Vijay or 'Ilayathalapathy', which he is famously called is an Indian actor who works majorly in Tamil cinema. He was born in Chennai to S A Chandrasekhar, a film producer and director, and Shoba Chandrasekhar, a playback singer. He debuted as a child artiste in 1984 in 'Vetri' that was directed by his father. He then debuted as a lead actor in the 1992 flick 'Naalaya Theerpu' that was also directed by his father. He went on to act in numerous films since then emerging to be one of the leading superstars in Tamil Film Industry. With some of the biggest fan following in Kollywood, his fans address him as 'Ilayathalapathy' (meaning, Young Commander).
Vijay Early Life
Vijay was born as Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar in Madras (now Chennai) on 22 June, 1974 to S A Chandrasekhar and Shoba Chandrasekhar. Spending his entire childhood in Chennai, Vijay was quite fascinated by cars and learned driving at the age of 13 itself. As a kid, Vijay was a hyperactive and naughty, but his mother says that the death of his younger sister Vidhya Chandrasekhar at the age of two changed him to a silent one. He dropped out of college only to pursue acting which turned out to be his devoted interest that helped him emerge as the Ilayathalapathy of Tamil cinema.
Vijay Family Father
S A Chandrasekhar
Mother Wife Son Daughter
Vijay is the first and only son of noted film director, producer and writer, S A Chandrasekhar and Shoba Chandrasekhar, who is a singer, director, producer and writer. Vijay’s father S A Chandrasekhar has directed over 70 films all through his career in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. Vijaykanth appeared in most of his movies like Sattam Oru Iruttarai, Vasantha Raagam and Kudumbum. Chandrasekhar even directed a movie with Chiranjeevi in Telugu, Chattaniki Kallu Levu. Directors such as Shankar, Ponram, M Rajesh and others worked along with him as assistants. Vijay even made his debut as a child artist in the movie 'Vetri' that was directed by his father.
His mother Shoba started her singing career by singing in music troupes but gradually ended up singing for films. She has worked with prominent film music directors such as Ilayaraja, Mani Sharma, Srikanth Deva and others. Later she even produced 10 movies and wrote stories for close to 50 movies. She is very well known in the state of Tamil Nadu for her philanthropic activities for which she has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Esthel Hotel and Resorts. She has also been appointed as the Artistic Heritage Consultant For Tamil Nadu State by its former Chief Minister, Late J Jayalalithaa.
He had a sister Vidhya Chandrasekhar, who died when she was just two years old. Her death changed Vijay and his lifestyle drastically. A boy who was hyperactive and energetic all the while suddenly turned very silent post her death. He continues to do his philanthropic work even now on his sister’s name. Vidhya Chandrasekhar's story was even depicted in the 2005 movie 'Sukran' that was directed by his father where Vijay made an extended cameo appearance. Actor Vijay’s wife, Sangeetha Sornalingam is a London based Sri Lankan Tamil whom he married on 25 August, 1999. They have a son, Jason Sanjay and a daughter, Divya Saasha. In 2009, his son, Sanjay made a cameo appearance in Vijay’s ‘Vettaikaaran’ and his daughter played a brief role as his pre-teen daughter in ‘Theri’ which released in the year 2016.
Vijay’s uncle, S N Surendar is a playback singer and a voice artist. Actor Vikranth who shot to fame with 'Pandianadu' is Vijay’s cousin and nephew to S A Chandrasekhar and is married to Manasa, daughter of actress Kanakadurga. Even son of S N Surendar, Viraj is an actor in the Tamil Film Industry.
Vijay made his first appearance on screen though uncredited, as a child artist in ‘Vetri’ in the year 1984 that was directed by his father and continued to appear in a few of his dad’s movies as a child artist from 1984-1988. At the age of 18, Vijay debuted as a lead actor with the movie ‘Naalaiya Theerpu’ in 1992 which was also directed by his father. The following year, he featured in Vijaykanth’s ‘Sendhoorapandi’ which was a super hit at the BO. In 1994, Vijay came out with an action-romance ‘Rasigan’ where he was credited for the first time with the title ‘Ilayathalapathy'. He then appeared in a couple of movies under his father’s direction like ‘Deva’, ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Maanbumigu Maanavan.’ He also co-starred along with Ajith in ‘Rajavin Parvaiyile’, where the latter made a special appearance. This was when Ajith was still looking for a decent hit in his career. The other movies in the beginning of his career were ‘Chandralekha’ and ‘Coimbatore Mappillai.’
