Vijay's Magic on Screen | Unravelling the Allure of South Indian Cinema's Superstar


In the world of Indian cinema, there are stars, and then there are superstars who transcend boundaries and capture the hearts of millions. One such charismatic figure who has earned a special place in the hearts of fans is the beloved actor Vijay. With his magnetic presence, versatile performances, and remarkable fan following, Vijay has carved a niche for himself in the film industry. From his early breakthroughs to his recent blockbuster hits, his journey is nothing short of awe-inspiring. So, join us on an exciting exploration of the life, success, and impact of the one and only Vijay!

Family and Education

Vijay, born as Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar on 22 June 1974 in Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu, comes from a family deeply connected to the Tamil film industry. His father, S. A. Chandrasekhar, is a renowned Tamil film director, while his mother, Shoba Chandrasekhar, is a playback singer and Carnatic vocalist. Vijay's father hails from the Christian Vellalar community, while his mother follows the Hindu faith.

At the age of 12, Vijay was baptized, indicating his Christian faith. However, he grew up in a multi-religious and multi-cultural environment due to the diverse backgrounds of his parents. This exposure likely played a role in shaping his inclusive outlook and appeal to a wide audience. Vijay had a sister named Vidhya, but unfortunately, she passed away at the young age of two. The loss of his sister at such a tender age likely had a profound impact on Vijay's life and shaped his perspective on family and the value of relationships.

Regarding his education, Vijay initially attended Fathima Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Kodambakkam, Chennai. Later, he transferred to Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Virugambakkam, Chennai. After completing his school education, he went on to pursue a degree in Visual Communications from Loyola College in Chennai. During his time at Loyola College, Vijay expressed his aspiration to enter the film industry. At the age of 18, he approached his father, seeking his support and requesting that he launch his acting career. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of Vijay's journey as an actor.

Vijay's family background and his educational pursuits showcase the diverse influences that have shaped his life and career. With a father who is a director and a mother who is a singer, Vijay grew up immersed in the world of arts and entertainment. His education in Visual Communications further provided him with a solid foundation to understand and excel in the creative aspects of filmmaking.

Acting Career Early Beginnings

Vijay began his acting journey at a tender age. At just 10 years old, he made his debut as a child actor in the film “Vetri” (1984). His first pay check of ₹500 rupees was paid by the actor and producer P. S. Veerappa, marking the beginning of his professional career in the film industry. During his early years as a child actor, Vijay appeared in several films such as “Kudumbam” (1984), “Vasantha Raagam” (1986), “Sattam Oru Vilayaattu” (1987), and “Ithu Engal Neethi” (1988). Notably, he had the opportunity to act alongside the legendary Rajinikanth in “Naan Sigappu Manithan” (1985), where he played a significant role as Rajinikanth's co-star.

As Vijay grew older, he transitioned into playing lead roles when he was just 18 years old. His debut as a lead actor came with the film “Naalaiya Theerpu” (1992). Subsequently, he starred in movies like “Sendhoorapandi”, “Rasigan”, “Deva”, and “Coimbatore Mappillai”, which were commercially successful despite not receiving critical acclaim. In 1996, Vijay's career took a significant turn with the Vikraman-directed film “Poove Unakkaga”. He credits this movie as his "initial break" and acknowledges that it catapulted his popularity to great heights. The following year, he received positive responses from both critics and audiences for his roles in “Kaalamellam Kaathiruppen” and “Love Today”.

Vijay continued to solidify his position in the industry with successful films like “Nerrukku Ner”, “Kadhalukku Mariyadhai”, “Ninaithen Vandhai”, “Priyamudan”, and “Thulladha Manamum Thullum”. These movies garnered positive reviews and achieved commercial success. He also appeared in “Nilaave Vaa”, followed by “Endrendrum Kadhal”, “Nenjinile”, and “Minsara Kanna”, showcasing his versatility as an actor.

The year 2000 marked a significant milestone in Vijay's career as he reached his 25th critically successful film with “Kannukkul Nilavu”. He followed it up with two commercially successful romance films, “Kushi” and “Priyamaanavale”. Subsequently, he continued his successful streak with movies like “Friends”, “Badri”, and “Shahjahan”. In 2002, Vijay starred alongside Hindi actress Priyanka Chopra in the action film “Thamizhan”. He then appeared in the romantic film “Youth” and the action-packed “Bagavathi”. The year 2003 began with Vijay showcasing his comedic skills in “Vaseegara” and his talent for the supernatural genre in “Pudhiya Geethai”.

