From villain roles to pledging his eyes — 5 lesser known facts about late Tamil actor Daniel Balaji


Popular Tamil actor ‘Daniel’ Balaji passed away on Saturday after suffering a heart attack. The 48-year-old was well known for his villainous roles and on-screen aggression and acted in several films and TV shows over the past 30 years. 

“Daniel’s sudden passing away is shocking. The agony of death at a young age is distressing,” said actor-politician Kamal Haasan. He also extended his condolences to the bereaved family and friends.

“Shocking to hear that Daniel Balaji is no more! A great actor gone too soon! My heart goes out to his family and friends,” added a social media post by fellow actor Keerthy Suresh.

Here are 5 lesser known facts about late Tamil actor:

  • He began his career as a unit production manager in Kamal Haasan’s incomplete ‘Marudhunayagam’.
  • He secured the moniker Daniel after making his first appearance in a popular Tamil television serial called ‘Chithi’. His character was called ‘Daniel’ — which eventually became the prefix for his real name Balaji.
  • His first Tamil film was ‘April Maadhathil’, followed by a role in ‘Kaadhal Kondein’. He also acted in Malayalam and Kannada films. Daniel was praised for his performances in films like ‘Vettaiyadu Vilayadu’, ‘Vada Chennai’, and ‘Polladhavan’. He played a villain in the Telugu film ‘Chirutha’.
  • While he worked his way up the ladder (starting as an unit production manager), Balaji had familial ties to the industry. His uncle is Kannada director Siddalingaiah — known for making films with Rajkumar such as Bangaarada Manushya and Nyayave Devaru. Siddhalingaiah is the father of Tamil actor Murali, making actor Atharvaa Murali of Paradesi fame Balaji’s nephew.
  • Balaji had reportedly pledged his eyes after death. News of a successful donation was shared on Saturday afternoon by a trade analyst. The post also prompted a fresh outpouring of support for the late actor with fans dubbing him an ‘inspiration’.



(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 30 Mar 2024, 07:59 PM IST

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