June 22 will see one of the biggest stars in Tamil Cinema – Vijay — celebrating his 44th birthday. The actor popularly called Thalapathy (leader) is currently rated as the prince-in-waiting to be crowned as the next superstar of Kollywood, as and when Rajinikanth calls it a day and joins politics full time. Vijay has been having a dream run at the box-office, with his 2017 Diwali release, the controversial Mersal turning out to be a blockbuster.
In a recent poll done by a popular Tamil website for the star with the biggest fan base, Vijay won hands down. Industry pundits claim he is going to be the next superstar with only Ajith as competition. In fact, in today’s Tamil commercial cinema, Vijay is the only actor with a universal acceptance among the youth as well as the family audiences.
The secret of Vijay’s success is his choice of scripts and working with directors with a keen eye for commercial cinema. Taking a leaf out of MGR and Rajinikanth's careers from the 80s and 90s, Vijay sticks to formula films created out of larger-than-life hero image. And the star does not experiment with his looks nor will he try out off–beat themes. He prefers to work within the comforts of mass movies.
In an earlier interview, Vijay has made it clear that he makes movies keeping his huge fan base in mind. This has helped him reach across to masses in B and C markets. He has also been able to capture the lucrative overseas markets and Kerala, where he is the most popular other-language actor. The buzz and hype surrounding his new film — the AR Murgadoss-directed Diwali release Sarkar — is huge.
On the eve of his birthday on 21 June evening, the producers of Sarkar, Sun Pictures, and the production arm of the leading television channel in the country Sun TV, released the first look and title of the Vijay film. They were able to create mass hysteria as the title and first look showed an uber cool Vijay with a cigar dangling from his lips. The first look was released across all platforms of the network simultaneously. Never before has a film’s first look been released in such a big way.
Social media is abuzz as Vijay’s Sarkar will take on Suriya’s NGK at the Tamil Nadu box-office this Diwali. And though there is no official confirmation yet, the other big star Ajith’s Viswasam too was launched a few months back as a Diwali release.
Like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Vijay too has political ambitions, and from very early in his career. His father, director, producer and now actor SA Chandrasekhar was his early mentor and the one responsible for his strong fan clubs, which unsettled the then chief minister Jayalalithaa. During her tenure Vijay films found it difficult to get a release. Vijay films, like Mersal, had hard-hitting dialogues against GST and demonetisation.
Now all eyes are on his next film Sarkar, which is also said to be a political thriller. However the star has made it clear that he will have a low-key birthday this year without any fanfare in lieu of those killed in police firing in Thoothukudi. The buzz is that for Vijay, superstardom will be an extension of his future political career.