Ajith Kumar is a prominent Tamil film actor, model, racing driver and philanthropist. He was born on May 1, 1971, in Hyderabad. In 1986, he studied at Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School but dropped out before finishing higher secondary. He worked as a 2-wheeler auto mechanic and got a license so he can satisfy his fondness of bike and car racing. When he turned 18, he took a job to support his racing career. Occasionally, Ajith also did ads and television commercials. Ajith was forced to decide on whether he would do films or continue racing. He focused on doing films. In 1990, Ajith debuted in a small role in the Tamil romantic film, ‘En Veedu En Kanavar’.
At 21, he started his film career in a low-budget Telugu romance film entitled ‘Prema Pusthakam’; this film was his last Telugu film till date.
Ajith debuted in the Tamil film industry through the film, ‘Amaravathi’, the directorial debut of Selva in the year 1993. This was followed by a small role in the Tamil film, ‘Paasamalargal’ in 1994 and a supporting lead role in K. Subhaash’s ‘
Pavithra’, where he played an ailing patient.
In 1995, he played the lead role in Janaki Soundar’s ‘
Rajavin Parvaiyile’ along with Indraja. In the same year, he starred in the box-office hit film, ‘
Aasai’ opposite Suvalakshmi, which was produced by
Mani Ratnam . Subsequently, Ajith acted in ‘Kalloori Vaasal’ along with
Pooja Bhatt in 1996. This was followed by his second blockbuster epistolary film, ‘Kadhal Kottai’, along with Devayani in the lead role. The film has won the Best Feature Film in Tamil, Best Direction and Best Screenplay at the National Film Award. Ajith made a series of classical films in the following year including Amitabh Bachchan’s production venture, ‘Ullaasam’. He returned in the year 1998 with another blockbuster entitled ‘Kaadhal Mannan’. Ajith also appeared in successful films like ‘Aval Varuvala’. The 1998 Tamil film, ‘Uyirodu Uyiraga’ flopped at the box-office, but the following three films in 1998 and six films in the year 1999 became box-office hits. The films ‘Thodarum’ and ‘Unnaithedi’ were both successful as well.
In the year 1999, the actor appeared in the thriller film, ‘
Vaali’, where he played a dual role, along with Simran in the lead role. This film became one of Ajith’s biggest hits after its release and gained him many accolades at the Filmfare for Best Actor category. This was followed by two more Tamil films, ‘Anantha Poongatre’, and ‘
Nee Varuvai Ena’, which also gained him applauds for his brilliant performance. Another blockbuster entitled ‘Amarkalam’, which was written and helmed by Saran and features his wife, Shalini. The couple started dating during the shoot of the film and got married in April 2000. They have two children together.
The directorial debut of A.R. Murugadoss, ‘
Dheena’ marked the beginning of Ajith’s new image as an action hero. His next film, ‘
Citizen’, was a commercial success even though the critics called it as a disappointment. This was followed by a performance in Ezhil’s ‘Poovellam Un Vasam’ in the year 2001. The film became critically and commercially successful and won many awards. He ended the year with a performance in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Asoka’. He acted in three films such as ‘
Red’, ‘Raja’ and ‘Villain’ in the year 2002. The first two failed to make it to the box-office, while the latter became a blockbuster, in which Ajith was seen acting in dual role. Ajith won his second Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actor for this film.
He was seen in ‘Ennai Thalatta Varuvala’ and ‘
Anjaneya’ in 2003, but both films failed commercially. Ajith’s next was the Tamil action film ‘Jana’, along with Sneha, was also a big failure. His only film that was a hit in that period was the action masala film ‘
Attagasam’ in the year 2004. He took a sabbatical after his film, ‘Ji’, failed at the box-office despite the positive reviews and strong opening.
Ajith made a comeback in the year 2006 in P. Vasu’s Paramasivan, where he lost 20kgs. His next film, ‘Thirupathi’ turned out to be above average at the box-office, despite receiving poor reviews. His long-delayed action thriller film, ‘Varalaru’, became Ajith’s biggest success until now. He was seen portraying three different characters where he was praised critically. Ajith won his third Filmfare Award for Best Actor in this blockbuster film. His first film in year 2007 entitled ‘
Aalwar’, became a catastrophe at the box-office. His next film, ‘Kireedam’ received positive reviews and turned out to be a moderate success.
In year 2007, he starred in the Tamil gangster-thriller film, ‘
Billa’, helmed by Vishnuvardhan. The film is a remake of Rajinikanth-starrer film in 1980 and it turned out to be a blockbuster hit. After this, he acted in Raju Sundaram’s action-comedy film, ‘Aegan’ in 2008 that failed at the box-office.
Ajith’s ‘Asal’, which was released in 2010, also failed at the box-office. He later appeared in the action heist film, ‘
Mankatha’ in 2011, which marked as his 50th film and his most financially successful venture. Later, he starred in ‘Billa II’, a prequel of the blockbuster hit film ‘Billa’ in 2007. He also starred in the thriller drama film, ‘
Arrambam’, along with Arya and Nayantara in the lead role. This film grossed a total of ₹1 Billion worldwide. Next year, he acted in Gautham Menon’s ‘
Yennai Arindhaal’ alongside
Anushka Shetty, Vivek and
Parvathy Nair. Ajith became the Tamil Nadu’s brand ambassador of Nescafe in the year 2004. Besides acting, he was keen in race car driving and already drove in circuits around Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai. He is the only Indian actor to compete at the championships of Formula such as the 2003 Formula Asia BMW Championships and the 2010 Formula 2 Championships. He went to several countries to race including Malaysia and Germany.
Ajith founded the non-profit organization called Mohini-Mani Foundation to promote proper self-hygiene and public consciousness and also to help in relieving the issues of urban sprawl.