Article Tamil

Rise of Thalapathy: Five films that define Vijay’s career and stardom


As Tamil movie star Vijay turned 45 on the weekend, we take a look at five roles that have become synonymous with the actor.

Karthik Kumar

Tamil movie star Vijay, fondly referred to as Thalapathy, turned 45 on Saturday and treated fans to the title and first-look poster of his upcoming film, Bigil, in which he plays dual roles, as father and son.

On the occasion, we take a look at five films that catapulted Vijay to stardom and defined his career with mega success.

Ghillie (2004)

A remake of Telugu star Mahesh Babu's Okkadu (2003), Ghillie marked the rise of Vijay as an action hero. It could not have come at a better time in the young actor's career. While Ghillie was a film that could easily be written off as a faithful remake of another successful film, Vijay made it memorable with his intense performance, especially in the action sequences.

Set against the backdrop of kabbadi, the film is centred on Vijay and how he rescues Trisha from her vicious uncle, played by Prakash Raj.

Pokkiri (2007)

In yet another remake of a Telugu blockbuster, the eponymously titled Mahesh Babu-starrer from a year earlier, Vijay played a police officer who goes incognito as a local rowdy. Here was yet another film that showcased Vijay’s versatility as an actor and what he is capable of doing when he steps out of his comfort zone.

Pokkiri brought forth a much fiercer Vijay in action scenes and he handled his character very convincingly. He even brought a different dimension to his acting with an underplayed performance.

The film was later remade in Hindi by Prabhu Deva as Wanted (2009) with Salman Khan and revived the actor's flagging career.

Thuppakki (2012)

In his maiden collaboration with director AR Murugadoss, Vijay played an army officer who comes home on holiday and ends up going on a secret mission to hunt down a group of sleeper cells.

Thuppakki was, unarguably, Vijay’s ticket into the league of big stars. The film not only established him as an action star but also proved his worth at the box office, raking in big numbers all over.

The film was later remade by Murugadoss in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (2014) with Akshay Kumar.

Kaththi (2014)

In his second collaboration with Murugadoss, Vijay touched upon issues that plague farmers and addressed them in the most commercial fashion. Playing dual roles, he won audiences over as Jeeva, a social activist with a purpose, through a very honest performance.

The film had two great action stretches and Vijay was undoubtedly cool in these sequences. It’s amazing how Vijay, who is aware of his acting abilities, has got better with action over the years which he uses in his favour to appeal to the masses.

Mersal (2017)

In Mersal, which featured Vijay in triple roles, the star teamed up with director Atlee Kumar for the second time. The film shone the spotlight on corruption in India’s medical industry and featured Vijay in three diverse roles in which he excelled. The film was the fifth highest-grossing Tamil film and Vijay’s highest-grossing film in his career so far.