Ajith Kumar (born 1 May 1971) is an Indian actor who works predominantly in Tamil cinema. Referred to by fans and media as "Thala" (Leader). To date, Ajith has starred in over 50 films. Among his awards include four Vijay Awards, three Cinema Express Awards, three Filmfare Awards South and three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. In addition to his acting, he is also a motor car racer and participated in the MRF Racing series (2010).
He began his career with a small role in the 1990 Tamil film En Veedu En Kanavar. He established himself as a romantic hero with Kadhal Kottai (1996), Aval Varuvala (1998) and Kadhal Mannan (1998), and established himself as an action hero starting with film Amarkalam (1999). Ajith's dual portrayal of twin brothers—where one is deaf-mute—in S. J. Surya's Vaali (1999) won him his first Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actor. He earned critical acclaim for his dual role performance in the vigilante film Citizen (2001). In 2006, he starred in Varalaru, in which he played three different roles. It became the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2006. The following year he starred in two remakes—Kireedam (2007) and Billa (2007), both of which earned him critical acclaim. Ajith played an antihero in Mankatha (2011), which became one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of all time. His next release, Billa II (2012), was Tamil cinema's first prequel.Ajith became a race car driver, competing in circuits around India in places such as Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. He is one among very few Indians to race in the International arena and in Formula championships. He has also been abroad for various races, including Germany and Malaysia. He drove in the 2003 Formula Asia BMW Championships. He raced in the 2010 Formula 2 Championship along with two other Indians, Armaan Ebrahim and Parthiva Sureshwaren. Based on the annual earnings of Indian celebrities, he was included in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list three times.