Vijay officially floated his political party, Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam, on February 2, which will debut in elections during the 2026 Assembly polls
On February 2, actor Vijay, who enjoys a massive fanbase in Tamil Nadu and is one of the highest-paid actors in India, dropped a bombshell, although it was a long-speculated announcement - that he will be floating his political party. Called the Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam (TVK), the actor also announced that his party will be contesting in the upcoming 2026 Assembly elections. While at this moment, it is unclear if Vijay himself, who is the party president, will be contesting in the elections, it comes as an interesting pattern how Vijay joins himself in the slew of Tamil film stalwarts who have waltz their ways into the political area. Some have succeeded while others not so much, only time will tell what’s in store, or well the ballot box, for Vijay.
Vijay’s debut in politics comes as no surprise, thanks to the monicker he has earned through these years. Now, South Indian film stars are no new faces to having been called with a title. There are numerous titles that the actors have received from their fan bases, such as Superstar for Rajinikanth, Ulaga Nayagan for Kamal Haasan, or even Thala for Ajith Kumar. But what Vijay has earned hits a different note now. After being called Ilaya Thalapathy for years, the Leo actor has been called Thalapathy of late. Indeed, it is a promotion of sorts or a coincidence that Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, MK Stalin, is also called, in a beloved fashion, Thalapathy. And now, with TVK also sharing the common wall of ballot boxes and party symbols, there might be just more confusion on whom to call the Thalapathy, the commander of people.
Duality is the pet peeve of Tamil cinema. Ever since the reign of MG Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, and now Vijay and Ajith, there has been a constant fan war over who is the best. But the uniqueness lies in how each duality had a contrasting choice of life. Kamal Haasan, known for his craft and film knowledge, took the political plunge by starting Makkal Needhi Mayyam, but on the other hand, the commercial star Rajinikanth took back his words on entering politics sooner than told. If MGR, who served people in his films, was the lad who would be the favourite son of every household’s mother and strived to uplift the poor, the seeker of truth, and the upholder of justice, Sivaji Ganesan coveted people with his craft of acting. We all know who won the political game when MGR became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and also the founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
It is an uncanny resemblance to how Vijay too, in his films, has often replicated MGR; a very straightforward example is Vijay’s entrance in Bigil, which has MGR songs, Adho Andha Paravai Pol song and Ennadhan Nadakum Nadakutume in the background. Or is it mere coincidence when Vijay’s entrance aligns the line “Oru thalaivan irukiran..”? If not all of these, in his recent film Leo, his introduction song, Naa Ready Dhan, begins with his fans asking,” Va naa thambigalarku kosram” (come for the sake of your brothers) and a couplet that goes, “Oorukul Enankoru Paer Irruku Kettalae Adhirum Paar Unaku Poster Adi, Annan Ready” (I have a name among the people, which will arouse a thunderous reception. Print the posters and I am ready).
Let’s take a moment to remember how posters are either dedicated to politicians or actors. And on the offline side, Vijay has made immense statements through his “kutty story,” including his alleged response to Rajinikanth’s eagle and crow, which were claimed to mock the stars’ rivalry. In fact, Vijay also made a clear statement when he used a bicycle to go to the nearest booth to cast his vote during the Tamil Nadu 2021 polls. With all this, it turns out to be no surprise that Vijay took the political plunge at the age of 49, just before he touched the prestigious 50.
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As I said earlier about how duality is a feature of Tamil cinema, Vijay and Ajith too followed the pattern. Both of them enjoyed successes and failures on their own terms. Ajith, an actor who shies away from media and leads a guarded and private life, and off late has also taken to pursue his passion of travelling and bike-riding, Vijay became the political mascot of the people. Does that mean he will eventually leave cinema and assign himself to being a full-fledged politician?
With Ajith also on his path to pursue his interests (and rightfully so), are we really in the era of last-of-stardom duality? Of course, there are Sivakarthikeyans, Dhanushs, Suriyas and Karthis, and even a younger crop of actors like Kavins, Manikandans, and Ashok Selvans. But has this generation witnessed the shortest of their stars on screen, or the ones who have gone all guns blazing to their true calling? Only time will tell if each movie ticket will turn into one of those electric pushes within the polling booths. But until then, nee Vaa Thalaivaa.