Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vijayakumar, the Outstanding Character Actor.















       Vijayakumar who began his career as a child artist in SriValli, made his first adult appearance in Ponnukku Thanga Manasu along with Sivakumar. His starting years showed him as a soft actor donning hero roles in heroine centric films like K.Balachander’s  Aval Oru Thodarkathai and Sridhar’s Azhage Unaai Aaradhikkirein. He then teamed up with Rajinikanth for movies like Aaru Pushpangal, Aayiram Jenmangal, Maangudi Minor,Sankar Saleem and Simon and En Kelvikku Enna Bathi. In this context, it should be mentioned here that Vijayakumar is the only actor who has shared screen space with Rajinikanth, the maximum number of times, as Muthuraman did with Sivaji Ganesan.
     Despite his handsome looks and acting caliber, soon he was shifted to the track of villainy from hero assignments. He performed as impressive villain in quite a few movies of Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth in their earlier years. He has  also donned villain and character roles with the legend Sivaji Ganesan in films such as Pilot Premnath,Viduthalai, Theerpu, Thyagi,Neethipathi,Viduthalai and later in a powerful villain role as Goetcha in Sathya Movies Puthiya Vaanam starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sathyaraj. His most poignant performance as villain was in R.V.Uthayakumar’s Kizhakku Vaasal in which he did the role of a womanizing village bigwig with an amazingly subtle underplay of crookedness .His patronizing attitude was hidden with a personal agenda for outraging the modesty of the girl  [played by Revathi] whom he financially supported. Later, he played another effective villain character in M.S.Madhu's’s Dheiva Vaakku as an exploiting elder brother of his adopted sister, played again by Revathi.
   Notwithstanding the variety show he delivered as hero and later as villain, it is in the character roles as a family elder, Vijayakumar stood to excel in a manner, similar to the grandiose performance of Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan. The wave actually started with films like Veteran BarathiRaja’s Kizhakku Cheemaiyile,Suresh krishna’s Aaaha,and K.S.Ravikumar’s Cheran Paandian .In a character combining communal virulence and sibling affection it was a masterly performance he delivered in Kizhakku Cheemayile .As a noble father of many children he was the embodiment of self  dignity and paternal perfection in Aahaa. Similarly, as  the caste- focused elder brother of Sarathkumar,with his rural approach to issues, he came out with a brilliant performance in Cheran Paandian that took him closer to both Sarathkumar and K.S.Ravikumar. Seemaan's Panjaalankurichi also projected Vijayakumar in a powerful rural frame and he delivered the role very effectively.The other poignant performance of Vijayakumar was in Manirathnam's Agni Natchatram as an aristocratic elder balancing his time between two families, as the loving husband of two wives and as an affectionate father of the children of both the families.
  The three-in-one success show of the three Kumars {Vijayakumar,Sarathkumar and K.S.Ravikumar}, gave the biggest hit of Supergood films with a powerful story line, dynamic narration and galvanizing action in the most remembered Naattaamai, that ran for twenty five weeks. This great team repeated the victory march through a deeply fascinating celebration of supreme friendship in Natpukkaaga. As the majestic village chieftain and father of Sarathkumar,Vijayakumar displayed an immortal exhibition of histrionics in Naattaamai. Again, as a  wealthy upper caste village elder,in Natpukkaga, he cherished an exemplary friendship with his boyhood, low caste friend, who always chose to remain as his most loyal and sacrificing servant. The intimate bond of friendship was realized as a living reality by the powerful role performance of both  Vijayakumar and Sarathkumar.The tragic climax of the film showing the two friends dying together, struck the mood of the audience, as an impenetrable homage being paid to friendship of the tallest order.
     Vijayakumar has been precisely compact and impressive in father or grand father roles in several films like Love Birds, WalterVetrivel, Mudhalvan,Baadsha,Barathi Kannamma,Ji,Sree  Panakkaaran,Youth,Ananda Poongaatre, Chandramugi, Poovellaam Keittuppaar, Saamy Kushi, Yejamaan,Ezhumalai, and London.In Ezhumalai,as the father of an innocent son [played by Arjun] he did a role similar to that of veteran Malayalam actor Madhu,in Dharmadhurai as the father of a naive son [Rajinikanth].While Madhu performed his role with suppressed rage and love,Vijayakumar did it with his usual aggressive show of anger and concern.Like [late] Muthuraman who would join as a team mate,the company of every other hero of his days for a joint performance,Vijayakumar too has never hesitated to join hands with all the popular heroes, either as a villain or as a character actor.Apart from Rajinikanth,the list includes leading actors of the last three decades, like Prabu,Karthik Muthurman ,Sarathkumar Sathyaraj,Vijayakanth,Ajith, Vijay,Vikram and Soorya.
    Vijayakumar has also been very chic and smart in police uniform in movies like Chatriyan and Malabar Police. Vijayakumar’s most winning credentials are his proper blending of masculine assertiveness and human softness. Very often one can find in his essaying of character roles, an accurate amalgamation of aggressiveness and amicability. His voice modulation flawlessly processes the unification of mixed emotions as a natural corollary to the mood swings that form part of the character delineation. As a hero, his success rate would not have satisfied him; but as a villain he definitely carved a niche for himself. Finally, as a character actor, he has been closer to the delivery pattern and classic stuff of none other than Sivaji Ganesan .It is this status of a comparative recognition of acting splendour, that would position him in the proper mode of classification, he truly deserves.It could be affirmatively said that  Vijayakumar is an outstanding character actor, whose quality style of acting, has always proved to be an enriching factor of the movies that have inducted him for solid role performances.

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