As Ajith turns a year older, we talk to film personalities, who adore him for the person he is.

The early 90s saw the rise of ‘romantic hero’ Ajith Kumar who went on to become the biggest star of today’s generation, disbanding all his fan clubs in 2011. When Tamil cinema was ruled by Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, Thala, as he is fondly called, broke into the industry with Amaravathi (1993). Eventually, he gained a steady loyal fan base—though his initial films were not all that popular. It was AR Murugadoss’ debut venture Dheena that fetched him the ‘action hero’ tag. Now, he is unarguably ‘the King of the opening weekend’—with his films running successfully at the box-office. The extremely private Ajith isn’t on any social networking sites—stays away from media glare—neither promotes his films—nor attend events—but rides a wave of popularity. Much like Superstar, Ajith, ‘the mass actor’, is loved by the family audience, which his biggest strength till date.

Here’s what Kollywood actors say about the birthday boy Ajith:

Ashwin Kakumanu

I have always admired his ability to switch on and off from work and focus on his family and interests—be it photography, cooking or aeromodelling. I think it keeps him grounded irrespective of his massive fame and success. He is self-made, confident and people love him for who he is. It is quite hard to come across a star who can be magnanimous and courteous as Ajith sir. Also, he has an excellent sense of humour and the ability to look at the funny side of any situation—which not many have seen or known.

Akshara Haasan

I am extremely glad that I made my Tamil debut with Vivegam. Ajith sir is a true gentleman and a bundle of positive energy. He is a delight to work with and treats everyone with respect—like my dad. I remember him calling me, ‘ji’. (Laughs) I couldn’t stop talking about him ever since I met him on the sets. When we weren’t shooting, we bonded over photography. He takes such amazing photos and has an eye for detail.

Arun Vijay

Ajith sir is the sweetest and the most unassuming person I have ever met. We have discussed many things including skydiving and racing. Ever since we collaborated on Yennai Arindhaal (YA), I have been wanting to work with him again, and hope it materialises soon. On the first day of the shoot, I was extremely nervous, and I had a combination scene with him. After pulling off the action sequences, Ajith sir made sure he had good things to say about how I performed them. I was really happy. In fact, once he told me I was blessed to have a great physique! (Smiles)

Kabir Duhan Singh

I never thought I would bag a powerful role in a film like Vedalam at the beginning of my career. Undoubtedly, Ajith sir is the best co-star I have ever had and is bigger than any Bollywood star. He is extremely friendly, down-to-earth, and a gem of a person. It is hard to find an actor of his stature being cordial with everyone on the sets—be it a makeup man or someone who serves tea.

When I see Ajith sir, I get reminded of my father because both of them look similar. Our interactions have predominantly been in Hindi, and I never knew he was fluent in the language. Also, he got curious about the diet regime I followed and asked me to prepare a chart for him. I still remember how director Siva called me on the phone and reminded that I bring the chart to the shooting spot the next day (grins).

Personally, he insists that we spend time with our families. Further, Ajith sir takes good care of the unit members and cooks for his crew and that day, he had made mutton biryani. Since I don’t eat mutton, the next day, he particularly cooked chicken biryani and invited me to eat. Don’t you think that is a sweet gesture? I am lucky to have worked with him.

Pia Bajpai

I shared screen space with Ajith sir in Aegan. But back then, I didn’t know he was a Superstar. I hate myself for that (Laughs). I was starting out and was clueless about Kollywood and how things work in general. As a self-confessed Thala fan, I would love to work with him again. You can never hear someone say negative things about Ajith sir, and he is a wonderful human being. There can only be one sun, one moon and one Thala.

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