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Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar (born 22 June 1974), known professionally as Vijay, is an Indian actor, dancer, playback singer and philanthropist who works predominantly in Tamil cinema and also appeared in other Indian languages films. He is one of the highest paid actors in India. He has significant fan following globally and has acted in 65 films as a lead actor. He has won numerous awards, including eight Vijay Awards by Star India, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards by Government of Tamil Nadu, and a SIIMA Award. He has been included several times in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, based on the earnings of Indian celebrities. Pan-Indian demand for his films, made him a sought-after actor in Hindi cinema.At 10 years old, Vijay's first role was in the drama Vetri (1984); he performed as a child actor in films until Ithu Engal Neethi (1988), directed by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar, and then featured as the lead for the first time in Naalaiya Theerpu (1992). He rose to prominence in the 90s as a romantic hero performing in many romance silver jubilee films. His first blockbuster came in 1996 with Poove Unakkaga. He played anti-hero roles as an hyper-possessive lover in Priyamudan (1998), followed by a play-boy in Azhagiya Tamil Magan (2007). 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), which went on to become the first Tamil film to earn ₹500 million (Indian rupees). He continued to achieve success during the 2000s with cult films including Thirupaachi (2005), Sachein (2005), Sivakasi (2005), Pokkiri (2007) and Vettaikaaran (2009). In the 2010s and 20s, Vijay achieved further success with critics acclaimed blockbusters including Kaavalan (2011), Nanban (2012), Thuppakki (2012), Kaththi (2014), Mersal (2017) and Sarkar (2018). While Vijay's earlier films were primarily action and masala based, his later films transitioned into the thriller genre and discussion of reform concerning social, environmental and political issues in India.Vijay is among the most popular celebrities in India. He was appointed the brand ambassador for several endorsements, notably the American Embassy for 'V go Green' global awareness campaign movement, and the Indian Premier League cricket team Chennai Super Kings. Vijay's popularity has been recorded by both Google and Twitter as the most-searched-and-tweeted actor several times. 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. International Business Times framed him as the "consistent box office performer".

Early life and family

Vijay was born as Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar on 22 June 1974 in Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu. His father S. A. Chandrasekhar is a Tamil film director and his mother Shoba Chandrasekhar is a playback singer and carnatic vocalist. His father S.A. Chandrasekhar is of Christian Tamil descent and his mother Shoba is of Hindu family. Vijay was baptised at the of age of 12 as he was born in a Catholic family. In their early days, Vijay's family was a lower-middle-class family and his mother Shoba used to earn ₹100 rupees as her daily wages by singing in concerts, the day she sings only Vijay and his family had food, other days they starved without food. Vijay 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. Vidhya's memorable photo was shown in the 2005 film Sukran, in which Vijay played an extended cameo.Initially attending Fathima Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Kodambakkam, Vijay later joined Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Virugambakkam and went on to pursue a degree in Visual Communications from Loyola College. He eventually dropped out as he was more interested in acting.

