|14th Leader of Opposition in the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly|
13 May 2011
|13th Member of the Legislative Assembly (India)|
8 May 2006 – 8 May 2011
25 August 1952
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Political party||Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam|
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Occupation||Actor, Producer, Director|
Vijayakanth (born 25 August 1952 as Vijayaraj Alagarswami) is an Indian politician who is the current Leader of the Official Opposition of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. He was formerly a leading film actor in Tamil cinema, active since the 1970s. He is the founder of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and a Member of Legislative Assembly representing the constituency of Rishivandiyam. In films, he is credited with the title "Puratchi Kalaingar" while also commonly referred to as "captain", following the success of his film Captain Prabhakaran (1991).
Vijayakanth was born on 25 August 1952 in Tirumangalam, Madurai to K. N. Alagarswami and Andal. Alagarswami was Madurai's councillor for two terms. When he was one year old his mother Andal passed away. His parents had three more children. To bring up the one year old baby Vijayakanth and because of the pressure exerted upon Vijayakanth's father by all the family members, the latter (Father of Vijayakanth) married one Rukmani as his second wife. This couple gave birth to 7 children. Upon entering the film industry to pursue an acting career, director Khaja (who directed his first film) changed his name to "Amritaraj" and then "Vijayakanth", dropping the "raj" out of his name and suffixing "kanth". He has also been nicknamed "Captain of Tamil industry".
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Marsook, the proprietor-distributor of Sena's Films, used to keenly observe the activities of Vijayakanth. One day he asked Vijayakanth whether the latter was interested in acting in films. Out of pressure from his friends, Vijayakanth agreed to act in films. Subsequently he (Vijayakanth) was booked for acting in the film "Yen Kelvikku Yenna Pathil?". Yet, after some time, he was dropped from the project on the ground that he was not good at Tamil dialogue delivery. This elicited a great passion within his heart that he took a vow to get into cine acting with renewed efforts and to make his career a rewarding success! With this one objective in mind, he knocked at the doors of each and every film company asking for acting chance. But there was not any positive response. Marsook had then distributed so many films directed by M.A.Kaja. Vijayakanth was introduced to Kaja by Marsook. As a result Vijayakanth was booked in "Inikkum Ilamai". Inikkum Ilamai was his first film, which was directed by M. A. Kaja. After this, he acted in Dhooraththu Idi Muzhakkam, Neerottam and Agal Vilakku. He is nicknamed 'Captain' after the 1991 movie Captain Prabhakaran which is his 100th film. Vijayakanth has starred in films including Vanathai Pola, Sethupathi IPS, Captain Prabhakaran, Pulan Visaranai, Oomai Vizhigal, Senthurapoove, Ulavu Thurai, Periyanna, Vallarasu, Ramanaa, Neranja Manasu, and Sathriyan. Vijayakanth is among the very few tamil actors to have acted only in Tamil movies throughout his career.
This period was a part of Vijayakanth in Kollywood. Some of the Vijayakanth films in the 1980s include Sattam Oru Iruttarai, Sattam Sirikkiradhu, Auto Raja, Naan Soottiya Malar, Saatchi, Nalla Naal, Veettukku Oru Kannagai, Nooravathu Naal, Vetri, Madras Vaathiyar, Madurai Sooran, Kudumbam, Naalai Unadhu Naal, Naaney Raja Naaney Mandhiri, Amman Koyil Kizhakkale, Annai En Dheivam, Manakanakku, Oru Iniya Udhayam, Vasantha Raagam, Poomazhai Pozhiyudhu, Sattam Oru Vilaiyaattu, Siraipparavai, Uzhavan Magan, Veera Pandiyan, Therkathi Kallan, Sendhoorappoovey, Meenatchi Thiruvilaiyadal, Rajanadai, Ponmana Selvan, Paattukku Oru Thalaivan and En Purushanthaan Enakku Mattumthaan. These movies earned him great accolades. He was leading the charts alongside Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.
Vijayakanth acted in a good number of blockbuster films in the 1990s also. Some of them are Pudhu Paadagan, Pulanvisaranai (a blockbuster film directed by R.K. Selvamani), Sathriyan, En Aasai Machaan, Thayagam, Ezhai Jaathi, Karuppu Nila, Captain Prabhakaran (a blockbuster film directed by R.K. Selvamani and given 100th hit Film in Industry, Chinna Gounder, Sendhoorappandi, Enga Mudhalaali, Sedhupathi IPS, Thirumoorthi, Alexander, Dharma Chakkaram, Periya Maruthu, Thaai Mozhi (guest appearance, Sarath Kumar as a hero), Thamizh Selvan directed by Bharatirajaa, Honestraj, Veeram Vilanja Mannu, Ulavuthurai, Periyanna and Kallazhagar.
