C. Joseph Vijay (born 22 June 1974) is an Indian film actor and playback singer who works in Tamil cinema. He is one of the highest paid actors in the industry, and is referred to by fans and media as Thalapathy (commander).
Vijay in 2015
Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar
22 June 1974
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Alma mater||Loyola College, Chennai|
|Occupation||Film actor, playback singer|
|Children||Jason Sanjay, Divya Saasha|
|Relatives||See Chandrasekhar family|
Aged 10, his first role was in the drama Vetri (1984); he continued to perform as a child artist in films until Ithu Engal Neethi (1988), directed by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar. He then featured as the lead in Naalaiya Theerpu (1992), again directed by his father. He received his breakthrough in the film Poove Unakkaga (1996), which was directed by Vikraman. As of 2019, he has acted in 63 films as a lead actor and won numerous awards including 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 one National Award UK.
As a playback singer, Vijay has sung over thirty songs in his films, starting with "Bombay City" (1994), also garnering European attention for his song "Selfie Pulla" in 2014. He is also praised for his dance moves in his films.
Early life and family
Vijay was born on 22 June 1974 as Joseph Vijay in Madras (now 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. His sisters death affected Vijay greatly; according to his mother, Vijay, who was very talkative, naughty and hyperactive as a child, became silent after Vidhya's death. Vidhya's story is depicted in the 2005 film Sukran, in which Vijay played an extended cameo.
He is a Roman Catholic, and received his first Holy Communion at a church in Chennai. Initially attending Fathima Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Kodambakkam, he later joined Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Virugambakkam and went on to pursue a degree in Visual Communications from Loyola College. He eventually dropped out as he was more interested in acting.
Vijay married a fan, Sangeetha Sornalingam, a Hindu Sri Lankan Tamil whom he met in the United Kingdom, on 25 August 1999. 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).
At the age of 10, 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) co-starring Rajinikanth as lead actor.
After performing as a 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 Ilaya 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, wherein 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 2000, 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.
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 ₹500 million 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 Aathi, 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. Pokkiri is the first Tamil film of all-time to complete a 100-day theatrical run in Kerala. The film received critical acclaim.
In late 2007, Vijay starred in the psychological thriller film Azhagiya Tamil Magan, directed by Bharathan, in which he played a dual role for the first time in his career. He played the roles of both the antagonist and protagonist. The film was only a moderate success at the box office. Vijay was honoured 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 film Villu, in which Vijay teamed up with Prabhu Deva. 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.
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 the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career, and the first of his films to gross over ₹1,800,000,000. 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 ₹1,720,000,000.
His next, the masala film Bairavaa, directed by Bharathan, co-starring Keerthy 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 ₹2,500,000,000. 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 film, the action film Sarkar directed by A R Murugadoss and produced by Sun Pictures released on diwali 2018. Sarkar is the highest-grossing film of 2018.
Presence in other regional Indian films
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's song Varalam Va Bairavaa is played in Ajay Devgan's Hindi film Golmaal Again (2017) during a fight sequence along with a poster of his film Theri as a 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 ₹90 million, 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 (2014) (dubbed version of Vettaikaaran) and Policewala Gunda 2 (2014) (dubbed version of Jilla) telecasts. Sony Max Hindi TV channel held the #5 spot in Hindi movies Television Rating Point during Hindi film Theri telecast. In late 2017, the Hindi version of Vijay's film Kaththi titled Khaki Aur Khiladi was released and telecast on Zee Cinema Hindi TV channel. Vijay's Sarkar is the all-time top opener in India beating Hindi film Sanju. Sarkar is the highest-grossing film of 2018 and also broken records of many Hindi films such as Raazi, Gold and Aamir's Thugs of Hindostan.
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. The Telugu version of Jilla included a separate track shot that featured Surekha Vani, L. B. Sriram, and Brahmanandam. 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 favourite 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 had the biggest opening of Vijay's career in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states and was very successful. The Telugu dubbed version of Sarkar earned more than ₹180 million at the Andhra box office and was the highest grosser in Vijay's career in the Telugu-speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
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. He also appeared in a Tata Docomo advertisement.
In May 2008, Vijay appeared in a short public service video, Herova? Zerova?, in an effort to discourage children from dropping out of school.
He founded a social welfare organisation, Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (Vijay People Organization), which was officially launched in July 2009, which is responsible for much of his philanthropic work. After Cyclone Thane, his Makkal Mandram administrators arranged for a relief camp at Kammiyampettai, Cuddalore where he provided rice to the affected people. The Ilayathalapathy Vijay Education Awards were 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. In November 2014, Vijay assisted the daughter of a tea stall owner to obtain admission to a private college in Kodambakkam.
On 21 January 2017, Vijay rendered his voice and support to Jallikattu protests by anonymously joining the protesters in Chennai, hiding his face with a hanky. In September 2017, the Vijay Makkal Iyakkam official website was launched to unite all of his fans, and in December 2017, Vijay fans in Pollachi began providing services to the needy such as autos for school students and ambulances for the sick and injured. On 11 September 2017, Vijay offered financial aid to the family of a girl who committed suicide after failing to secure a medical seat in NEET exams. On 7 June 2018, Vijay offered financial aid to the families of the Thoothukudi police gunfire victims who protested against the Sterlite Copper plant. On 22 August 2018, Vijay distributed ₹70 lakh worth of relief materials to flood affected victims with the help of his fan club district heads in various parts of Kerala. In November 2018, Vijay deposited ₹4.5 lakh in each VMI head's bank account to provide relief for the Gaja cyclone-affected families in Tamil Nadu.
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 social welfare and in honour of his achievements in the film industry.
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