On Thursday, all roads in Santhome led to The Leela Palace, where the audio launch of Kaththi was held. We swam through a sea of fans who had gathered there to catch a glimpse of Vijay. From the posters that read “engal nenjil kudiyirukkum dheivamey!” to t-shirts printed with cute caricatures of the star, there was a lot of love on display.
But that’s run-of-the-mill for us audio launch regulars. Die-hard fans, and their quirky merchandise.
There was something else at the venue that quite took us by surprise.
The palpable excitement among the police personnel.
So much so that we promptly burst into laughter when we overheard a young lady cop tell her colleague, “Ajith varuvaarnu solraanga. Avaraiyum paathudnum.”
Sadly though, for those star-struck police-women, Ajith was nowhere to be seen at the event.
The Kaththi audio launch also made us thankful for little things; like riding a two-wheeler for instance. It felt quite good indeed to whiz past a serpentine line of SUVs and posh cars that waited at the check-post. And, we managed to reach the venue just in time for the audio launch.
While the modest ballroom at The Leela Palace accommodated a few hundred guests, we could understand from the unique seating arrangement that the event was primarily meant for the loyal fans of the actor. Families of the cast and crew sat in front, while fans occupied a lot of seats. We managed to squeeze in along the middle row, hoping for a good view of the stage. And much to our bad luck, from where we were seated, we had to strain to catch a glimpse of Anirudh and AR Murugadoss.
But then, it was one of those rare events that began on time; and we were quite grateful for that.
Vijay made a grand entry, with speakers blaring the Kaththi theme, The Sword of Destiny, while fans chanted ‘thalapathy! thalapathy!’ incessantly.
As stoic as always, the actor parted with a faint smile for his fans, and a greeting. Vanakkam, he said, before sinking into his chair.
Also, there was no special guest to launch the audio. So when all the celebrities who were in attendance went up on stage, Vijay released the audio himself.
A chronology of events that occurred when the lights dimmed:
1. A ‘light-dance’, choreographed by Sathish, was staged, where a group of professional dancers wore a suit of lights and danced to the song, Pakkam Vandhu. We admit that it was one of the ‘highlights’ of the event. Also, Hiphop Tamizha Adhi’s lip-sync was quite perfect.
2. Anirudh was determined to hijack the event with his performance. When prodded about working in Kaththi, he said, “I had Vijay and his fans in mind when I scored music. I certainly had this responsibility of satiating his fans.” Anirudh also confessed that he has “never seen a great human being like Vijay”.
3. Madhan Karky, who has penned Google Google and Asku Laska, revealed that he worked harder to write fresh lyrics for Kaththi. And while we are at it, here are our favourite lines from the song Selfie Pulla.
இன்ஸ்டா கிராமத்துல வாடி வாழலாம்
நாம வாழும் நிமிசத்தெல்லாம்
4. Clad in a traditional attire, Neil Nitin Mukesh was one among the very few who was dressed up for the launch. He declared that Vijay helped him with his dialogues, and acting in general.
5. Samantha was seen in an East-meets-West outfit. With malli poo in her kondai, and a backless top, she managed to distract Vijay’s fans for a little while. “Every actress would want to work with Vijay. I’m so glad that I got the opportunity!” Samantha said, following which the actress jested that she would readily marry actor Sathish. And on cue, the screens flashed a photograph of the actor sporting a toothy grin.
6. Arya was given a new sobriquet at the launch. Kanavu Kannan.
7. AR Murugadoss’s emotional speech was well-received by fans. From thanking Vijay for staying with him when he was in the hospital, to proving his love for Tamil, the director seemed to have followed a mental note. “Vijay and I are never motivated by money. We are here for the love of cinema and the people of Tamil Nadu.”
8. And as Vijay finally wielded the mic, we could barely hear anything, thanks to never-ending chants and applause. “Thank you very much for this beautiful album, bro,” he told Anirudh. He also called Samantha “cute”, and explained in length about his rapport with AR Murugadoss and team. Uncharacteristically though, there were sly references too; about the controversy surrounding the production house, Lyca.
“Naan thyaagi illa,” Vijay began to deafening applause, “Aana naan dhrogiyum illa!”
It took a while for the cheers to die down, post which, the audio was officially launched.