Shining Star of Tamil Cinema, Kennedy John Victor also known as Vikram aka Chiyaan Vikram, a predominant personality in the Tamil Film Industry. His nick name “Chiyaan” was added after his first commercial success and critically acclaimed movie “Sethu”. Having won Seven Filmfare awards, one National award, and the Tamilnadu State Film award, has made the People’s University of Milan to honour him with an Honorary Doctorate in the year 2011.
“Failures are the Stepping stones to Success” – Thomas Alva Edison. Despite repeated failures, striving towards what we need to achieve is the most important thing to achieve success. Several instances in History denotes, Perseverance is most important while achieving great things in Life.
“Rome was not built in a day” – John Heywood. This is an adage attesting, Great things needs time to be created. As said, Vikram’s Career didn’t come out to be fruitful in the tender stage. Starting his profession by modelling in advert films and as a cast in the well-known television serial “Gallata Kudumbam” which was aired between November and December 1988. Further, He struggled hard and broke the hurdles to outshine in his life.
Tamil Film Industry recognised him during the final year of his M.B.A programme at Loyola College. Veteran Director, C.V. Sridhar gave him a lead role which lead to his film debut in 1990 in the movie En Kadhal Kanmani. His debut was a small budget Love story, starring alongside Rekha Nambiar and Vairamuthu’s lyrics gave heart to the songs in it. Adding to his debut, Thanthu Vitten Ennai was the next, alongside Rohini, which was also directed by Sridhar. He also came out to be a cinematographer in Meera, a P.C. Sriram’s college love story. Even so he gave his best in these movies, it failed to launch his career.
Though these movies didn’t show up much, His appearances gained him to secure film offers from other film industries. In 1993, Vikram was set to feature alongside Manisha Koirala in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay. As he was asked to take off his beard for the role, which would have further lead to continuity problems with another signed film, Vikram was dropped out from the project.
Besides all the ups and downs, Vikram started doing supporting roles in a series of films. Support roles acted as a Biggest Bricks of his career. Started with a few Malayalam movies in small but good character roles, His flawless acting impressed the audience and the directors to sign him in their upcoming movies. Moreover, he gave his relentless support, which made him to team up with Shaji Kailas’s Mafia, which explored the Bangalore’s criminal Underworld. In spite of his persistent effort, Failures continue to knock him when he made his return to Tamil Films.
Until 1996, due to lack of offers from Tamil film industry, Vikram started appearing in Malayalam and Telugu movies. He started acting as lead roles in Malayalam film Mayoora Nritam directed by Vijayakrishnan. He even played lead roles in small budget Telugu movies. Hindi Super Star, Amitabh Bachchan’s first Tamil Movie Ullasam, which also featured Ajith Kumar and Maheshwari, gave Vikram a lead role along side Ajith kumar. It was yet, one another unsuccessful movie. On the other hand, It gave Vikram had expanded his female fan base as a result of the soft-personality of his character in the movie.
Even through in his struggling phase, Vikram did not give in his career. This is when Dubbing, played a crucial part in his career. He gave voices for lead actors like Prabhu Deva in Kaadhalan and Minsara kanavu, Ajith Kumar in Amaravathi and Abbas in Kandukondain Kandukondain. Vikam saw dubbing as “Dignity of Labour” and not as contemn. Supporting roles and dubbing were the bricks shaping out his career in Film Industry.
The path to success was slowly showing up in his career. In 1997, debutant director Bala, offered him Sethu (Chiyaan) in the film Sethu. This turned out to be the switch between his careers. To prepare for the character, he had to shave his head, grew few nails and a tedious task, losing twenty-one kilograms. He got a fame, which gave Vikram a title as “Chiyaan Vikram”. Despite a lot of industry strikes and lack of funds, it fraught the progress of the movie. He also saw the worst phase of his career. Finally in 1999, Sethu was released. Initially, there was only a single noon show for the movie. Word-of-mouth publicity gained audience in several cinema halls across Chennai. Sethu achieved the 100 days mark and both commercial success with audience praise for Vikram and director Bala. It became one of the milestone movies of Tamil cinema, opening up an avenue for lot of such movies which needed utmost dedication from the lead hero. Reviewers referred Vikram “a revelation” and his performance as praise worthy.
So sooner, He was rewarded with Filmfare special award – South and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award special prize for his portrayal of his title characterin Bala’s Sethu. After Sethu, Vikram did not sign up for any movie for sixty days, as he was ensuring that he made a right move in his career.
Masala movie genre, turned out to be a growing platform for Vikram, as his first of this kind, Dhil, gave positive reviews and The Hindu claimed Vikram his ability and potential. This proved him that Sethu was not a fluke. Vikram started excelling in the industry. His portrayal of a blind folk singer in Kasi, made him to win the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award, and the movie turned out to be a commercial success.
Glory started to shower in his career. Forth came movies like Saran’s Gemini, the First Big-Budget film in Tamil Film Industry, Balaji Sakthivel’s Samurai, Prabhu Solomon’s King, Dharani’s Dhool gave him the road to success. In 2003, Bala’s Pithamagan is noted to be a milestone in Vikram’s career. The variety of the roles he chose reflects from his recent movies Dheiva thirumagal and I. As years passed on, Vikram excelled the market and gave award winning movies. Year By Year, he started to occupy the stage in every occasions which lead to widening of his fan base. He maybe one in a herd but he is one of a kind. The type of movies he chooses and the work, potential he puts to fulfill the role completely is strict commitment which doesn’t come until you starve for your passion.
Vikram is appreciated as one of the most passionate actor in Indian Cinema who does the maximum justice to all the character he plays.
His recent releases were 10 Endrathukulla and Irumugan. Irumugan which released last week is the latest super hit from the actor. His future projects include Saamy 2 along with Director Hari and produced by Shibu thameens (the producer of Irumugan ). An unnamed project with Thiru, previously named as Garuda which is not finalized yet. The movie also has Kajal Agarwal in the lead, as of April 2018, we have not heard any news from the team of Garuda if the movie is still on the cards or have been dropped.
As of now Saamy 2 is the next in line for Vikram for release, his another movie Dhruva Nathcathiram directed by Gautham vasudev menon is awaiting for release. Dhruva Nathcathiram has been acquired by Lyca productions, so it is expected to release very soon as well..