Karthik Sivakumar best known by his stage name Karthi, is a Tamil film actor. He is the younger son of veteran actor Sivakumar and brother of Surya Sivakumar and best known for his critically acclaimed performance as the titular character in his debut film Paruthiveeran in 2007, for which he received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
Karthik graduated from St. Bede's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in Chennai after which he went on to complete his undergrad from the Crescent Engineering College. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering and got a scholarship to the U.S., where he did his masters. He earned a masters degree in Industrial Engineering from the Binghamton University. He later got a job and was working there for some time. He had also done a couple of basic courses in filmmaking.
After returning to India, he got to meet noted director Mani Ratnam, who initially offered him to act in the film Aayutha Ezhuthu, in which he should essay the role of Arjun (later played by Siddharth). But Karthi instead joined him as an assistant director for the same film and its Hindi version Yuva, since he always wanted to become a film director and preferred direction to acting. However, acting offers kept coming for him and when Ameer Sultan approached him to play the lead role in his film Paruthiveeran, Karthi eventually accepted the offer as the film was "so compelling". The film was critically and commercially very successful, whilst his portrayal as a careless village rowdy was immensely appreciated by critics and earned him several awards, including the Fimfare Best Tamil Actor Award.
In January 2010, 3 years after the release of his debut film, his second film, the Selvaraghavan-directed fantasy adventure film Aayirathil Oruvan, finally got released. The film, like his first film Paruthiveeran was stuck in production, languishing in production hell, for a long time, before getting released. His character in the film itself was similar and often compared to his own character in his debut film. In April 2010, his next project, the romantic action film Paiyaa directed by N. Linguswamy was released, which is going on to be a commercial success as well. He is currently working on Susindran's second feature film Naan Mahaan Alla and the Tamil remake of the 2006 Telugu film Vikramarkudu.
Karthi has been involved in several charities and social service activities. On his 31st birthday, he inaugurated the Makkal Nala Mandram, in order to encourage his fans to become involved in welfare activities. During the event, Karthi donated blood, donated bicycles to handicapped people, sewing machines to women and schoolbags to children. He presented a cheque of 50,000 to YRG Care Centre, which helps AIDS affected children. In 2011, Karthi became a cause ambassador for promoting awareness of lysosomal storage disease. He had also adopted a white tiger cub at Vandalur Zoo and contributed 72,000 to protect and preserve the animal. On his birthdays, Karthi visits orphanages and donates funds to them. He told Indiaglitz; "When I see people in need, I make sure I go and help. If I am going on birthdays to reach out to kids in orphanages, it is for my own satisfaction. I feel happier to be with them and it's nice to make them smile on that particular day." On September 2010, he signed a contract with Bharti Airtel to become its brand ambassador in South India and appear in its "Indraikku enna plan" advertising campaign.
2007 - Best Tamil Male Debut for Paruthiveeran
2007 - Best Tamil Actor for Paruthiveeran
2007 - Tamil Nadu State Film Award (Special Prizes)