Happy birthday Ajith: Seven facts that explain Valimai star’s ever-growing popularity

screenmixMay 1, 2021

Tamil star ‘Thala’ Ajith has turned a year older today. But, he is not celebrating his 50th birthday by kick-starting the promotion for his upcoming films as he usually would do. He seems to have felt it was not the right time to celebrate his birthday publicly in any manner, considering the scale of the tragedy that is unfolding every minute in the country. Producer Boney Kapoor had earlier announced that he would be unveiling the first look of Ajith from Valimai on the actor’s birthday. However, the filmmakers postponed it as a sign of respect to millions of people who have been affected by the pandemic. It was a decent thing to do. And the decision also has Ajith written all over it.

Ajith had his share of hits and flops, but even during his trying times, he never fell from grace. Maybe it is one of the reasons why his box office failures never affected his popularity among fans and celebrities.

Here are seven interesting facts that explain why Ajith enjoys such unconditional love and respect among the public and celebrities.

Ajith’s family:

Born in Hyderabad to a Bengali mother, Ajith struggled to speak in Tamil during the early days of his career. A middle child, Ajith’s elder brother Anoop Kumar is a stockbroker in New York, and his younger brother Anil Kumar, an IIT Madras graduate, is settled in Seattle. He had twin sisters who died young. His foundation Mohini-Mani Foundation, named after his parents, works in urban areas, promoting self-hygiene and civic consciousness.

Ajith married his co-star:

Thala Ajith began to date his Amarkalam co-star Shalini in 1999, and their relationship became the main focus of media gossip back then. Ajith proposed to Shalini the same year, and they both got married in 2000 with the blessings of their family. Ajith and Shalini have two children, a daughter Anoushka, and a son, Aadvik. And to date, they have remained an exemplary star couple.

Ajith and Shalini in a film A still of Ajith and Shalini from their film Amarkalam.

Ajith is grounded:

Ajith is extremely down-to-earth. He seems to go the extra mile to ensure that he doesn’t throw his privilege in people’s faces. He seems to expect people to return the favour by not making a big fuss about his star status. You can see him doing all things that a star of his stature wouldn’t normally do. Like taking an auto-rickshaw ride in Chennai, or not jumping the queue, or eating at roadside eateries, or helping college students on projects with his engineering skills or attending school functions of his children.

A racecar driver

Ajith seemed to have had more passion for being a racecar driver than being an actor. He started his modelling career so that he can support his training to become a professional car racer. Even after making his debut as a lead actor with Amaravathi in 1993, he continued to pursue his interest in auto racing. However, after Ajith suffered a serious back injury, he started doing more movies. He has competed in circuits in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. He has also taken part in international races. The actor has raced in 2003 Formula Asia BMW Championships, 2010 Formula 2 Championship among other prestigious championships.

Ajith Ajith will be seen next in Valimai. (Express Archive Photo)

Ajith is extremely media shy:

There are some superstars who can afford not to show up at the promotional events of their films and still ensure a massive opening for their films. One is Rajinikanth, and the second is Ajith. While fans get to see Rajinikanth once in a while on television or at a film event, Ajith is notoriously famous for avoiding public appearances. Ajith’s elusiveness only adds more layers to his ever-growing popularity. The only place his fans worldwide get to see him is on the big screen, and maybe that’s the reason why his movies record massive openings.

Ajith is blunt:

In Tamil Nadu, the connection between the film industry and politics runs deep, ever since MG Ramachandran showed the world that film actors could be great politicians. Many Tamil actors have become successful political leaders, and many actors actively participate in state politics. But, Ajith wants to stay away from it. He is perhaps the first actor to speak against the political pressure on actors to take part in events organised by political outfits. He made a speech at a DMK function in front of then Chief Minister Karunanidhi, requesting to see that actors are not forced into doing anything they don’t want to, and it received a standing ovation from superstar Rajinikanth.

The first Tamil actor to dismantle fans clubs:

Ajith never hesitates to call a spade a spade. When he came to know that some of his fan clubs were misusing his name to raise funds, he issued a warning letter to his unruly fans. When things didn’t get better, in 2011, on his 40th birthday, he decided to dissolve all his fan clubs. While many trade analysts said that it was a wrong move from a career point of view, he still did what he felt was right at the time. But, that never stopped his fans from thronging theatres to watch his films on opening day. And that’s a true sign of a superstar.