‘Captain’ Vijayakanth had played a pivotal role in Sendhoorapandi, which was a pivotal film in Thalapathy Vijay’s career
When the time came to bid a final farewell to Captain Vijayakanth, Tamil superstar Vijay, deeply moved by the loss of his mentor and friend, found himself overwhelmed with emotion. At the funeral in Chennai, after laying a garland on Vijayakanth's resting place, he couldn't contain his grief and broke down, reflecting the profound impact Vijayakanth had on his life and career.
In this deeply emotional moment, Vijay paid his respects to Vijayakanth's wife, showing the utmost respect and gratitude to the family of his beloved mentor. This heartfelt gesture showcased the bond they shared, transcending the realms of mentorship and protege, and standing as a testament to the genuine and lasting connection between the two luminaries of the film industry.
Vijay, whose journey in the film industry began as a child artist, made his foray into the world of leading roles with Naalaya Theerpu (1992), a movie directed by his father. It's worth noting that there's a bit of debate, with some sources mentioning Vetri as his debut alongside Vijaykanth.
Regrettably, Naalaya Theerpu didn't perform as expected at the box office, and Vijay faced harsh criticism for both his appearance and performance. At this critical juncture, experienced director SA Chandrasekhar (SAC) made a pivotal decision. He recognised the importance of pairing Vijay with an established hero to gain acceptance among the mass audience.
Chandrasekhar’s frequent collaborator, Vijayakanth, generously agreed to collaborate with Vijay on a project. Remarkably, Vijayakanth made this generous gesture without charging for his call sheet for the film.
In a clip, Vijay candidly explained the reasoning behind this collaboration. He acknowledged the distinction between two segments of the audience: the "class" and the "mass." To establish himself as an actor, Vijay needed to win over the mass audience. Vijayakanth, often referred to as Captain, had a solid following among the mass audience. Consequently, when Vijay's father directed a film featuring Vijayakanth, he cast Vijay as Vijayakanth's brother in the movie. This strategic move allowed audiences who came to watch Vijayakanth to become acquainted with Vijay as well. The film turned out to be a resounding success, achieving the desired results and laying the foundation for Vijay's prosperous career in the industry.
Fast forward to 2018, the film industry commemorated Captain Vijayakanth's extraordinary 40-year journey in cinema with a special event. During this celebration, Chandrasekhar shared an intriguing anecdote. He revealed that back when his son Vijay was an aspiring actor, his debut film Naalaya Theerpu didn't fare well at the box office.
Understanding the need for a significant boost to Vijay's career, Chandrasekhar contemplated a collaboration between Vijayakanth and Vijay for a film. He had planned to visit Captain Vijayakanth to discuss this idea, but to his surprise, Vijayakanth arrived at his home even before he could reach him.
When Chandrasekhar broached the subject of remuneration for the film, Vijayakanth, known for his graciousness, encouraged him to proceed with the shoot and assured him they could discuss financial matters later. This film, Sendhoorapandi, ultimately became a massive hit. Vijayakanth's generosity and support proved to be invaluable in shaping Vijay's illustrious career in the world of cinema, and without this gesture, Vijay might not have achieved the esteemed position he holds today.