Varisu Thunivu Vijay Ajith
This is not the first time that Ajith and Vijay are clashing at the box office.

Vijay's Varisu vs Ajith's Thunivu: Kollywood gears up for epic Pongal clash

Trade is excited for one of the biggest box-office clashes in Tamil cinema, but experts say it may not be a great move; we look at past clashes

Kollywood trade is gearing up for an all-time epic clash with Tamil cinema’s two biggest superstars of this generation Vijay and Ajith locking horns for the 2023 Pongal with their films Varisu and Thunivu respectively.

“Distributors and many other people in the trade had tried their best to avert the clash but the producers of both the biggies have locked the release date,” says an insider who requested anonymity.

Also read: No Vijay or Ajith film: Diwali sparkle missing in TN theatres this year

This is not the first time that Ajith and Vijay are clashing at the box office, they had tried the crowd-pulling power multiple times by competing with each other at the ticket window.

Ajith vs Vijay clash – A recap


For Pongal 1996, Ajith’s Vanmathi and Vijay’s Coimbatore Mapillai had clashed. Back then, these superstars were making their baby steps into the industry. While Vanmathi was a hit at the box office, Coimbatore Mapillai was just an average grosser.

One month later, the same year, Ajith and Prashanth’s Kalloori Vaasal and Vijay’s Poove Unakaga were released in February 1996. Poove Unakaga was a blockbuster that created a strong family audience base for Vijay. Kalloori Vaasal (released three days after Poove Unakaga) was a colossal failure.

Verdict: Ajith scored a hit and one flop, and Vijay had a blockbuster and an average grosser.

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In 1997, Ajith’s Nesam and Vijay’s Kallamellam Kaathirupen were released for Pongal, and both films sunk at the box office.

In the same year, Ajith’s Rettai Jaadai Vayasu was released on December 12, and Vijay’s Kadhaluku Mariyadhai hit the theatres on December 19. Kadhalukku Mariyadhai was a massive blockbuster strengthening Vijay’s core family audience base but Rettai Jadai Vayasu was a box office failure.

Verdict: Vijay scored a blockbuster and a flop, and Ajith had two flops.


In 1999, Vijay’s Thullatha Manamum Thullum was released on January 29 and within one week, Ajith’s Unnai Thedi got released on February 5. Thullatha Manamum Thullum was a blockbuster in Tamil Nadu and earned today’s strong Kerala market for Vijay. Unnai Thedi was also a box-office hit.

Verdict: A blockbuster for Vija; a hit for Ajith.

Also read: The big battle to get small regional films released on OTT


On May 19, Vijay’s Kushi and Ajith’s Unnai Kodu Ennai Tharuven had a same-day clash at the box office. The Ajith starrer couldn’t mint great money but Vijay’s movie became a blockbuster in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Verdict: Vijay scored a blockbuster, and Ajith a flop.


For Pongal 2001, Ajith’s Dheena and Vijay’s Friends (also starring Suriya) had released. Both films were blockbusters with Dheena giving the title Thala to Ajith.

Verdict: A memorable Pongal for both the stars.

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For Diwali 2022, Ajith’s Villain and Vijay’s Baghavathi clashed at the box office. Villain was a blockbuster while Baghavathi was an average grosser. But the biggest winner of the Diwali was Captain Vijayakanth’s Ramanna.

Verdict: Ajith won the clash hands-down


For Diwali 2003, Ajith’s Anjaneya and Vijay’s Thirumalai locked horns in Tamil Nadu’s theatres along with Vikram and Suriya’s Pithamagan.

Anjaneya was a box-office failure, Thirumalai was a super hit whereas Pithamagan was a blockbuster.

Verdict: Vijay won the clash.


In 2006 Pongal, Vijay’s Aadhi, and Ajith’s Paramasivam clashed at the box office. The Ajith starrer had a better word of mouth compared to the Vijay starrer. But both films failed to set the box office on fire.

Verdict: No winner.


Again in 2007 Pongal, Vijay’s Pokkiri, and Ajith’s Aalwar clashed at the box office. Pokkiri was the biggest non-Rajini blockbuster while Aalwar was a terrible box-office failure.

Verdict: Vijay won.


Seven years later, for Pongal 2014, Vijay’s Jilla and Ajith’s Veeram were released on the same day. While Jilla led Veeram at the worldwide box office, Veeram had a marginal lead over Jilla in Tamil Nadu.

Verdict: Average Pongal for both stars.

So far, 2001 Pongal is the only festival season that benefitted both Ajith and Vijay. In most of the head-to-head clashes on the same day, only one of them won. But when The Federal spoke to Tamil film industry folks, most of them are quite excited about the clash.

Sakthivelan, a famous distributor and exhibitor from Tamil Nadu, said, “If both the films win big at the box office, it will pave way for more such clashes as a result. There won’t be many solo releases. When big films prefer to get a solo release, they take away the entire month and medium-budget film producers couldn’t find any free dates. I also feel that if the content is good, both films will have a long run. In the entertainment industry, it’s nothing wrong to give multiple choices to audiences instead of forcing them to watch only one film during a festival weekend.”

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But Dhananjayan, film historian, producer, and distributor, feels that a solo release is better. “Industry needs one big film every month to have a good inflow of audiences. Had both films scheduled their release with a gap of two to three weeks, the industry would witness more money flow. Now, Pongal weekend will be great for sure but we have to wait and see, whether both films would create any new records,” he said.

Tirunelveli Ram Muthuram Cinema’s Ramasamy Raja also welcomed the clash. “More than one release for festivals, we would love to have multiple releases on the same day. The footfall will be great, and the other form of revenue like food and beverage sales and parking will be excellent. While I would be able to accommodate both films in my two screens (equal capacity), theatre owners who have one big and one small screen will find it difficult to schedule shows for both Varisu and Thunivu as they have equal scope to pull the audiences.”

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