It was with the 1996 family romantic drama, ‘Poove Unakkaga’ directed by Vikraman that Vijay got his initial breakthrough and the film turned out to be the first blockbuster in his career. The film was later remade in Telugu as ‘Shubakankshalu’ with Jagapathi Babu in the lead and as ‘Badhai Ho Badhai’ with Anil Kapoor in Hindi. This was following by Vijay’s tenth film ‘Vasantha Vasal’ and action movies like 'Maanbumigu Maanavan' and 'Selva.'
The year 1997 began with 'Love Today', Mani Ratnam produced 'Nerukku Ner' and 'Once More' that also starred the legend Sivaji Ganesan. With Fazil directorial ‘Kadhalukku Mariyadhai’, which was a remake of the Malayalam super hit ‘Aniathipravu’, Vijay received his first Tamil Nadu State Award. As soon as it released, it emerged as a blockbuster enhancing Vijay’s image as a bankable star.
The year 1998 began with movies such as Selva Bharathy’s ‘Ninaithen Vandhai’ which co-starred Rambha and Devayani as the female leads. This was a remake of Telugu blockbuster ‘Pelli Sandadi’ and was also produced by the same producers C Ashwini Dutt and Allu Aravind. Next followed ‘Priyamudan’ and ‘Nilaave Vaa’ that performed fairly well at the BO. Vijay started the year 1999 with the romantic drama ‘Thulladha Manamum Thullum’ where he co-starred with Simran. The movie turned out to be another super hit in Vijay’s career and it fetched the movie a Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Film. In the same year, movies such as ‘Endrendrum Kadhal’ and ‘Nenjinile’ and the KS Ravikumar directorial ‘Minsara Kanna’ were released which performed average business.
The millennium year 2000 turned out to be a great one for Vijay. He started with ‘Kannukkul Nilavu’ where he starred opposite Shalini and the movie was received very well at the BO. This was followed by ‘Kushi’ directed by SJ Suriya and starred Jyothika as the female lead. The movie turned out to be a blockbuster and ended up being remade in multiple languages. The most successful one among them was in Telugu with the same title that starred Pawan Kalyan and Bhoomika in the lead. The third film for Vijay in the year 2000 was ‘Priyamanavale’ where Simran was seen opposite to him for the third time and was a remake of Telugu blockbuster ‘Pavitra Bandham’ starring Venkatesh and Soundarya.
In 2001, for the first time, Vijay and Suriya came together for the comedy friendship drama, ‘Friends’ that was directed by Siddique. Vijay’s next work in the same year was ‘Badri’ opposite Bhoomika, a remake of Pawan Kalyan’s Telugu film 'Thammudu’ and was directed by PA Arun Prasad, who was the director of the original as well. His third film in 2001 was ‘Shahjahan’ directed by KS Ravi and it opened to positive reviews.
He began the year 2002 with the action film ‘Thamizhan’ which featured Priyanka Chopra making her acting debut after which she went on to become one of the biggest stars in Bollywood and Indian cinema. The movie was received well registering another super hit in Vijay’s career. For the 2002 Diwali, Vijay came with ‘Bagavathi’ that was directed by A Venkatesh and starred Reema Sen as the female lead. The movie was declared a super hit at the box-office.
Vijay began 2003 with the Pongal release ‘Vaseegara’ where he paired opposite to Sneha which was a remake of the Telugu super hit ‘Nuvvu Naku Nachav.’ The movie opened to positive reviews and emerged as a winner at the BO. Next followed ‘Pudhiya Geethai’ where Vijay paired opposite to Meera Jasmine and Ameesha Patel. However, his third film in 2003 ‘Thirumalai’ can be termed as yet another game changer and image makeover movie for Ilayathalapathy Vijay. From this movie onwards, Vijay transformed himself into a leading action hero. Directed by debutant Ramana and starring Jyothika as the female lead, the movie was a blockbuster and with Vijay’s punch dialogues in the movie, it opened a new format for commercial movies Tamil cinema. It was remade into Telugu as ‘Gowri’ with Sumanth and Charmy Kaur in the lead.
