Born to a Pallakad Brahmin father and a Sindhi mother in the city of Secunderabad in 1971, one of the most prominent personalities of the age clocks 42 years in his calendar today. Actor-racer Ajith celebrates his birthday today with not just his family and friends but also the scores of fans, all of who are close to his heart.
History began shaping up in the late 80’s when Ajith dropped out of high school, following his boyish charm of being a mechanic. He got himself a job in a shed where the vigour of his dream, of becoming a bike/car racer took shape. He put his talent to test in races, with the continuous helping hand extended towards him from his friends, who used to support him from cheering him to lending him tyres when his own wore out.
No matter how hard to hid behind the solid helmets, his handsome features with the twinkle in his sparkling eyes could just not go unnoticed. It was this aspect that earned him a ticket to the screens. The rise of his career was quick and steady, starting at age 18, when he first joined as an apprentice and soon became a merchandiser in export business, at age 21. His highly compelling attractive looks made sponsors and advertisers throng him from time to time for advertisements and modelling, making for a strong career in parallel.
It was not until the 90’s that anybody anticipated a sensational storm to hit the silver screen. Ajith started off as an actor, with his debut, and to date, the only out-and-out Telugu film, in a supporting role, in ‘Prema Pustakam’ in 1992. His break in Tamil happened with director Selva’s ‘Amaravathi’, in which actor Vikram dubbed for Ajith.
What followed was a small role in another hunk of the town, Aravind Swamy’s ‘Paasamalargal’ and the lead role in the heart touching family story, ‘Pavithra’. Soon afterwards, the actor had too many awards and handle, apart from a continuously growing fan base. His success with director Vasanth’s ‘Aasai’ laid the stepping stone for his critically applauded National Award winning film of director Agathiyan’s ‘Kadhal Kottai’.
Meanwhile, Ajith was often spotted on screen with his special appearances and roles, though he turned down a few blockbuster projects like ‘Neruku Ner’ and ‘Aval Varuvala’. Ajith was the first to be awarded one of the highest salaries of that decade, at a remuneration totalling to a couple of millions, for ‘Ullasam’. Though there were a few movies that did not do well in the box office, his success story nullified all the loss. Starting with Ramesh Khanna’s ‘Thodarum’, it was a series of success for the big actor.
One of the most notable films of his career happened with Sj Suryaah’s thriller movie ‘Vaali’ that earned him the first of the many Filmfare Award for Best Actor. The next movie was equally big, not only in the box office, but also in his personal life. Saran’s ‘Amarkalam’, alongside Shalini, was not only a commercial hit, but also paved the path for him to tie the knot with the heroine. They have been a happy couple since the millennium year, 2000. He became a happy father to a gorgeous girl, Anoushka, in January 2008.
The boom in his filmdom continued after his marriage, with his unique roles in ‘Mugavaree’ and AR Rahman musical ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain’. It was director Murugadoss’ debut movie ‘Dheena’ that awarded him the title that he’s known by today, ‘Thala’. His trend setting continued with films like ‘Citizen’, ‘Red’ and ‘Asoka’. While ‘Poovellam Un Vasam’ earned him the Special Best Actor Award from Tamil Nadu State, his distinguished role in ‘Villain’ earned him his second National Award.
Then came a slump in the big screen story line when Ajith was spotted actively romancing the race track. He finished 4th in Formula Maruti Indian Championships in 2002, which paved his path to Formula BMW Asia Championship. He signed on the dotted line with manager Akbar Ebrahim to race in the inaugural. Despite his spin off in the first lap, his comeback was phenomenal, finishing at 7th at the end of the season. After more than half a decade from then, Ajith returned to the tracks in 2010.
He competed in the finals of MRF Racing Series in Chennai, in the month of February that year, but unfortunately could not finish owing to mechanical failure. However, this helped him score in his rigorous trials in Sepang, Malaysia, for the 2010 season of FIA Formula Two Championship, beginning in April. He drove his Formula Renault V6 and was noted to have shed 11 kilos during training! Till date, our Thala is the only Indian actor who is not only an active racer, but also a racer with the distinction of racing in the international arena.
The period between his racing hiatus till date is termed to have crowned him with the exalted status of super stardom. Following the unsatisfactory performance of ‘Paramasivan’ and ‘Thirupathi’, happened one of his biggest films to date, serving for a comeback, with ‘Varalaru’. Movies like ‘Aalwar’ and the remake of Malayalam blockbuster, ‘Kireedam’ kept turning the wheel until the big bang happened.
Turning out to be a stand-alone mega hit movie, with perfection and precision in every aspect, director Vishnuvardhan’s ‘Billa’, the remake of Superstar’s yesteryear blockbuster by the same title, was s runaway hit. The film portrayed Ajith as a suave don and a smooth criminal, rendering to traverse to the heights of style. After the biggest hit of all times, average runners like ‘Aegan’ and ‘Aasal’ kept his spirits up, until Venkat Praahu’s ‘Mankathaa’ happened. Yet another movie that portrayed him in a negative role, has not only added to his heroic fame but also marked his 50th film in the industry.
This film was followed by a prequel to the epic hit ‘Billa’, referred to as ‘Billa 2’. This film garnered mixed responses, many complaining the climax to be blunt. However, this was no threat to his ever growing fame and fan base. Now, under a mountain of expectation, the actor’s next, ‘Valai’ with director Vishnuvardhan is anticipated with the highest of expectations. Celebrating his birthday, the team released a teaser for this movie at midnight and having watched that, fans are only all the more happy to welcome the movie.
Apart from being a phenomenal actor, peerless racer, humble son, dear brother, passionate husband and a lovely dad, Ajith is also a humanitarian. He founded the NPO Mohini-Mani Foundation, named after his parents, to promote self hygiene and civic consciousness, in order to ease the urban sprawl. And this date, 42 years back, gifted the world with a handsome package of class and humility. To the simpleton who blows 42 candles on his cake today, we at TamilWire wish a bunch of happiness and a career full of happiness. Happy birthday Thala!