The new Vijay on the block!, Vijay Sethupathy, Cv Kumar



It’s easy to miss this dusky and stubbly youngster with an unmistakably toothy grin on the streets if you happen to bump into him because he is so, you know, unpretentiously next-doorsy. He is Vijay Sethupathy, who has had two consecutive hits in 2012, who is sure the next big thing to watch out for.  Is his the latest archetypal story in the history of Tamil cinema – rags to riches of sorts in terms of opportunities and stardom?

Vijay, once a fledgling star who worked his way up from piddly, support roles to where he stands now, certainly has had humble beginnings. The accountant turned actor, who upon his return from Dubai after quitting his job to pursue a career in acting, learnt his skills at the acclaimed KoothuPattarai before auditioning for a supporting role in the Dhanush starrer Pudhupettai. It’s not exactly a ‘from then there has been no looking back’ story for him. The five year struggle to find a foothold in films exasperated him and often made him contemplate on the purpose of his search.

He acted in short film director Manigandan’s Wind and then subsequently Naan Mahaan Alla happened. Despite Manigandan’s warning that he should not commit to bit roles because he is ‘hero material’, Vijay was only looking for roles and an opportunity in movies. He has had opportunities in Lee and Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and it is so easy to miss him and his talent because he was always in nondescript roles, as a sidekick of sorts – a near emotional companion to the hero onscreen.

Movies like Thenmerku Paruvakaatru where he played the lead and Sundarapandian, in which he played a negative role, ragged him into limelight. However, producers or directors weren’t exactly queuing up his door. That would happen only later. He was never elevated to the level of a film’s substantial lead until Pizza came his way. Pizza’s director Karthik Subbaraj, who is a short film maker and a friend of Vijay, proposed the movie’s script to the actor and Pizza started. The film, shot at a really short duration, was declared a hit. The collections exceeded its shoestring budget just over its release weekend’s run and a new star was born.

But he doesn’t want to be a star as such. “I never want to rise above the character and the story. I only want to be seen as an actor in the story and not as myself,” he candidly mentioned in an interview. Pizza’s success and the ensuing reception of Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, directed by Balaji Tharaneetharan, have put Vijay on a pedestal.  While Pizza was scare fest, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom is a comedy.

The moment of producers and directors queuing up at his door has probably arrived. He is working on a string of minimum budget movies – although reportedly he has another half dozen waiting for his nod. In an industry that only considers the previous successes as a yardstick of an actor’s market potential, Vijay Sethupathy probably knows that small is big by now. Both his successful movies have been made in minimum budgets and all his upcoming ones are too.

There is Rummy, directed by debut director Nalan Kumarasamy, the premise of which is the year 1987. There is also Soodhu Kavvum, directed by Dass and produced by Pizza’s producer CV Kumar, which is still in the pre-production stage. If you are familiar with the short film Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, you will be happy to note that Vijay is staring in the full screen version, directed by Arun Kumar. All these movies promise to be interesting and Vijay is confident that they are well scripted roles.

Vijay Sethupathy is indubitably not a one film wonder. His slow and steady rise to stardom is proof to the fact that perseverance pays off if it has a healthy dosage of hard work and endurance in an actor.

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