Why is Vijayakant called ‘Captain’? A throwback to the actor’s 100th film

Vijayakant, who passed away, was best known by his moniker ‘Captain’

December 28, 2023 12:15 pm | Updated December 29, 2023 10:47 am IST

Vijayakanth in a still from ‘Captain Prabhakaran’

Vijayakanth in a still from ‘Captain Prabhakaran’ | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Rajinikanth’s 100th film was Sri Raghavendrar, more a passion project than a commercial blockbuster that the actor is usually well known for.

Kamal Haasan’s 100th film was Raaja Paarvai, which, despite critical acclaim, did not click at the box office.

Also read: DMDK founder Vijayakant’s death LIVE updates

Vijayakant, however, clocked his century in style. His 100th film, Captain Prabhakaran, released to much fanfare in 1991 and went on to become one of his biggest blockbusters.

Captain Prabhakaran, directed by RK Selvamani, featured the actor as an IFS officer. It also featured Mansoor Ali Khan in the key role of Veerabhadran, a character that was said to be based on forest brigand Veerappan. ‘The Hindu’ review of the film published on April 26, 1991, stated, “Vijayakanth doing his rough stuff with his known felicity, particularly the fights on top of the moving train, the horse riding horde of Veerabadran’s men in ‘Sholay’ fashion trying to stop him.”

Also read:Vijayakant: DMDK founder, actor, philanthropist, who briefly altered TN’s bipolar political landscape

Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth and Vijayakanth  during an event in 2004

Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth and Vijayakanth during an event in 2004 | Photo Credit: RAGU R

Despite having many hits at the BO, Captain Prabhakaran remains closely associated with Vijayakanth, not just due to its script and his performance, but also because of the title ‘Captain’. Subsequently, the actor earned the sobriquet ‘Captain’, something that stuck with him for the rest of his life.

In most cinema and political meetings, he was referred to as ‘Captain’, not only because of the film but also due to his active participation in the affairs of the industry when he served as the chief of the Nadigar Sangam. He was also instrumental in introducing many directors to the industry, and supporting many of today’s leading actors, including Vadivelu and Vijay, among others, during their nascent years.

Also Read: Vijayakant’s funeral LIVE updates | Thousands gather to pay their last respects

The moniker ‘captain’ has also been referred to in popular Tamil cinema. In a scene involving late comedian Vivekh and actress Mumtaz in the film Chellamae, the latter refers to Vijayakant as ‘Captain’. But it was not a title sans controversy; in fact, an ex-serviceman reportedly filed a case against the moniker in the Madras High Court in 2014 citing that the title is reserved for Army personnel and not for actors.

But the name stuck. Vijayakant even went on to establish a Tamil TV channel called ‘Captain TV’. So, while his contemporaries Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan were christened adulatory terms like ‘Superstar’ and ‘Ulaga Nayagan’, Vijayakant was, and will always be, known as ‘Captain’.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.