Vijay Sethupathi in 2016
Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi
|Years active||2004–present |
|Children||Surya Sethupathi , Shreeja Sethupathi|
Following a stint as an accountant, Sethupathi began considering an acting career. He started his film career working as a background actor, playing minor supporting roles for over five years, before playing his first lead role in Seenu Ramasamy's Thenmerku Paruvakaatru (2010). He went on to play the villain role in Sundarapandian (2012), and got his breakout roles with the films Pizza (2012) and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (2012). He has played more than 25 films, mostly successful in the lead role from 2012 to now. Over the Years, Vijay Sethupathi has transformed into a successful and popular "Indie-film star" in Tamil cinema.
Vijay Sethupathi from Rajapalayam until he moved to Chennai in class six. He lived in Ennore located in North Chennai. He attended the MGR Higher Secondary School in Kodambakkam and Little Angels Mat HR Sec School. According to Sethupathi, he was a "below-average student right from school" and was neither interested in sports nor extra-curricular activities.
Sethupathi did a series of odd jobs for pocket money: salesman at a retail store, cashier at a fast food joint and a phone booth operator. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Dhanraj Baid Jain College (an affiliate of the University of Madras) in Thoraipakam. A week after he finished college, he joined as an account assistant at a wholesale cement business. He had to take care of three siblings and moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates as an accountant only because it paid him four times more than what he was making in India. In those two years in Dubai, he fell in love with Jessie from Kollam in Kerala, whom he met online and married her in 2003.
Unhappy with his job, he returned to India in 2003. After a brief stint in the interior decoration business with friends, he joined a marketing company that dealt with readymade kitchens when he saw Koothupattarai’s poster. He recalled director Balu Mahendra remarking that he had a "very photogenic face", and motivated him to pursue an acting career.
He subsequently joined the Chennai-based theatre group Koothu-P-Pattarai as an accountant and actor where he observed actors from close quarters. He made his beginnings as a background actor, particularly playing the role of the lead character's friend in a few films. Besides he acted in television series, including the well-known series Penn that began in March 2006, as well as several short films as part of the television show Nalaya Iyakunar for Kalaignar TV. He worked with Karthik Subbaraj on many short films, who later cast him in his first feature film, subsequently yield him the Best Actor award for one of his films at the Norway Tamil Film Festival short film competition.
Sethupathi accompanied a group of actors who went to director Selvaraghavan's studio to audition for his gangster film Pudhupettai (2006) and was selected to play Dhanush's friend in the film. Following Pudhupettai, he was associated with a Tamil-Kannada bilingual film called Akhaada. While he was selected to play the lead in the Tamil version, the director offered him the antagonistic role in its Kannada version. However, the film did not see a theatrical release. After making an appearance in Prabu Solomon's Lee (2007), he was cast by director Suseenthiran in minor supporting roles in his first two projects, Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu (2009) and Naan Mahaan Alla (2010). Sethupathi would later credit Suseenthiran with having had an "important role in helping him realise his dreams". Suseenthiran, furthermore, recommended Sethupathi to director Seenu Ramasamy and Sethupathi landed his first lead role in Ramasamy's drama film Thenmerku Paruvakaatru (2011), in which he portrayed a shepherd, the film went on to win three National Film Awards including the prize for the Best Tamil Feature Film of that year.
2012 marked a turning point in Vijay Sethupathi's career; all his three releases were critical and commercial successes, resulting in a rise in his popularity. He was first seen in a negative role in Sundarapandian which featured M. Sasikumar in the lead role, and then played the lead roles in the directorial debuts of Karthik Subbaraj and Balaji Tharaneetharan, the thriller film Pizza and the comedy entertainer Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, respectively. He enacted the role of Michael, a delivery boy in the former and a young man named Prem who sustains short-term memory loss two days before his marriage in the latter, with his performance in both films being praised by critics. Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express in her review of Pizza wrote: "Sethupathy, a delight to watch, carries the entire film on his shoulders. His voice perfectly modulated, he proves his versatility and acumen to handle any role. Michael’s nightmarish experience, and his fear and horror when he’s trapped in the mansion, is perfectly conveyed by the actor". With regard to Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, The Times of India reviewer M. Suganth cited that Sethupathi "continues his superb show from Pizza conveying Prem's peculiar condition with vacant stares and amusing pauses between his lines", further noting: "That he never makes the character's repetitive dialogues irritating is a proof of his terrific timing". According to a survey published by BBC Tamil, Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom claimed the first two spots in a Best Films list, and both films competed at the 2013 Norway Tamil Film Festival, while Sethupathi won two awards, one for each film, at the Edison Awards and the Big FM Tamil Entertainment Awards. By the end of the year, Indiaglitz.com named Sethupathi as one of 2012's best Tamil actors, and called him "the rising star of Kollywood". whilst film critic Baradwaj Rangan stated that Sethupathi had become "[...] sort of [an] indie-film star, the first ever in Tamil cinema".