Vijayakanth had three releases in 2000 - Vaanathai Pola, Vallarasu and Simmasanam out of which former two films became hugely successful in box office. His portrayal of elder brother and his younger brother in "Vaanathaipola" received praise. In 2001, he had three films Vaanchinathan, Narasimma and Thavasi former two got flopped at box office, with Narasimma, Vijayakanth and co-producer l.k.sudhish his brother-in-law, were engaged in a legal battle to compensate distributors due to the film's losses  likewise for Vaanchinathan, distributors who paid a high price for the movie have burnt their fingers, they have incurred heavy losses. Both received poor reviews. in 2002, Vijayakanth gave a block buster Ramanaa and a flop Raajjiyam, following year he also appeared in a guest role in Devan for his friend Arun Pandiyan. Vijayakanth two releases in 2003 - Chokka Thangam and Thennavan became average grossers at box office. In 2004 he had three releases Gajendra, Engal Anna and Neranja Manasu all the three received average reviews and ended up as failures. He did not have any release in 2005. Instead, he appeared as himself in Suriya starrer Maayavi. Perarasu, Dharmapuri and Sudesi are his releases in 2006 and these too did average business. But "Perarasu" was a super hit. In 2007, he had only one release Sabari which saw him playing a doctor revolting against villains which too ended up as failure and received bad reviews. In 2008 Vijayakanth announced his 150th film "Vithagan" since Parthiban brought the title it was changed as Arasangam film which saw him as CBI officer who investigate the death of his brother in law and coming across look-alike of him did well at box office. He is the only actor from his period to have tasted a jubilee box-office hit on 100'th film.
He formed the center-left winged Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), a regional political party in Tamil Nadu. He formally announced the party's formation on 14 September 2005 in Madurai. His party contested in all seats in 2006 assembly elections and won one seat contested by him. 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. According to the study, it secured more votes than the winning margins of candidates in about 25 constituencies. In 2006, polling showed that DMDK was able to get more DMK votes than AIADMK votes, but in this election according to the table on the right, they were able to wrestle more Congress voters from 2004, than any another party. Contrary to the claim of many in the AIADMK camp blaming DMDK for the defeat, there is no evidence for this to be true. Vijaykanth has declared that he would not ask donations for his party, and most of the funding for the party comes from his own pocket. He has so far rejected alliances with other political parties. In a by-elections to Madurai Central assembly constituency DMDK has secured around 17000 votes which is just 2000 votes less than ADMK. DMDK was also able to secure significant no of seats in Local Body elections.
Leader of the Official Opposition, 2011
In the 2011 election held on 13 April 2011 he formed an alliance with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and contested in 41 constituencies. His party saw phenomenal success by winning 29 of the 41 seats it had contested from. It is a significant day in the history of Tamil Nadu as DMDK has won more seats than the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and occupied the position of MLA for the second time. Vijayakanth emerged victorious from the Rishivandhiyam constituency in the 2011 state assembly elections. Cho Ramaswamy encouraged Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) to forge an alliance with AIADMK. DMDK launched a vigorous campaign to defeat DMK; It made a resolution to call all parties to come together to defeat the ruling DMK in a conference held in Salem on 8 January presided over by its leader Vijayakanth. S. Ramadoss, leader of Pattali Makkal Katchi expressed his dissatisfaction with people from film industry ruling Tamil Nadu since 1967. He also urged voters not to vote for Vijayakanth with long career as a Tamil actor.
The media has widely publicized an ongoing dispute between Vijayakanth and comedic actor Vadivelu, who was Vijayakanth's co-star in a number of notable films. On 21 September 2008, Vadivelu's residence, located in Saligramam in Chennai, was pelted with stones by a gang leaving several windows and furniture damaged. Vadivelu reported that he suspected Vijayakanth was the culprit because of a court case which he had filed against Vijayakanth for assault, for which the final court hearing was to take place the following day. The attack may have been set up to prevent Vadivelu from attending the hearing. Filing another case for attempted murder against Vijayakanth, Vadivelu mentioned his interest in competing against him in the next assembly elections and "teaching him a lesson." In response, Vijayakanth told a press meet on that Vadivelu's allegations are based on hearsay. During the legislative assembly elections in Tamil Nadu in 2011, Vadivelu vehemently campaigned for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its alliance. During his public speeches, he predominantly condemned Vijayakanth, whose party, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), allied with the opposition party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), headed by J. Jayalalitha. His allegations of Vijayakanth included him being a "drunkard". In a campaign speech in Tiruvarur, Vadivelu stated that "(his) only aim is to sweep out Vijayakanth’s whole team and to campaign vigorously for DMK’s victory". Vadivelu was criticized as being biased, only supporting a DMK-led victory for personal gains and not once mentioning the then-official opposition, the AIADMK, or its leader, J. Jayalalitha. In a turn of events, the election was eventually successful for the AIADMK alliance while Vijayakanth was victorious by a significant margin in his own constituency.
He founded Shri Andal Alagar College of Engineering in 2001. His wife is the chairman of this college. On October 1, 2001, Vijayakanth declared that October 1, which is actor Sivaji Ganesan's birthday, be observed as Actors' Day in Tamil Nadu. In 2001, he was the former president of South Indian Film Artistes' Association. Vijayakanth has launched a 24-hour television channel called Captain TV on April 14, 2010. He is well known for his philanthropy.
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