Happy birthday Vikram: Five career-best performances of the versatile actor

As Tamil actor Vikram turns 53, here are five of his career-best performances. Take a look to understand what sets him apart.
Vikram, who turns 53 on Friday, will be seen next in Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.
Vikram, who turns 53 on Friday, will be seen next in Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.
Updated on Apr 17, 2020 07:08 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByKarthik Kumar

If there’s one Tamil actor who has succeeded in striking a fine balance between doing gallery-pleasing films and truly pushing the envelope in terms of content, it has to be Vikram, who is popularly known as ‘Chiyaan’ Vikram. While the star maybe struggling with form and a few mediocre films in recent years, it still doesn’t take away the fact that he’s one of the most talented actors in the country today. As Vikram turns 53, we take a lot at five of his career-best performances and understand what sets him apart.



Having struggled quite a few years to make his mark and working as a dubbing artiste, Vikram’s big breakthrough came in the form of Bala’s Sethu, which saw the actor play a brutish college lover who falls in love with a Brahmin girl and goes into a self-destruction phase when they are separated. The film was remade in Hindi as Tere Naam with Salman Khan. Sethu was proof to Vikram’s potential and how far he can push himself for the sake of a character. Even though the film could be labelled as a typical love story featuring two college students, it ruffled the audiences with its presentation and raw portrayal of heartbreak.



Kaasi may not be regarded as original work as it’s a remake of Malayalam film Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum, but what sets this film apart from the original is Vikram’s unbelievable performance as a blind singer. Several theories over the years have claimed that Vikram nearly lost his vision while preparing for the character as he took the character way more seriously. His performance in the film won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.

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In his second collaboration with filmmaker Bala, Vikram superseded his own performance from Sethu by playing the role of a caretaker in a cemetery, with hardly any dialogues. The film explored friendship between Vikram’s character and that of Suriya, who plays a small-time crook. No mainstream hero in Tamil cinema up until that point dared to play a character that looked so dirty on screen. Vikram had no qualms to look scruffy, and it worked in the film’s favour so much. Even today, when the works of Bala and Vikram are discussed, their collaboration in Pithamagan warrants a discussion. Vikram’s performance in the film earned him his first National Award.



Directed by Shankar, Anniyan is one of the most entertaining masala-laden films with an interesting sub-plot about multiple personality disorder in Tamil cinema. The film takes the tried-and-tested route of revenge and turns meek Ambi, played by Vikram, into a fashion model and a vigilante serial killer. If you keep the novel concept aside, Vikram makes this film unimaginably fun to watch via his performances. The film truly showcases what Vikram was capable of doing when it comes to acting, especially in the confrontation scene featuring Prakash Raj. Anniyan was a mega blockbuster and still remains as biggest box-office success in Vikram’s career.

Deiva Thirumagal


A Tamil adaptation of I Am Sam, AL Vijay-directed Deiva Thirumagal saw Vikram play an intellectually disabled father and the film explores his bond with his daughter. High on emotions, the film extracted a restrained, nuanced performance from Vikram, and it reminded a lot of us that he can also under-perform when required.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021