The terminology superstar is so synonymous with Rajinikanth, it's impossible to picture anybody in his shoes when you tend to use that for any other actor in the Indian film industry. Rajini reiterated his nation wide popularity recently (well, not too recently but still!) with the smash hit Endhiran. So when comparisons arise, it's obvious you tend to be careful lest you invite the wrath of millions of die-hard superstar fans from around the globe. All that apart, going by the current trade results, Vijay can undoubtedly be called as the superstar of south India.
More than an actor's commercial value and the promising statistical data of his films making business, it's important to gauge his popularity by counting his fans. Firstly, Vijay's fan base is on an ever expanding spree and he has found a strong hold among fans not only in Tamil Nadu but also in parts of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu, obviously is the strongest among the lot and Vijay has a strong presence in the cyberspace with an enviable representation of his brand among his net savvy fans. There are hundreds of blogs and forums that discuss and closely followed by his ardent fans. Not to mention, he has numerous Facebook pages and even websites dedicated to news on him.
It's a fact that Vijay's films enjoy success in Kerala. Strangely, for a state that is averse of hero worshiping, Kerala has emerged as Vijay's biggest fan base outside Tamil Nadu. His films are sold at enviable rates in Kerala and make profits. Even a film like Bodyguard, that was originally made in Malayalam, enjoyed good business in the state. Close on the heels of Kerala, Andhra is emerging as a strong fan base for Vijay. His movies, dubbed and released in Telugu, are as successful as some original Telugu ones.
Snehithudu, the Telugu dubbing of Nanban, is making business like crazy in the lands of Tollywood. It's also reported that Snehithudu has even surpassed the business made by Mahesh Babu's latest super hit Businessman. And Mahesh Babu is considered to be one of the commercially viable actors in the Telugu industry that makes generally good business throughout the year.
Nanban's business has been seen as a clincher for Vijay's commercial status. Nanban not only received the best opening, it reportedly received the second biggest opening for a Tamil film so far, but it gained positive reviews as well as commercial success. Made at a budget of 60 crores, Nanban has already garnered enough money with its phenomenal advance booking. All the money it makes now is profit and it's running to packed houses in all the theatres, in which it was released.
It has also been a good year beginning for Vijay, after a fairly successful 2010. Two of his movies appeared in the top 10 best grossers in the year 2010 - Kaavalan and Velayutham. Nanban is all set to lead the same countdown this year. Vijay's year ahead is also looking promising with movies directed by renowned directors including A R Murugadoss (Thuppakki) and Gautham Menon (Yohan: Adhyayam Ondru) in the pipeline. The success of these movies will also seal the deal and make him on of the biggest superstars of South India.