Vikram is an Indian film actor who starred in a number of top-grossing Tamil films and is currently one of the reigning lead actors of Tamil cinema.
Vikram was born on April 17, 1966 in Paramakudi, a town in Ramanathapuram district. His born name is John Kennedy Vinod Raj, Vikram did his schooling in a boarding school named Montfort School in Yercaud. The school presented him with ample opportunities for extra curricular activities such as karate, dance and swimming. Right from the time, he was in school his one and only aim was to become an actor.
His parents however wanted him to do his graduation after finishing his final high school year. Thus, he completed his graduation in English from Loyola College, Chennai after which he also completed his MBA degree. He then got an offer to act in a Tamil film titled, Meera. Also he works as an dubbing artist for several films. Vikram is married to Shylaja, a malayalee.
Vikram's father is also a supporting actor, acting in many films. He is known for his role in Ghilli as the father of the film's lead actress, played by Trisha Krishnan.
Vikram debuted in the film Meera in 1990. Following its release, the film did not run well in the box office. Vikram still accepted subsequent offers he received and saw his first hit film, Sethu in 1999.
Sethu, which was released in 1999, was Vikram's first blockbuster though he made his debut almost a decade earlier. The film grossed over Rs.50 million at the box office. Vikram's second blockbuster Dhill came in 2001. The film grossed over Rs.100 million at the box office. Vikram's next blockbuster Gemini came the very next year in 2002. It grossed over Rs.200 million at the box office.
Dhool and Saamy both came in 2003 and yet were top grossing films of the year. Also in 2003 was the critically acclaimed Pithamagan which earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor. His successful performance prompted S. Shankar to cast him for his high budgeted Anniyan. Anniyan was also another top-grossing film released in 2005 for which he received a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. Along with Telugu as for all his films, the film was also dubbed in French and Hindi, which made his Bollywood debut.
Vikram later appeared in Majaa which was a comedy flick but did not do well at the box office. Three years later, in 2008, his film Bheema released, also receiving critical acclaim. Then later he worked in the film Kandaswamy which is directed by Susi Ganesan and has been released & did a good business at box office.
In 2010 his movie Ravannan released both in tamil & Hindi which is directed by Manirathnam was failed big at Box Office. Currently he is doing a untitled movie with director Vijay & another movie with Suseendran. He is also in consideration for Manirathnam's next tamil venture which is under pre production. Vikram has been selected as the Youth Envoy for the “UN Habitat” (United Nations Human Settlement Programme).Deiva Thirumagal directed by A. L. Vijay, saw Vikram portray a father with a developmental disability having the mental maturity of a seven-year-old.
To prepare for the role, Vikram visited homes for the mentally challenged such as Vidya Sagar and Vidya Sudha for a month, watching their body language and taking notes.He also communicated with the patients, to pick up the nuances of people with impaired speech. Vikram has since gone on to describe his role as Krishna as the best character he has ever portrayed.
The film which also featured Sara Arjun, Anushka Shetty and Amala Paul in supporting roles, opened to predominantly positive reviews from critics and enjoyed commercial success at the box office. The reviewer from The Deccan Chronicle described that the film was "Vikram’s show all the way" and that "his rendition of a mentally-challenged man trying to cope with the everyday realities of raising a child is a work of art", praising his "fiery, complex performance as one of the more viciously honest depictions of mental illness cinema has seen".
Similarly another critic described that the on-screen chemistry between Vikram and his daughter, played by Sara Arjun, is "magic" and their performances "are sure to leave a lump in your throat".The critic from The Hindu praised the film and Vikram's performance but analysed that "a problem arises only when you stop looking at Krishna as a character, and begin to see him as Vikram, the hero" and that Vikram should have "underplayed a little here and there and it would have worked better".
However Vikram once again completed a sweep of the top acting awards that year, with further recognition at the Vijay and Filmfare Awards.Vikram then featured in Rajapattai alongside Deeksha Seth under the direction of Suseenthiran where he played a henchman trying to get a break in the Tamil film industry. The film opened to mixed reviews from critics in December 2011 and performed below expectations at the box office.
Vikram has completed filming for director Vijay's next action-thriller, Thaandavam, which also features Anushka Shetty and Amy Jackson. He will be seen as a blind person and a spy in this film, with the release expected in September 2012. Moreover Vikram will be seen in Bejoy Nambiar's bilingual David which sees him play one of three lead roles as a part of an ensemble cast.
Vikram has also completed half of his schedules for the fantasy period film, Karikalan in which he plays Karikala Chola, a Tamil king who ruled in 270 BC, opposite Zarine Khan under the direction of graphics director Kannan, but the film has currently been delayed. He has also agreed terms to feature in Shankar's I, a romantic thriller opposite Amy Jackson for second time.