In 2013, he was first seen in the crime comedy Soodhu Kavvum that saw him playing the role of a forty-year-old kidnapper. The film opened to extremely positive reviews and has become a huge success at the box office. Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express in her review wrote: "It’s laudable that the actor doesn’t hesitate to take a role that has him playing a 40-year-old man, greying and with a paunch". The Times of India reviewer N. Venkateswaran cited that "His knack of choosing good roles and working with new directors brimming with ideas will stand him in good stead, as also the work he puts in to portray each character. He put on weight and grew a beard to play Das, and the look fits him to a 'T'". His next release was Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara, directed by Gokul. It was met with positive reviews by critics and Vijay Sethupathi's performance was highly praised. Haricharan Pudipeddi from The New Indian Express in his review wrote : "Vijay Sethupathi has become a darling of the masses. Scene after scene, the audience hoots and cheers for him in unison." Rediff reviewer S.Saraswathi cited that "His greatest strength lies in being able to counter the stereotypical image of heroes in commercial cinema today. In every film, we see him in a completely different avatar, and his latest film is no different. Vijay Sethupathi seems to have the knack of choosing the right role and script and he effortlessly slips into his character as Kumar."  Behindwoods stated that Vijay Sethupathi as Sumar Moonji Kumar has done it yet again, raising his pennant higher, making himself more visible to his fervent fans. The depth in his innocence and the foolhardiness in his love are a couple of things that stand tall in the character he plays, and Vijay Sethupathi has pulled it off in grand style. The actor is a revelation in the climax sequence, showing the other dimension of his acting.
In 2014, His films Rummy and Pannaiyarum Padminiyum were released, both directed by debutants. Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, based on its same-titled short film, revolved around an old man and his vintage car Premier Padmini, with Sethupathi starring as its chauffeur. The film opened to predominantly positive reviews from critics and is the only Tamil film which has been selected to be screened at the 19th International Film Festival of Kerala. The same year Akhaada was being dubbed into Tamil as Edakku by its makers, to profit from Sethupathi's popularity in Tamil Nadu. The film was being promoted as a Vijay Sethupathi film, with the actor being prominently featured in the posters, although he had only a minor role in it, and Sethupathi stated that the audience would feel cheated after seeing the film, if it was promoted this way. He was next seen in the action drama Vanmam directed by debutant Jaikrishna. Though the film was met with average reviews, Vijay Sethupathi's performance was praised by critics. Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express in his review wrote : It’s Vijay Sethupathi’s film the whole way. The actor renders a power packed performance, capturing each nuance of the character with precision and understanding. Behindwoods stated that the stand out element in the film is Vijay Sethupathi, who has managed to attach his performance to the nativity of the location to the best of his ability. The actor scores effortlessly in some portions, one of them being the scene where he breaks into Kreshna’s house under the influence of alcohol.
In 2015, he was first seen in the political thriller Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai directed by S. P. Jananathan. It was met with positive reviews by critics and Vijay Sethupathi's performance was highly praised. The Times of India reviewer M. Suganth cited that "Vijay Sethupathi redeems everything with a sensitive performance.Balusamy might be the film's central character, but it is Yamalingam who is its beating heart."  Rediff reviewer S.Saraswathi cited that "Vijay Sethupathi, as a tormented soul loath to pull the lever that will release the trapdoor and take a life, is perhaps the best."  In July 2015, his first movie as producer Orange Mittai directed by Biju Viswanath got released and met with positive reviews by the critics and entertainment portals. He was next seen in the rom-com Naanum Rowdy Dhaan directed by Vignesh Shivan which became his highest-grossing movie till date.
In 2016, he was first seen in the police action drama Sethupathi directed by S. U. Arunkumar. Sethupathi received praise for his performance. Vishal Menon of The Hindu said that it was a good thriller and a better family drama. Latha Srinivasan of DNA wrote that there were no loud over-the-top dialogues and punchlines that were typical of all on-screen cops in Tamil films and Vijay Sethupathi outshone many other Kollywood heroes as the cop. Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express wrote that, "It is another feather in the cap for Vijay Sethupathi, who is revealing his versatility yet again as he handles his role with remarkable understanding." Anupama Subramaniam of Deccan Chronicle wrote that, "Sethupathi’s moves are full of energy and enthusiasm and his impeccable dialogue delivery is a treat to watch." He was next seen in the romantic comedy Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum by Nalan Kumaraswamy. His next release was Iraivi followed by Dharma Durai by Seenu Ramasamy, Aandavan Kattalai by Manikandan and Rekka . He was nicknamed Makkal Selvan (lit. people's man) by Seenu Ramasamy while filming Dharma Durai, and has been popularly known by that since. His next release was the long delayed mystery-thriller Puriyatha Puthir. Then, he appeared in the rural drama Karuppan directed by R. Panneerselvam.
