Vijay means victory in English. However, merely being called so, either onscreen or off it, does not guarantee success. Nowhere else can this be proved except in the film industries of Chennai and Hyderabad, specifically with the dubbed ventures from Tamil cinema which keep hitting silver screens across the two Telugu states regularly.
The curious tales of three Vijays
Let’s take the case of Vijay Antony first. A little-known entity in Telugu till one of his Tamil dubbed ‘Bichhagadu’ had a low-key release in May 2016, Antony was content doing the warm-ups for an extended career in the movie world apart from his original one as a music director. All records were broken as the film, bought at ridiculously low price, turned out to be a sleeper hit across both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. So much so, the first lot of top theatres, which ignored the film in major centres vied with each other for its release under the shifting method! A cleverly packaged tearjerker with a coincidental mix of interesting narration and emotions made it immensely appealing, as the distributor who risked buying an unknown film in the first place laughed uproariously all the way to the bank!
That was the high which Antony achieved and from there on, based on the new- found popularity his next six films, which were subsequently released till November this year were both highly priced and badly made. No prizes for guessing that all of them were duds. So much so, none remembers his last release ‘Roshagadu’ which was consigned to insignificant stand- alone theatres all over. A classic case of overreaching one’s potential when a little caution could have helped! The reverse is that of his senior counterpart Joseph Vijay, popularly known as ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay. Despite a 25-year + career, which has seen humongous hits (among which there are many Telugu remakes of Mahesh Babu and others), his appeal was only limited to the Tamil film watchers.
About a year ago, his film ‘Adhirindhi’, a dubbed one, was released and hit the bull’s eye. Though it is considered to be the highest grosser in his career back home, the overwhelming support it got in the Telugu states made him a bankable entity in this part of the country too. Thus, after a long time in waiting, his career has now had a diversified existence in Telugu too as the Diwali release ‘Sarkar’, directed by the redoubtable A R Murugadoss managed to impress the local crowd too. As a sharp contrast, one can see that he has had a late bloomer life in Tollywood but it seems to have taken root to enable him extend his brand width further in future too.