1984–2003: Child actor and transition into lead roles

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. Vijay's first salary as a child actor was ₹500 rupees in 1984 for film Vetri paid by veteran actor-producer P. S. Veerappa, and he also acted with him in the film. Vijay acted in two old visual formats of cinema such as Eastmancolor in 80s and Color film from 90s.After he performed as a child artist in the films directed by his father, Vijay played lead roles at the age of 18 from Naalaiya Theerpu (1992). Vijay appeared alongside Vijayakanth in Sendhoorapandi (1993), which performed well only to a certain extent at the box office. 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 (young commander), an epithet by which he became popularly known among fans and the media for the rest of his career. He had lead roles in films such as Deva and Rajavin Parvaiyile, wherein the latter he co-starred with actor Ajith Kumar. In the film Deva, Vijay performed risky stunts and it was a box office success. He then acted with veteran Tamil actor Jaishankar in the successful romantic comedy Vishnu. In the film Vishnu, Vijay in his intro scene wore the wardrobe with ear stud similar to that of Will Smith's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. While romantic tragedy Chandralekha performed mediocrely at the box office. In early 1995, he starred in the C. Ranganathan directed Coimbatore Mappillai a romantic comedy film. Comibatore Mappillai was a successful venture, though not acclaimed by critics.By the mid 1990s, Vijay established himself as a romantic hero, most of his many films were praised by critics for his unique style of performances. Some of which, turned out to be cult-classic films. In 1996, Vijay performed in the Vikraman-directed Poove Unakkaga, which became his first critically acclaimed performance as well as the breakthrough in Vijay's career and made him a recognizable star. Vijay's tenth film Vasantha Vasal was followed by the successful action films Maanbumigu Maanavan and Selva. In 1997, Vijay acted in successful ventures Kaalamellam Kaathiruppen in which, he has a tussle of love war with a head-weight woman, and it received positive response from critics, and as a sacrificial-lover in Love Today, in which he portrays the character of blindfolded love with a woman and later, sacrifices his love due to the agony faced, was applauded by the audiences, and he was also praised for his performance as a businessman who was tracked by a revenge seeking woman in Once More, where he co-starred with veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan and debutante actress Simran. He also starred in the Mani Ratnam-produced successful family-drama movie Nerukku Ner, directed by Vasanth co-starring debutant Suriya, as the story revolves among the tussle between the in-laws, and the film received critical acclaim. He then, performed as a college student in Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, directed by Fazil, earned Vijay a Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor. In 1998, Vijay worked in the successful movies as a person caught up in love-triangle in Ninaithen Vandhai and a hyper-possessive lover in Priyamudan both were critically acclaimed in which, New Straits Times Malaysian magazine in 1998 lauded Vijay's diverse role performance as an anti-hero in Priyamudan, calling it a love story with a difference. India Today listed Priyamudan as one of the landmark films of Vijay as a performer. He then performed as a Christian youth-falling-in-love with a Hindu girl in Nilaave Vaa. In 1999, Vijay acted in debutant Ezhil's Thulladha Manamum Thullum as a passionate singer, 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 successful films Endrendrum Kadhal, Nenjinile as a hitman for a gangster and Minsara Kanna.From 2000, Vijay began to commit to entertaining ventures, which marked a change in trend. In 2000, he performed as a musician-suffering-from-amnesia in Kannukkul Nilavu, Vijay's successful 25th film directed by Fazil again, and two commercially successful romantic movies as an egoistic-lover in Kushi, and a NRI husband with non-Indian-cultural-shades in Priyamaanavale. His next success in 2001 was the comedy-drama film Friends which was directed by Siddique and featured him in the leading role alongside Suriya again. Then, Vijay performed in successful film Badri as a kick-boxer, and the romantic-tragedy film Shahjahan as a love-doctor. In 2002, he starred in the commercially successful action film Thamizhan as a lawyer alongside Hindi actress Priyanka Chopra. Later, he featured in the successful films with romantic film Youth as a cook and the action film Bagavathi as an avenger. Vijay began 2003 with the comedy film Vaseegara and the supernatural film Pudhiya Geethai.