The Great Rise

The rise of actor Vijay in the film industry was nothing short of spectacular, marked by a series of commercially successful and critically acclaimed films. After the action-romance film “Thirumalai” in 2003, Vijay starred in “Ghilli”, a milestone film in his career. The film created history by becoming the first Tamil film to gross over ₹500 million at the domestic box office, and it also made a significant impact in the Malaysian market, grossing nearly $500,000. “Ghilli” shattered records by drawing the largest number of viewers in its first week, surpassing M. G. Ramachandran's “Adimai Penn” (1969). The film received favourable reviews, with The Hindu praising Vijay's performance and stating that the movie was on a winning track.

Following the success of “Ghilli”, Vijay continued to deliver commercially successful films. In 2005, he appeared in “Madhurey” and “Thirupaachi”, both of which garnered positive responses at the box office. He then starred in “Sachein”, “Sivakasi”, and “Pokkiri”, all of which were both critical and commercial successes. “Pokkiri”, in particular, became one of the highest-grossing films of Vijay's career at that time. In 2007, he took on the dual roles of protagonist and antagonist in the romantic thriller “Azhagiya Tamil Magan”.

The film achieved significant success overseas, collecting $1.043 million and entering the top ten Asian films box office hit chart in Malaysia. Despite subsequent releases like “Vettaikaaran”, “Kuruvi”, and “Villu” being more successful overseas than domestically, Vijay's star power remained strong. In 2009, he became one of the highest-paid actors in South India. However, the action-comedy film “Sura” in 2010 turned out to be a box office failure, marking Vijay's 50th film as a lead actor. The year 2011 saw Vijay bouncing back with two remarkable films. First, he collaborated with director Siddique for the romantic comedy “Kaavalan”, which received positive responses from viewers and critics alike. The film achieved tremendous success at the box office, collecting ₹102 crore worldwide and even being screened at the prestigious Shanghai International Film Festival in China, where it garnered commercial success. Later in 2011, during Diwali, Vijay's action film “Velayudham” hit the screens. It emerged as one of the top-grossing films of the year and received critical acclaim from Japanese audiences.

Critical and Commercial Success

Vijay's success in the film industry continued to soar with a string of blockbuster releases that cemented his position as one of the biggest stars in Tamil cinema. In 2012, he starred in “Nanban”, a film that received critical acclaim for his performance. “Nanban” had a successful 100-day theatrical run and grossed ₹150 crore at the box office. Following this, Vijay collaborated with director A. R. Murugadoss for the action thriller “Thuppakki”. The film, released on Diwali 2012, garnered positive reviews and became the third Tamil film to enter the ₹1 billion club domestically. “Thuppakki” was a game-changer for Vijay, as it became his highest-grossing film at that time. The film even had the honour of being screened at the Russian film festival.

In 2013, Vijay's film “Thalaivaa”, faced a few challenges with its release but was unable to make a mark at the box office. However, he bounced back with the film “Jilla” in 2014, which turned out to be a box-office hit. Vijay then reunited with director A. R. Murugadoss for the action thriller “Kaththi”, which received critical acclaim. The film collected ₹130 crore and was the second-highest-grossing Tamil film of 2014. In 2015, he ventured into the fairy tale fantasy genre with “Puli”, directed by Chimbu Deven.

While the film received mixed reviews, Vijay's portrayal was praised, and “Puli” emerged as one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It garnered attention internationally, with satellite rights and distribution rights sold for ₹100 crore. Vijay's performance as a "Tiger-demon" in the film was well-received, and “Puli” was regarded as one of the Indian films that raised the standard to an international level. Vijay's film “Theri” was released in 2016 to mixed reviews. It became the second-highest-grossing Tamil film of the year and Vijay's second film to surpass ₹170 Crore in box office collections. In 2017, he starred in the masala film “Bairavaa”, which received mixed reviews but still managed to collect ₹115 crore.

His 61st film, the action thriller “Mersal”, was released during Diwali 2017 and proved to be both a critical and commercial success. It became Vijay's first film to gross over ₹2.5 billion and was released in various international markets, including Japan, South Korea, and China. The film won accolades and nominations, including the Best Foreign Language Film award at the National Film Awards UK.

Vijay's political film “Sarkar”, directed by A.R. Murugadoss, was released in 2018 and broke numerous collection records. It entered the 100 Crore Club within two days of its release and grossed over ₹2.5 billion. “Sarkar” was screened in various international locations, including Spain, France, and Japan. Vijay's portrayal in the film was praised by The Hollywood Reporter.

Superstar Vijay

Vijay's acting career has been marked by numerous successful films and a massive fan following. In 2019, he starred in “Bigil”, a football action film directed by Atlee. Vijay underwent special training for his role, and although the film received mixed reviews from critics, his performance was highly praised. The movie emerged as a commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2019 and Vijay's highest-grossing film to date, collecting over ₹300 crore. It also made history as the first Tamil film released in Egypt and Jordan, and it was later re-released in Germany in 2020.

