His father is a former RAW agent and he grew up in New Delhi, later moved to Trichy with his parents. Little did actor Karunakaran imagine that his Trichy connection with Nalan Kumarasamy, would one day bring him closer to his passion for cinema.
Speaking to CE, Karunakaran admits, “I’m grateful to Sundar C for the break in Kalakalappu and later the role in Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru, which got me noticed. Pizza got me more accolades. But Nalan’s Soodhu Kavvum has changed my life completely! Within 25 days of its release I was flooded with so many film offers that I had to refuse many for the lack of dates.” In fact, Yaan director Ravi K Chandran also offered him a role after watching him in Arumai Prakasam and as the MLA’s son in Soodhu Kavvum, but there were date issues. Karunakaran is now busy with a meaty role in Karthik Subbaraj’s Jigarthanda and Aadame Jaichomada, to be directed by Thillu Mullu fame Badri, Kappal and Mahabalipuram.
So how did films happen to a chemical engineer and former IT professional? He laughs, “I was working in Accenture, when my Trichy friend, Nalan, showed up. He was participating in the Naalai Iyakkunar on TV and cast me in his short film. He knew I had won prizes for acting in school. We won in the finals of Season 1 with Nenjuku Neethi. That was the start!”
Karunakaran is grateful to his boss Sridhar who advised him to continue till he got a stable income from films.“Accenture was a big support and I quit only after Pizza,”he added.
The accolades he got for the Kaasu Panam song didn’t come easy.
“During Pizza, Vijay Sethupathy pushed me in a stunt scene and I badly injured my knee. In Soodhu Kavvum, I jumped off a high wall for a shot, and landed on the same injured knee. I fainted!” laughs Karunakaran.
The famous Kaasu Panam Duddu song was thus mostly picturised on a sitting Karunakaran, who was in pain. “ I somehow managed the dance movements in the song,” he grins. He had recently undergone a surgery for his ligament tear. Talking about his goals he says, “Whatever is the length of my role, it has to create an impact. I want to try negative roles.” He is happy as his biggest dream of meeting Kamal Hassan came true, when Hassan watched Soodhu Kavvum and congratulated the cast.