In 2018, his first release was Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren directed by Arumugakumar. Then, he acted in the gangster comedy Junga which was directed by Gokul and was produced by Vijay Sethupathi. He then appeared in Mani Ratnam's multi-starrer Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. He then acted in 96 directed by C.Prem Kumar which released a week after the release of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. He is now acting in the Balaji Tharaneetharan directorial Seethakaathi 25th film of Vijay Sethupathi, Thiagarajan Kumararaja's Super Deluxe and is acting in supporting roles in Karthik Subbaraj's Petta alongside Rajinikanth and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy alongside Chiranjeevi.
In 2014, Chennai Mayopathy Institute of Muscular Dystrophy & Research Center organized a rally on 3 August at Marina Beach to raise awareness on Muscular Dystrophy. Vijay Sethupathi has taken part in the rally along with actresses Gayathrie and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar.
Vijay Sethupathi has three siblings, one elder brother, one younger brother and one younger sister. He returned from Dubai in 2003 to marry his girlfriend, whom he had met and dated online. He has two children, a son Surya and a daughter Shreeja. He named his son Surya in the remembrance of his friend who died during his school days. Surya made his acting debut playing the younger version of Vijay Sethupathi in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015).
- "I was rejected even for the role of a junior artist". The Times of India. 17 December 2012.
- SUDHIR SRINIVASAN (29 June 2016). "'Facebook affected me as a human'". The Hindu.
- "The new Vijay on the block!, Vijay Sethupathy, Pizza". Behindwoods. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Audio Beat: Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom". The Hindu. 21 July 2012.
- IANS (4 February 2013). "Not in hurry to sign films". The New indian Express.
- Manigandan K R (23 January 2016). "Vijay's Secrets to Success". The New indian Express.
- BARADWAJ RANGAN (9 April 2013). "Bergman, who? Hello new-age directors!". The Hindu.
- "Vijay Sethupathi speak about his Political Entry". PakkaTv. 5 June 2018.
- Sudhish Kamath (31 March 2010). "Full of pizzazz!". The Hindu.
- Limitton, Teena (23 May 2013) My Struggle is my Strength: Vijay Sethupathi. Deccan Chronicle
- Y. Sunita Chowdhary (2 April 2017). "Movie-crazed accountant to matinee idol: Vijay Sethupathi steals a day from his past in Dubai". Manorama Online.
- Y. Sunita Chowdhary (2 December 2012). "In a happy space". The Hindu.
- K. R. Manigandan (16 September 2012). "Beyond numbers". The Hindu.
- "30 Minutes with Vijay Sethupathi | 30 Minutes With Us". iStream. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Vijay Sethupathi: From an accountant to the most bankable Tamil actor – Economic Times". The Economic Times. 29 June 2013.
- "Metro Plus Madurai / Telewatch : Another soap". The Hindu. 4 March 2006.
- "Metro Plus Bangalore / Columns : The 'reel' life". The Hindu. 3 June 2011.
- Raghavi 2 (25 April 2011). "Norway Tamil Film Festival – Celebration of Global Tamil Cinema". Ntff.no.
- S. R. Ashok Kumar (21 July 2012). "Audio Beat: Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom". The Hindu.
- Mannath, Malini (4 January 2011). "Thenmerku Paruvakaatru". The New Indian Express.
- "Cinema Plus / Film Review : Celebrating motherhood". The Hindu. 26 December 2010.
- "Thenmerkku Paruvakatru Movie Review". Behindwoods. 26 December 2010.
- "Movie Review : Thenmerku". Sify. 26 December 2010.
- Petlee Peter (21 May 2011). "Plans to release award-winning movie afresh". The Hindu.
- "B-list actors turn safe bets for K-town". The Times of India. 21 February 2013.
- "Vijay Sethupathi signs up 'Rummy'". The Times of India. 14 December 2012.
- "Vijay Sethupathy- Hat trick herooooo". Sify. 18 December 2012.
- N Venkateswaran (16 September 2012). "Sundarapandian". The Times of India. TNN.