The year 2004 saw Vijay in three movies. The first being ‘Udhaya’ that was directed by Azhagam Perumal and it performed averagely at the BO. His next was ‘Gilli’ that starred Trisha opposite to him which was again a remake of the Telugu movie, ‘Okkadu’ starring Mahesh Babu and Bhoomika. Directed by Dharani and produced by AM Rathnam, the movie turned out to be a clear winner accelerating Vijay’s mass following even more. His third film in the same year was ‘Madhurey’ that opened to mixed reviews.
Vijay opened 2005 with another blockbuster ‘Thirupachi’ with Trisha as the female lead and he teamed up with director Perarasu for the first time. The movie fetched Vijay his second Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Actor. ‘Thirupachi’ was later remade by Pawan Kalyan as ‘Annavaram’ in Telugu. Impressed with Perarasu, AM Rathnam roped him for another commercial entertainer, ‘Sivakasi’ that had Asin pairing opposite Vijay for the first time and this was another super hit in Vijay’s career in the same year. This movie was later remade into Telugu with Kalyanram as ‘Vijayadasami.’ The other movie in the same year was ‘Sachien’ where Vijay paired with Genelia D’Souza for the first time and Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu made her Tamil debut with this one. Directed by John Mahendran, the movie was based on the director’s Telugu movie ‘Neetho’ with the music scored by Devi Sri Prasad. The movie was a commercially successful one. Vijay also appeared in an extended cameo in the movie ‘Sukran.'
In 2006, Vijay was seen only in one movie, ‘Aadhi’ which was a remake of the Telugu film, ‘Athanokkade.’ The movie received mixed to negative reviews. In 2007, Vijay had a stupendous start bouncing back with ‘Pokkiri’ that was a remake of the Telugu blockbuster ‘Pokiri’ starring Mahesh Babu. The remake was directed by Prabhu Deva and it turned out to be the first Tamil movie to collect a whopping gross amount of Rs. 75 Cr. Asin paired opposite to Vijay for the second time in this movie. The second movie that released in the same year was the romantic psychological thriller, ‘Azhagiya Tamil Magan’ directed by Bharathan and music scored by AR Rahman. The movie received a lukewarm response and ended up as an average affair.
Vijay came out with ‘Kuruvi’ in the year 2008 where he paired once again opposite to Trisha under the direction of Dharani. He also made a special appearance in his father’s flick ‘Pandhayam.’ In 2009, Vijay came up with two movies. The first one being ‘Villu’ where he teamed up for the second time with Prabhu Deva and for the first time with Nayantara. The movie was loosely inspired by the Bollywood flick, ‘Soldier’ and received mixed to negative reviews. The second movie was ‘Vettaikaaran’ that was directed by B Babusivan and had Anushka Shetty pairing opposite Vijay for the first time and also featured Vijay's son Jason Sanjay in a cameo appearance. The movie collected a share of Rs. 40 Cr. turning out to be the biggest movie in terms of collections in Vijay’s career at that time.
The year 2010 saw Vijay as ‘Sura’ which was his 50th film that was directed by SP Rajkumar and starred Tamannaah opposite to him. However, the movie was not a successful one at the BO. This was followed by ‘Kaavalan’ in 2011 which was a remake of the super hit Malayalam movie ‘Bodyguard’ and Vijay paired opposite to Asin for the third time. The movie was directed by Siddique who also directed the original version in Malayalam. The second movie in the same year was ‘Velayudham’ directed by Mohan Raja with Hansika Motwani as the female lead. This was a remake of another hit Telugu movie ‘Azad’ starring Nagarjuna in the lead. In spite of tough competition with other movies like 'Ra.One' and '7aum Arivu' during Diwali, the film enjoyed one of the biggest openings and ended as a super hit in Vijay’s career with the total collections of Rs. 89 Cr.