The following year, Vijay collaborated with director Lokesh Kanagaraj for the film “Master”, produced by Xavier Britto. Initially scheduled for release in April 2020, the film faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and finally hit theatres on 13 January 2021. “Master” made a significant impact at the box office, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, where it surpassed Hollywood releases “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Tenet” in terms of box office collections. It also achieved global recognition by holding the number-one spot worldwide for the year. The film garnered mixed to positive reviews and collected ₹300 crore worldwide, solidifying its status as a box office hit. “Master” was even screened at the International film festival of Alberta, Canada.

Vijay's success continued with the release of “Beast” in 2022, a dark comedy action film. While receiving mixed reviews, Vijay's performance was commended, and the film broke box office collection records in several international markets, including New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. “Beast” collected ₹250 crore worldwide and became one of the most viewed films on Netflix globally in 2022. It also became the first Tamil film to be released theatrically in Uzbekistan. In 2023, Vijay starred in “Varisu”, an action drama film produced by Dil Raju and directed by Vamshi Paidipally. The film, despite polarizing reviews, showcased Vijay's meta-comedy acting skills and collected ₹300 crore at the box office.

Vijay has two highly anticipated projects lined up. The first is “Leo”, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, which is scheduled for release on 19 October 2023. “Leo” will be released in multiple languages, including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, and Kannada, and features music composed by Anirudh, marking their fourth collaboration. Additionally, Vijay has been announced to star in “Thalapathy 68”, directed by Venkat Prabhu and produced by AGS Entertainment. The film, slated for release in 2024, will see Vijay reuniting with composer Yuvan Shankar Raja after a two-decade gap.


# Movie Name Releasing Year
1 Vetri 1984
2 Kudumbam 1984
3 Sattam Oru Vilaiyattu 1987
4 Naalaiya Theerpu 1992
5 Sendhoorapandi 1993
7 Rasigan 1994
8 Deva 1995
9 Rajavin Parvaiyile 1995
10 Vishnu 1995
11 Chandralekha 1995
12 Coimbatore Mappillai 1996
13 Poove Unakkaga 1996
14 Vasantha Vaasal 1996
15 Maanbumigu Maanavan 1996
16 Selva 1996
17 Kaalamellam Kaathiruppen 1997
18 Love Today 1997
19 Once More 1997
20 Nerrukku Ner 1997
21 Kadhalukku Mariyadhai 1997
22 Ninaithen Vandhai 1998
23 Priyamudan 1998
24 Nilaave Vaa 1998
25 Thulladha Manamum Thullum 1999
26 Endrendrum Kadhal 1999
27 Nenjinile 1999
28 Minsara Kanna 1999
29 Kannukkul Nilavu 2000
30 Kushi 2000
31 Priyamaanavale 2000
32 Friends 2001
33 Badri 2001
34 Shahjahan 2001
35 Thamizhan 2002
36 Youth 2002
37 Bagavathi 2002
38 Vaseegara 2003
39 Pudhiya Geethai 2003
40 Thirumalai 2003
41 Udhaya 2004
42 Ghilli 2004
43 Madhurey 2004
44 Thirupaachi 2005
45 Sachein 2005
46 Sivakasi 2005
47 Aathi 2006
48 Pokkiri 2007
49 Azhagiya Tamil Magan 2007
50 Kuruvi 2008
51 Villu 2009
52 Vettaikaaran 2009
53 Sura 2010
54 Kaavalan 2011
55 Velayudham 2011
56 Nanban 2012
57 Thuppakki 2012
58 Thalaivaa 2013
59 Jilla 2014
60 Kaththi 2014
61 Puli 2015
62 Theri 2016
63 Bairavaa 2017
64 Mersal 2017
65 Sarkar 2018
66 Bigil 2019
67 Master 2021
68 Beast 2022
69 Varisu 2023


