Vikram was born as Kennedy to a Christian father and a Hindu mother in Madras, Tamil Nadu. His father, John Victor (alias Vinod Raj) was a native of Paramakudi and ran away from home to start a career in films. His father, however, did not fare successfully, and only managed to act in supporting roles in Tamil films and television serials and this inspired Vikram to take part in theatre lessons and become professionally trained in classical and cinema dance forms to ensure he became a leading actor. Rajeshwari, Vikram's mother, was a sub-collector and her brother, Thyagarajan is an established director-actor in the Tamil film industry; with his son, actor Prashanth, being Vikram's first cousin.

Vikram has a younger brother, Arvind who lives in Dubai, U.A.E. He was previously set to make his film debut as a Villain in the 2008 film Saroja but eventually did not feature.

Vikram began his professional career by modelling in advert films for brands including Chola Tea, TVS Excel and Alwyn watches as well as appearing in a six episode television serial titled Galatta Kudumbam, which aired between November and December 1988. During the final year of his M.B.A programme at Loyola College, he was recognised by the film industry, with veteran director C. V. Sridhar approaching him for a lead role in a film.

Apart from acting, Vikram has also been a part of other film-making processes with credits as a playback singer and as an assistant director. In 2000, Vikram and actress Meena launched a pop album titled Kadhalism, which the pair would sing and appear in music videos for, although the project was completed without much promotion.

Vikram met Shailaja Balakrishnan in the late 1980s. Vikram got married to Shailaja in 1992 at Guruvayoor in an event which saw dozens of other couples get married at the same time at the same place. The pair also then had a low-key wedding ceremony conducted at the church at Loyola College, Chennai. She originates from Thalassery, Kerala and now works as a psychology teacher at a leading Chennai school.

Shailaja also worked with the team of Deiva Thirumagal by giving professional advice on how people with special needs are treated and helping develop the character played by Vikram. The couple has a daughter Akshita and a son Dhruv.

His daughter married Manu Ranjith, the great-grandson of M. Karunanidhi on 30 October 30 2017. He resides near the beach in Besant Nagar, Chennai and has stated that he would remain based in Chennai regardless of any offers in other regional films. His son is making his debut in Tamil cinema with Varma, the remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy.

Vikram has promoted various social causes and appeared as the Youth Envoy for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 2011. He has been a brand ambassador of Sanjeevani Trust and a school for special children, Vidya Sudha, which he stayed at during the making of Deiva Thirumagal as well as having long-term associations with the Kasi Eye Care and running his own welfare association through the Vikram Foundation.

In 2016, he produced and directed the video to the flood relief anthem, Spirit of Chennai, as a tribute to the city's volunteers following the 2015 South Indian floods.

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