Chennai, December 28, 2023: Prominent actor-politician and DMDK founder Vijayakanth passed away yesterday evening at a private hospital in Chennai, leaving behind a legacy of impactful films and a brief but significant stint in Tamil Nadu politics. He was 71.
A Cinematic Legacy:
Vijayakanth, affectionately known as ‘Captain’ for his on-screen portrayals of military roles, dominated the Tamil film industry for decades. Starting his career in 1988, he carved a niche for himself with action-packed roles and a charismatic screen presence. Films like “Challakkulli,” “Vetri Vinayagar,” and “Manmadhan” remain etched in the memory of Tamil cinema fans.
Venturing into Politics:
Driven by a desire to serve the people, Vijayakanth founded the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) in 2005. His party made its electoral debut in the 2006 Assembly elections, securing a respectable 10% vote share. In 2011, he forged an alliance with the AIADMK, leading the party to victory and becoming the Leader of the Opposition. His fiery speeches and unwavering stance against the Dravidian party hegemony marked a new chapter in Tamil Nadu politics.
A Fight for Change:
Vijayakanth’s political journey was marked by both triumphs and challenges. He served as the Leader of the Opposition from 2011 to 2016, but later severed ties with the AIADMK and faced internal party struggles. Despite these hurdles, he remained a powerful voice for marginalized communities and advocated for social justice.
Vijayakanth had been battling health issues since November. He was admitted to MIOT Hospital in Chennai and later put on ventilatory support due to pneumonia. Sadly, he succumbed to his illness on December 28th, leaving behind a grieving family, devoted fans, and a political vacuum in Tamil Nadu.
Outpouring of Tributes:
From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fellow actors and political leaders, condolences poured in from all corners of India. His wife, Premalatha Vijayakanth, has taken over as the General Secretary of DMDK, vowing to continue his legacy and fight for the values he cherished.
A Lasting Impact:
Vijayakanth’s legacy goes beyond the silver screen. He was a man of the people, a fighter for justice, and a leader who dared to challenge the status quo. His passing leaves a void in Tamil Nadu, but his contributions to cinema and politics will forever be remembered and cherished.
Vijayakanth’s last rites will be held with full state honors at the DMDK party office in Koyambedu, Tamil Nadu, on December 29th at around 4.45 pm.