From a rank outsider to Kollywood’s most bankable stars today, Vijay Sethupathi’s rise in Tamil cinema is what dreams are made of. Vijay has been there and done it all — theatre, television, short films or being cast as an extra! Today, he is the most sought after actor in Tamil cinema. His journey of perseverance and hardwork is an inspiration to many who aspire to make it big in films.
But just what is it about him that made him one of Kollywood’s top actors? For one, he is a master of his craft. He’s clearly head-and-shoulders above other top actors working today. Let us take a look at some of his brilliant performances that show why Vijay is a cut above the rest.
When a movie opens with the lead actor getting beaten black and blue by a teenage girl, you know it’s not a regular film. That’s how the noir comedy Soodhu Kavvum begins. And the guy getting beaten up was Vijay. Fitting right in with his quirky character choices, Vijay plays a middle-aged (slightly psychotic) kidnapper who speaks hilarious English. His transformation for this role was total and his comic timing bang on! Vijay knew exactly how to make this character one of his most memorable ones.
Vikram Vedha, one of the best Tamil films of 2017, promoted the versatile actor to the next level in his career. In this thriller, Vijay plays the gangster Vedha, while R Madhavan plays the no-nonsense encounter cop Vikram. Vedha is smart, stylish, humourous, intense and genuine. It’s Vijay who brings Vedha to life and makes this iconic character his own. It's difficult to think of any other actor who could have pulled off this role with such aplomb.
Just when you thought Vijay can do only offbeat roles, he surprises us as Ram in ’96. The premise of the movie is quite simple — two high school sweethearts meet at a reunion after a gap of 20 years. It’s a poignant love story that is sure to leave you in tears. No doubt the movie has a strong script, but the chemistry between Vijay and Trisha is captivating. It’s what we have been missing in Tamil cinema for a very long time now.
In Seethakathi, which also happens to be his 25th movie, Vijay plays an 80-something passionate theatre artist Ayya Aadimoolam. The movie depicts the frustrating life of theatre artists and the rot in commercial cinema. Despite the runtime of over three hours, Vijay is in the movie for about 40 minutes. His impact, however, lasts throughout. His dialogue delivery in the movie is impeccable and flawless. The monologue that he delivers as Aurangzeb particularly stands out.