Ajith vs Vijay: With Thalapathy entering politics, will Ajith rule Kollywood?
Latha Srinivasan writes that Ajith ‘has always shied away from politics and any political activity’. Vijay ‘has always made a political statement'.
Both these Tamil film stars have been big box office draws in Kollywood, and a rivalry, especially between their fans, has existed for years. While Ajith Kumar is known as the box office king, Vijay is known for his ability to bring crowds to theatres across states. Their performance and personal styles are very different, but they have one thing in common – their ability to deliver commercial hits consistently year after year. Ajith and Vijay are the two stars in Tamil cinema who producers can bet their money on with their eyes closed. However, with Thalapathy Vijay announcing his political entry, with Thamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam (TVK), and exit from films, there will be a huge vacuum in Kollywood. (Also Read | Vijay thanks followers for support after announcing political career)
The star who likes politics vs the one who doesn’t
As stated earlier, Ajith and Vijay are very different personalities and have adopted very different strategies for their fan clubs too. While the Vedhalam star has always shied away from politics and any political activity, the Leo star has always made a political statement through his actions and speeches (on and off screen). There have always been whispers that Vijay wants to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu one day and was working towards that.
Fans of film stars have always been a big support to their idols both on and off screen. Vijay’s fans have been extremely happy about his political announcement and have been part of his fans’ association, Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (VMI), for years now, engaging in social welfare activities in the state. And they are following their hero happily into the political sphere as members of TVK.
Vijay's note for his fans
Vijay put out a thank you note on February 4 where he specifically thanked his fans and called them ‘friends’. He wrote, “I profusely thank from the bottom of my heart respected leaders of various political parties, beloved film fraternity friends, affectionate brothers, sisters, and mothers of Tamilnadu, my dearest and always encouraging media friends, last but not the least, my huge pillar of support ‘En Nenjil Kudiyirukkum Thozargal (my followers who live in my heart)’ for wishing me on my new political journey for the welfare and victory of Tamil Nadu.”
What Ajith has said about politics
On the contrary, the Viswasam star stays away from politics to the maximum extent possible and makes no bones about it. He dismantled his fans’ association in 2011 because he didn’t want them engaging in political activities or being misused by politicians. A few years ago, when a politician called for Ajith’s fans to support their party, the Billa star issued a statement saying, “I am here to act, not to indulge in politics. That's why I have always ensured that even my films do not have any political colour. A few years ago, I dissolved my fan clubs because some people tried to link it with politics. I was always careful to remain aloof and away from politics. Despite that, there are attempts now to link my fans and me to politics again. This is election time, and people should not get confused.”
However, Ajith said he was not against politics but had his own opinion. “I have my own political liking, and I limit it to expressing myself by standing in a queue and exercising my franchise. My fans, too, should have their individual preference among political parties. My only request is not to link my name or photo to any political party or movement,” he added.
Now, it remains to be seen how successful Vijay will be in the political sphere in 2026. While Dr MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa went on to become chief ministers, many other south stars who entered politics did not have the same luck. Some totally gave up their political aspirations and returned to cinema, while others have one foot in both arenas, like Kamal Haasan.
Coming back to the fans, it will be interesting to see which star Vijay’s fans will support in Kollywood now that their idol has turned politician. Through all this, the Vijay fans versus Ajith fans' skirmishes will definitely continue on social media.
King of Kollywood
A debate has already begun on social media as to who will be the King of Kollywood and whether other Tamil stars can cement one of the top five slots. Superstar Rajinikanth is already 73 and has reduced the number of films he works on. In fact, he could announce his retirement from cinema any time. Kamal Haasan doesn’t work on too many films as he has his political commitments as well. Thus, it comes down to other stars like Suriya, Sivakarthikeyan, Dhanush, Karthi and Silambarasan. The question here is how wide their market is and how well their films do commercially.
While Suriya and Karthi – and now Dhanush – have been working on expanding their market, especially in Telugu and Hindi, other Tamil actors have not really explored market potential outside their home state. While the top five actors in the Tamil film industry can or will do only one film a year, there is an opportunity for a young crop of actors to make their mark now in Kollywood.
Having said that, it would be the Vidaa Muyarchi star’s market that will expand, and more producers are likely to be lining up outside Ajith Kumar’s office now. This also means his remuneration will increase exponentially, but that will not deter anyone. Ajith Kumar will be the undisputed numero uno in the Tamil film industry – the King of Kollywood - and the slots that follow are for the taking.
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