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DMDK founder, popular actor ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth passes away at 71

Chennai, Dec 28: Popular Tamil actor and former leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly, Vijayakanth, passed away on Thursday at a private hospital in Chennai. The 71-year-old had founded Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK).

Officials at Miot Hospital confirmed his death. The actor, known by fans as the “Captain” for his portrayal of military characters, was admitted for the treatment of pneumonia and was on ventilator support. He tested positive for Covid-19.

“Captain Vijayakanth was on ventilator support following his admission for pneumonia. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, he passed away in the morning on Dec 28,” the hospital stated.

Vijayakanth founded DMDK in 2005, challenging the supremacy of former CMs J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi. He was a successful actor, producer, and director, serving as LoP twice, representing the constituencies of Virudhachalam and Rishivandiyam. He is survived by his wife, Premalatha, and two sons.

Vijayakanth, a successful action hero, earned the title “Puratchi Kalaignar,” meaning revolutionary artist. He made his debut with ‘Inikkum Ilamai’ in 1979, as a villain and went on to become an action icon in the 1980s and 1990s.

His superhit movie ‘Sattam Oru Iruttarai’ was remade in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada languages. In 1984, he had 18 releases, becoming the only Tamil cinema actor to release maximum films in a year in the lead role. He appeared in 154 movies and was one of the most adored film personalities in the Tamil film industry.

Vijayakanth had declared that he would not accept donations for his political party. PM Modi had given a special reference to him in the NDA leaders’ meeting and referred to him as his friend. He was also criticised for making objectionable gestures in public, often towards journalists.

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