2003–2011: Star status in Tamil cinema

In late 2003, Vijay starred in the action-romance flick Thirumalai, co-starring Jyothika, directed by debutant Ramana and produced by K. Balachander's Kavithalaya Productions, which featured him in a different way. Thirumalai was considered a turning point in Vijay's career. Udhaya, which began production in 1998 and filming in 2002, but was delayed, was finally released in early 2004. Ghilli, a remake of the Telugu film Okkadu was released next in 2004, and completed 200 days in theatres in Tamil Nadu. Directed by S. Dharani and produced by A. M. Rathnam, it co-starred Trisha and Prakash Raj. Ghilli was the first Tamil film of all time to gross over ₹500 million, or ₹50 crore, in the domestic box office. For almost five years, Rajinikanth's Padayappa (1999), which collected a then record over ₹30 crore, was regarded as the benchmark for the Tamil film industry with regards to box-office numbers. Ghilli also set the record for becoming the highest grossing non-Malayalam film in Kerala at the time, and it reportedly performed greater than mainstream Malayalam movies in the state. The film grossed nearly $500,000 in the Malaysian market, which made it the first non-MGR or non-Rajinikanth film to achieve this. Another record that Ghilli broke was M. G. Ramachandran's Adimai Penn (1969) record for the most people seeing a movie in the first week of its release. Ghilli received favourable reviews. The Hindu stated that "Vijay, the hero whom the masses today identify with, and Prakash Raj, the inimitable villain in tow, this flick, "Ghilli"...on a winning track". The scene in which Velu (Vijay) briefly uses Dhanalakshmi (Trisha) as a hostage when surrounded by Muthupandi (Raj) was parodied by Shah Rukh Khan with Deepika Padukone in the Bollywood film Chennai Express (2013). Ghilli was followed by commercially successful films Madhurey, directed by Ramana Madhesh and debutant Perarasu's Thirupaachi in 2005. He then, played a guest appearance in his father's direction Sukran. In late 2005, he starred in two commercially successful films the romantic comedy Sachien, co-starring Genelia D'Souza, directed by John Mahendran, and the action film Sivakasi, co-starring Asin, again directed by Perarasu. In the film Sachien, Vijay's portrayal of a carefree youth was appreciated by the critics, and The Hindu stated, "Vijay scores as Sachein, and it is a movie that makes the moviegoers extremely watchable". Vijay's next film Aathi, the remake of Telugu film Athanokkade, was released in early 2006. It is produced by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar and again directed by Ramana performed average at the box office. In early 2007, Vijay starred in the gangster film Pokkiri, a remake of the Telugu film of the same name, directed by Prabhu Deva. Pokkiri became the second-highest-grossing Tamil film of 2007, and became the first Tamil film of all-time to complete a 100-day theatrical run in Kerala. Pokkiri received rave reviews, and Sify magazine said that Vijay's Pokkiri was "enjoyable for its humour and action sequences while it lasts". Pokkiri was also one of the highest-grossing films in Vijay's career at that time. In late 2007, Vijay starred in the romantic thriller film Azhagiya Tamil Magan, directed by Bharathan, who made his directorial debut with this film. Vijay played a dual role for the first time in his career. He played the roles of both the antagonist and protagonist. The film was only a moderate success at the box office. Vijay was honoured with people's choice Superstar award in 2008 Vijay TV awards ceremony. Azhagiya Tamil Magan was internationally acclaimed as it was reviewed by BBC UK, mentioning the film has the right mix of romance and action. Azhagiya Tamil Magan collected $1.043 million overseas, a top grosser at overseas box office in 2007. Screen Daily British magazine reported that, Azhagiya Tamil Magan entered the top ten Asian films box office hit chart in Malaysia in 2007. In 2008, he starred in the action comedy film Kuruvi, again under Dharani's direction, and produced by Red Giant Movies. Sify magazine called "Kuruvi a superhero film for the masses". Kuruvi was the highest grossing Tamil film of 2008 in United Kingdom at that time. The year 2009 commenced with the neo-noir action film Villu, in which Vijay teamed up again with Prabhu Deva and played another dual role. Villu received mediocre reviews from critics. His next film Vettaikaaran, directed by Babusivan and produced by AVM Productions and distributed by Sun Pictures became one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2009. Barring commercially successful Vettaikaaran (2009), all of his subsequent releases from Azhagiya Tamil Magan, Kuruvi and Villu were average successes; all three films were more successful overseas than domestically setting him a market overseas. In 2010, he acted in the action comedy film Sura, also distributed by Sun Pictures. This was Vijay's 50th film. Indonesian Times reviewed "Sura has superhero stunts and tops with Vijay's dance". Sura turned out to be a budget-only-recovery-film and low profitability with its Hindi satellite rights being sold. However, Sura held the highest TRP in Sony Max. In early 2011, Vijay joined up with director Siddique again, for the romantic comedy Kaavalan, a Tamil remake of the Malayalam film Bodyguard. It received positive responses from both viewers and critics and was a commercial success, with a box office collection of ₹102 crore worldwide. Kaavalan was screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival in China. Kaavalan received admiring reviews from Chinese audiences, and was a commercial success in China. During Diwali the same year, his next film, the action film Velayudham, directed by M. Raja and produced by Venu Ravichandran was released. Velayudham became one of the top-grossing films of 2011. Velayudham was also considered a financial success. Vijay again experimented as a superhero for the third time in Velayudham, in which his costume and fighting style had resemblances to the Assassin's Creed franchise with critics cited, he was apt in that role. Velayudham became popular and a critical success among Japanese audiences.

