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Vijayakanth: A Tribute to Tamil Nadu's Icon


Famous Personalities  •  28 Dec, 2023  •  77,941 Views  •  ⭐ 3.7

Written by Shivani Chourasia


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Tamil Nadu bids farewell to one of its most iconic figures, Vijayakanth, popularly known as 'Captain', who left an indelible mark on both the film industry and the political arena. Aged 71, his demise marks the end of a remarkable journey that saw him transition from a revered film star to a significant political leader. His life story, filled with notable achievements and challenges, reflects the dynamic spirit of Tamil Nadu's culture and politics. In this tribute, we delve into the various facets of Vijayakanth's life, exploring his impact on cinema, politics, and the hearts of the people of Tamil Nadu.

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Vijayakanth's Passing and Legacy

The founder of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Vijayakanth, passed away in a private hospital in Chennai on Thursday. It has created a noticeable gap in the state’s multifaceted political sphere. The MIOT Hospital in Chennai, where he was being treated, issued a statement confirming his demise. 'Captain' Vijayakanth had been hospitalized due to pneumonia and his condition necessitated ventilator support. Despite the relentless efforts of the healthcare professionals, he unfortunately succumbed to his illness and passed away on the morning of December 28, 2023.

Health Challenges and Political Shifts

DMDK chief Vijayakanth dies, was on ventilator support after testing Covid  positive - India Today
Image Credits: India Today

Vijayakanth, previously admitted to the same hospital on November 18 for a fever-related illness, was discharged on December 11. On December 14, following his release from the hospital, the esteemed actor and political figure made his first public appearance at the executive and general council meeting of DMDK. It was at this meeting that his spouse, Premalatha Vijayakanth, was declared the new general secretary of the party. The demise of Vijayakanth is a significant loss, marking not only the end of a notable career but also reflecting on the waning influence of a political party that once showed immense promise.

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Cinematic Journey and Stardom

Born as Vijayaraj on August 25, 1952, in Madurai, Vijayakanth was renowned for his dynamic action scenes and compelling dialogues in movies. His film career began with ‘Iniikum Ilamai’ in 1979, and he went on to star in several successful films including Senthoora Poove, Pulan Visaranai, Chatriyan, Captain Prabhakaran, Chinna Gounder, Sethupathi IPS, Honest Raj, Vanathai Pola, and Ramana. He was also at the helm of the actors' association, Nadigar Sangam. His early career was marked by several disappointments, with his initial movies failing to leave a significant impact. It was with the releases of Doorathu Idi Muzhakkam in 1980 and Sattam Oru Iruttarai in 1981 that he began to establish a name for himself.

Political Achievements and Challenges

DMDK leader Vijayakanth tests positive for Covid, put on ventilator support
Image Credits: Business Standard

In 2005, Vijayakanth made his foray into politics by establishing his own party. The DMDK quickly emerged as a vibrant new force in Tamil Nadu's Dravidian political landscape, with his popularity, especially in rural areas, playing a key role in the party’s early achievements. During the 2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, a mere year after its formation, the DMDK captured a surprising 8.4% of the vote share, contesting in 232 constituencies and securing Vijayakanth’s victory in the Virudhachalam constituency. This initial success marked the DMDK as an important entity in Tamil Nadu’s political scene.

Legacy in Film and Politics

In a strategic move during the 2011 Assembly elections, Vijayakanth aligned with AIADMK, leading his party to win 29 seats. This alliance relegated DMK to a distant third and positioned DMDK as the main opposition in the state. However, the party's trajectory altered notably when it started engaging in coalition politics. This shift saw a fluctuating vote share: 7.9% in the 2011 Assembly polls, 5.1% in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 2.4% in the 2016 Assembly elections, 2.16% in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and merely 0.43% in the 2021 Assembly elections. Vijayakanth's career in the Tamil film industry is a narrative of resilience and ultimate success.

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His 1991 film, Captain Prabhakaran, was a remarkable success and bestowed upon him the endearing title of ‘Captain’. Another milestone in his career was the 1992 film Chinna Gounder, where he played a village chieftain. Vijayakanth's contributions to Tamil cinema and arts were formally recognized in 2001 when he was awarded the Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu government. His outstanding performance in the 2002 anti-corruption film Ramanaa earned him the Tamil Nadu State Film Award. He is mourned by his wife, Premalatha, and their two sons, leaving behind a legacy that is both influential and inspiring.

Conclusion

As we conclude this homage to Vijayakanth, we recognize the void his passing leaves in the cultural and political landscape of Tamil Nadu. His journey from the silver screen to the corridors of power was not just a testament to his versatility but also a reflection of his deep commitment to serving the people. Vijayakanth's legacy transcends his roles in films and politics; it lies in the inspiration he provided to countless individuals. He will be remembered not just as a film icon and political leader but as a symbol of resilience, aspiration, and the unyielding spirit of Tamil Nadu.

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