Tamil Nadu

Vijayakanth: A Cinematic Trailblazer’s Enduring Legacy and Pioneering Transition to Politics

Recent Challenges and Success Illuminate the Legacy of Tamil Cinema's Unconventional Maverick

In the illustrious tapestry of Kollywood, where the towering figures of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan command the spotlight, a somewhat unsung star has carved his narrative, the formidable Vijayakanth. He is also known as Vijayaraj Alagar Swamy. Yet, in conversations about him, it’s not the cinematic canvases he adorned that captivate imaginations. Rather, the piercing intensity of his eyes is a magnetic force that effortlessly draws anyone into his cinematic orbit.

Early Struggles and Cinematic Emergence

Vijayakanth’s foray into the silver screen commenced with the 1979 release Inikku Ilamai. However, this debut didn’t exactly set the box office ablaze. Unfazed by the initial setbacks, Vijayakanth, armed with strength as his ally. And ventured into a myriad of roles, gradually etching his memorable mark on the fabric of Tamil cinema.

The Pivotal Turning Point: *Doorath Edi Muzhakkam* (1980)

It was the 1980 film Doorath Edi Muzhakkam that proved to be the moment that placed Vijayakanth at the top of Tamil Cinema. Also helped him to earn a coveted spot in the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). His peak, however, came with SA Chandrasekhar’s masterpiece, Sattam Oru Digarrai. After that, 1984 alone witnessed a staggering 18 film releases, a testament to Vijayakanth’s prolific presence in Tamil cinema.

The Cinematic Evolution (1985-1990)

While contemporaries embraced larger-than-life personas, Vijayakanth stood apart as the emblem of an enraged youth. And a guardian against corruption and an advocate for truth. His relentless work ethic in acting and consecutive shifts during peak seasons charmed him to producers who saw in him a profit beacon amidst the financial uncertainties of filmmaking.

Rural Hero to Revolutionary Artist: Portrayal Shifts

In the rich history of Tamil cinema, Vijayakanth wove narratives of societal struggles. And often portraying a rural hero championing the nation’s cause. Labelled “Puratchi Kalainjar” or Revolutionary Artist, his commitment to Tamil cinema never wavered despite the allure of ventures in other languages.

Nuanced Roles and Critical Acclaim (1988-1990)

The evolution of Vijayakanth on celluloid mirrored the societal spirit. Initially, he portrayed the ideal hero defending the locals, delivering impactful dialogues, and single-handedly taking on villains. However, as his career progressed, he embraced more nuanced roles, presented by the 1988 film Centura Poove. His portrayal of Captain Soundarapandian in this film garnered him the State Award for Best Actor, a tribute to his versatility.

Political Ascent and Challenges (2005-2011)

As the 90s began, patriotism became a recurring theme in his films. It was a forerunner to his incursion into politics in 2005 with the formation of the National Murpok Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK). His political journey, while promising, faced challenges. 

Political Debut: Formation of DMDK (2005)

In the 2006 assembly elections, despite contesting 234 seats, he secured only one. Yet winning an impressive 8.38 per cent of votes was hailed as an achievement, signalling Vijayakanth’s burgeoning influence.

Electoral Setbacks and Triumphs (2006-2011)

The 2009 Lok Sabha elections saw him face defeat across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. However, a pivotal moment arrived in the 2011 elections when he aligned with AIADMK and Left parties. And winning an impressive 40 seats. Yet, political crosswinds and defections stunted Vijayakanth’s momentum.

Straddling Dual Realms: Cinematic Legacy vs. Political Trials

A man straddling the worlds of Kollywood and Tamil politics, Vijayakanth’s narrative is akin to a compelling film plot. He didn’t culminate in the expected success. The DMDK, once a formidable force, scattered, leaving behind the embers of a political blaze that once burned bright.

DMDK’s Ascent and Decline

In retrospect, Vijayakanth’s political revolution mirrors the unpredictable plot twists of a riveting film. Despite emerging as a decisive force in Tamil Nadu politics, he couldn’t replicate the historic ascent of his cinematic predecessors to the Chief Minister’s office. The DMDK, once a blazing comet, began to burn out. And leaving behind questions about the compatibility of cinema and politics.

Legacy and Reflections

In the end, Vijayakanth, a maverick in cinema and politics, stands as proof of the explosive intersection of these two realms. Where success is never guaranteed, and the script unfolds with unpredictable twists. It’s much like the captivating gaze that marked his cinematic legacy.

Legacy: A Tale of Resilience and Evolution

Vijayakanth’s journey serves as a stern reminder of the intricate dance between art and governance, where success in one doesn’t guarantee victory in the other. The enigmatic gaze that once captivated audiences on the silver screen now reflects the intricacies of a political landscape that proved less forgiving.

The Ever-Intriguing Enigma of Vijayakanth

In conclusion, Vijayakanth’s journey from the empire of Kollywood to the political stage is a narrative of highs and lows, victories and defeats. And a captivating tale that continues to unfold. His legacy is marked by the indelible imprint of his eyes on the hearts of Tamil cinema enthusiasts. And stands as a testament to the enduring allure and challenges of straddling multiple worlds. The enigma of Vijayakanth, a man who once commanded the screen and the political stage, remains eternally intriguing. And a story that transcends the boundaries of scripted fiction and unpredictable reality.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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