2012–present: Increased critical and commercial success globally

Vijay's next release was Nanban, the Tamil remake of the Bollywood film 3 Idiots, directed by S. Shankar, it was released during the Pongal weekend of 2012 and emerged a major financial success. Nanban was screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. Vijay's performance in the film was praised by critics, including leading Indian actor Kamal Haasan. Nanban went on to complete 100 days theatrical run. Indian Express reported the film Nanban grossed ₹150 crore at the box office. He made a special cameo song appearance in the 2012 Bollywood film Rowdy Rathore, directed by Prabhu Deva. Vijay's 54th film, the action thriller Thuppakki, directed by A. R. Murugadoss and produced by S. Dhanu, was released on Diwali 2012 to mixed reviews. The film became the third Tamil film to enter the ₹1 billion (US$13 million) club domestically after Sivaji (2007) and Enthiran (2010). Thuppakki became the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career at the time, and the first of his films to gross over ₹1,800,000,000. Thuppakki was screened at the Russian film festival. His next film Thalaivaa, directed by A. L. Vijay, was released on 9 August 2013 worldwide to mixed reports, and had a delayed release in Tamil Nadu. Thalaivaa was an overseas success. His 56th film Jilla, co-starring Kajal Aggarwal and Mohanlal, and directed by R. T. Neason, was released on a Pongal weekend in 2014 and ended up as a box office hit.Vijay again worked with AR Murugadoss in the action thriller Kaththi, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Neil Nitin Mukesh and produced by Ayngaran International, which was released on Diwali 2014 to mostly positive reviews. He played dual roles as a criminal-minded thief and an idealist. The Los Angeles Times called Kaththi a "success in style". Kaththi collected ₹130 crore at the box office. It was the second-highest-grossing Tamil film of 2014. In 2015, the fairy tale fantasy film Puli was released. Chimbu Deven was reported to be working on a "fantasy film set in contemporary times" in January 2011 for UTV Motion Pictures, The film was tentatively titled as Maareesan was supposed to start filming in late 2011, however, in October 2011, UTV Motion Pictures left the project citing the escalating budget and Aascar Films replaced them as producers. The project later collapsed, though during the production of Deven's other films. In late 2013, Deven restarted preliminary work on the fantasy film and narrated the script to Vijay, who expressed interest in being a part of the project. Subsequently, the project found producers in P. T. Selvakumar, Vijay's press relations officer, and Shibu of Thameen Films, who have previously distributed several of Vijay's films across Kerala. The two producers came together to form a new production house SKT Films and announced that production would begin after the completion of Vijay's casting in Murugadoss' Kaththi. Puli received mixed reviews from critics, though Vijay was praised for venturing into a new genre. Puli was one of the highest-grossing films of 2015 in its entire run. The film's Tamil, Telugu and Hindi satellite rights were collectively sold for ₹100 crore. Since director Deven is a cartoonist, The film's half-demon theme was loosely based on Japanese hit anime manga series Inuyasha, similar to which, Vijay played a "Tiger-demon" with tiger's teeth and blue eyes. The Sydney Morning Herald stated Vijay excels as a "Tiger-demon" in the film. IB Times reported Puli was successful in foreign markets and it is regarded as one of the Indian films that took the standard to international level.In September 2014, Kalaipuli S. Thanu signed on to finance a project directed by Atlee, which would star Vijay. Several titles for the film were considered, before the makers finalised Theri in late November 2015. In the same month, it was revealed that the film was "70% complete". Action scenes, choreographed by Dhilip Subbarayan were filmed throughout the month, though the shoot was disrupted by the heavy flooding in Chennai. Hollywood action choreographer Kaloyan Vodenicharov worked with the team in early December 2015 to help shoot the climax portions for the film, however, poor climatic conditions in China meant that the team had to abandon their idea of filming sequences there and instead opted to shoot in Bangkok. Sets were erected in a factory in Chennai to shoot the climax scenes, with stunt choreographer Vodenicharov recruited to help train artistes and film the sequences during December 2015. The action-thriller Theri was released in April 2016 to mixed reviews from critics and audiences, as the film showcased brutal violence with 'U' censor certificate and also with its dragged and predictable storyline. It was the second-highest-grossing Tamil film of 2016 and Vijay's second film to gross over ₹1,710,000,000. His next, the masala film Bairavaa, directed by Bharathan, co-starring Keerthy Suresh and produced by Vijaya Productions was released in January 2017. Vijay again worked with Bharathan of Azhagiya Tamil Magan fame titled Bairavaa a low-budget flick. Bairavaa received mixed reviews from audiences and critics praising the action sequences and Vijay's coin flipping style, and Bairavaa collected ₹115 crore at the box office. Forbes framed Vijay as an habitual hit-maker following his back-to-back successes of films from Bairavaa to Mersal released that same year. During the Behindwoods Gold Medals in July 2017, Vijay received the 'Samrat of South Indian Box Office medal' for his excellence in Tamil cinema since 1996. His 61st film, the action thriller Mersal, was directed by Atlee, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menen and produced by Sri Thenandal Films. Following the success of Atlee's Theri, he and Vijay were signed by Sri Thenandal Films for another project together in September 2016. Vijay learnt a few magic tricks in preparation for his role as a magician, learning from the magicians, Gogo Requiem from Macedonia, Raman Sharma from Canada, and Dani Belev from Bulgaria. Vijay also plays a doctor; the character, Maaran (or ₹5 doctor), was inspired from Dr. Balasubramanian, a doctor who hailed from Bodinayakkanur, Theni district, and charged ₹2 from patients. Through also playing a father during 1970s Madurai, Vijay played a triple role in total for the film. In Mersal, Vijay's epithet Ilayathalapathy (young commander) changed to Thalapathy (commander) because of his film portrayal of character Vetrimaaran using the latter title. Mersal was released 18 October 2017, coinciding with Diwali. It was both a critical and commercial success, became the first of Vijay's films to gross over ₹2.5 billion. The film was also released in Japan in four major cities Tokyo, Ebina, Osaka and Nakaya. For his role in Mersal, Vijay was nominated at the National Film Awards UK in 2018 and also the film won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the National Film Awards UK. The film was Vijay's third film to be released in China after Kaavalan (2011) and Puli (2015). The film was also screened at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. "I've given hits and blockbusters but what I've truly earned is my fans ... Ignore all negativity. The two things that decide a person's fate are: his determination when he has nothing, and his attitude when he has everything."  —Vijay speaking in 2017 on his film career Despite the success of Mersal, several notions expressed in the film were opposed by various organisations: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling political party of Government of India, and the then-ruling AIADMK had objected to scenes in which the protagonist, played by Vijay, criticises the recently introduced Goods and Services Tax, and also a scene in which a character ridicules Digital India, an initiative promoted by the BJP. The party demanded that those scenes be cut from the film for future viewership, but this was seen as an attack on freedom of expression by opposing political parties and various other celebrities working in Tamil cinema. In addition, several medical associations, such as the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors' Association, condemned the film for the alleged cynical portrayal of doctors working in government-operated hospitals. Doctors working with the Indian Medical Association shared links of the film on pirated websites online, in the hope that it would cause monetary losses to the makers of the film. Following the successful ventures, Thuppakki and Kaththi, Murugadoss was confirmed to be the director of the 62nd film of Vijay's career. Revealed as Sarkar, a political film, Keerthi Suresh played the female lead role, marking her second collaboration with Vijay after Bairavaa. Following its release on Diwali 2018, the Government of Tamil Nadu accused the film-makers of Sarkar and Vijay of inciting the people by targeting the government in some scenes, as well as defaming former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by naming the main antagonist (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) with her alleged original name Komalavalli. This led to numerous protests by AIADMK cadre at theatres where the film was screened and vandalism of Vijay banners. AIADMK accused the Sun Pictures, which is owned by the film's producer Kalanithi Maran—who is the grand nephew of the late former Chief Minister Karunanidhi of DMK—of targeting the government. Several actors, including veterans Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, supported the filmmakers by citing oppression of freedom of speech. Due to threat of lawsuits from the government, the filmmakers accepted to cut the controversial scenes and mute references of Komalavalli in the audio track. Sarkar broke several collection records and entered the 100 Crore Club within just two days. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Vijay a man with a "swag" in the political drama film. As a result of the film's success and media attention, the Election Commission of India created awareness regarding Section 49P of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 that allows a voter to have the right to get back his/her ballot and vote if someone else voted in that individual's name. Sarkar was his second film to gross over ₹2.5 billion. Sarkar was released in Spain. It was also screened at Grand Rex, France and in Japan.In August 2018, there were rumours speculating that Vijay's 63rd film will be directed by Mohan Raja or Perarasu, however, it was confirmed that Atlee, who Vijay collaborated with in Theri and Mersal, will be directing the film. The film, which came to be revealed as Bigil, is a football action film. Subsequently, Vijay had undergone special training in football, with the sequences being choreographed by popular sports choreographers Aimee McDaniel and Justin Skinner. The former had choreographed for films including Pelé: Birth of a Legend, Million Dollar Arm and 13 Reasons Why, and the latter is an English footballer. Nayanthara was selected to play the female lead role, while Vivek and Anandaraj joined the film as a supporting role. This was Vivek's first collaboration with Vijay since Kuruvi (2008), and both Nayanthara's and Anandaraj's first collaboration since Villu (2009). Released in 2019, Bigil was Vijay's last film of the decade. Bigil received mixed reviews from critics, and praise for Vijay's portrayal of Rayappan as an aged-gangster was one of the positive notes of the film. It was a commercial success, and it collected more than ₹300 crore, becoming both the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2019—within three months of its release—and the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career. Bigil was also the first Tamil film released in Egypt and Jordan. In 2020, Bigil was the first Tamil film re-released in Germany.In August 2019, director Lokesh Kanagaraj tweeted that he would be working with Vijay in a film produced by Xavier Britto, who is Vijay's relative. The first look poster of the film Master, an action thriller, was released on 31 December 2019, coinciding with New Year's Eve. The highly anticipated film was originally scheduled to be released on 9 April 2020, however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After being delayed for several months, it was released on 13 January 2021 with its Tamil, Hindi (Vijay The Master) and Telugu versions in theatres. Vijay's Master received a twitter emoji ahead of its release from Twitter. Master was the highest-grossing film in United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a box office collection of $1.4 million within two days and it surpassed Hollywood releases Wonder Woman 1984 and Tenet only in UAE. Master was screened at the International film festival of Alberta, Canada. Upon release, Master received both positive and mixed reviews from viewers and critics. Eastern Eye British magazine called Master "an massy action film but too long". Master collected ₹300 crore worldwide and it was declared as a box office hit. The combined gross earnings of Mersal, Sarkar, Bigil and Master was determined to be over ₹1000 crore according to trade analysts. In December 2020, Nelson Dilipkumar was revealed as the director of Vijay's 65th film produced by Sun Pictures, which earlier produced his blockbuster film Sarkar. Vijay was paired opposite Pooja Hegde and Aparna Das in the film. The film was a black comedy action film and music score was composed by Anirudh Ravichander. The film's first look poster was unveiled on 21 June 2021, titled Beast. Beast symbolises the demon Rahu as it eclipses sun and the moon mercilessly; Vijay in the film had similar traits to that, and he was a shotgun-wielding beast in the film. Beast released theatrically on 13 April 2022 worldwide, along with its Hindi dubbed version titled Raw. Raw received positive response from Hindi audiences, whereas Beast received mixed reviews from critics. Roger Ebert an American film critic website reviewed the film Beast with 3/5 stars and called "Vijay as a multifaced tiger with a multifaceted avatar". News portal reported that "Beast Vijay's performance as a raw agent is a mix of both Rambo and James Bond in action in the dark humour film". Beast was the highest grossing Tamil film in U.S.A premiere shows. Beast made box office collection records in international markets New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. Beast was a commercial hit film and it collected ₹250 crore worldwide. Beast was the first Tamil film released in Uzbekistan.On 26 September 2021, Vijay joined director Vamshi Paidipally for his 66th film produced by Telugu film producer Dil Raju. The film will be shot in Tamil and Telugu languages simultaneously in 2022 and to be released as a pan-Indian film dubbed in Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam. Rashmika Mandanna was paired with Vijay in the film. Vijay is rumoured to be playing an Erotomania patient in the film.