- "Pizza movie review: Wallpaper, Story, Trailer". The Times of India. 21 October 2012.
- Malathi Rangarajan (20 October 2012). "Pizza: Freshly made". The Hindu.
- Mannath, Malini (23 October 2012). "'Pizza' (Tamil)". The New Indian Express.
- "Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom movie review: Wallpaper, Story, Trailer". The Times of India. 1 December 2012.
- "The New Vijay Takes The First Two Spots". Behindwoods. 19 December 2012.
- "Vijay Sethupathi's films go to Norway". The Times of India. TNN. 24 January 2013.
- "6th Edition Edison Awards – Popping up the bottles of success". ChennaiOnline. 12 February 2013.
- "> News > Company Briefs > K Balachander awarded Life time Achievement award". afaqs!. 14 February 2013.
- "Top Tamil actors of 2012". IndiaGlitz. 31 December 2012.
- Baradwaj Rangan (14 December 2012). "Bergman, who? Hello new-age directors!". The Hindu.
- Mannath, Malini (4 May 2013). "'Soodhu Kavvum' (Tamil)". The New Indian Express.
- N. Venkateswaran (4 May 2012). "Woodhull Vacuum is a rage among audiences". The Times of India.
- Haricharan Pudipeddi (2 October 2013). "Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara : Entertainment with a purpose". The New Indian Express.
- S. Saraswathi (2 October 2013). "Review: Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara is a laugh riot". Rediff.
- "Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara Movie Review". Behindwoods. 2 October 2013.
- Venkadesan S (22 November 2012). "Vijay Sethupathi on a roll!". The New Indian Express.
- "Vijay Sethupathi wanted Padmini!". The Times of India. TNN. 2 February 2013.
- "7 films to be screened at Indian Cinema Now at IFFK". The Hindu. 2 November 2014.
- "Vijay Sethupathi was the villain". The Times of India. 27 June 2014.
- "Vijay Sethupathi unhappy with cheap publicity tactics". The Times of India. 28 June 2014.
- Malini Mannath (23 November 2014). "Vanmam Movie Review : Big Treat for Fans of Sethupathi". The New Indian Express.
- "Vanmam Movie Review". Behindwoods. 21 November 2014.
- M. Suganth (15 May 2015). "Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai Movie Review". The Times of India.
- S. Saraswathi (18 May 2015). "Review: Purampokku... is a compelling political thriller". Rediff.
- "Sethupathi: A good thriller, a better family drama". The Hindu. 19 February 2016.
- "'Sethupathi' review: Vijay Sethupathi outshines many other Kollywood heroes as the cop". dna. 19 February 2016.
- "Sethupathi Review: One More Feather in Sethupathi's Hat". The New Indian Express. 21 February 2016.
- "Sethupathi movie review: A well-made entertainer that is not to be missed!". Deccan Chronicle. 20 February 2016.
- Subha J. Rao (30 May 2015). "Looks don't matter, roles do". The Hindu.
- Vijay Sethupathi is now called Makkal Selvan!. Bollywoodlife.com (22 February 2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2018.
- Subramanian, Anupama (21 February 2016) Vijay the ‘Makkal Selvan’. Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved on 10 January 2018.
- "Vijay Sethupathi, Varu, Gayathri at Muscular Dystrophy Awareness". Indiaglitz. 3 August 2014.
- "Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathri and Varalakshmi at Mayo Rally for Muscular Dystrophy Awareness". Glofocus. 4 August 2014.
- Subha J. Rao (18 June 2013). "Hits, no misses". The Hindu.
- "Vijay Sethupathi's son plays a role in Naanum Rowdydhaan". Behindwoods.
- "Norway Tamil Film Festival 2013". Sify. 29 April 2013.
- "Edison Awards for 2013 Tamil Winners List". ILuvCinema. 18 February 2013.
- "Vijay Awards 2013 Complete Winners List". KollyInsider. 12 May 2013.
- "SIIMA 2013 Winners List". ibtimes. 15 September 2013.
- "The BIG Tamil Entertainment Awards". Indian News & Times. 16 February 2013.
- "Chennai Times Film Awards 2012 nominations". The Times of India. 6 July 2013.
- "The Behindwoods Gold Medal 2013 Winners list". Chenaipatrika. 30 August 2014.
- "8th Vijay Awards (2014) Winners list". FilmiBeat. 11 July 2014.
- "Norway Tamil Film Festival: Complete list of winners". Times of India. 7 March 2017.
- Vijay, Nayanthara, Bigg Boss Tamil win big at Vikatan Awards 2018 – here's the list of winners. timesnownews.com (11 January 2018)