The year 2012 was another fruitful one for Ilayathalapathy Vijay. His first film ever with the legendary director S Shankar, ‘Nanban’ which was a remake of Bollywood blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’ which in turn was inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s book, ‘Five Point Someone.’ The movie also starred Srikanth, Jeeva, Ileana D’Cruz and Satyaraj in pivotal roles. The movie opened to positive reviews and turned out to be a major crowd puller earning over Rs. 7.5 Cr in Chennai alone. Produced by Gemini Film Circuit, the movie released simultaneously in Telugu as ‘Snehitudu’ and was distributed by famous producer ‘Dil’ Raju. The second movie of the year 2012 was ‘Thuppakki’ which brought him together with AR Murugadoss for the first time. The movie opened to super positive reports and the BO collections were yet again shattered with this slick action drama. The movie was even remade into Hindi as ‘Holiday’ by ARM starring Akshay Kumar. Vijay also gave a cameo appearance in the song ‘Chinta Ta’ from the film ‘Rowdy Rathore’ that was directed by Prabhu Deva and starred Akshay Kumar as the lead.
The following year, 2013 saw Vijay in only one film, ‘Thalaivaa’ that was directed by AL Vijay and starred Amala Paul opposite to him. This crime drama was received well by the audience and critics alike and registered another super hit in Vijay’s career. In 2014, Vijay collaborated for the first time with Malayalam superstar Mohanlal for ‘Jilla’ that was directed by RT Neason and was released for Pongal to positive reviews turning out to be another super hit in his career. The movie was produced by RB Choudhary's Super Good Films, who produced the most number of movies with Vijay in his career. Vijay again chose to work with AR Murugadoss for another movie, ‘Kaththi’ which only made him bigger as a superstar with an immense following. The movie ended up as the highest grosser of the year, 2014 and received accolades from all across the world.
In 2015, Vijay starred in a fantasy flick, ‘Puli’ directed by Chembu Deven where yesteryear actress Sridevi made a comeback to Tamil cinema. Vijay collaborated for the first time in 2016 with director Atlee of ‘Raja Rani’ fame for ‘Theri’ where he was paired opposite to Samantha and Amy Jackson. Yesteryear's actress Meena's daughter, Nainika played the role of Vijay's daughter in the film. It also featured Vijay's real-life daughter Divya Saasha in a cameo role as his early-teen daughter in the movie. The movie was a super hit and turned out to be one of the highest grossing Tamil films of 2016. The movie raked in Rs. 100 Cr within its first 6 days itself. Director Atlee won the IIFA Award for the Best Director while Baby Nainika won the Best Supporting Actor. The movie also released in Telugu as ‘Policeodu’ which was distributed by Dil Raju once again.
The year 2017 began with ‘Bairavaa’ where Vijay teamed up with his ‘Azhagiya Tamil Magan’ director Bharathan for the second time. The movie raked in Rs. 114 Cr. in its total run period. Vijay’s second movie in 2017 was ‘Mersal’ where he teamed up with his ‘Theri’ director, Atlee for the second time. Samantha, Nithya Menen and Kajal Agarwal played the female leads in this film. The music was scored by AR Rahman and for the craze that it generated, the movie was given the main screen for its premiere at the prestigious Grand Rex Theater in Paris.
'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay is known for his mass appeal to the audience and he has been entertaining them with a variety of roles for over two decades now. His contribution has been recognized and complimented with a number of awards that he kept winning all through his career. Here is the list of all the major awards Vijay won in his career.
Year Movie Category Award
Kadhalukku Mariyadhai Best Actor
Tamil Nadu State Film Award
Thirupaachi Best Actor (Special Prize)
Tamil Nadu State Film Award
Pokkiri / Azhagiya Tamil Magan Entertainer of the Year
Vettaikaaran Favourite Hero Vijay Award
Velayudham Best Actor Edison Award 2011 Velayudham Super Star Rajini Award
Nanban / Thuppakki Entertainer of the Year Vijay Award 2012 Thuppakki Favourite Hero Vijay Award 2012 Thuppakki Favourite Song Vijay Award
Thalaivaa Favourite Hero Vijay Award
Jilla / Kaththi Entertainer of the Year
2014 Kaththi Favourite Hero Vijay Award
Kaththi Best Actor in a Lead Role - Male
Behindwoods Gold Medal
2014 Kaththi People's Choice Actor - Male
Behindwoods Gold Medal
Theri Entertainer of the Year
South Indian International Movie Award
Theri Mass Hero Edison Award
Theri People's Choice Actor — Male
Behindwoods Gold Medal
2016 Box Office Excellence since 1996
The Samrat Of South Indian Box-Office
Behindwoods Gold Medal
Vijay stands as one of the rare Tamil actors who managed to bag the prestigious 'Kalaimaamani' Award from the Tamil Nadu Govt. with only 6 years into the Tamil industry as a lead actor in 1998. He was also honoured with a doctorate from the renowned Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute in 2007 for his contribution towards the field of art and cinema.
