Tamil politics

If these videos are anything to go by, Vijayakanth is already the TN CM

As the action hero and politician readies for a bigger role in state politics, a look at his screen achievements.

Will Tamil Nadu replace its current movie star-turned-chief-minister with yet another movie star? Ahead of the crucial election to the Tamil Nadu Assembly on May 16, action hero Vijayakanth has announced an electoral partnership with four other parties. His Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam will contest the election with the People’s Welfare Front, comprising Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam headed by Vaiko, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. Vijayakanth is the chief ministerial candidate of this alliance.

For his numerous devotees, the 63-year-old maverick is already the king of all he surveys. Beloved of action fans and meme hunters, Vijayakanth has maintained a screen persona of integrity and invincibility. All marquee names in the Tamil industry have grandiose titles created by their fan associations, whether it is Vijay (“Illaiyathalapathy, or young commander) or Ajith (Thala, or the boss). Vijayakanth is known as “Puratchi Kalaignar”, or revolutionary artist – perhaps that is one of the reasons he has the support of two Left parties in Tamil Nadu. Here is just one example of the actor’s ability to revolutionise the action movie genre. A mere flick of his luxurious moustache is all it takes for bullets to lost their way.

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A montage of Vijayakanth’s mastery.

Vijayakanth is also known as “Captain”, after Captain Prabhakaran (1991), one of numerous vigilante-themed movies in which he plays a member of the establishment or a common man who breaks the rules to ensure justice. In Captain Prabhakaran, Vijayakanth is a Forest Officer who goes after a smuggler modelled on Veerappan, but soon realises that corrupt government officials are keeping the brigand in business.

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‘Captain Prabhakaran’.

Born Vijayaraj Azhagasundaram, Vijayakanth started his career in the 1980s. An early film Doorathu Idhi Muzhakkam, directed by K Vijayan, indicates that before he earned a reputation for landing perfectly timed punches and kicks, the actor could carry off drama.

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‘Doorathu Idhi Muzhakkam’.

He is best known for low-budget and gravity-defying stunts in which he single-handedly dispatches his adversaries. Vijayakanth’s movies have cemented his reputation as a broad-chested action hero and a symbol of Tamil machismo and virility who mows down anybody foolish enough to have evil designs on the state and the nation.

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‘Valarasu’.

Many of Vijayakanth’s fights pop up on YouTube channels dedicated to “funny/hilarious/OMG action”. Not surprising, really.

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‘Velundu Vinaiyillai’.

Like Rajinikanth, Vijayakanth has a reputation for making the impossible possible – even when he is sitting in front of the computer. He has typed a document on Windows Media Player and conducted an open heart surgery with a mobile phone light. But his most logic-defying act is from real life, when he spat at journalists during a press conference. Revolutionary indeed.

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.