Vijay Sethupathi Biography – an Indian Actor with his Notable Work in Films

Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi, known professionally as Vijay Sethupathi, is an Indian actor and film producer who predominantly works in Tamil films. He is a recipient of several accolades including a National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards South and two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards.

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Real Name: Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi
Profession: Indian Actor
Birthplace: Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India
Spouse: Jessie Sethupathi
Age: 45

Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi (born 16 January 1978), known professionally as Vijay Sethupathi, is an Indian actor and film producer who predominantly works in Tamil films. He is a recipient of several accolades including a National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards South, and two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. Having worked mainly in Tamil cinema, Sethupathi has also appeared in a few Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada language films.

Following a stint as an NRI accountant in Dubai, Sethupathi started his film career working as a background actor and played minor supporting roles before starring in his first lead role in Seenu Ramasamy’s Thenmerku Paruvakaatru (2010). In 2012, he rose to massive popularity with critical and commercial successes in Sundarapandian (2012), Pizza (2012), and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (2012).

Vijay Sethupathi Biography
Vijay Sethupathi Biography

Sethupathi has established himself as an actor with his notable work in Tamil films like Soodhu Kavvum (2013), Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara (2013), Pannaiyarum Padminiyum (2014), Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum (2016), Iraivi (2016), Vikram Vedha (2017), ’96 (2018), Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (2018), Petta (2019), Super Deluxe (2019), Vikram (2022).

Vijay Sethupathi Biography
Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi

16 January 1978 (age 45)

Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India
Other names Makkal Selvan
Alma mater Dhanraj Baid Jain College (Bachelor of Commerce)
  • Actor
  • producer
  • dubbing artist
  • singer
Years active 2006–present
Jessie Sethupathi (m. 2003)
Children 2

Early life

Vijaya Gurunatha Sethupathi was born on 16 January 1978 and was raised in Rajapalayam until he moved to Chennai in class six. He lived in Ennore located in North Chennai. He attended the MGR Higher Secondary School in Kodambakkam and Little Angels Mat. Hr. Sec. School. According to Sethupathi, he was a “below-average student right from school” and was neither interested in sports nor extra-curricular activities. At age 16, he auditioned for a role in Nammavar (1994) but was rejected due to his short height.

Sethupathi did a series of odd jobs for pocket money: salesman at a retail store, cashier at a fast food joint, and a phone booth operator. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Dhanraj Baid Jain College (an affiliate of the University of Madras) in Thoraipakam. A week after he finished college, he joined as an account assistant at a wholesale cement business. He had to take care of three siblings and moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates as an accountant because it paid him four times more than what he was making in India. While in Dubai, he met his future wife, Jessie, online. The two dated, eventually marrying in 2003.

Unhappy with his job, he returned to India in 2003. After a brief stint in the interior decoration business with friends, he joined a marketing company that dealt with readymade kitchens when he saw Koothupattarai’s poster. He recalled director Balu Mahendra remarking that he had a “very photogenic face”, and motivated him to pursue an acting career; however, he never cast Sethupathi in his films.



He subsequently joined the Chennai-based theatre group Koothu-P-Pattarai as an accountant and actor where he observed actors from close quarters. He made his beginnings as a background actor, particularly playing the role of the lead character’s friend in a few films. He also acted in television series, including the well-known series Penn that began in March 2006, as well as several short films as part of the television show Nalaya Iyakunar for Kalaignar TV. He worked with Karthik Subbaraj on many short films, who later cast him in his first feature film, subsequently yielding him the Best Actor award for one of his films at the Norway Tamil Film Festival short film competition.

