Joseph Vijay, better known mononymously as Vijay, is an Indian film actor and playback singer who works in Tamil cinema (Kollywood). His films are often dubbed into Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Mandarin Chinese. He is one of the highest paid actors in Tamil cinema. Vijay is referred to by the media as Thalapathy (commander). Including Indian diaspora worldwide and China he has significant following in Japan, UK and France.
Vijay at Puli Audio Launch
Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar|
22 June 1974
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India (now Chennai)
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Alma mater||Loyola College, Chennai|
|Occupation||Film actor, playback singer|
|Relatives||See Chandrasekhar family|
Vijay at the age of ten marked his childhood cinematic debut in drama Vetri (1984), he continued to perform as child artist in films till Ithu Engal Neethi (1988), directed by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar. He then featured in the film Naalaya Theerpu (1992) in lead role at the age of eighteen also directed by his father, but he received his breakthrough in the film Poove Unakkaga (1996), which was directed by Vikraman. To date, he has acted in 61 movies as a lead actor and has won 50 awards including notable three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, one Cosmopolitan Award, one Indiatoday Award, one SIIMA Award, eight Vijay Awards, three Edison Awards, two Vikatan Awards and was nominated for one National Award UK.
As a playback singer, Vijay has sung 32 songs to date, starting with Bombay City (1994) to Papa Papa (2017). He also garnered global attention for his singing work in Selfie Pulla (2014) topping the charts across Europe. In addition to his acting and singing career, he is also a dancer known for his signature dance steps in his films. Some of his film works were screened at the prestigious Shanghai International Film Festival China, Melbourne International Film Festival Australia and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival South Korea.
Early life and family
Vijay was born on 22 June 1974 as Joseph Vijay in Madras (now Chennai). Vijay is a Roman Catholic by birth. He received his First Holy Communion at a Church in Chennai. His father S. A. Chandrasekhar is a Tamil film director and his mother Shoba is a playback singer and carnatic vocalist. He had a sister Vidhya, who died when she was two years old. Vidhya's death affected Vijay very much. It has been said by his mother that Vijay, who was very talkative, naughty and hyperactive as a child, became silent after Vidhya's death. His sibling Vidhya's story is depicted in the 2005 film Sukran, where Vijay played an extended cameo.
Vijay spent his entire childhood in Chennai. He did his schooling initially in Fathima Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Kodambakkam and later joined Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Virugambakkam and went on to pursue a degree in Visual Communications from Loyola College, though he would eventually drop out as he was more interested in pursuing acting.
Vijay married a fan of his, Sangeetha Sornalingam, a Hindu British Sri Lankan Tamil, on 25 August 1999 in both Hindu and Christian tradition. They have two children, a son Jason Sanjay born in 2000 in London and a daughter Divya Shasha born in 2005 in Chennai. Jason Sanjay made a cameo appearance with his father in Vettaikaaran (2009) and Divya Shasha portrayed a small role as her father's pre-teen daughter in Theri (2016).
1984–1988 Child artist
At the age of ten, Vijay started his film career as a child actor in the film Vetri (1984) and then performed as child actor in films such as Kudumbam (1984), Vasantha Raagam (1986), Sattam Oru Vilayaattu (1987) and Ithu Engal Neethi (1988). He also performed as child actor in Naan Sigappu Manithan (1985 film) co-starring Rajinikanth as lead actor.
After performing as child artist in the films directed by his father, Vijay started featuring in lead roles at the age of eighteen from Naalaiya Theerpu (1992). Vijay appeared alongside Vijayakanth in Sendhoorapandi (1993), which performed well only to a certain extent at the box office. In 1994, his film Rasigan was released, which can be deemed as his first success but not acclaimed by critics. This was the first film in which Vijay was credited with the prefix illaya Thalapathy (young commander), an epithet by which he became popularly known among fans and the media for the rest of his career. He had lead roles in films such as Deva and Rajavin Parvaiyile, where in the latter he co-starred with actor Ajith Kumar. He then acted in the romantic comedy Vishnu and the romantic tragedy Chandralekha. In early 1995, he starred in Coimbatore Mappillai a romantic comedy film.
