Truly ‘captain’ for everyone, lived life for betterment of others: PM Modi


PTI, Jan 3, 2024, 12:28 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed DMDK founder and popular Tamil actor Vijayakanth, who passed away last week, saying he was truly a ”captain” for everyone who lived his life for the betterment of others, providing leadership and a healing touch to people in need.

Penning a tribute to Vijayakanth on his website, Modi said ”Captain” was a very dear friend of his and someone with whom he closely interacted and worked with on several occasions.

Vijayakanth, who sowed the seeds of hope among his supporters on the possibility of a real alternative to the Dravidian majors, the DMK and AIADMK, died in Chennai last Thursday following an illness.

Vijayakanth, who passed away at the age of 71, was popular as ‘Captain’ after he performed the role of an IFS officer in the 1991 blockbuster Tamil movie ‘Captain Prabhakaran.’ He is survived by his wife and two sons.

In his tribute, Modi 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.” Captain was a multifaceted personality and in the world of Indian cinema, few stars have left an indelible mark as Vijayakanth has, Modi said.

”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,” the prime minister said.

Vijayakanth did not enter the world of cinema for fame and his was a journey driven by passion and perseverance, Modi note.

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, the prime minister 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,” he said.

It would be fair to say that his films were mirrors held up to society, reflecting its virtues and vices, the prime minister said and added that this unique blend of entertainment and social messaging made him stand out.

”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,” Modi said.

But Captain’s impact was not limited to the silver screen and he entered the world of politics and wanted to serve society in a more extensive manner, the PM said.

The prime minister asserted that Vijayakanth’s 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!” Modi said.

Vijayakanth’s own emphasis on nationalism and social justice reflected in the ideology of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) which he founded in 2005, he said.

”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,” Modi pointed out.

”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!” he said.

Modi also recalled a joint rally they did in Salem- where he witnessed Vijayakanth’s ”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,” Modi said.

”Beyond his professional achievements, Vijayakanth’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,” the prime minister said.

Equally inspiring is his largehearted nature, Modi added.

Vijayakanth was known for philanthropy and he used his fame and resources to give back to society in many ways, the PM said.

”He was always keen that Tamil Nadu and the entire India become a leader in healthcare and education,” Modi said.

”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,” the prime minister said.

Vijayakanth leaves behind a void that cannot be filled, Modi said.

”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,” he said.

Modi also shared the link to his tribute on X.

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