani Telugu
Cowboy No. 1 Telugu
Prema Jyothi Kannada
En Sabadham Tamil
Kulirkaala Megangal Prem Tamil
Vettai Tamil
Mannemlo Monagadu Telugu
1987 Sirai Qaidhi Vijay Tamil
Shankar Guru Shankar Guru Tamil
Kalyana Kacheri Vadivelu Tamil
1988 Thaimel Aanai Raja Tamil
Thaai Paasam Tamil
Thanthai Mel Aanai Bala Ram Tamil
Pattikaatu Thambi Tamil
Dhayam Onnu Arun (Raja / Ilaiyaraja
/ Arjun /
Ignatius Immanuel Inbaraj)
Edutha Sabadham Mudippaen Tamil
1989 Premagni Kannada
Sondhakkaran Rajadurai Tamil
Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Raja Tamil
Padicha Pulla Tamil
En Thangai Pandiyan Tamil
Enga Annan Varattum Manikkam Tamil
Annanukku Jai Kaali Tamil
1990 Aatha Naan Pasayitten Chinnasamy Tamil
Thangaikku Oru Thalattu Gopi,
Paatali Magan Gopi Tamil
Manaivi Oru Manickam Vijay Tamil
Prathap Inspector Prathap Kannada
Periya Idathu Pillai Vijay Tamil
1991 Thanga Thaamaraigal Ramu Tamil
Enga Ooru Sepoy Rasaiyya Tamil
1992 Police Lockup Kannada
Shivanaga Kannada
Snehada Kadalalli Kannada
Mudhal Kural Karan Tamil
Sevagan Sanjay Tamil
Annan Ennada Thambi Ennada Shankar Tamil
1993 Alimayya Kannada
Rojavai Killathe Alexander (Duraipandi) Tamil
Prathap Prathap Tamil
Gokulam Kannan Tamil Guest appearance
Gentleman Krishnamoorthy (Kitcha) Tamil Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor
Thuruva Natchathiram Suriyadevan Tamil
Karpagam Vandhachu Sakthivel Tamil
1994 Jai Hind Bharath Tamil
Mettuppatti Mirasu Chinnadurai Tamil
Sadhu Sathyamoorthy Tamil
Maa Oori Maharaju Telugu
1995 Mudhal Udhayam Cheenu Tamil
Karna Karna, Vijay Tamil
Kurudhipunal Abbas Tamil
Ayudha Poojai Krishnasamy Tamil
1996 Subash Subash Tamil
Sengottai Sekhar Tamil
1997 Adimai Sangili Karthikeyan (Kannan) Tamil
1998 Kondattam Raja (Ramu) Tamil
Thaayin Manikodi Arjun Tamil
Zulm-O-Sitam Hindi
Thutta Mutta Kannada
1999 Suriya Paarvai Vijay Tamil
Mannavaru Chinnavaru Raja Tamil
Suyamvaram Sanjay Tamil
Kannodu Kanbathellam Seetharam Tamil
Mudhalvan Pughazhendi Tamil Dubbed in Telugu as Oke Okkadu
2000 Vaanavil Surya Tamil
Sudhandhiram Vishwa Tamil
Rhythm Karthikeyan Tamil
2001 Vedham Vijay Tamil
Hanuman Junction Krishna Telugu Dubbed in Tamil as Singakottai
Sri Manjunatha Manjunatha Kannada
2002 Ezhumalai Ezhumalai Tamil
2003 Parasuram Parasuram Tamil
Ottran Karthik Tamil
Puttintiki Ra Chelli Sivanna Telugu Dubbed in Tamil as Anbu Sagotharan
2004 Jaisurya Jai Anand,
Arasatchi Siddharth Tamil
Sri Anjaneyam Lord Anjaneya Telugu Dubbed in Tamil as Hanuman
Giri Giri (Shiva) Tamil
2005 Chinna Chinna Tamil
Aanai Vijay Tamil
2006 Madrasi Kasi Tamil
Vathiyar Annadurai Tamil
2007 Manikanda Manikanda/Raja Tamil
Marudhamalai Marudhamalai Tamil
Thavam Guest Appearance Tamil
2008 Swagatam Srikanth Telugu Dubbed in Tamil as America to Aminjikarai
Durai Durai (Raja) Tamil
Bommalattam Vivek Tamil
Thiruvannamalai Easwaran/Swamiji Tamil
2009 Vayuputra Kannada Guest appearance
2010 Rama Rama Krishna Krishna Ashok Deva Telugu Dubbed in Tamil as Gandhipuram
Vandae Maatharam Anwar Hussain Tamil
Vallakottai Muthuvel (Vayuputhran) Tamil
2011 Mankatha Prithviraj Tamil
2012 This Weekend Sanjay Hindi Dubbed in Tamil as Kaatupuli
Maasi Maasilamani Tamil
Prasad Shankar Kannada Winner, Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor[41]
2013 Kadal Bergmans Tamil Winner, Vijay Award for Best Villain
Dubbed in Telugu as Kadali
Attahasa DGP K. Vijay Kumar Kannada Nominated, SIIMA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Vana Yuddham Tamil Dubbed in Telugu as Veerappan
Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal Harris Tamil
2014 Jai Hind 2 Abhimanyu Tamil
Abhimanyu Kannada [43][44][45]
2015 Oru Melliya Kodu Tamil
Game Kannada

