Readers Write In #320: Contemplation of a Vijay fan

Posted on January 5, 2021

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(by Masthan Reddy S)

On a New Year Day of 2021 sitting and watching Thuppaki movie in channel, just rewind my thought back how big Vijay has emerged in the last decade from being a young and energetic star to THALAPATHY of Tamil cinema. A star whose movie release is being anticipated by thousands in the industry with a hope to regain their lost sheen due to the Pandemic.

Late 90s to 2010:

In late 90s few young heroes emerged as youth favorites. Among them is a not so charming and a below average person called Ilayathalapathy Vijay. A title given by his dad supposedly which looked bit over the limit for his audience pull capacity at that point of time but as time progressed Vijay justified that title grabbing the attention of youth those days with romantic movies like PooveUnakkaga, KadhalukkuMariyaadhai, ThulladhaManamumthullum and few other memorable and notable movies. Those were the days of VCDs. One day I saw this movie KUSHI. Along with the movie, I almost loved every aspect of what the hero character in that movie. I mean Vijay looked like one of my neighbour brother, having a splendor or passion plus, you know a hero with nativity, simple and I had an almost instant connect with the dance and youthfulness of that guy Vijay. As time progressed, knowingly or unknowingly got more affinity with this hero on screen. The first decade of 21st century saw him turning from a hero doing love stories into a commercial star. Thirumalai was a turning point though it’s not a movie for all time but I remember at that time it commercially raced past the critically acclaimed Pithamagan. Then came the career defining “Ghilli”, though it was a remake it was just the story line which looks similar but everything else was different even the pace of screenplay. The success of Ghilli is so huge that I remember some magazines like Vikatan at that time reported like Rajini thinking who this boy is crossing my way often. Though Pokkiri was successful, it was not like Ghilli, it looked just the replication of Telugu original. But nevertheless, both these movies lifted his image as a larger than life hero and gave a big boost. After this came the disaster period, from Kuruvi till Sura, being a fan also I did not go to theatre for any of those movies. The decade ended in one of the lowest points of Vijay’s career.I think it’s also one of the lowest points for a Vijay fan as well.

2010-2020:

Senior actors were giving advice and people were saying how can Vijay overcome this period of disaster. When we thought what it’s going to be next, came a fun, romantic and a different Vijay from last 7-8 years. A promising Kaavalan movie. A very subtle and convincing Vijay. It was followed by Velayutham, an average commercial. At that point of time the talk was going that Nanban is going to be remade with Surya, but then came the news that Vijay is going to do it, was very eager to see him in that role. It’s a unique subject wherein a remake would be a spoiler, but Shankar made it clean and Vijay was precise to that role. I am not saying Vijay did better than Aamir Khan, but he made that movie enjoyable with his performanceavoiding reminiscence to the original. Vijay was changing be it his costumes,his style, his attitude and subject selection. Then came the movie Thuppaki. A.R. Murugadoss made this script with precision. It’s a trend setter and Vijay to me was never before seen like in this movie. Sitting in front rows of Devi theatre, shouting,only my friends sitting next to me know how crazy I went in this movie. The success followed with another trend setter KATTHI from the same team. What Ghilli and Pokkiri did in previous decade, Thuppaki and Katthi did the same thing for Vijay in the decade 2010-20 but it was manifolds above the previous success. It’s a sign of rising Star. The thought to do something different for Vijay is evident in the movie Puli. It was a disastrous release but though if you see the character of Vijay in it, more subtle and down to earth which is testimony of willingness to tone down his image. Maybe it was a subject for a little low key actor to do but done by Vijay and lost the box. Thalaiva was a decent subject but lost the deserved result due to political issues. Thuppaki and Katthi were strong subjects but a superstar needs to pull those collections even with a normal script. Now Vijay turned to a new director Atlee, who was just one movie old and they delivered an enjoyable entertainer THERI, which almost confirmed what Vijay could do with even a minimum script. MERSAL the next venture, fanboy director Atlee reaffirmed that with Vijay screen presence alone, Atlee can give us a hit. The character of VETRIMAARAN in Mersal is another role for me which proved the performer Vijay has evolved to some extend and he can handle a character with his experience, he speaks with his eyes in that character be it the romance or pain or anger. Bhairava was for a section of audience and Sarkar is a bit over written script that did not appeal with its intent though it was commercially successful. The decade of 2010-20 ended with Bigil, an average commercial.Bigil collections were hugewhich is again a proof of star power and the decade 2010-20 ended in highest point of Vijay career. People say if not for Vijay, Atlee wouldn’t have got this much success but as far as I see Atlee is a director who proved Vijay’s charisma as a standalone performer and his star power.

Mersal-Vijay-High-Quality-Photos-Stills

In the decade 2001-2010, Vijay missed doing Autograph directed by Cheran which would have changed the contours of his career just like how MullumMalarum or AarilIrundhuAruvadhuVaraidid in Rajini’s career. Again in the decade 2011-2020 he missed the role of VanthiyaThevan in Mani Ratnam’s ambitious project of Ponniyin Selvan.

It’s interesting how Vijay has evolved in the last decade with his movies and as an indispensable.There is no further proof required to prove VIJAY’s image as a star, but as Kamal Haasanonce said, Vijay MullumMalarummaadhriorupadam Panna nallairukum, I also had that wish. With Kaavalan and Nanban my desire to see Vijay in story basedsubtle, performing role was satisfied to some extent but still there is scope to do more and hope he does those kinds of subjects. It would be very well a compliment to his career if he can give us a movie like PanchaThanthiram or ThilluMullu genre.This decade 2021-30 will start with MASTER, an apt title to say his position in Kollywood currently

From a shy, humble heroto a larger than life humble Superstar…. AContemplation of THALAPATHY VIJAY fan