In 1996, Vijay performed in the Vikraman-directed Poove Unakkaga, which became his first acclaimed performance as well as the breakthrough in Vijay's career and made him a recognizable star. Vijay's tenth film Vasantha Vasal was followed by the action films Maanbumigu Maanavan and Selva and the romantic film Kaalamellam Kaathiruppen. In 1997, Vijay acted in Love Today and Once More, where he co-starred with the Tamil film actor Sivaji Ganesan and actress Simran, and in the Mani Ratnam-produced movie Nerukku Ner, directed by Vasanth. Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, directed by Fazil, earned Vijay a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor. In 1998, Vijay worked in the movies Ninaithen Vandhai, Priyamudan and Nilaave Vaa. In 1999, Vijay acted in Thulladha Manamum Thullum, with Simran, which earned Vijay a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Film. This was followed by Endrendrum Kadhal, Nenjinile and the K.S.Ravikumar-directed Minsara Kanna.
From the start of the new millennium, Vijay began to commit to entertaining ventures, which marked a change in trend. In 2000, he performed in Kannukkul Nilavu, and two romantic movies Kushi and Priyamanavale. His 2001 comedy-drama film Friends was directed by Siddique and featured him in the leading role alongside Suriya. Vijay also performed in Badri, an action film remake of the Telugu film Thammudu, and the romantic movie Shahjahan. In 2002, he starred in the action film Thamizhan alongside Priyanka Chopra, making her acting debut before establishing herself as a leading Bollywood actress. Later, he featured in the romantic film Youth and the action film Bagavathi. Vijay began 2003 with the films Vaseegara and Pudhiya Geethai.
2003–2010 Widespread success
In late 2003, Vijay starred in the action-romance flick Thirumalai, co-starring Jyothika, directed by debutant Ramana and produced by K. Balachander's Kavithalaya Productions, which featured him in a different way. Thirumalai was considered a turning point in Vijay's career. Udhaya, which began filming in 2002, but was delayed, was finally released in early 2004. Ghilli, a remake of the Telugu film Okkadu was released next in 2004, and completed 200 days in theatres in Tamil Nadu. Directed by S. Dharani and produced by A. M. Rathnam, it co-starred Trisha and Prakash Raj. Ghilli is the first Tamil film of all time to gross over ₹50 crore in the domestic box office.
It was followed by Madhurey, directed by Ramana Madhesh. In 2005, he starred in the Perarasu-directed action film Thirupaachi, followed by a guest appearance in Sukran, the romantic comedy Sachien, co-starring Genelia D'Souza, directed by John Mahendran, and Sivakasi, starring Asin, again directed by Perarasu. Vijay's next film Aadhi, was produced by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar and directed by Ramana, and was released in 2006. In early 2007, Vijay starred in the gangster film Pokkiri, a remake of the Telugu film of the same name. Directed by Prabhu Deva, it became the third highest grossing Tamil film of 2007. Vijay's character in the film, a reprisal of Mahesh Babu's role in the original, was well received by critics.
In late 2007, Vijay starred in the psychological thriller film Azhagiya Tamil Magan, directed by Bharathan, in which he played the roles of both the antagonist and protagonist. The film was only a moderate success at the box office. Vijay was honored with people's choice Superstar award in 2008 Vijay TV awards ceremony. In 2008, he starred in the action comedy film Kuruvi, again under Dharani's direction, and produced by Red Giant Movies. The year 2009 commenced with the action slapstick film Villu, in which Vijay teamed up with Prabhu Deva (from Pokkiri). His next film Vettaikaaran, directed by Babusivan and produced by AVM Productions and distributed by Sun Pictures became one of the highest grossing Tamil film of 2009. In 2010, he acted in action comedy film Sura, also distributed by Sun Pictures.
