Vijayakanth or 'Captain', as he is fondly addressed by his fans everywhere, passed away in Chennai on Thursday morning, December 28. He was 71. Vijayakanth, who founded the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) political party in 2005, appeared in 154 films throughout his glorious career, garnering fame for his patriotic roles, while also becoming a darling of the masses appearing predominantly either as a village do-gooder or a police officer. The Tamil cinema stalwart, born Narayanan Vijayaraj Alagarswami on August 25, 1952, was known for his action roles that included impressive stunts, and also donned the khakhi in more than 20 films.
In a memorable career that spanned 35 years in Tamil cinema, 'Captain' Vijayakanth appeared in several significant films that were huge hits at the box office and also left a big impression among audiences with his power-packed performances.
SATTAM ORU IRUTTARAI (1981)
This S. A. Chandrasekhar directorial launched Vijayakanth into the top league and turned out to be a phenomenal box office success enjoying a 100-day theatrical run while being remade in several other languages. In Sattam Oru Iruttarai, we see Vijayakanth get the better of his sister, a police officer played by Vasumathi, and exact retribution for the death of his father and elder sister.
VAIDEHI KATHIRUNTHAL (1984)
Directed by R. Sundarrajan, this rural romantic drama featuring music by Ilaiyaraaja showcased Vijayakanth as a villager named Vellaisamy, who along with Vaidehi played by Revathi, team up to save a young couple from the anger of the other villagers. Vaidehi Kathirunthal became a massive commercial success despite its tragic ending and established Vijayakanth as a talent to reckon with across all centers in Tamil Nadu.
NOORAVATHU NAAL (1984)
Directed by Manivannan, this psychological crime thriller saw Vijayakanth sharing screen space with Mohan, Nalini, and Sathyaraj, who played the antagonist. Nooravathu Naal had a 200-day theatrical run and saw Vijayakanth deliver one of the most powerful performances in his career alongside a big star cast.
NAANE RAJA NAANE MANDHIRI (1985)
Appearing alongside Radhika Sarathkumar in one of her most memorable roles, Vijayakanth played an egoistical zamindar, while also shining in the comedy sequences with Goundamani. Sporting a big mustache for his role in Naane Raja Naane Mandhiri, Vijayakanth garnered appreciation for chartering new territories on the performance front.
AMMAN KOVIL KIZHAKALE (1986)
This romantic drama directed by R. Sundarrajan saw Vijayakanth cast opposite Radha hailing from a well-off family, who pretends to be in love with him. Things take a different turn in Amman Kovil Kizhakale when he marries her against her wishes, leading to several interesting moments in the film, which also includes chart-topping hit music composed by Ilaiyaraaja.
OOMAI VIZHIGAL (1986)
Sporting the look of a grey-haired senior police officer, DSP Deenadayalan, Oomai Vizhigal is one film that showed Vijayakanth experimenting with his roles during the early stages of his career. In a story said to be based on a series of real-life murders in a village in Tamil Nadu, the film showcased Vijayakanth on a mission to find the culprits behind the murder of young girls and bring them to justice.
SENTHOORA POOVE (1988)
Vijayakanth played a convict nearing his death in Senthoora Poove, which saw him winning his first Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Actor. Helping young lovers Ramki and Nirosha, he sizzled in his role as a terminally ill and hospitalized prisoner, with the film going to enjoy a blockbuster theatrical run of over 200 days while becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
PULAN VISARANAI (1990)
Playing a police officer named Honest Raj, Pulan Visaranai redefined Vijayakanth as an action star in Tamil cinema. Clashing with Sarathkumar on the big screen, Vijayakanth was seen in several gravity-defying stunt sequences, with the crime thriller going on to be celebrated by the classes and the masses at the time.
Based on a story written by Mani Ratnam, Chatriyan is considered a cult classic to date and showcases Vijayakanth as a righteous cop going up against Thilakan, who plays a ruthless politician. A winner at the box office, it turned out to be a defining film in the actor's career and is still considered to be one of his most memorable police officer roles.
MAANAGARA KAAVAL (1991)
Yet another cop role for Vijayakanth, Maanagara Kaaval was also AVM Productions' prestigious 150th venture and was a sensational box office success.
CAPTAIN PRABHAKARAN (1991)
Captain Prabhakaran earned Vijayakanth the moniker 'Captain' and saw him play a forest officer chasing a bandit and avenging his friend's death. The mass action film was also Vijayakanth's 100th film and saw him hit the bullseye once again at the box office; a feat that has not been accomplished by many Tamil cinema stars.
CHINNA GOUNDER (1992)
This classic saw Vijayakanth as a kind-hearted and respected landlord, who only sees the good in the people around him. Having garnered a name among the people across Tamil Nadu for his roles in films amidst a rural backdrop, Chinna Gounder continues to stand tall as one of the most memorable family dramas in Tamil cinema history, while also being remade later in Telugu and Kannada.
SETHUPATHI IPS (1994)
A box office blockbuster, Sethupathi IPS directed by P. Vasu showed Vijayakanth playing the role of a police officer and this time fighting terrorism.
HONEST RAJ (1994)
The film's title Honest Raj based on the character name in Vijayakanth's 1990 smash hit Pulan Visaranai opened to positive reviews and included a tightly knit screenplay with an interesting flashback, which turned out to be one of the several big highlights.
This family drama set amidst a rural backdrop saw Vijayakanth in dual roles and was directed by Vikraman. A huge box office success, Vaanathaippola ran for over 250 days in theatres and went on to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment the following year. The film once again showed Vijayakanth excelling in the comedy department and was later remade in Telugu and Kannada languages.
Vijayakanth played the role of a college professor, who secretly runs the "Anti-Corruption Force" (ACF); a citizen militia seeking to eliminate corruption through vigilante acts from the shadows. Directed by A. R. Murugadoss, Ramanaa turned out to be one of the biggest and most significant films in Vijayakanth's career, with his speech in the climax scene still well-remembered.
ENGAL ANNA (2004)
A remake of the Malayalam film, Chronic Bachelor, starring Mammootty, Engal Anna featured Vijayakanth sharing screen space with Prabhu Deva, Pandiarajan, Vadivelu, and Namitha, among others, and is still remembered for its hilarious sequences. The film was a light-hearted family comedy-drama and showcased Vijayakanth in tune with the comedy antics of his co-stars.