2003–2010

In late 2003, Vijay starred in the action-romance flick Thirumalai, co-starring Jyothika, directed by debutant Ramana and produced by K. Balachander's Kavithalaya Productions, which featured him in a different way. Thirumalai was considered a turning point in Vijay's career. Udhaya, which began production in 1998 and filming in 2002, but was delayed, was finally released in early 2004. Ghilli, a remake of the Telugu film Okkadu was released next in 2004, and completed 200 days in theatres in Tamil Nadu. Directed by S. Dharani and produced by A. M. Rathnam, it co-starred Trisha and Prakash Raj. Ghilli is the first Tamil film of all time to gross over ₹500 million in the domestic box office. This was the time in which Vijay transformed himself from a romantic hero into an action hero. It was followed by Madhurey, directed by Ramana Madhesh. In 2005, he starred in debutant Perarasu's Thirupaachi, followed by a guest appearance in his father's Sukran, the romantic comedy Sachien, co-starring Genelia D'Souza, directed by John Mahendran, and Sivakasi, starring Asin, again directed by Perarasu. Vijay's next film Aathi, the remake of Telugu film Athanokkade, was released in early 2006. It is produced by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar and again directed by Ramana. In early 2007, Vijay starred in the gangster film Pokkiri, a remake of the Telugu film of the same name. Directed by Prabhu Deva, it became the third highest grossing Tamil film of 2007. Pokkiri is the first Tamil film of all-time to complete a 100-day theatrical run in Kerala. The film received critical acclaim. In late 2007, Vijay starred in the psychological thriller film Azhagiya Tamil Magan, directed by Bharathan, who made his directional debut with this film. Vijay played a dual role for the first time in his career. He played the roles of both the antagonist and protagonist. The film was only a moderate success at the box office. Vijay was honoured with people's choice Superstar award in 2008 Vijay TV awards ceremony. In 2008, he starred in the action comedy film Kuruvi, again under Dharani's direction, and produced by Red Giant Movies. The year 2009 commenced with the action film Villu, in which Vijay teamed up again with Prabhu Deva and played another dual role. His next film Vettaikaaran, directed by Babusivan and produced by AVM Productions and distributed by Sun Pictures became one of the highest grossing Tamil film of 2009. In 2010, he acted in the action comedy film Sura, also distributed by Sun Pictures. This was Vijay's 50th film.