2011–2016 International fame
In early 2011, Vijay joined up with director Siddique again, for the romantic comedy Kaavalan, a Tamil remake of the Malayalam film Bodyguard. It received positive responses from both viewers and critics and was a box office hit. Kaavalan was screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival in China. During Diwali the same year, his next film, the action film Velayudham, directed by M. Raja and produced by Venu Ravichandran was released. Velayudham became one of the top-grossing films of 2011.
Vijay's next release was Nanban, the Tamil remake of the Bollywood film 3 Idiots, where he played the role which was played by Aamir Khan in the original. Directed by S. Shankar, it was released during the Pongal weekend of 2012 and emerged a major financial success. Nanban was screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. Vijay's performance in the film was praised by critics, including leading Indian actor Kamal Haasan. Nanban went on to complete 100 days theatrical run. He made a special appearance in the 2012 Bollywood film Rowdy Rathore, starring Akshay Kumar and directed by Prabhu Deva.
Vijay's next film, the action thriller Thuppakki, directed by A. R. Murugadoss and produced by S. Dhanu, was released on Diwali 2012 to mostly positive reviews. The film became the third Tamil film to enter the ₹1 billion (US$14 million) club after Sivaji (2007) and Enthiran (2010). Thuppakki became highest-grossing film of Vijay's career, and the first of his films to gross over ₹180 crore. His next film Thalaivaa, directed by A. L. Vijay, was released on 9 August 2013 worldwide and had a delayed release in Tamil Nadu. His next film Jilla, co-starring Kajal Aggarwal and Mohanlal, and directed by R. T. Neason, was released on a Pongal weekend in 2014 and ended up as a box office hit.
Vijay again worked with AR Murugadoss in the action thriller Kaththi, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Neil Nitin Mukesh and produced by Ayngaran International, which was released on Diwali 2014 to mostly positive reviews. It was the highest grossing Tamil film of 2014. In 2015, the fairy tale fantasy film Puli was released. His next film, the action-thriller Theri, directed by Atlee, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Amy Jackson and Produced by S. Dhanu, was released in April 2016 to positive reviews. Theri is the highest-grossing film of 2016 and his second film to gross over ₹172 crore.
—Vijay on his film career
His next, the masala film Bairavaa, directed by Bharathan, co-starring Keerthi Suresh and produced by Vijaya Productions was released in January 2017. His next film, the action-thriller Mersal, directed by Atlee, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menen and produced by Sri Thenandal Films was released in late 2017. Mersal became the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career, and the first of his films to gross over ₹250 crore. Mersal was also released in Japan in four major cities Tokyo, Ebina, Osako and Nakaya. For his role in Mersal, Vijay was nominated at the National Film Awards UK in 2018 and also the film won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the National Film Awards UK. Mersal was his second film to release in China after Kaavalan (2011). Mersal was screened at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. His next movie Sarkar (2018 film) is set to be directed by A R Murugadoss and produced by Sun Pictures.
Vijay's first cameo Bollywood appearance in the song Chinta Chinta from the Hindi film Rowdy Rathore (2012), co-starring Akshay Kumar and Prabhu Deva, was well received by Hindi audiences. Vijay and Shah Rukh Khan have clashed five times in a row with their respective films at the worldwide box office. Vijay's song Varalam Va Bairavaa is played in Ajay Devgan's Hindi film Golmaal Again (2017) during a fight sequence as an tribute to the actor. Most of his Tamil films are dubbed into Hindi by Goldmines Telefilms and telecast on Sony Max Hindi TV channel. Vijay's film Mersal gave tough competition to Hindi films in October 2017, when it collected more than Golmaal Again and Secret Superstar in international markets. Mersal also topped in the UAE market collecting more than ₹9 crore beating Golmaal Again and Secret Superstar. In July 2017, Rishtey Cineplex Hindi TV channel held the Hindi movies Television Rating Point rankings #1 and #3 respectively during the Dangerous Khiladi 3 and Policewala Gunda 2 telecasts. Sony Max Hindi TV channel held the #5 spot in Hindi movies Television Rating Point during Hindi film Theri telecast. In late 2017, Vijay's film Kaththi's Hindi version Khaki Aur Khiladi was released and telecast on Zee Cinema Hindi TV channel.
