On 22 June 1974, a legend was born. Though nobody knew abouth the greatness of heights he would one day scale, Born to Mr. S. A. Chandrasekhar and Mrs. Shoba in Chennai, Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar was also known as Thalapathy. He is an Indian actor, dancer, playback singer and philanthropist who works in Tamil Cinema. He has acted in 64 films as a lead actor and won numerous awards, including eight Vijay Awards, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, and SIIMA Award.
Vijay's 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 sister's 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. In her memory, Vijay named his production house, V.V Productions, which stands for Vidhya-Vijay productions This shows how much love he still holds for his departed sibling. Vijay married a fan, Sangeetha Sornalingam, a 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).
Initially, Vijay attending Fathima Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Kodambakkam, he later joined Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School a Virugambakkam and went on to pursue a degree in Visual Communications from Loyala College. He eventually dropped out as he was more interested in acting. 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, Vijay started playing lead roles at the age of 18 from Naalaiya Theerpu(1992). Vijay appeared alongside Vijayakanth in Sendhoorapandi (1993), 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. 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. In 1997, he acted in Kaalamellam Kaathuiruppen, Love Today and Once More, Nerukku Ner. Kadhalukku Mariyathai, 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 debutant Ezhil’s Thulladha Manamum Thullum, with Simran, which ran for more than 200 days at the Tamil Nadu box office and earned Vijay a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Film. This was followed by Endrendrum Kadhal, Nenjinile and Minsara Kanna, with the latter being a K. S. Ravikumar direction.
In 2000, he performed in Kannukkul Nilavu and two romantic movies Kushi and Priyamaanavale. In 2001 he acted in comedy-drama film Friends. Vijay also performed in Badri and the romantic movie Shahjahan. In 2002, he starred in the action film Thamizhan. Later, he featured in the romantic film Youth and the action film Bagavathi. Vijay began 2003 with the films Vaseegra and Pudhiya Geethai, the former being the remake of Telugu film Nuvvu Naaku Nachav.The success of his masala film Thirumalai (2003) changed his on-screen persona to that of an action hero. He appeared as a kabaddi player in Ghilli (2004). He continued to achieve success during the 2000s with cult films including Thirupaachi (2005), Sachein (2005), Sivakasi (2005) and Pokkiri (2007). In the 2010s, Vijay achieved further critical and commercial success with blockbusters including Thuppakki (2012), Kaththi (2014), Theri (2016), Bairava (2017), Mersal (2017), Sarkar (2018) and Bigil (2019). While Vijay's earlier films were primarily action and masala based, his recent films transitioned into the thriller genre and discussion of reform concerning social, environmental and political issues in India.
Vijay is the highest paid actor in Tamil cinema. By 2017, he became the second-highest grossing actor in Tamil cinema history, behind veteran Rajinikanth. He has acted in 64 films as a lead actor and won numerous awards, including eight Vijay Awards, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, and SIIMA Award. He has been included seven times in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, based on the earnings of Indian celebrities. He received an honorary doctorate from the Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute in 2007 for his contributions to social welfare and in honour of his achievements in the film industry. He founded the social welfare organisation, Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, which was officially launched in July 2009, which is responsible for much of his philanthropic work.