He was introduced to Hindi cinema by Ram Gopal Varma, in the role of a villain in Shiva. That was enough to make the face memorable.. even though he did not do too many films in Mumbai after that, preferring to stay on his own turf in Chennai.
And the Hindi films he did appear in-Izzatdar, Lal Baadshah, Grahan, Run-did did not boost his career in any way.
Raghuvaran passed away on Wednesday in Chennai-at the age of 49, leaving behind a body of work-about 100 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. These include Anjali, Kadhalan, Muthu, Baasha Arunachalam, Mudhalvan, Bheema and Sivaji.
Raghuvaran started his film career with Ezhavathu Manithan in 1982 and he created his own acting style-a sim mering menace which was in contrast to the loud villainy prevalent in mainstream South cinema.
His non-threatening appearance-he could pass off as a corporate geek added to his appeal.
The roles he played were variedthe devoted father of a mentally-challenged child in Anjali (one of his few roles as a leading man), the suspicious husband in Puriyatha Pudhir, a physically-challenged killer in Poovizhi Vaasalile and a struggling alcoholic in Oru Manidhanin Kadhai.
And there was that special appearance as the doctor who saves Rajinikant's life in Sivaji and the role of former President Abdul Kalam in Thodakkam.
Star in his own right
When cast opposite superstars like Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan, he stood his ground-and won popularity with Southern audiences. His personal life was controversial. His reported addiction to drugs led to a divorce from his actress-wife Rohini.