Thalapathy Vijay's birthday special: From Friends to Master, here's a look at 7 of his biggest hits
Actor Vijay, who is turning 47 today, has made his mark in Tamil cinema as a versatile actor with his massive range of films that span over nearly 30 years.
Vijay, who entered Kollywood as a child artist (at the age of 10) in his father Chandrasekhar’s 1984 movie Vetri, made his debut as a lead actor in Naalaiya Theerpu (1994).
The actor has starred in countless successful movies across different genres. From Friends (2001), which continues to be a memorable comedy drama, to his latest release Master, here's a look at the actor’s best Tamil films till date on his birthday.
Friends, which is a remake of director Siddique’s Malayalam film with the same name, is an evergreen comedy drama starring actors Vijay, Suriya, Ramesh Khanna, actress Devayani, and comedian Vadivelu. The movie is about three childhood friends whose bond is tested by several complications after they begin working as apprentices for a painting contractor named Nesamani (Vadivelu).
Vijay effortlessly pulls off the role of Aravind, a loyal, carefree friend and a ladies’ man. The movie, which is filled with numerous jokes about how Aravind and his friends end up facing the wrath of Nesamani every time for numerous blunders at work, makes for a great family-friendly drama.
Ghilli (which translates to ‘daredevil’) remains to be one of the most unmatched action-romance films by Vijay in Tamil cinema. Velu (Vijay), a skilled kabaddi player, keeps his potential talent a secret from his strict, discipline-loving cop father and goes on to play tournaments without his father’s knowledge. The story is about what happens when he ends up rescuing Dhanalakshmi (Trisha) during one such match from Muthupandi (Prakash Raj), a controlling tyrant who forces her to marry him.
Vijay’s simple yet powerful performance as a talented kabaddi player, a fun-loving brother and son, a loyal and intelligent friend, and a bold and caring lover, makes Ghilli a perfect movie that can be enjoyed by viewers from all age groups.
Directed by John Mahendran, the 2005 movie Sachein is about two friends, Sachein (Vijay) and Shalini (Genelia Deshmukh) who end up falling in love after a long battle of egos. Vijay’s role as Sachein continues to be one of his best as a romantic hero, since this film was a little different when compared to the trends of the old days where the male lead chases, stalks, manipulates, and even forces the female lead to fall for him.
Vijay’s natural performance as a happy-go-lucky, easy-going, mischievous college student, Shalini’s (Genelia’s) banter and fun encounters with Sachein, and comedian Vadivelu’s frequent appearances as another competitor vying for Shalini’s love elevate the film from a typical rom-com to a life experience every college student can relate to.
Moving on to more recent films from Vijay, Thuppakki, which is an action thriller directed by veteran AR Murugadoss, is about an army officer and a secret defence specialist named Jagadish (Vijay) who visits Mumbai to spend time with his family and find a bride. However, he also ends up facing the responsibility to uncover and stop a terrorist mission with sleeper cells.
Here, we see Vijay as a cool, suave army officer and a protective family man who is laid back about love and life, but is equally sharp and merciless about dealing with crime. We also get to see a hint of what life is like for people in the army and the tough, soldier side of Jagadish when he is faced with the decision to do what’s right, irrespective of the cost.
Master, Vijay's latest release, is an action thriller written and directed by Lokesh Kanakaraj. In this movie, Vijay plays the role of JD, an alcoholic professor who is the champion of students at the college he teaches in. However, JD is soon transferred to a shady juvenile facility where children are abused with the influence of drugs and used as scapegoats for crimes by a ruthless gangster (Vijay Sethupathi).
The movie talks about how JD rescues these children from the clutches of the gangster. Vijay convincingly portrays the character of an alcoholic who initially does not pay attention to the struggles around him, but later rises to the challenges magnificently.
Nanban (2012) - A remake of the Hindi blockbuster 3 Idiots, Nanban portrays Vijay as an inquisitive, brilliant engineering student who helps his friends make memories and gain lessons for life through an emotional roller coaster ride.
Theri (2016) - In Theri, Vijay plays the role of a higher-level police officer who goes into hiding to raise his daughter in a safe environment after he loses his loved ones to a politician’s vendetta.
Apart from these films, the actor is also known for his open references to political and social issues in the country in his movies. In Kaththi (2014), Vijay talks about the crisis with excess urbanisation and greed for wealth that puts farmers’ livelihoods at risk. Mersal (2017) points out the scams that some hospitals carry out for profit, while Sarkar (2018) talks about fraudulent voting and improper implementation of GST.