As director, producer, writer and distributor

Year Title Credited as Language Notes
Director Producer Writer Distributor
1992 Sevagan Y Y Y Y Tamil
1993 Prathap Y Y Y Y Tamil
1994 Jai Hind Y Y Tamil
1995 Karna Y Tamil
1998 Thaayin Manikodi Y Y Tamil
1998 Thutta Mutta Y Kannada
1999 Suyamvaram Y Tamil
2001 Vedham Y Y Y Y Tamil
2002 Ezhumalai Y Y Tamil
2003 Parasuram Y Y Tamil
2006 Madrasi Y Y Y Tamil
2006 Vathiyar Y Tamil
2007 Thavam Y Y Tamil
2008 Durai Y Tamil
2009 Vayuputra Y Kannada
2014 Jai Hind 2 Y Y Y Y Tamil
Abhimanyu Y Y Y Y Kannada [43][44][45]

As Singer

Year Film Song Music director Notes
1995 Mudhal Udhayam "Raasi Nalla Raasi" Sankar Ganesh
1995 Karnaa "Hello Miss Chellama" Vidyasagar Sang alongside Chetan, Swarnalatha
2003 Parasuram "Chittukuruvi" A. R. Rahman Sang alongside Swarnalatha, Sriram Parthasarathy
2004 Jaisurya "Kattuna Avala Kattuvenda" Deva Sang alongside Vadivelu


  1. ^ a b c Sarja, Arjun (12 September 2014). Weekend With Ramesh - Episode 6 - August 17, 2014. India: Zee Kannada. 
  2. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R (14 July 2005). "For king of action, direction is a passion".  
  3. ^ "Arjun on a Mission".  
  4. ^ Prasad, G (12 September 2008). "Promoting patriotism in a ‘powerful’ way is his style".  
  5. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R (26 December 2008). "Lots of action, little logic".  
  6. ^ "Arjun on a Mission".  
  7. ^ Vijayakumar, Sindhu (16 March 2009). "Arjun all set".  
  8. ^ Vijayakumar, Sindhu (16 March 2009). "Arjun". The Times of India. 
  9. ^ "Arjun's avatars".  
  10. ^ "Arjun holds a black belt in Karate". The Times of India. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Kishore Sarja: A talent wasted". Rediff. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Rajesh honarary doctorate". Indiaglitz. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Nilacharal
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  15. ^ "Siblings galore in Sandalwood". The Times of India. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Joy, Prathibha (4 July 2012). "It's films for another Sarja boy". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Arjun holds a black belt in Karate". The Times of India. TNN. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "An enjoyable conversation with Arjun". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  19. ^ "Kodi Ramakrishna- Arjun's 'Rani Ranamma' launch". Indiaglitz. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ S. Shiva Kumar (2012-01-20). "Silver screen's valiant hero". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  22. ^ C V Aravind (19 May 2013). "Donning different roles". Deccan Herald. DHNS. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Jai Hind-II from Arjun - Tamil Movie News". 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "Google Groups". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  26. ^ "Minnoviyam Star Tracks". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Rhythm: Movie Review". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  29. ^ "Welcome to". 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ [3]
  32. ^ "Telugu cinema director Krishna Vamsi on Telugu Movie Sri Anjaneyam". 2004-04-11. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  33. ^ [4]
  34. ^ Kannath, Sruthi. "I'm not the villain in 'Kadal': Arjun". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  35. ^ "Movie Review : Mankatha". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  36. ^ Fri, 2 March 2012 1:05pm UTC by BollywoodLife (2012-03-02). "Arjun Sarja: I want a change from my action roles – Bollywood News & Gossip, Movie Reviews, Trailers & Videos at". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  37. ^ "Prasad Movie Review". 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  38. ^ "Movie Review : Kadal". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  39. ^ malathi rangarajan (2013-02-24). "From Kadal to Kaadhal". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  40. ^ Nikhil Raghavan (2013-05-25). "Bright spark". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  41. ^ "Karnataka State Film Awards 2010–11 winners". The Times of India. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  42. ^ a b "'"Arjun launches 'Jai Hind 2 . Sify. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  43. ^ a b "Abhimanyu Director Arjun Sarja". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  44. ^ a b "Abhimanyu Director Arjun Sarja". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  45. ^ a b "Arjun Sarja to direct Abhimanyu". Filmy Press. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 

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