# Award Name Receiving Year Received For
1 Cinema Express Award for New Face 1992 Naalaiya Theerpu
2 Roja Duke's Film Award for Best Actor 1998 Kadhalukku Mariyadhai
3 Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor 1997 Kadhalukku Mariyadhai
4 Tamil Nadu State Film MGR Award 2000 Thulladha Manamum Thullum
5 Dinakaran Award for Best Actor 2004 Ghilli
6 Madras Club Award for Best Actor 2004 Ghilli
7 FilmToday Award for Best Actor 2004 Ghilli
8 Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor (Special Prize) 2005 Thirupaachi
9 Star India Award for Superstar of Tomorrow 2006
10 Star India Award for Entertainer of the Year 2007 Pokkiri Azhagiya Tamil Magan
11 Mathrubhumi Film Award for Best Tamil Actor 2007 Pokkiri
12 Isaiaruvi TV Award for Best Hero 2007 Pokkiri
13 Star India Award for Favourite Hero 2009 Vettaikaaran
14 Isaiaruvi TV Award for Favourite Actor 2009 Vettaikaaran
15 Asianet Film Award for Most Popular Tamil Actor (Special Award) 2010
16 Edison Award for Best Actor 2011 Velayudham
17 Variety Film Award for Hero of the Year 2011 Kaavalan Velayudham
18 Edison Award for Super Star Rajini Award 2011 Velayudham
19 Star India Award for Entertainer of the Year 2012 Nanban Thuppakki
20 Star India Award for Favourite Hero 2012 Thuppakki
21 Techofes Award for Best Actor 2012 Thuppakki
22 Cosmopolitan People Choice Award for Best Actor 2012 Nanban Thuppakki
23 Star India Award for Favourite Song 2012 Thuppakki
24 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award for Best Actor 2012 Nanban Thuppakki
25 Star India Award for Favourite Hero 2013 Thalaivaa
26 Techofes Award for Favourite Actor 2013 Thalaivaa
27 Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Actor in a Lead Role — Male 2014 Kaththi
28 Kumudam People Choice Superstar Award 2014
29 Behindwoods Gold Medal for People's Choice Actor — Male 2014 Kaththi
30 Star India Award for Entertainer of the Year 2014 Jilla Kaththi
31 South Indian International Movie Award for Best Entertainer 2016 Theri
32 Behindwoods Gold Medal for The Samrat of South Indian Box Office 2016
33 Edison Award for Mass Hero 2016 Theri
34 Behindwoods Gold Medal for People's Choice Actor — Male 2016 Theri
35 Edison Award for Mass Hero 2017 Mersal
36 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award for Best Actor 2017 Mersal
37 Techofes Award for Favourite Actor 2017 Mersal
38 Techofes Award for Best Entertainer 2017 Mersal
39 Star India Award for Favourite Hero 2018 Mersal
40 Indiatoday Award for Tamil Nadu Best Actor 2018
41 Zee Cine Award for Favourite Hero 2020 Bigil
42 Osaka Award for Best Actor 2023 Master

Personal Life

Vijay's personal life has had its share of significant events and controversies. He tied the knot with Sangeetha Sornalingam, a Sri Lankan Tamil whom he met in the United Kingdom, on 25 August 1999. The couple has been blessed with two children. Vijay's son made a cameo appearance alongside his father in “Vettaikaaran” (2009), while his daughter portrayed a small role as his pre-teen daughter in “Their” (2016).

In February 2020, the Income Tax Department conducted a raid at Vijay's residence in Chennai, raising concerns about potential tax evasion. The investigation focused on Vijay's investment in immovable properties inherited from the production studio AGS Entertainment. The officials suspected undisclosed payments and alleged tax fraud involving Vijay and AGS Entertainment producer Anbu Cheliyan. During the raid, approximately ₹65 crore was seized from Cheliyan's residence. However, on 12 March, the officials announced that nothing significant was found during the raid. Opponents of the Bharatiya Janata Party accused them of politically targeting Vijay due to his criticism of their policies in the film “Mersal”, specifically regarding demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

In July 2021, the Madras High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by Vijay in 2012 seeking exemption from Entry Tax for his imported Rolls-Royce Ghost car from England. The court imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh, which was directed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Public COVID relief fund. Justice S.M. Subramaniam, while dismissing the petition, made critical remarks against Vijay, stating that his fan base expected him to be a hero not only on-screen but in real life as well. Vijay filed an appeal against the defamatory statements made by the judge, and the case was subsequently transferred to a different tax bench sector of the court. A two-judge bench of the Madras High Court later stayed the earlier passed order by Justice S.M. Subramaniam, including the critical remarks and the fine. In January 2022, the court dismissed and removed the defamatory critical statements made by the judge against Vijay. In July 2022, the court ruled in favour of Vijay, declaring that no fine should be imposed on the imported car since he had paid the full entry tax before January 2019, thereby closing the case.

As of 2021, Vijay's net worth is estimated to be ₹4200 million or ₹420 crore. He commanded a significant salary of ₹100 crore for his film Beast and was reported to have earned an estimated ₹120 crore to ₹150 crore for “Varisu”, which placed him among the highest-paid Indian actors.

Wrapping Up

Throughout his acting journey, Vijay consistently showcased his acting prowess and amassed a massive fan following. His ability to connect with the audience through a wide range of emotions and genres solidified his status as one of the most sought-after actors in Tamil cinema. With each film, Vijay continued to evolve and entertain, leaving an indelible mark on the industry and the hearts of his fans. Vijay's consistent box office success, his ability to captivate audiences with his performances, and his choice of diverse roles and collaborations with talented directors and musicians have contributed to his enduring popularity and established him as one of the biggest stars in the film industry.

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