Happy birthday Vijay: 5 films that made him a box-office phenomenon
Tamil actor Vijay, who has been working for over two decades, is currently at the biggest high of his career so far with an unprecedented fan base and a slew of blockbuster films to his credit. In the last decade, Vijay truly established himself as one of the biggest stars of Tamil cinema. In the trade, some even consider him to be the true successor to actor Rajinikanth in terms of popularity and business his films manage to generate.
In the last decade, Vijay had 14 releases and out of which as many as eight films grossed over Rs 100 crore at the box-office. His last three releases – Bigil, Sarkar and Mersal – managed to gross over Rs 250 crore worldwide at the ticket window. On the occasion of his 46th birthday, we take a look at five films that made him a box-office phenomenon.
Atlee’s Bigil, a sports drama featuring Vijay in dual roles, released last year to thundering response at the box-office. Despite its comparisons with Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De! India, the film went on to complete 100-day theatrical run and grossing approximately around Rs 290 crore worldwide. The film had done exceptionally well outside India as well in many key places. In France, it is the highest grossing south Indian film with over 34,000 admissions. In Singapore, it is Vijay’s second film after Mersal to touch SGD 1.5 million mark. The film saw Vijay essaying an aged gangster and a football coach of a women’s football team.
Mersal was the second collaboration of Atlee and Vijay. A story about twin brothers avenging their father’s death, it featured Vijay in triple roles for the first time in his career. The film was a commercial success, grossing around Rs 260 crore worldwide during its theatrical run. At the box-office, Mersal had set new records in many markets. In Malaysia, it earned over Rs 20 crore to become the third biggest grosser in the country after Dilwale and Kabali. Outside India, the film grossed over a whopping $15 million and had become the third biggest overseas grosser of 2017 after Baahubali 2 and Raees.
Sarkar saw the reunion of Vijay and filmmaker A.R Murugadoss for the third time. A political action-drama, the film featured Vijay in the role of an NRI fighting for his right to vote after he realizes it has been cast illegally. The film opened to mixed response, especially after the mega success of their previous films Thuppakki and Kaththi, but still managed to gross around Rs. 250 crore worldwide. It was the sixth Rs 100-crore grosser for Vijay and fourth in a row after Theri, Bairavaa and Mersal. Sarkar emerged as the highest grossing south Indian film of 2018 at the ticket window, surpassing the lifetime gross of Rs 218 crore of Ram Charan’s Rangasthalam.
Theri was the first time Vijay and Atlee came together. The film, a revenge drama, featured Vijay in dual roles and went on to be a blockbuster at the box-office. The film, in its theatrical run, emerged as the first film by Vijay to breach into Rs 200 crore club. Despite mixed response from critics, the film was celebrated by Vijay’s fans all over. The film was dubbed and released in Telugu as Police, and it did reasonably well.
The reason Thuppakki deserves to be in this list instead of Kaththi (which was equally successful) is because the former was Vijay’s first Rs 100 crore grosser. It was A.R Murugadoss’s Thuppakki that really opened the market for Vijay, who quickly established his brand with this film’s huge success. Grossing around Rs. 175 crore worldwide during its theatrical run, the film was centered on an intelligence officer who comes home for vacation and busts a team of sleeper agents. The film was remade in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty with Akshay Kumar.
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