2011–2016

In early 2011, Vijay joined up with director Siddique again, for the romantic comedy Kaavalan, a Tamil remake of the Malayalam film Bodyguard. It received positive responses from both viewers and critics and was a box office hit. Kaavalan was screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival in China. During Diwali the same year, his next film, the action film Velayudham, directed by M. Raja and produced by Venu Ravichandran was released. Velayudham became one of the top-grossing films of 2011. Vijay's next release was Nanban, the Tamil remake of the Bollywood film 3 Idiots, where he played the role which was played by Aamir Khan in the original. Directed by S. Shankar, it was released during the Pongal weekend of 2012 and emerged a major financial success. Nanban was screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. Vijay's performance in the film was praised by critics, including leading Indian actor Kamal Haasan. Nanban went on to complete 100 days theatrical run. He made a special appearance in the 2012 Bollywood film Rowdy Rathore, starring Akshay Kumar and directed by Prabhu Deva. Vijay's next film, the action thriller Thuppakki, directed by A. R. Murugadoss and produced by S. Dhanu, was released on Diwali 2012 to mostly positive reviews. The film became the third Tamil film to enter the ₹1 billion (US$14 million) club after Sivaji (2007) and Enthiran (2010). Thuppakki became the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career, and the first of his films to gross over ₹1,800,000,000. His next film Thalaivaa, directed by A. L. Vijay, was released on 9 August 2013 worldwide and had a delayed release in Tamil Nadu. His next film Jilla, co-starring Kajal Aggarwal and Mohanlal, and directed by R. T. Neason, was released on a Pongal weekend in 2014 and ended up as a box office hit. Vijay again worked with AR Murugadoss in the action thriller Kaththi, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Neil Nitin Mukesh and produced by Ayngaran International, which was released on Diwali 2014 to mostly positive reviews. He played a dual role for the third time. It was the highest grossing Tamil film of 2014. In 2015, the fairy tale fantasy film Puli was released. His next film, the action-thriller Theri, directed by Atlee, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Amy Jackson and Produced by S. Dhanu, was released in April 2016 to positive reviews. Theri is the highest-grossing film of 2016 and his second film to gross over ₹1,720,000,000.

2017–present

His next, the masala film Bairavaa, directed by Bharathan, co-starring Keerthy Suresh and produced by Vijaya Productions was released in January 2017. His next film, the action-thriller Mersal, directed by Atlee, co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menen and produced by Sri Thenandal Films was released in late 2017. Vijay played a triple role in the film, Mersal, which became the first of his films to gross over ₹2.5 billion. Mersal was also released in Japan in four major cities Tokyo, Ebina, Osako and Nakaya. For his role in Mersal, Vijay was nominated at the National Film Awards UK in 2018 and also the film won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the National Film Awards UK. Mersal was his second film to release in China after Kaavalan (2011). Mersal was screened at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea. His next film, the action film Sarkar directed by A R Murugadoss and produced by Sun Pictures released on Diwali 2018. The football action film Bigil (2019), Vijay's third collaboration with Atlee, was the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2019. It also became the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career.

