S. J. Surya is an Indian film director, screenwriter, actor, music composer and producer who has worked in the Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film industries. After completing his schooling in Vasudevanallur in South Tamil Nadu, Surya came to Chennai to complete a Physics degree at Loyola College. He subsequently worked as an assistant director in the teams of Aasai (1995) under Vasanth and Sundara Purushan (1996) under Sabapathy. While working in the team of Ullaasam (1997), the film's lead actor Ajith Kumar recognised Surya from their collaboration in Aasai, and accepted to listen to a script narration. The film's commercial success meant that it provided a breakthrough for both Surya's and the lead actor's careers. After watching the première show of Vaali, producer A. M. Rathnam offered Surya an opportunity to make another film and thus Kushi, a romantic comedy featuring Vijay and Jyothika. The film opened to positive reviews from critics in May 2000 and also went on to achieve box office success. The team then approached Pawan Kalyan to star in a Telugu version of the film and after a positive narration session, the actor prioritised the venture over two other films. Surya then made a third version of the film, Khushi (2003) in Hindi, for producer Boney Kapoor, with Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles. He began pre-production work on a third story titled New in early 2001, which he would also produce. Surya decided to enact the lead role himself, revealing he had always wanted to be an actor. Simran signed on to play the leading female character, while Kiran and Devayani also were cast in pivotal roles. A simultaneously shot Telugu version titled Naani featuring Mahesh Babu in the lead role, with Amisha Patel, Ramya Krishnan and Devayani in supporting roles was also made. The movie subsequently went on to become a blockbuster, with music composed by A. R. Rahman being labelled as one of the film's largest selling points. Naani opened the following month to mixed reviews from critics. He announced a film titled Isai in 2004 shortly after the release of New, when he revealed that A. R. Rahman would also collaborate for two further ventures titled Anbulla Nanbane and Aezhumazhai vs Chitra. While Isai was postponed, Anbulla Nanbane developed under the title Best Friend, before the title Anbe Aaruyire (2005) was finalised. The film became his fourth consecutive commercial success in Tamil films. Following the positive reception he received on his acting with New and Anbe Aaruyire, Surya chose to take a break from directing and opted to act in films directed by other film makers. He was cast as a casanova in Tamilvannan's romantic comedy Kalvanin Kadhali (2006) opposite Nayantara, and the film garnered the industry's anticipation prior to release. It eventually won average reviews and performed well at the box office. He had two releases as an actor in 2007, with Sakthi Chidambaram's science fiction comedy Viyabari being the first release. He made a brief comeback as a lead actor in the psychological thriller Newtonin Moondram Vidhi (2009), which won good reviews but only performed averagely at the box office. In between directorial commitments, he played guest roles in Shankar's Nanban (2012) and as a film director in the horror Pizza 2: The Villa (2013). In 2011, Surya announced that he would restart Isai and would compose music for the film himself, eventually it was released. His upcoming films as an actor are Iraivi, 174 and Nenjam Marappathillai.