Kollywood’s Ilayathalapathy turns 39 today
Born on June 22, 1974, Vijay is placed right up there, among the larger-than-life mega stars of Kollywood. His fans are legion and his public appearances evoke mass hysteria.
But it hasn’t been an easy climb to the top. Even though his father, SA Chandrashekar, was a member of the film industry, Vijay was initially dissuaded from acting. He persevered and made his debut in ’92 in Naalaya Theerpu. There were a line-up of films such as Sendhoorapandi and Rasigan in which he played the second hero.
His first commercial hit was Poove Unakkaga and he was cast in the role of a romantic hero. Love stories were his forte during this spell and he came up with films such as Priyamudan, Ninaithaen Vandhai and Kadhalukku Mariyadhai which won him a best actor award. The romantic comedy Friends, in which he starred alongside Suriya, was also one of the successes of this period.
Then, Vijay moved into mass hero mode, doing action films such as Badri, Thirumalai and Ghilli which was a super-duper hit and vaulted Vijay further up the rankings. He flexed his muscles some more in films such as Madhurey, Tirupachi and Pokkiri and though he appeared to be repeating a formula, fans weren’t complaining.
Then came the low patch, with his films such as Sura and Kuruvi bombing at the box office. During this time, Vijay also fell out with the then ruling DMK whose leaders had huge stakes in the Tamil film industry. Then, there was a change of power and also of Vijay’s fortunes. His 2011 film Kaavalan scored and so did Nanban, the remake of 3 Idiots. To top it all, his Deepavali release Thuppakki set box office records.