Born as Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar but better known by his screen name, Vijay is one of the most popular Indian film stars, who mainly works in the Tamil film industry. He made his acting debut at the age of eighteen with the movie Naalaiya Theerpu in 1992, which was directed by his father. The actor is referred to as Ilaya Thalapathy, a title conferred by his fans, which roughly means a youth icon.
He is one of the most commercially successful actors in the South Indian film industry and has the maximum number of 100 crore INR plus hits, after superstar Rajinikanth. The actor, who is also an accomplished playback singer and a prolific dancer, has appeared in a number of movies in his career, and along the way has picked up several awards and accolades including the Tamil Nadu State Film Award. The actor is best remembered for his performance in blockbuster hits like Ghilli (2004), Pokkiri (2007), Thuppakki (2012), and Kaththi (2014).
Early LifeVijay was born in a Roman Catholic family on the 22nd of June, 1974 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His father S. A. Chandrasekhar is a renowned film director, and his mother Shoba Chandrasekhar is a playback singer and Carnatic vocalist. The actor attended the Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Virugambakkam and later obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication from Loyola College, Chennai.
Personal LifeVijay is married to Sangeetha Sornalingam, a Sri Lankan Tamil. The two tied the knot on August 25th, 1999, and together have two children, a son named Jason Sanjay, who was born in 2000, and a daughter named Divya Saasha, who was born in 2005.
Movie CareerStarting his career as a child artist, Vijay first appeared in the movie Vetri in 1984. He went on to make his debut as a lead actor at the age of 18 with the movie Naalaiya Theerpu directed by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar in 1992. The movie was a commercial and critical failure. He next appeared in the 1993 release Sendhoorapandi co-starring Vijayakanth, which also was a flop. From 1993 to 1995, the actor appeared in several films like Rajavin Parvaiyile, Deva, Vishnu, and Chandralekha, but success eluded him until he appeared in Vikraman’s 1996 release Poove Unakkaga, which was his first major hit and made him a recognizable star.
The following year, in 1997, the actor appeared in movies like Love Today, Once More, and Nerrukku Ner but his major hit of the year was Fazil’s Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, which earned him a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor for that year. Vijay followed his Kadhalukku Mariyadhai’s success with a few more hit movies like Nilaave Vaa and Ninaithen Vandhai. He continued his good work in 1999 as he starred in Thulladha Manamum Thullum alongside Simran Bagga, which was a smashing hit and was critically acclaimed. The movie went on to win the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Film.
In 2001, the actor along with Suriya Sivakumar starred in the comedy-drama film Friends directed by Siddique. The movie was a commercial hit but received mixed reviews. His other release of the year Badri, which was the remake of the Telugu film Thammudu, got a lukewarm response at the box-office. The following year, Ilaya Thalapathy starred in the action film Thamizhan, which marked the acting debut of the Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, and the movie went on to become a box-office hit, with Vijay’s performance being well-received by the critics.
By 2003, Vijay planned on being a part of mainly action movies and his first movie of the year Thirumalai, directed by Ramana and co-starring Jyothika, went on to become a commercial success and is considered to be a turning point in Vijay's career. He next appeared in the Telugu remake of Okkadu titled Ghilli, which released in 2004. The movie also featuring Prakash Raj, Trisha Krishnan, and Ashish Vidyarthi was a huge commercial hit and received rave critical reviews, with Vijay’s portrayal of a young Kabaddi player being lauded by the critics. The actor followed his Ghilli success with yet another action film in 2005 titled Thirupaachi directed by Perarasu, which was an average hit. He was next seen in the John Mahendran-directed romantic-comedy Sachein cast opposite Genelia D'Souza.
In early 2007, Vijay starred in the gangster film Pokkiri, which was the remake of the Telugu film with the same name, where his performance was well-received by the audience as well as the critics. The movie, co-starring Asin and directed by Prabhudeva, became the highest grossing film of 2007 and continues to remain one of Vijay’s biggest blockbuster hits in his career. The movie was later remade in Hindi as Wanted with Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia in lead roles. The same year, the actor starred in Bharathan’s romantic-thriller film Azhagiya Tamil Magan, where he played a dual role as both the protagonist and antagonist.
The actor teamed up with director Siddique once again in 2011 for the romantic-comedy Kaavalan, which was the remake of the Malayalam film titled Bodyguard. The film, co-starring Asin, received positive reviews from both the audience and critics, and was screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival in China. His next venture Velayudham, directed by Mohan Raja, went to become one of the highest-grossing films of that year.
The actor started the year 2012 on a high note as he featured in the multi-starrer Nanban, which was the remake the Bollywood hit film 3 Idiots. Vijay was cast alongside Jiiva, Srikanth, and Ileana D’Cruz, where he played the role of Aamir Khan from the original movie. The movie went on to run for more than 100 days in the theaters across Tamil Nadu and was a swashbuckling commercial and critical hit. The actor’s next film Thuppakki directed by A. R. Murugadoss released during the Diwali in 2012 and it went on to become the only third film in the Tamil industry to enter the 100 crore club after Sivaji - The Boss and Enthiran. The actor’s only release in 2013 was Thalaivaa directed by A. L. Vijay and co-starred Amala Paul, Sathyaraj, and Santhanam.
In 2014, the actor starred in Jilla, which marked his first association with the Malayalam superstar Mohanlal. The movie directed by R.T. Neason released in January 2014 and received positive reviews from the critics and also did well at the box-office. In the same year, Vijay once again collaborated with A. R. Murugadoss for the action-drama Kaththi co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Neil Nitin Mukesh. The movie released during Diwali and it went to become the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year. With no major success to his name in 2015, the actor started off 2016 with a bang with S. Dhanu’s Theri cast alongside Amy Jackson and Samantha Ruth Prabhu. The movie opened to positive critical reviews and was a huge commercial hit.