Vikram

  • Actor, Producer

Apr 17, 1966  in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu, India

Also Known as: Kennedy John Victor, Chiyaan Vikram, Kenny

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An experimental actor, after a series of failures across Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu industries, shot to fame with his breakthrough role of a college student having a brain injury in the 1999 romantic drama film Sethu. His intense performance in the film won him the Filmfare Special Jury Award. Whether masala entertainment movies or serious concept-based films, Vikram is one of the few actors in Kollywood, who has proved his acting abilities with exemplary performances. Of the several films he has starred in, his most prominent ones include Dhill (2001), Gemini (2002), Dhool (2003), Samy (2003), Pithamagan (2003), Anniyan (2005), Kanthaswamy (2009), Raavanan (2010), Deiva Thirumagal (2011), I (2015) and Iru Mugan (2016).

Early Life
Vikram was born to John Victor and Rajeshwari in Madras as Kennedy. His father featured in supporting roles in Tamil movies and television serials, being one of the reasons that planted an interest in Vikram to attend theater lessons, and also get professionally trained in classical and cinema dance forms. His mother worked as a sub-collector. He has two younger siblings - Anita, a teacher and Arvind. He pursued his education from Montfort School, Yercaud, where he actively participated in karate, horseback riding and swimming. He graduated in English literature from Loyola College, Chennai. Vikram`s maternal uncle Thyagarajan is a popular director-actor and so is his son actor Prashanth.

Personal Life
The actor met Shailaja Balakrishnan from Thalassery, Kerala in the late 1980s and got married to her in 1992 at Guruvayoor. They followed this up with a small wedding ceremony at the Loyola College church in Chennai. The couple has two children - daughter Akshita and son Dhruv.

Movie career
As An Actor
Vikram entered the movie business in 1990 with the Tamil film En Kadhal Kanmani. After working in three other Tamil movies, he forayed into Malayalam cinema in 1993 with Dhruvam and Telugu industry with Chirunavvula Varamistava. In 1996, he had releases like Mayoora Nritham, Indraprastham, and Rajaputhran, followed by Itha Oru Snehagatha and Kurralla Rajyam in 1997. Even though the actor worked in several movies, none of them got him the desired success that he expected.

His struggle finally paid off with his breakthrough role in the Tamil romantic drama Sethu at the end of 1999. He was seen in the role of a college student who loses his memory after an attack, and by the time he remembers his past, his lover Abitha Kujalambal (Abitha) commits suicide. His performance as a tough college student to transforming into a man who loses his memory, won him the Filmfare Special Jury Award and Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize. Vikram continued to work in Malayalam movies like Red Indians and Indriyam, and also Telugu films like 9 Nelalu and Youth, but found more success in Tamil cinema. In 2001, Vikram played the male lead opposite Laila in the critically and commercially successful Tamil action film Dhill, under the direction of Dharani. The actor then went on to do a different role of a blind village singer in the drama film Kasi, which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil and Cinema Express Award for Best Actor - Tamil. The movie received positive critical reviews and also attained commercial success.

"O Podu" - the song that instantly made Vikram`s movie Gemini (2002) a hit, even though the film received only mixed critical reviews. In Gemini, Vikram was seen as an aspiring don, who decides to change his way of life after he falls in love with a college girl Manisha (Kiran Rathod). After his successful collaboration with director Dharani for Dhill, the duo joined hands to give another blockbuster hit Dhool in 2003. It starred Vikram as Arumugam, who comes to a city in order to do something about the water pollution in his village but gets dragged into a conflict with corrupt politicians. Jyothika and Reemma Sen played the female leads in the movie, whereas Vivek and Sayaji Shinde were seen in supporting roles. The actor followed this up with another action film Samy, considered to be one of the movies that began the trend of police films in Tamil cinema.

Vikram`s very next venture, the crime drama Pithamagan, gained huge critical acclaim for the actor praising him for conveying everything through his expressions with hardly any dialogues. It comes as no surprise that the role won him the National Film Award for Best Actor, Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil and Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor. He once again starred with Jyothika in the family drama movie Arul, in which he is a good man rejected by his father who misunderstands him but later realizes the truth.

Another experimental character of the actor came in the 2005 Tamil psychological thriller Anniyan, under the direction of S. Shankar. His role was that of lawyer Ramanujam with multiple personality disorder, one as a metrosexual fashion model Remo and another as a serial killer Anniyan. For this film too, he swept away the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil. Vikram followed this up with the thriller film Kanthaswamy as an Income Tax officer opposite Shriya Saran, and then Mani Ratnam`s epic adventure movie Raavanan alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Prithviraj in the lead roles. The latter won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil and Vijay Award for Best Actor. Raavanan simultaneously released in Hindi as Raavan, marking Vikram`s Bollywood debut.

The 2011 film Deiva Thirumagal marked one of his best roles as an actor with huge critical acclaim. He played a mentally challenged adult who is just as mature as a six-year-old boy, and takes the help of a lawyer to fight for the custody of his daughter Nila. He emotionally shook the audiences with his performance as Krishna in this A. L. Vijay direction, and went on to win the Vijay Award for Best Actor, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor - South along with nominations for Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil and Vijay Award for Favourite Hero. The movie featured Baby Sara as Nila, and Anushka Shetty as the lawyer Anuradha.

Post this, Vikram was seen in films like Rajapattai (2011), Thaandavam (2012) and David (2013), all of which only received average critical and audience response. One of his award-winning roles was the romantic thriller I opposite Amy Jackson as the female lead. He portrays the role of a supermodel, whose body gets deformed due to an injection, which ruins his professional and personal life. Apart from the actor`s performance, the movie was specially lauded by critics for his costume design and makeup. His next film 10 Endrathukulla in 2015, directed by Vijay Milton opened to mixed reviews. Vikram then featured in a dual role in Anand Shankar`s science fiction action film Iru Mugan, alongside Nayantara and Nithya Menen as the other leads. The movie was dubbed into Telugu as Inkokkadu. His 2019 release includes Kadaram Kondan.

As a playback singer
One of the most sought after actors in Kollywood, Vikram is also a very good playback singer. He made his playback singing debut with the song "Yaamirukka Bayamein" by composer T. S. Muralidharan for the Tamil movie Shree (2002). He performed the popular song "O Podu" in Gemini starring himself along with singer Anuradha Sriram. For his film Kanthaswamy, he recorded the songs "Excuse Me", "Ithellam Dupe" / "Ivannee Dupe", "Mambo Mamiya" and "Meow Meow". He was also the voice behind the song Meghame O Meghame, composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar for the movie Madrasapattinam.

As a dubbing artist
Vikram has worked as a dubbing artist for several actors in various movies like Amaravathi, Kadhalan, Kadhal Desam, Karuppu Roja, Minsara Kanavu, and Kandukondain Kandukondain.

Television career
The actor was seen in the TV series Galatta Kudumbam in 1988 and the television film Siragugal in 2000.

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