5 lesser known facts about Daniel Balaji: Pledging his eyes, inspiring others, how he got his name and more - Hindustan Times
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5 lesser known facts about Daniel Balaji: Pledging his eyes, inspiring others, how he got his name and more

Mar 30, 2024 01:45 PM IST

Daniel Balaji, known for his iconic roles in films like Kaakha Kaakha and Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu died on Friday. Looking back at his life and career.

Daniel Balaji, known for his roles in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films died in Chennai on March 29 due to a heart attack. He was 48. The actor was rushed to the hospital after experiencing chest pain but he couldn’t be revived despite medical intervention. Looking back at his life and career, here are 5 interesting facts about the actor. (Also Read: Tamil actor Daniel Balaji dies of heart attack in Chennai)

Daniel Balaji died on Friday in Chennai due to a heart attack
Daniel Balaji died on Friday in Chennai due to a heart attack

Becoming Daniel Balaji

While the actor rose to fame as Daniel Balaji, it’s only his stage name. Born as TC Balaji to a Telugu father and a Tamil mother in Chennai, he wasn’t a Christian like many presumed him to be. Daniel was his character's name in the television show Chithi, his acting debut. After the show's success, in his next show Alaigal, director Sunder K Vijayan, credited him as Daniel Balaji.

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The familial ties

Balaji worked his way up in the film industry, starting out as a unit production manager. However, it’s not that the actor did not have any ties in the film industry. His uncle is Kannada director Siddalingaiah, who was known for making films with Rajkumar like Bangaarada Manushya and Nyayave Devaru. Siddhalingaiah is the father of Tamil actor Murali, making actor Atharvaa Murali of Paradesi fame Balaji’s nephew.

Association with Kamal and Gautham

Balaji had a long association with Kamal Haasan through his career. He got into the film industry working as a unit production manager for Kamal's unreleased film Marudhanayagam. He would later work with the star again, playing the chilling antagonist in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. While Balaji worked in April Madhathil and Kadhal Kondain first, his films with Gautham Vasudev Menon like Kaakha Kaakha, Gharshana and Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. While he worked in various languages, Tamil cinema produced some of his best roles.

A legacy of inspiring others

Balaji might have risen to fame as an actor, but he got into films with the intention of direction. He studied a film direction course at the Taramani Film Institute.

Actor Sundeep Kishan worked with him, stating that Balaji greatly helped him in his initial days. He wrote on X, “The One person who was always kind to me when I was an assistant Director, Sent me to so many auditions with his reference when he realised that I was an aspiring actor. (sic)”

Director Mohan Raja also wrote that Balaji was his inspiration to attend film school, stating, “He Was an inspiration for me to join film institute. A very good friend.” Despite the villain roles he excelled at playing, Balaji was quite the opposite in real life.

Pledged his eyes

Balaji pledged his eyes after death. A trade analyst confirmed the news on social media, revealing that the doctors have fulfilled his wish of donating his eyes. He wrote on X, “Actor #DanielBalaji has pledged his eyes for donation after his death. The doctors have fulfilled his wish! Great Man!” Fans left comments under the post, lauding him for being an ‘inspiration’ and calling him a ‘great human being.’

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