Top 10 Tamil actors: From Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan to Thalapathy Vijay and Ajith Kumar

The Tamil cinema industry has been a pinnacle in entertaining the masses for years. Let’s look at some of the top actors of contemporary Tamil cinema, ruling the screens.

Updated on Mar 07, 2024  |  04:03 PM IST |  157.7K
Top 10 Tamil actors
Top 10 Tamil actors ( Credit : Rajinikanth & Thalapathy Vijay Instagram )

Tamil cinema since the early stages of cinema development in India has played a crucial role in becoming one of the most beloved places to experience fulfilled entertainment, throughout the years.

Even in the golden years of Tamil cinema actors like Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Gemini Ganesan, Jaishankar, and Nagesh, have ruled the hearts of many with their impeccable performances and touching acting abilities, making them even remembered in today’s time.

An illustrious industry like such deserves to be celebrated like any other and owing to the same, here are some of the well-deserved and capable actors of contemporary Tamil cinema who are absolutely handling the industry on their shoulders.

Top 10 Tamil actors taking the spotlight

1. Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan

  • DOB: 7 November, 1954
  • Notable Films: Hey Ram, Virumaandi, Moondram Pirai, Indian
  • Awards: Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Kamal Haasan is one of the most brilliant technicians and an even better actor in Indian cinema since his debut back in the 70s. The illustrious actor has always tried to strive for himself to a better extent in any and every way he applies himself and makes the platform his own to create an awe-filled excitement in the audience. Not only has he contributed to Indian cinema with his exemplary acting skills, but he has also gifted many gems to the film industry through his screenwriting skills, directional capabilities, and even his technical prowess.


2. Thalapathy Vijay

Thalapathy Vijay

  • DOB: 22 June, 1974
  • Notable Films: Master, Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, Thulladha Manamum Thullum, Thuppakki
  • Awards: Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, Kalaimaamani, Osaka Japan Awards

Defining the perfect example of an actor’s capabilities to entertain his audience through commercial cinema, Thalapathy Vijay cultivates that role with complete perfection. The actor who came on screen as a lead actor in the 90s has managed to overcome his struggles in the initial years and is one of the most successful Tamil actors in today’s time. Even though the actor is highly regarded in Tamil Nadu not only for his films but also for his philanthropic nature, he also enjoys a large amount of fan following in various states across India and international sectors.

3. Vikram


  • DOB: 17 April, 1966
  • Notable Films: Pithamagan, Raavanan, I, Deiva Thirumagal
  • Awards: National Film Award, Tamil Nadu State Film Awards

Vikram or more affectionately Chiyaan Vikram is one of the most versatile actors in Tamil cinema who pulls off various characters even if he has to undergo severe physical and emotional changes for the fulfillment of the character. The actor could play the role of a tribal leader-turned-Naxalite named Veeraiya for the film Raavanan and in the next year, he would go ahead and play an intellectually disabled man in a heart-touching film like Deiva Thirumagal.

4. Suriya


  • DOB: 23 July, 1975
  • Notable Films: Soorarai Pottru, Ghajini, Vaaranam Aayiram, Jai Bhim
  • Awards: National Film Awards, Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, Kalaimamani

Talking about versatility, one cannot go ahead without mentioning the acting capabilities of Suriya. The actor who has had an illustrious career since his debut in the 90s went ahead to star in various films but is always going to be remembered forever in Tamil cinema for his films like Vaaranam Aayiram, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, Ghajini, and many more. The actor has not only tried to improve his capabilities as an actor in every proceeding film he makes but has also managed to satisfy his fans with commercial films as well.


5. Rajinikanth


  • DOB: 12 December, 1950
  • Notable Films: Thalapathi, Baashha, Enthiran, Padayappa
  • Awards: Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Kalaimamani

If talking about Tamil cinema, one cannot go ahead without mentioning the Superstar of Indian cinema, Rajinikanth. The actor who initially went on to play villainous roles in his formative years took the audience by storm and became one of the most talented and capable commercial actors in Indian cinema. His contributions to commercial cinema paved the way for many aspiring actors to become a household name in the industry. His charismatic nature and stylish swag have really captured the essence of cinema, especially with films like Padayappa, Baashha, and even the recent film Jailer.

