Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tribute to Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder and renowned actor Vijayakanth, and said he was 'captain' not just in cinema but in politics too, Prime Minister penned down his thoughts on Vijayakanth and explained why he thought he was special.
PM said, "A few days ago, we lost a greatly admired and respected icon, Thiru Vijayakanth Ji. He was truly a Captain for everyone- a person who lived his life for the betterment of others, providing leadership and a healing touch to people in need. Personally, Captain was a very dear friend - someone with whom I closely interacted and worked with on several occasions."
'Captain was a multifaceted personality'
"Captain was a multifaceted personality. In the world of Indian cinema, few stars have left an indelible mark as Vijayakanth Ji has. There is much to be inspired by in his early years and cinematic work. His journey from humble beginnings to the highs of Tamil cinema is not just a story of stardom but a chronicle of relentless effort and unwavering dedication. He did not enter the world of cinema for fame. His was a journey driven by passion and perseverance. Each film of his not only entertained but also echoed the societal ethos of its time, resonating deeply with a wide cross section of the audience.", Said PM Modi.
'He had understanding of common man's struggle'
PM Modi said, "Captain’s roles and how he played them highlighted his deep understanding of the common citizen’s struggles. He often portrayed characters that fought against injustice, corruption, violence, extremism, terrorism and stood up for the underdog, qualities that he embodied in real life as well. It would be fair to say that his films were mirrors held up to society, reflecting its virtues and vices. This unique blend of entertainment and social messaging made him stand out."
'Captain's impact not limited to the silver screen'
Here, I want to specially highlight his love for rural life and culture. Even after attaining tremendous fame and travelling all over the world, his love for village life and traditional ethos remained. His films seemed to have closely followed his rural experience. He often made exemplary efforts to improve the urban people’s understanding of the rural milieu.
But Captain’s impact was not limited to the silver screen. He entered the world of politics and wanted to serve society in a more extensive manner. His entry to the world of politics was an act of high courage and sacrifice. He entered the political arena when the politics of Tamil Nadu was dominated by two stalwarts - Amma Jayalalithaa Ji and Kalaignar Karunanidhi Ji. In such a context, to present a third alternative was unique but it was also vintage Captain- to do things on his own terms!
'I worked with Captain during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections'
His own emphasis on nationalism and social justice reflected in the ideology of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) which he founded in 2005. Whenever he spoke, one could not miss drawing parallels with his on-screen persona who often championed the cause of the downtrodden. In the highly bipolar and competitive polity of Tamil Nadu, he became the principal Opposition leader in 2011, in a relatively short time since his Party was formed.
I worked with Captain during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when our parties fought in an alliance and got over 18.5% votes – the highest that any national alliance without either of the main regional players got after 1989 elections! I fondly recall a joint rally we did in Salem- where I witnessed his fiery oratory and the connect he had with the people. When the NDA formed the government in 2014, he was among the happiest people. I can never forget his joy at the Central Hall, when NDA leaders met after the 2014 poll win.
'Vijayakanth Ji’s life offers valuable lessons to the youth'
Beyond his professional achievements, Vijayakanth Ji’s life offers valuable lessons to the youth. Most notably - the power of resilience, a never say die attitude and to overcome any number of challenges through sheer dedication. Equally inspiring is his largehearted nature.
He was known for philanthropy- he used his fame and resources to give back to society in many ways. He was always keen that Tamil Nadu and the entire India become a leader in healthcare and education.
In the passing of Vijayakanth Ji, several people lost their most admired star and lots of people have lost their beloved leader. But I have lost a dear friend - a friend whose warmth and wisdom were remarkable. He leaves behind a void that cannot be filled.
The Kural talks about how courage, generosity, wisdom, and zeal are four essential elements of a successful leader. Captain truly embodied these traits and that is why he was so widely respected. His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of his fans, the annals of Tamil cinema, and the corridors of public service. And, we will keep working to realise his vision for progress and social justice for all.