It is going to be almost 25 years in the film industry for the person who scripted a new chapter in Acting. Despite being in the industry for more than two decades, Actor Vikram (born as Kenndy Vinoth Raj) attained the current cult status after toiling hard for close to 10 years initially. It all started with, ‘En Kaadhal Kanmani’ in 1990, and he kept shuttling between all the South Indian languages for 6 years. Many of his movies went unnoticed. Those were the days where it was not easy to crack the code for a newbie. Investments weren't huge and not every Friday a movie would release.
While struggling to get a foot hold in the industry by doing whatever he could, he got few surprises as well. It was the big call from, Mani Ratnam to cast Vikram in his dream project, ‘Bombay’. Unfortunately, Vikram did not feature in it after signing on dotted lines. Result: A hero in the making had come down to supporting artist. He went on to be the second hero with Mamooty, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram in Malayalam films, and with Ajith in Ullasam.
In spite of experiencing failures after failures, he did not run away from the industry. He was quietly making noise from the background as dubbing artist. Few would know the fact that, he was one who dubbed for, Ajith in his first Tamil film Amaravathi. For Abbas, VIP, Kandukondean Kandukondaen, and Kaadhal Desam. He even dubbed for, Prabhudeva, for his debut movie Kaadhalan.
Then came Bala from veteran director Balumehandra's school to join hands with Vikram to create one of the most memorable movies of Tamil Cinema. All was not good for both the Actor/Director. The film ran into financial troubles, there were no takers, and the movie was released only in few cinemas which were considered as second grade theatres those days. Courtesy, positive word of mouth from critics and beautiful songs from Ilayaraja, the movie found new theatres after 3 weeks of its release. People kept going again and again only to get awed by the ultimate dedication of Vikram. He reduced a great amount of weight, tonsured his head, completely toned down his complexion and did everything under the sun to script a new beginning for him.
Post Sethu he got into troubled waters again. His next project, ‘Vinnukkum Mannukkum’ did not make the right noise in cash boxes. If Bala had given a launch pad to Vikram, it is, Dharani who skyrocketed Vikram as the new Action hero with the super hit film ‘Dhil’.
With back to back hits and loads of appreciations pouring in, He made up more than enough for what he lost in all those years. He covered the main base of movie goers. He became an instant hit with teenagers/college goers. I remember him saying, after 20 years if someone looks at my photos, they should immediately remember the movies from which it was taken. He literally stands to those words till now.
What followed after Dhil was absolutely fantastic. He mentally prepared himself to do a movie of a strong story base which demands ultimate dedication and a commercial movie. Even in his commercial fares he started to distinguish himself from his fellow action heroes. His performance in ‘Kasi’ assured that the fame he got with ‘Sethu’ wasn't a fluke. He then transformed himself to a lovable rowdy in ‘Gemini’. His dialogue delivery, diction and body language were unanimous for every role he undertakes.
From a local rowdy in ‘Gemini’ he transformed as a Vigilante in his next film ‘Samurai’. Once again he lapped up all the accolades for his acting skills but the movie was a disappointment for trade circles. His next movie, King did not do any favour as well in terms of commercial success. But one could remember his casual demeanour throughout the flick. He badly wanted to stabilize himself once again.
It was Dharani's turn once again to elevate the mass quotient of Vikram. ‘Dhool’ was declared as the biggest opening cum blockbuster in Vikram's career. His selection of movies/stories was phenomenal. He moved to Hari, who had only one movie to his credit. ‘Saamy’ projected Vikram as the biggest action hero within his generation.
After securing a place himself as a commercial hero, Vikram came back to Bala, for ‘Pithamagan’. He often said, he did not listen to single line from the story and immediately agreed to do the film. If the performances in ‘Sethu’ and ‘Kasi’ were magnificient then there should be a new superlative word to describe, Sithan of ‘Pithamagan’. Sithan fetched him, Tamil Nadu State award, Filmfare, and National Award for his performance of a lifetime. The critics and the people unanimously acknowledged the movie and Vikram’s as a phenomena actor of our times.
After carving a niche for himself with performance oriented roles, he went on to sign with the most celebrated director, Shankar for ‘Anniyan’. The film was under making close to 2 years. During an interview, Shankar mentioned that, the climax part would be as exciting as Sachin & Ganguly's partnership. He was true to his words. The way he pulled off, Ambi and Anniyan during the climax sequence is a lesson for all the aspirants who want to make it big in acting. He differentiated Ambi, Anniyan, and Remo not only by his vocals. He gave all the three characters he played in the film a unique body language, style, and attitude.
‘Arul’ and ‘Majaa’ were speed breakers to his rocketing career. Soon he redeemed himself with, ‘Bheema’. The movie was good in content but took a long time to release. Though the movie was just average in terms of collections, Vikram showed his class once again. True to the title, he looked like Bheema. His broad shoulders, chiselled chest, sharp looks, and his dreamy romance with Trisha has ensured there is nothing to point as a howler in his dedication.
Then his long pending association with Maniratnam had become a reality with Raavan. As a token of acknowledgement to his professionalism he earned two roles which are strikingly different. He did the title role in Tamil and took care of the Cop's role in the hindi version at the same time.
While wondering if at all he could any better or outclass himself in acting arena, he d, ‘Deiva Thirumagal’. No one, seriously, no one else could have done the role of, Krishna than Vikram. There are very few movies which would make one cry even on repeated viewings. ‘Deiva Thirumagal’ is right uphere in that list. If at all he decides to be a part of project, he displays ltimate skills to be as the character himself. Be it the Vigilante/CBI officerin Kanthasaamy or the RAW agent in ‘Thaandavam’. He gives the true colour to these professions. The audience can blindly imagine them via Vikram.
His upcoming project, ‘Ai’all set to be the most expected movie of his career. Bala and Dharani have already tasted back to back success with him. It is time for, Shankar to do the same. P.C. Sreeram, who is known for the label of 'Man of few words' has himself showered praise about the movie's technical finesse and Vikram’s dedication to the role he has taken up in the magnum opus. The few first look photos are jaw dropping. If the reports are to be believed, Vikram has lost close to 35kgs for one his avatars. Vikram is all set to claim his spot once again in few weeks time.
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