Vijay spent his childhood in Chennai and did his schooling from Balalok Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Virugambakkam. He went on to study visual communications at Loyola College, Chennai but then he dropped out of college and gradually ventured into acting which was his area of interest.
The brand Vijay associated first was with Coca-Cola in 2002 where he was the brand ambassador in Tamil Nadu and featured with Katrina Kaif. From 2005, he has been the brand ambassador for Sunfeast and in 2008, he along with Nayantara signed up as the ambassadors for Chennai Super Kings cricket team with the Indian Premier League. He also signed up with Jos Alukkas in 2010 as the brand ambassador for Tamil Nadu where his mother Shoba featured in a commercial that turned out to be quite famous. Later he signed up with Tata Docomo as well.
Vijay Trivia & Facts
- Vijay is an ardent fan of ‘Thalaivaar.’ He has mentioned on many occasions that if it was not for Rajinikanth, he would have never made it to the world of cinema. In fact, he landed his first opportunity as a lead actor after an audition where he quoted a famous line from Rajinikanth’s hit film ‘Annamalai’
- Vijay is very fond of his sister, Vidhya Chandrasekhar, who passed away at the age of two. It changed him a lot as a person and he has done many philanthropic activities in her memory. Even his production house – VV Productions stands for Vidhya-Vijay Productions
- Vijay made a cameo appearance in Akshay Kumar’s ‘Rowdy Rathore’ that was directed by Prabhu Deva. Interestingly, it was Akshay Kumar who then remade his movie ‘Thuppakki’ as ‘Holiday’ in Hindi
- Except perhaps Allu Arjun, Vijay is the only Non-Malayali actor who enjoys immense fan following in the state of Kerala. His dubbed movies outperform many straight Malayalam movies
- Vijay has been awarded the Kalaimaamani – which is one of the highest honours in the field of art in Tamil Nadu which he received in just 6 years of entering the film industry. He was also honoured with a doctorate from the prestigious MGR University
- In his filmy career of 25 years and around 60 movies, Vijay introduced nearly 20 directors to the Tamil Film Industry
- During one of his visit to the US, Vijay got a chance to see Tom Cruise’s beach house. Being impressed with it, Vijay got a picture and replicated a similar beach house for himself in Neelangarai
- Vijay’s son’s name ‘Sanjay’ is derived from the first three letter of his wife, ‘Sangeetha’ and last three letters of his name, ‘Vijay’.
Vijay Social Service
In the State of Tamil Nadu, ‘Ilayathalapathy’ Vijay and philanthropy are probably two synonyms. He is called the darling of the masses for a reason. If his mass appeal is something his fans connect to on the screen, it is his philanthropic activities off screen that have earned him a place in their hearts. He started a welfare organization, 'Vijay Makkal Iyakkam' that was launched at Padukottai and is the prime hub for most of the philanthropic work done by Vijay and his fans. During the Cyclone Thane, the organization arranged for a relief camp at Cuddalore which was the most affected area during the Cyclone.
Along with Suriya, Jyothika and R Madhavan, Vijay appeared in a short commercial docudrama titled ‘Herova? Zerova?’ that highlighted the importance of child education and focused awareness on child labour, poverty and lack of basic education. It was produced by Suriya along with Vishnuvardhan Induri, founder of CCL in association with Ministry of Education, Tamil Nadu Govt., as an effort to eliminate school drop outs.
'Vijay Makkal Iyakkam' also organized Ilayathalapathy Vijay Educational Awards, 2012 to honour students who topped the SSLC and 12th board exams where the awards were given away by Vijay himself. In the same year, on his birthday, Vijay presented golden rings to new born babies at the Egmore Government General Hospital.
Vijay Social Profiles
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