By Jyothi Venkatesh
Kennedy John Victor (born 17 April 1966), better known by his stage name Vikram, is an actor and playback singer who predominantly works in Tamil cinema. Vikram has also acted in Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi films. Despite a string of box office failures, Vikram alias Chayaan continues to remain a beloved and respected figure in the Tamil film industry. Had this been the case with any other superstar, they might not have been able to sustain themselves, but it’s Vikram.
Yes. Despite his long dry spell at the box office, and in spite of the fact that his last box office hit was Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvi, Vikram is still an active player in the Tamil film industry and is currently involved in the production of Thangalaan, a highly anticipated film directed by Pa Ranjith.
Despite a lot of box office failures in recent years, including Cobra and Pathu Endfrathukulla, Vikram is still loved by all his fans in the Tamil film industry. One possible explanation is that audiences appreciate his commitment to his roles and his love for cinema. Even in his unsuccessful films, Vikram’s passion and dedication shine through, earning him the respect and admiration of fans and fellow industry professionals alike.
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Vikram began his career as a model and made his acting debut in the 1990s with En Kadhal Kanmani. He gained recognition with his performance in “Sethu”, a film that earned him his first Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor. It was later remade in Hindi with Salman Khan in his place with director Satish Kaushik.
Vikram’s father, Vinod Raj, was a small-time actor who did not fare successfully in films and only managed to act in supporting roles in Tamil films and television serials. This inspired Vikram to take theatre lessons and become professionally trained in classical and cinema dance forms to ensure that he became a leading actor.
Vikram decided to use a screen name because he disliked his original name, Kennedy, and he also felt that such a foreign name was not a fit name for an actor in Tamil films. He took the name Vikram (a Hindu name) which means “man who does great deeds.” He confessed that he was also inspired to take the name because it was a mixture of several names dear to him: “Vi” from his father’s name (Vinod), “K” from Kennedy, “Ra” from his mother’s name (Rajeshwari) and “ram” from his sun sign, Aries.
Not many are aware of the fact that way back in 1993, he almost signed on to appear in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay and featured in the initial photo shoot alongside Manisha Koirala. However, Mani Ratnam wanted Vikram to remove his beard for the role, but Vikram could not do so due to continuity problems with another film he had signed and hence was dropped from the project and Vikram’s loss then proved to be the boon for Anand Swamy who replaced him in that role.
His mother Rajeshwari was born in a Hindu family with film connections. Her brother, Thiagarajan, is an established director-actor in the Tamil film industry and the father of actor Prashanth. In this way, Vikram and Prashanth are first cousins. Vikram has two siblings, both younger to him. His brother, Arvind, appeared in the low-budget Tamil film, Eppo Kalyanam (2022)
The couple has a daughter Akshita born in 1993 and a son Dhruv born in 1997. His daughter married Manu Ranjith, the great-grandson of M. Karunanidhi, on 30 October 2017. He lives near the beach in Besant Nagar, Chennai and has stated that he would remain based in Chennai regardless of any offers in other regional films. By the way, his son Dhruv made his debut with the film Adithya Varma in the year 2019, which was the Tamil remake of the Telugu film Arjun Reddy.
We at Cine Blitz wish Chiyaan Vikram a very happy 57th birthday.