Vijay Sethupathi is apparently playing a 96 year old man in his upcoming film titled 96. That is an interesting update and you and me know that he will pull it off like a boss. Vijay Sethupathi is not an actor who can be easily defined, he will always be beyond our predictions. His selection of scripts have been different from one another, after a ‘Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom’ we will expect him to do more of romantic comedies but the man will take a 180 degree turn and do a ‘Soodhu Kavvum’.
But an actor can’t just choose different scripts and survive, he should be able to play the characters convincingly, in that case too, Vijay Sethupathi scores. Currently, Vedha from ‘Vikram Vedha’ has literally become a Vethalam and is not leaving the audiences’ minds! Over all, it won’t be an overstatement to say that Vijay Sethupathi is the best thing that has happened to Tamil Cinema in the recent times!
The actor has spoke about his passion for acting and his struggling period in many interviews. He is an “outsider”, he didn’t attend any popular film schools, he wasn’t a model, he wasn’t conventionally ‘Hero’ looking, but the passion and confidence he had on himself has taken him to where he is today. Most importantly, Vijay didn’t dream to be a star, he wanted to be an actor and the good thing is that the man is still working on the actor in himself. He had also said that he plays each character as how Vijay Sethupathi would react or behave in that particular situation and some of you might have noticed certain similarities in his body language or especially in dialogue delivery in few films. But if that method works for the guy and he can give such mesmerizing performances, then that’s completely ok. We are going to look at Vijay Sethupathi’s characters and how he has owned the roles.
VJS is very good with comedy and intensity, everybody knows that and if you have noticed Vijay Sethupathi more than just as a regular movie-goer, you will know that the man does comedy mostly with his dialogue delivery modulations and he brings intensity with his eyes (almost everyone brings intensity through eyes but VJS can literally communicate through them). In movies like ‘Idharkuthaane Aasaipattai Balakumara’, the character is an ‘over-the-top’, loud, extrovert guy who is nearly 100% shameless, now Vijay has played Sumarmoonji Kumaru like he is a real person i.e he has made every gesture of that guy unique and live. The character will be walking in a certain style, he will be stalking the girl in a certain mood and everyone had loved his talking parts in the film.
Speaking of comedy, ‘Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom’, ‘Soodhu Kavvum’, ‘Kaadhalum Kadanthu Pogum’ and even ‘Naanum Rowdy Thaan’ were different categories of comedy and each of those characters had their own different traits. ‘Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom’ had the hero in the state of memory loss and the serious situations he and his friends went through were comical to the audience. It was a situational comedy. Vijay Sethupathi had one dialogue to be repeated all through the film and if he hadn’t done it so naturally, the film would have flopped. ‘Soodhu Kavvum’ had a 40+ protagonist with an imaginary girlfriend and a job idea to kidnap people and collect ransom. In this film Vijay Sethupathi had different talking styles to each character. ‘Kaadhalum Kadanthu Pogum’ was an unconventional romance and this man was playing an aspiring goon! His confused self was the main character trait, here also he scored in dialogue delivery.
‘Naanum Rowdy Thaan’ is probably the only role done by VJS that comes closer to a chocolate lover boy. His chemistry with Nayanthara worked well and this partially irresponsible mama’s boy falling madly in love with a girl was relatable to many boys. The romance in the film was soft and sweet. All the above films had black humor except I think ‘Idharkku Thaane Aasaipattai Balakumara’. Vijay Sethupathi can do humor convincingly and make his audience fall off their seats with laughter.
‘Pizza’ was the breakthrough film in Vijay’s career as he grabbed a lot of attention for the first time as a leading actor. Most of the time, the guy is alone in the house and the entire act had to be carried well to scare the audience. The climax and twist and all of the scary parts make the film really a tricky one but Vijay Sethupathi did it well. His association with Karthick Subbaraj started from there and his cameo in ‘Jigarthanda’ was also an impressive one.
Another very important role VJS did was in ‘Iraivi’ with the same director. The impulsive man who unwillingly gets married to a woman while he can’t get over his previous relationship was one part of the character and his willingness to do anything for the man he works for who is a brotherly figure to him. The entire film was about this men’s pride and the after effects of things that they do without thinking about the consequences. And Vijay’s character was a very different one from all his other films. ‘Dharmadurai’ and ‘Aandavan Kattalai’ were also two of the films that explored the actor in Vijay Sethupathi. ‘Dharmadurai’ had three stages of a man’s life, Vijay’s portrayal of sadness and heart break were so amazing that it made the viewers cry.
In ‘Dharmadurai’, there is a scene where the man is angry at his brothers after his betrothed commits suicide, he has actually lost his stability with anger and once the anger calms down he cries his heart out, the pain Vijay translated to the audience was very deep. ‘Aandavan Kattalai’ had a common man’s survival issues and helplessness to the main character. We see a person struggling between the rights he believes in and the wrongs that he is forced to do. But still the character had a clarity to it, the guy is sweet, less-talkative and this film had used Vijay’s eyes beautifully. Most of his reactions were made through the eyes. ‘Sethupathi’ was the “massiest” film of Vijay Sethupathi’s carrer. The police story and the hero are distinct from the regular Tamil Cinema police movies. The mass elements were very subtle but effective. The parts where the police officer is with his family and when he is with his fellow officers and when he is under stress were all shown in a very natural way.
And Sethupathi had Vijay Sethupathi as it’s Hero in every sense. Doing ‘Kavan’ must have been challenging to the actor because the comparisons will straight go to ‘Muthalvan’. But Vijay Sethupathi succeeded in not reminding Arjun to the audience. But in the film’s second half we could find similarities in the acting pattern of Vijay with his previous characters. Vijay Sethupathi’s looks never matter when it comes to playing a character. He has not done a role that would require him to have a well-built physique or a very lean body, but we are sure the actor will soon try something different in that zone too.
How can we end it without mentioning Vedha?! Vedha is also a very tricky character. Once we finish watching ‘Vikram Vedha’ we will understand the exact motives of the character. From his introduction to the stories he say, everything had a reason behind it. For such a role, it is very important for the actor to know the character to it’s bones. Vijay Sethupathi was Vedha, he didn’t just nail the part but he lived it on screen. When the people talk about Vedha who is a notorious criminal before he is shown on screen, he is this man who is going to destroy his enemies and continue to rule but when he actually appears, at that situation he is a person who has nothing to live for, who has lost all the happiness of his life.
Now the actor has to do justice to the build up the character has and should hide his internal conflict. Vedha has many shades to him, he has a justification even to his illegal works, he has a father’s compassion to his younger brother, he is, interestingly, philosophical about life and above all Vedha is extremely intelligent. Now we cannot imagine another actor as Vedha. Vijay Sethupathi’s nuances and his playfulness has made Vedha one of the most iconic characters of all times.
Vijay Sethupathi, from his interviews, appear to be an intelligent person and an even more intelligent actor. We are in awe of him from whatever we have seen till date and we are sure that there is lot more to come. Vijay Sethupathi’s romance is different from others’ romance, his action is different from other actors’, his body language and comic timing is unique. On a whole, the man is born to act.
From the junior artist to the ‘Makkal Selvan’ title, he has come a long way and we wish he remain to be the actor and not step into “stardom” and worry about it. The directors and writers deserve the credits but one thing is sure, many films would have remained in any one person’s head if an actor called Vijay Sethupathi didn’t show guts to do experimental films. Vijay Sethupathi is Tamil Cinema’s pride and he can be introduced on any platform as an ACTOR!
Hardcore Film Lover and Ardent Movie Goer, Aspiring Film Maker.