The Tamil film industry is one which has a wide variety of genres and storylines in terms of movies. While we watch movies for entertainment, we also want them to generally surround a good theme and have a meaningful storyline. One director, whose name has been associated with worthwhile and significant stories in recent times is Sudha Kongara. While she became famous after Irudhi Suttru in 2016, Sudha has been in this field for more than 15 years.
The director, though born in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, grew up in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She graduated from Women’s Christian College with a degree in History and Mass Communication. The director started her career as a screenwriter. She was the screenwriter for Revathi’s ‘Mitr, My Friend’, an Indian English movie which went on to win a National Award. This was her entry into the industry.
She then became an associate director and worked under famous director Mani Ratnam. When she was once asked how she entered the Cinema world she said, “We are a film-crazy family. After watching ‘Pagal Nilavu’ I decided Mani Ratnam should be my mentor and joined him.” She worked as his assistant for more than 6 years and was a part of movies like ‘Yuva’ and Ayutha Ezhuthu. She even said that actor Siddarth, who was once the assistant director to Mani Ratnam, left the position to become an actor and that is how she filled up the spot.
Sudha’s very first film as a director was Andhra Andagadu, a Telugu movie in 2008. The movie did not fare very well and is not known by many till date. In just 2 years, Sudha directed Drohi, starring Srikanth and Vishnu Vishal. Again, the movie is not very well known, but it did pretty well amongst the Tamil audiences.
6 years after Drohi, Sudha came up with her next film. She directed Irudhi Suttru which was dubbed as Saala Khadoos in Hindi. The movie, which focused on womens’ boxing, fared extremely well in the box-office. Sudha gained fame only with this movie in Kollywood. She roped in Madhavan, who had actually taken a sabbatical from acting at that time.
The movie was so successful that the next year it was remade as Guru in Telugu. The Telugu version of the movie replaced Madhavan with Telugu actor Venkatesh. After this, Sudha’s next movie came out only in 2020.
The famous Anthology film Putham Pudhu Kaalai had a segment called ‘Ilamai Idho Idho’ directed by Sudha. The film starred Jayaram. Urvashi, Kalidas Jayaram and Kalyani Priyadarshan in lead roles. The story, which was a romantic one set in this pandemic period, was received pretty well. The movie had an OTT release and came on Amazon Prime Video.
After this short film, Sudha’s most awaited biographical movie on Captain GR Gopinath was released on the same platform, later in the same year. Soorarai Pottru starring Surya and Aparna Balamurali, became a big hit and garnered massive appreciation for the director as well as the actor of the movie. The movie gained a lot of fame and it was watched by people across India and not only the Tamil audience. Captain GR Gopinath had himself appreciated the movie and had given a review about how his life was represented in the movie.
Sudha’s most recent work is in Netflix’s Paava Kadhaigal which is again an anthology film. She directed the segment, ‘Thangam’ which starred Kalidas Jayaram and Shanthanu Bhagyaraj in lead roles. The movie that revolves around the life of a transgender was very well taken and spoke the reality about most transgendered people in India. The movie left the watchers with tears and both the director and Kalidas were appreciated for the movie. The Tamil audience has been waiting for more of Sudha Kongara’s work ever since.
In an interview Sudha opened up that she lived in Adyar most of her life and used to frequently visit Eros Cinema. As a movie-buff her career choice was without doubt the cinema field. She faced a lot of opposition from her family. But, post marriage, her husband has been very supportive of her career and dreams. The Kollywood world and Tamil audience wish her all success and are waiting eagerly to see more of her amazing work!