6. Dhanush


  • DOB: 28 July, 1983
  • Notable Films: Aadukalam, Asuran, 3, Vada Chennai
  • Awards: National Film Awards, Tamil Nadu State Film Award, MGR Sivaji Academy Award

An actor who is also capable of directing, producing, songwriting and even singing while making them all sensational is what makes Dhanush one of the best actors in Tamil cinema. The actor has not only ventured into various nuanced and layered film roles with characters like Vada Chennai, Asuran, and Aadukalam but along with that he also made a mark in Hindi films like Raanjhanaa and Atrangi Re and also debuted in Hollywood with The Gray Man.

7. Ajith Kumar

Ajith Kumar

  • DOB: 1 May, 1971
  • Notable Films: Mankatha, Vaali, Billa, Kandukondain Kandukondain
  • Awards: Kalaimamani Awards, Tamil Nadu State Film Awards

Another gem of an actor who cannot be overlooked in the commercial space of Tamil cinema is the actor Ajith Kumar. The actor who is also a professional racer and auto enthusiast has always been about giving some stunning films which are rich in entertainment and meet the mark with his fans. Films like Mankatha and Billa bring out his stardom-filled screen presence in films while Kandukondain Kandukondain which was the Tamil adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility brought out a different shade in his acting for the role of Manohar, inspired by the character Edward Ferrars from the novel.


8. Vijay Sethupathi

Vijay Sethupathi

  • DOB: 16 January, 1978
  • Notable Films: Super Deluxe, Vikram Vedha, ‘96, Jawan
  • Awards: Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards, National Film Awards

Vijay Sethupathi has been one of the most inspiring emergence stories of an actor who is an underdog in the film industry and came to the forefront of Indian cinema after struggling for many years playing uncredited roles and supporting characters over the years. The actor not only plays exceptional characters in leading roles for films like Super Deluxe, ‘96, and Vikram Vedha but also steps into play menacing antagonist roles for films like Sundarapandian, Master, Vikram, Petta, and Jawan.

9. Karthi


  • DOB: 25 May, 1977
  • Notable Films: Paruthiveeran, Aayirathil Oruvan, Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, Madras
  • Awards: Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, Norway Tamil Film Festival Award

Karthi who initially started out as an assistant director for Mani Ratnam in the film Aayutha Ezhuthu which had his brother Suriya playing one of the lead roles further ventured into playing exceptional roles in films like Paruthiveeran, Aayirathil Oruvan, and many more. The actor is continuously seen trying to balance the scales of making both commercial films and also pulling out character-driven roles for films like Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru and Madras

10. Sivakarthikeyan


  • DOB: 17 February, 1985
  • Notable Films: Marina, Doctor, Maaveeran, Velaikkaran
  • Awards: Tamil Nadu State Film Award,  Kalaimamani

Sivakarthikeyan is another one of those actors who are self-made in Indian cinema after coming from a non-cinema background. The actor who was initially a TV host further ventured on to play leading roles in various films starting from his debut film Marina which even earned him the Tamil Nadu State Film Award. Not only being an actor, he has also produced various films under his production company which include Kanaa, Don, Doctor, Kottukkaali, and more. The actor is also known for being a successful lyricist and has also sung in various films.


ALSO READ: Top 10 Best feel-good films in Tamil: Kamal Haasan’s Anbe Sivam to Arjun Sarja's Rhythm

Pinkvilla Pulse
Subscribe to our newsletter for entertainment exclusives, star interviews, and the latest lifestyle trends. Look No Further!
About The Author

Goutham S is a native of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. A writer for a few years now, particularly following Indian



Latest Articles