Vijay Sethupathi Biography
Vijay Sethupathi Biography


2012 marked a turning point in Sethupathi’s career; all his three releases were critical and commercial successes, resulting in a rise in his popularity. He was first seen in a negative role in Sundarapandian which featured M. Sasikumar in the lead role, and then played the lead roles in the directorial debuts of Karthik Subbaraj and Balaji Tharaneetharan, the thriller film Pizza and the comedy entertainment Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, respectively. He enacted the role of Michael, a delivery boy in the former, and a young man named Prem who sustains short-term memory loss two days before his marriage in the latter, with his performance in both films being praised by critics. Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express in her review of Pizza wrote: “Sethupathy, a delight to watch, carries the entire film on his shoulders. His voice is perfectly modulated, and he proves his versatility and acumen to handle any role. Michael’s nightmarish experience, and his fear and horror when he’s trapped in the mansion, is perfectly conveyed by the actor”. His performance in Pizza earned him his first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil. With regard to Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, The Times of India reviewer M. Suganth cited that Sethupathi “continues his superb show from Pizza conveying Prem’s peculiar condition with vacant stares and amusing pauses between his lines”, further noting: “That he never makes the character’s repetitive dialogues irritating is a proof of his terrific timing”. According to a survey published by BBC Tamil, Pizza, and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom claimed the first two spots in the list of Best Films, and both films competed at the 2013 Norway Tamil Film Festival, while Sethupathi won two awards, one for each film, at the Edison Awards and the Big FM Tamil Entertainment Awards.


In 2014, his films Rummy and Pannaiyarum Padminiyum were released, both directed by debutants. Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, based on its same-titled short film, revolved around an old man and his vintage car Premier Padmini, with Sethupathi starring as its chauffeur. The film opened to predominantly positive reviews from critics and is the only Tamil film that has been selected to be screened at the 19th International Film Festival of Kerala. The same year Akhaada resurfaced in the media as it was being dubbed into Tamil as Edakku by its makers, to profit from Sethupathi’s popularity in Tamil Nadu. The film was being promoted as a Sethupathi film, with the actor being prominently featured in the posters, although he had only a minor role in it, and Sethupathi stated that the audience would feel cheated after seeing the film if it was promoted this way. He was next seen in the action drama Vanmam directed by debutant Jaikrishna. Though the film was met with average reviews, Sethupathi’s performance was praised by critics. Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express in his review wrote: It’s Vijay Sethupathi’s film the whole way. The actor renders a power-packed performance, capturing each nuance of the character with precision and understanding. Behindwoods stated that the stand-out element in the film is Vijay Sethupathi, who has managed to attach his performance to the nativity of the location to the best of his ability. The actor scores effortlessly in some portions, one of them being the scene where he breaks into Kreshna’s house under the influence of alcohol.


In 2016, he was first seen in the police action thriller Sethupathi directed by S. U. Arunkumar. Sethupathi received praise for his performance. Vishal Menon of The Hindu said that it was a good thriller and a better family drama. Latha Srinivasan of DNA wrote that there were no loud over-the-top dialogues and punchlines that were typical of all on-screen cops in Tamil films and Vijay Sethupathi outshone many other Kollywood heroes as the cop. Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express wrote “It is another feather in the cap for Vijay Sethupathi, who is revealing his versatility yet again as he handles his role with remarkable understanding.” Anupama Subramaniam of Deccan Chronicle wrote, “Sethupathi’s moves are full of energy and enthusiasm and his impeccable dialogue delivery is a treat to watch.” He was next seen in the romantic comedy Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum by Nalan Kumaraswamy. His next release was Iraivi followed by Dharma Durai by Seenu Ramasamy, Aandavan Kattalai, and Rekka. He was nicknamed Makkal Selvan (lit. people’s man) by Seenu Ramasamy while filming Dharma Durai and has been popularly known for that since. His next release was the long-delayed thriller Puriyatha Puthir. Then, he appeared in the rural drama Karuppan directed by R. Panneerselvam. In 2017, he appeared in the neo-noir action thriller film Vikram Vedha in the lead role alongside Madhavan, which earned him his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil.

In 2019, Film Companion ranked Sethupathi’s performance in Aandavan Kattalai and Super Deluxe among the 100 Greatest Performances of the Decade. His performance in the latter won him the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2020, he starred in Ka Pae Ranasingam starring Aishwarya Rajesh. In October 2020, it was announced that Sethupathi would play the lead role of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in the biopic titled 800. Sethupathi later announced that he was opting out of the film on Muralitharan‘s request after political controversy regarding the role.

In 2021, Sethupathi appeared in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s film Master alongside Vijay. He then appeared in the Telugu film Uppena, which was written and directed by Bucchi Babu Sana. After Uppena, Sethupathi appeared in three films in the month of September 2021, LaabamTughlaq Durbar, and Annabelle Sethupathi. He appeared in Mughizh in which his daughter makes her debut. Sethupathi is also starring in Vetrimaaran’s Tamil film Viduthalai.

