Vijayakanth, actor-politician and DMDK founder, passes away in Chennai, to be laid to rest with state honours.

Vijayakanth, actor-politician and DMDK founder, passes away in Chennai, to be laid to rest with state honours

Vijayakanth was not keeping well for the past few months, and his wife Premalatha formally took over the reins of the DMDK on December 14th. Narayanan Vijayaraj Alagarswami, popularly known as Vijayakanth, was a multi-talented personality from India who made a mark in the fields of politics and cinema. During his illustrious career in Tamil cinema, he worked as an actor, producer, and director. He was widely recognized for his outstanding contributions to the industry and was affectionately called “Captain” by his peers. In 2011, he was elected as the Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and served in this role for five years. In addition to his political achievements, Vijayakanth was also the founder and president of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) political party. He represented the constituencies of Virudhachalam and Rishivandiyam as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) twice. Vijayakanth’s legacy continues to inspire many in India and beyond.

Vijayakanth passed away

The personal life of Vijayakanth:

Vijayakanth, a name synonymous with Tamil cinema and politics, has had a multifaceted personal life that complements his illustrious career. Born as Vijayaraj Alagarswami on August 25, 1952, in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, he emerged not only as a renowned actor but also as a prominent political figure.

Central to Vijayakanth’s personal life was his marriage to Premalatha on January 31, 1990. Their union marked a significant milestone, shaping his family life. Together, they raised two sons, among them Shanmuga Pandian, who followed in his father’s footsteps and ventured into the film industry, showcasing his talents as an actor in various notable movies.

Acting career of Vijayakanth:

Vijayakanth was one of the very few Tamil actors to have acted only in Tamil films throughout his career. Most of his films have had Telugu and Hindi dubbing. In the cinema business, Vijayakanth was referred to as a “Puratchi Kalingar,” or revolutionary artist. He was also known for portraying patriotic, village do-gooder, and dual-role actors in his films. Many refused to play with him, and great filmmakers did not show up to make films. He acted in more than 20 films as a police officer. He was best known for his low-budget films that showcased gravity-defying stunts in which he would single-handedly dispatch his enemies. The topics of corruption, honesty, and maintaining one’s word were common in most of his films.

He worked three shifts per day, and that was his dedication to his craft. To help the struggling producers, Vijayakanth occasionally refused to accept payments or only received them after they were due. More importantly, he didn’t try to publicize these and let the world see them for themselves and take inspiration. Upon entering the film industry to pursue an acting career, he changed to “Vijayakanth,” dropping the “Raj” out of his name and suffixing it with “Kanth” in his first film, M. A. Kaja’s Inikkum Ilamai (1979). He then had success with Sattam Oru Iruttarai (1981), directed by S. A. Chandrasekhar, with whom he mostly made movies. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was an action icon with a consistent box-office appeal. After the release of Captain Prabhakaran (1991), the 100th film, he was referred to as “Captain.”

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Political career of Vijayakanth:

From 2006–2011:

He formed the center-left party Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), a regional political party in Tamil Nadu. In an official statement, he declared the party’s foundation in Madurai on September 14, 2005.In the 2006 assembly elections, his party ran for every seat, and it won the one he ran for. The DMDK, led by Vijaykanth, proved to be an important player in the 2006 Tamil Nadu assembly election, garnering 10% of the voters and securing 10.1% in this Lok Sabha election. It received more votes than the candidates’ victory margins in around twenty-five seats, the survey found. In 2006, polling showed that DMDK was able to get more DMK votes than AIADMK votes, but in this election, they were able to wrestle more Congress voters from 2004 than any other party. Contrary to the claim of many in the AIADMK camp blaming DMDK for the defeat, there was no evidence for this to be true. Vijayakanth declared that he would not ask for donations for his party, and most of the funding for the party comes from his own pocket. He rejected alliances with other political parties. DMDK received almost 17,000 votes in a by-election to the Madurai Central Assembly constituency, which was just 2000 fewer than AIADMK. Additionally, DMDK was successful in gaining a sizable number of seats in the local body elections.

When and how did Vijayakanth die?

Vijayakanth died due to pneumonia at a hospital in Chennai on December 28, 2023, at the age of 71, around 6:10 a.m. After testing positive for COVID-19, he was receiving ventilator support. Many politicians like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Former Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Anurag Thakur, BJP President J. P. Nadda, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi, Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, Opposition Leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Several party leaders, and the film fraternity condoled and paid last tributes on his demise. The Tamil Nadu State Government announced full state honours for his funeral.

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