Tollywood recognition and success
Vijay's films are dubbed into Telugu and most of them have turned out to be successful ventures, such as Snehitudu, Thuppakki, Jilla, Policeodu, Agent Bairavaa and Adirindhi. Actor Chiranjeevi thanked Vijay as the latter was more keen on his comeback film and helped him to get the remake rights of the Tamil blockbuster film Kaththi, which was remade in Telugu as Khaidi No. 150 with Chiranjeevi in the lead. Actor Junior NTR applauded Vijay as his favorite dancer, that he loves Vijay's dance steps and had even copied the latter's moves from the song, Vasantha Mullai for his own film, Kantri. Adirindhi has had the biggest opening in Vijay's career as far as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states are concerned, as it turned out to be a big hit.
In the media and other works
Vijay has been included several times in the Indian edition of the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, based on the earnings of Indian celebrities. In 2012, he was ranked #28, in 2013, he was ranked #49, in 2014, he held the #41 slot, in 2016, he held the #61 slot, and in 2017, he was ranked #31. In 2017, a third standard Central Board of Secondary Education textbook has displayed Vijay's image with veshti and shirt in reference to the traditional attire worn by Tamil men during Pongal festival in South India.
In 2002, Vijay appeared in Coca-Cola advertisements. He has appeared in a Sunfeast advertisement in 2005. In 2008, Vijay was signed up as an ambassador for the Indian Premier League cricket team Chennai Super Kings. In January 2009, Vijay appeared in a Coca-Cola advertisement. In August 2010, Vijay was signed by Jos Alukkas as their brand ambassador for Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Vijay also appeared in a Tata Docomo advertisement.
Vijay started a social welfare organisation Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (Vijay People Organization), which was officially launched at Pudukottai on 26 July 2009. It is responsible for much of his philanthropic work. After Cyclone Thane, his Makkal Mandram administrators arranged for a relief camp at Kammiyampettai, Cuddalore where the star provided rice to the affected people. Cuddalore was the worst affected area in flooding and Vijay reached out to help these people by rendering some assistance. The area in which the camp was built soon wore a festive look with thousands of people gathering to catch a glimpse of their favorite star. In May 2008, Vijay appeared in a short public service video, Herova? Zerova?, in an effort to discourage children from dropping out of school. Ilayathalapathy Vijay Education Awards was conducted at JS Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai on 8 July 2012 by his Vijay Makkal Iyakkam organisation to honour the students who topped in 2012 SSLC and 12th board exams and the awards were distributed by Vijay. On his birthday, 22 June 2007 Vijay presented golden rings to the newborn babies at the Egmore Government General Hospital. In November 2014, Vijay helped a daughter of a tea stall owner named Fathima who secured good marks in twelfth by getting her admission in a private college in Kodambakkam. In September 2017, Vijay Makkal Iyakkam official website was launched along with an Android App version by his fan clubs district heads to unite all of Vijay's fans across the globe. On 26 December 2017, Vijay fans in Pollachi have started providing vital services to the needy for free such as autos for school students and ambulances for the sick and injured. On 11 September 2017, Vijay offered financial aid to Anitha's family a girl who committed suicide failing to secure a medical seat in NEET exams. On 7 June 2018, Vijay offered financial aid to the Thoothukudi police gunfire victims families for protesting against sterlite copper plant. On 22 August 2018, Vijay distributed ₹70 lakh worth relief materials to the flood affected victims in Kerala with the help of his fan club district heads in various parts of Kerala.
Vijay received an honorary doctorate from the M.G.R Educational and Research Institute (Dr. M.G.R University) in 2007 for his contributions to the cause of the poor and downtrodden through social welfare activities and to honour Vijay's achievement in the film industry.
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