Here are some of the stars who were participants on reality television shows before they made their debut on the big screen.

Sivakarthikeyan Sai Pallavi Nalan Kumarasamy collage
Flix Kollywood Thursday, July 02, 2020 - 19:36

Actor Rajinikanth was a conductor in a public transport bus in Karnataka before he became a superstar. Actor Ajith was a racer before he made his way into the film industry, without any backing. Stars have come from humble backgrounds and some from influential families. Actors have done odd jobs and made fleeting cameos before making their breakthroughs.

Here are some of the stars who were participants on reality television shows before they made their debut on the big screen. From Sai Pallavi, who appeared first on a reality television show to director Karthik Subbaraj whose first break came on TV, here are some of the celebrities who were reality TV stars before they became stars on the big screen.

Sai Pallavi

The “Rowdy Baby” star, who has studied medicine in the United States of America, entered on a reality TV dance show called Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhu Deva way back in 2008 when she was still in school. Quite recently, the actor shared a picture on social media she had taken with Prabhu Deva, perhaps after having shot for Rowdy Baby song, and wrote that the reality TV show was shot on the same set, about ten years ago. “When things don’t go the way you wish, remember, that if you’ve given your best, life blesses u with something even better,” she had said.

Aishwarya Rajesh

Before winning Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Actress in Kaaka Muttai, Aishwarya Rajesh acted in a bunch of films, playing minor roles. Kaaka Muttai in that sense was her breakthrough but the actor in fact started on television, hosting a show for Vijay TV first before participating on the Maanada Mayilada dance show. The actor won its third season and since then there has been no looking back for her. Aishwarya recently opened up on a TedX talk about her difficult upbrinigning, on how she had to start earning by class 11 to support her family.

Watch the full talk here:


As the lead star, Sivakarthikeyan is just 17 films old. But the actor has gained wide popularity among Tamil cinema fans and this can be attributed to how he started. The 35-year-old actor auditioned for Vijay TV’s reality comedy program Kalakka Povathu Yaaru in late 2000s as a stand up comedian and this helped him gain good recognition. His knack with mimicry and his comedy timing went on to help him bag an opportunity to star on the big screen. He made his debut as hero with Marina in 2012 after having hosted a few TV programs.

Robo Shankar

Like Sivakarthikeyan, Robo Shankar too started as a stand up comedian on the Kalakkapovathu Yaaru show. He had, however, acted in a few small roles in films before appearing on the reality program. His first breakthrough in films came when he played a small but carved out role in Vijay Sethupathi’s Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara. Robo Shankar has since done plenty of comedian roles.

Karthik Subbaraj

The young director who gushed on stage, around the release of Petta, over his long time desire of directing a Rajinikanth film, in fact was a software engineer turned aspirational filmmaker who entered himself to a TV contest at first. Kalaingar TV’s Naalaya Iyakunar was at its first season when Karthik Subbaraj was selected for the show for his short film Kaatchipizhai. Karthik then made his debut as a feature film director with Pizza in 2012, stopping people in their tracks to take note of his work. The film was also Vijay Sethupathi’s big break.

Nalan Kumarasamy

Karthik’s miss in Naalaya Iyakunar was Nalan’s win that season. The young director who was reportedly into real estate before picking up the camera, won the contest with his short film Nejuku Neethi. His first feature film as director, Soodhu Kavvum, came out in 2013 and became one of the best releases that year. Nalan has worked in cinema in different capacities, as writer, as actor and as director.

Balaji Mohan

Balaji began making short films during his college days, when he was pursuing engineering. While he worked behind the screen, assisting directors like Sudha Kongara, he entered himself into contests like Gateway to Hollywood and Naalaya Iyakunar. His short film Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi gained widespread acclaim on YouTube before being made into a feature length film.


Director Ramkumar rose to fame with Ratsasan, a thriller that went on to become one of the best made thrillers in recent Tamil cinema. However, his ticket to the industry too was the reality TV contest Naalaya Iyakunar. His first feature film, Mundasupatti, was in fact developed over the short film of the same name he shot for the program.

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