As of October 2021, he is the host of MasterChef India – Tamil, which started on 7 August 2021 on Sun TV Network.

In 2022, Vijay Sethupathi appeared in the drama film Kadaisi Vivasayi directed by M. Manikandan. Following, the romantic comedy Vignesh Shivan’s Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal with Nayanthara and Samantha. After Master, Vijay Sethupathi again got a villain role in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s directorial Vikram starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role. Vijay Sethupathi played a drug dealer, and his impressive body language and extraordinary performance left the audience stunned. Vikram has broken several box office records and has officially become one of the highest-grossing films in Tamil Nadu. Vijay Sethupathi and his mentor Seenu Ramasamy have combined for the fourth time to deliver the family emotion-packed Maamanithan. Vijay Sethupathi acted in the Malayalam movie 19(1)(a) starring Nithya Menen and was released by streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar. In December, his action comedy DSP was released to negative reviews.

Social work

In 2014, Chennai Mayopathy Institute of Muscular Dystrophy and Research Center organized a rally on 3 August at Marina Beach to raise awareness of Muscular Dystrophy. Sethupathi has taken part in the rally along with actresses Gayathrie and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. Sethupathi met Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.K Stalin on 15 June 2021 and donated ₹25 lakhs as part of the Corona relief fund.

Personal life (Vijay Sethupathi Biography)

Sethupathi has three siblings, one elder brother, one younger brother, and one younger sister. He returned from Dubai in 2003 to marry his girlfriend, Jessie, whom he had met and dated online. They have two children, a son Surya, and a daughter Shreeja. He named his son Surya in remembrance of his friend who died during his school days. Surya made his acting debut playing the younger version of Sethupathi in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015). Surya appeared with his father again in Sindhubaadh (2019).

Vijay_Sethupathi with his Family
Vijay Sethupathi with his Family


Muralidharan Biopic

In 2020, Vijay Sethupathi was set to portray the role of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muraligharan in a biopic titled “800.” The controversy surrounding Vijay Sethupathi’s role in a biopic about Muttiah Muralitharan stemmed from the cricketer’s support for the Sri Lankan Government and his political statements. Muralitharan, of Tamil descent, played cricket during the Sri Lankan Civil War, leading to debates within the Tamil community. Supporters of the film argued for recognizing Muralitharan’s cricketing achievements.

Filmography (Vijay Sethupathi Biography)

Year Award Category Film Result
2012 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Best Villain Sundarapandian Won
Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Best Actor Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom Won
Edison Awards (India) Best Male Rising Star Won
7th Vijay Awards Best Actor (Special Jury Award) Won
Best Actor Nominated
SIIMA Awards Best Actor (Critics) Pizza Won
Big FM Tamil Entertainment Awards BIG FM Most Entertaining Actor of the Year Won
60th Filmfare Awards South Best Actor Nominated
Chennai Times Film Awards 2012 Best Actor Pizza & Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom Nominated
2013 Behindwoods Gold Medal Best Acting Performance Soodhu Kavvum
Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara
8th Vijay Awards Best Actor (Special Jury Award) Soodhu Kavvum Won
Best Actor Nominated
2014 SIIMA Awards Pannaiyarum Padminiyum Nominated
2015 Orange Mittai Nominated
2016 Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Dharma Durai Won
Asiavision Awards Won
2017 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Best Villain – Male Vikram Vedha Won
Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil Best Actor Won
Vijay Award for Best Actor Won
2019 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Super Deluxe Won
67th National Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
8th South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actor ’96 Nominated
Filmfare Awards South Won
2021 South Indian International Movie Awards Super Deluxe Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ka Pae Ranasingam Nominated
2020 Zee Cinema Awards – Tamil Best Actor Super Deluxe Nominated
Favourite Hero Nominated
JFW Awards JFW Award – Special Mention Won
Critics Choice Film Awards – Tamil Best Actor Won
Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Nominated
Edison Awards Nominated
Norway Tamil Movie Awards Nominated
10th South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actor in a Negative Role (Tamil) Master Nominated
Best Actor in a Negative Role – Telugu Uppena Nominated

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