Snehan (born Sivaselvam on 23 June 1978) is an Indian poet and lyricist who has worked in the Tamil film industry. After serving as an assistant to poet Vairamuthu, he began working as a lyricist in the film Putham Pudhiya Poove and has written lyrics for more than 2500 songs. Snehan has since also appeared in films as an actor and made his acting debut with Yogi (2009).
Snehan was born in a small village Pudhukariyapatti, near Sengipatti in the Thanjavur district as Sivaselvam, the youngest of eight sons into an agricultural family. He later changed his name to Snehan because, which translates literally to "the man of love", as he felt Sivaselvam was too common. Moving to Chennai, Snehan first worked as a protégé to noted poet and lyricist Vairamuthu for five years. Later, he worked as the editor of Ilanthendral, a monthly magazine for three years. At the book release function of his works Mudhal Adhyayam and Innum Pengal Azhaga Irukkirargal in 1995, he was asked by K. Balachander to write songs in films and he got the chance from music director S. A. Rajkumar to write lyrics for the film Putham Puthu Poove, which eventually did not have a theatrical release. He has since written more than 2500 songs for more than 500 films, working with various directors and music composers in the Tamil film industry. He first garnered acclaim for his songs in the art film Penngal (2000) and the dubbed film Kandein Seethaiyai (2001), before making a breakthrough with his song "Avaravar Vazhkaiyil" from Cheran's family drama Pandavar Bhoomi (2001). Other successful early songs written by Snehan were from the album Dhaya and the dance number "Chumma Chumma" in Charlie Chaplin (2002) which was picturised on Prabhu Deva and Gayathri Raghuram. He received further acclaim in the early 2000s with his collaboration with Ameer and Yuvan Shankar Raja in Mounam Pesiyadhe (2002) and then for the "Kalyanamdhaan Kattikittu" song in Harris Jayaraj's album Saamy (2003). His work in Ameer's Raam (2005) also won critical acclaim, with the song "Aarariro" earning him plaudits. He later released more books including Ippadium Irukkalam and Puthagam.
He then turned actor for the film action drama Yogi, for which he has also written all the lyrics, as his friend and lead actor of the film, Ameer Sultan, gave him the opportunity. For the same film, Snehan became a playback singer as well, lending his vocals to a song. Portraying a rustic character named Sadayan, the character was well received by audiences. Following his appearance in Yogi, Snehan chose to pursue a career as an actor and looked for roles where he would play the protagonist. In order to prepare for his stint as an actor, he trained under stunt choreographer Power Pandian to practise action scenes and learnt salsa dancing. His next release, the crime thriller Uyarthiru 420 (2011), saw him appear in the lead role opposite Meghana Raj but the film fared poorly at the box office and received negative reviews. In regard to his performance, a critic from Sify.com wrote "the chemistry between the lead pair is zero" and "though Snehan attempts and succeeds to be stylish in the songs, his wooden face, long hair, patchy makeup and dark glasses in almost every frame is a big let down".
In 2013, Snehan began working on a historical film titled Raja Raja Chozhanin Porval directed by R. S. Amudheswar, which would feature music by Ilaiyaraaja. The team began shoot in mid-2013 and planned to bring in actresses Shriya Saran, Sneha and newcomer Naatiya to play leading female roles opposite Snehan. However, the film was subsequently shelved after it ran into financial trouble. In 2015, he then started work on a film titled Bommi Veeran directed by Ramesh Maharajan, where he would portray a kattaikkuttu dancer. Like his previous film, the film ran intro financial trouble and the shoot remains on hold.
In 2017, Snehan took part in the Tamil reality television show Bigg Boss hosted by Kamal Haasan and finished as the runner-up. During the show, Snehan announced a proposal to build a library in interior Tamil Nadu with the prize money, if the audience were to vote for him to win the show. Despite his failure to win the show, he began work on the library in Tanjore during November 2017. He later announced that he would appear in the lead role in a film titled Panangkaattu Nari opposite his fellow Bigg Boss contestant, Oviya, but the project did not develop.