Vijaya Gurunatha, more commonly known as Vijay Sethupathi is an Indian actor who has made numerous appearances in Bollywood movies but is perhaps best known for his iconic roles in the Tamil film industry, which is also known as Kollywood. Other than being a film actor, Vijay Sethupathi is also a lyricist, dialogue writer and a producer of a number of Tamil films. Vijay Sethupathi is currently one of the top actors in the Tamil film industry, however, not to long ago he was an unnoticed supporting actor. His passion and hard work in his acting career made him into the star he is today, which, along with his natural acting skills has gained him a huge fan base. Sethupathi is currently married to Jessie, who he met in Dubai and married in 2003. Sethupathi and Jessie together have two children, a boy named Surya Sethupathi, who, just like his father is a Tamil actor as well, and a daughter named Shreeja Sethupathi.
Born on the 16th of January in 1978 to Kalimuthu and Saraswathi, Vijay Sethupathi was born in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, and raised in Rajapalayam which is also in Tamil Nadu. After a few years, he and his family moved to Ennore, Chennai where he attended the MGR Higher Secondary School in Kodambakkam and later shifted to the Little Angels Mat HR Sec School. When it came to academics, according to Sethupathi himself he was a “below-average student right from school” and was neither interested in sports nor extra-curricular activities.
After graduating from school Sethupathi, along with being enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) program at the Dhanraj Baid Jain College (which is an affiliate intuition of the University of Madras in Thoraipakam), did a series of odd jobs in order to earn some pocket money and support himself. These jobs ranged from working as a salesman at a retail store, as a cashier at a fast food store and even as a phone booth operator. However, within a week after completing his B.Com he started to work as an accounts assistant at a wholesale cement business and was the only breadwinner of the family. In order to have a better future of his family and himself, Sethupathi moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and started to work as an accountant there since the job offered him a salary which was around four times higher than what he was making in India. He spent two years working in Dubai and during those years he met his soon to be wife Jessie, who was a native of Kerala. Sethupathi and Jessie met online and married her in 2003.
In 2003 Sethupathi returned back to India due to being unhappy with his job in Dubai. After returning back he started an interior decoration business along with friends. However, this venture didn’t last long and he ended up joining a marketing company that specialized in readymade kitchens. He eventually joined a Chennai-based theatre group called Koothu-P-Pattarai where he worked as an accountant, as well as an actor. At Koothu-P-Pattari Sethupathi started to observe actors from close quarters and began his own acting career as a background actor, usually playing roles such as that of the main character’s friend and most of this earlier work was uncredited. Other than that he also acted in a number of television series one of which being the well-known series Penn which aired in March 2007, he also appeared in several short films. He was part of the television show Nalaya Iyakunar and worked with Karthik Subbaraj on the short films. It was Subbaraj who cast Sethupathi in his first feature film which led him to receive the Best Actor award for one of his films at the Norway Tamil Film Festival short film competition.
In 2012 Sethupathi had three films releasing all of which were critical and commercial successes. This success is what caused his rapid rise to fame. He was first seen in a negative role in Sundarapandian which featured M. Sasikumar in the lead role, after which he played the lead roles in the directorial debuts of Karthik Subbaraj and Balaji Tharaneetharan, the thriller movie Pizza and the comedy movie Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, respectively. Out of all of the debuts the film Pizza was probably the biggest success since according to a survey published by BBC Tamil, Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom claimed the first two spots in a Best Films list and both of the films were nominated for an award at the 2013 Norway Tamil Film Festival, while at the Edison Awards and the Big FM Tamil Entertainment Awards Sethupathi won an award for both of his films, and by the end of the year, Indiaglitz.com named Sethupathi as one of 2012’s best Tamil actors along with giving him the title of “rising star of Kollywood”.
In 2016, Sethupathi was seen in a number of critically acclaimed movies such as the police action drama Sethupathi which was directed by S. U. Arunkumar, and the romantic comedy Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum directed by Nalan Kumaraswamy. His next release was Iraivi which was followed by Dharma Durai (directed by Seenu Ramasamy) and Aandavan Kattalai (directed by Manikandan and Rekka) Sethupathi got the nickname Makkal Selvan (people’s man) from Seenu Ramasam while on the set of Dharma Durai and has been popularly known by that name ever since. Later that year, he was finally able to see the release of the long-delayed mystery-thriller Puriyatha Puthir.
In 2018, his first release was Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren which was directed by Arumugakumar after which he was seen in the gangster comedy Junga which was directed by Gokul and was produced by Vijay Sethupathi and is currently in the process of filming and producing a total of eight movies. Throughout his career, Sethupathi has been nominated for 15 different awards on different occasions and has managed to bag 14 awards out of those nominations.
Photo source: Vijay Sethupathi official Facebook page