Political career

"If I become Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, I will not act as one, rather you will see the real me, Truth will win but might take sometime."  —Vijay speaking in 2018 on his political career In 23 August 2008, Vijay and his VMI with the support of congress party in Puducherry held a public meeting to respond to the gathering about his political agenda which was attended by Puducherry Chief minister V. Vaidyalingam. In 2011, Vijay met and expressed his support to Anna Hazare’s fast for a strong Lokpal against corruption in politics held at Ramlila Maidan. In 2017, News 7 Tamil conducted a people survey in which if Vijay forms a political party to contest in Tamil Nadu state elections he has chances to win if alliance formed with DMK-39%, AIADMK-22.8%, BJP-7.7%, Congress-6.3% and Other parties-24.2%. During an audio launch in 2018 with a huge gathering of people with flags and t-shirts with Vijay's face on it was gathered, Vijay spoke upon issues of corruption, elections and leaders working in the corrupt system efficiently.

Political career

"If I become Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, I will not act as one, rather you will see the real me, Truth will win but might take sometime."  —Vijay speaking in 2018 on his political career On 23 August 2008, Vijay and his VMI with the support of congress party in Puducherry held a public meeting to respond to the gathering about his political agenda which was attended by Puducherry Chief minister V. Vaidyalingam. In 2011, Vijay met and expressed his support to Anna Hazare's fast for a strong Lokpal against corruption in politics held at Ramlila Maidan. In 2017, News 7 Tamil conducted a people survey in which if Vijay forms a political party to contest in Tamil Nadu state elections he has chances to win if alliance formed with DMK-39%, AIADMK-22.8%, BJP-7.7%, Congress-6.3% and Other parties-24.2%. During an audio launch in 2018 with a huge gathering of people with flags and t-shirts with Vijay's face on it was gathered, Vijay spoke upon issues of corruption, elections and leaders working in the corrupt system efficiently.Vijay always faced controversies for his strong political statements made by him in his films, and it projected on his real life political career.

Personal life

Vijay married his fiancée, 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). On 5 February 2020, the Income Tax Department raided Vijay's residence in Chennai and inquired about potential tax evasion, regarding his investment in immovable properties, which he inherited from the production studio AGS Entertainment. It was reported that actor Vijay and AGS Entertainment producer Anbu Cheliyan were suspected of undisclosed payments, alleged tax fraud and nearly ₹65 crore was seized by the officials from Cheliyan's residence. Vijay was investigated while he was busy shooting for his film Master in Cuddalore. On 12 March, The I-T department said that nothing significant was found during the raid and Vijay has paid all the necessary taxes. Non BJP supporters and politicians accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of politically targeting actor Vijay through IT raids because he was critical of the BJP.On 13 July 2021, The Madras High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by actor Vijay in 2012, seeking exemption of Entry Tax for his Rolls Royce Ghost car, imported from England. It has also imposed a fine cost of ₹1 lakh to be paid by him and it will be allotted to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Public Covid-Relief Fund. Justice S.M. Subramaniam said that Vijay's fan base considers him as a real hero and he was expected to be one instead of a "reel" hero and also called it an anti-national habit. On 15 July 2021, Vijay filed a appeal against defamatory statements made by the Judge S.M. Subramaniam against him in Madras High court. On 20 July 2021, Vijay's appeal against the tax exemption case issue and defamatory statements made by the Judge S.M. Subramaniam was moved to different tax bench sector in High court. On 27 July 2021, An two-Judges bench of Madras High court has stayed the earlier passed order by Judge S.M. Subramaniam with critical remarks against Vijay in the Rolls Royce tax exemption issue case and also stayed the earlier order of ₹1 lakh fine amount. On 25 January 2022, Madras High court dismissed and removed the defamatory critical statements made by Judge S.M. Subramaniam against Vijay in Rolls Royce tax exemption case issue.On 12 August 2021, Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a friendly meeting with Vijay on the sets of his film Beast and it became viral on social media.

Personal life

Vijay married a fan, Sangeetha Sornalingam, a British 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). On 5 February 2020, the Income Tax Department raided Vijay's residence in Chennai and inquired about potential tax evasion, regarding his investment in immovable properties[clarify], which he inherited from the production studio AGS Entertainment. It was reported that actor Vijay and AGS Entertainment producer Anbu Cheliyan were suspected of undisclosed payments, alleged tax fraud and nearly ₹65 crore was seized by the officials from Cheliyan's residence. Vijay was investigated while he was busy shooting for his upcoming film Master in Cuddalore. On March 12th, The I-T department said that nothing significant was found during the raid and Vijay has paid all the necessary taxes. Member of the parliament, Dayanidhi Maran accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of politically targeting actor Vijay through IT raids because he was critical of the BJP.
Source: Wikipedia

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