It took us over an hour to get to the venue of I‘s audio launch. New posters of the film lined the driveway to the Nehru Stadium while the crowd pushed against the gates, demanding to be let inside. A steady stream of stars trickled in, with Powerstar Srinivasan leading the way. Just as it began to get a little dark, there was a sudden lull in activity. Volunteers began to rush towards the entrance and in walked the Superstar. Striding quickly towards his seat, with the agility of a man twenty years younger, the actor acknowledged the roars from the audience with a simple vanakkam and his trademark smile. Soon enough, Arnold Schwarzenegger came in accompanied by his entourage, one of whom looked like the onnu vitta cousin of the Baldwins. The star had just finished an interview, where he had to bat difficult questions about his favourite food and his Bollywood career; but betrayed no sign of his unease.
While it wasn’t your usual audio launch event where a line-up of industry heavyweights congratulate the film, it wasn’t all that different either. Snapshots:
1. Powerstar Sreenivasan made his presence felt by practicing some unique facial exercises for the camera. Needless to say, the audience appreciated him for the effort.
2. Chinmayi and Bobby Simhaa tried to make the event a fun one. They really did. But due to several technical issues and mishaps, nobody was in any mood to appreciate Bobby’s famous ‘Kill and Laugh’ gag from his Jigarthanda.
3. Shankar and AR Rahman were quite possibly the best dressed technicians around. Shankar made do with a casual blazer and jeans while Rahman’s flyaway hair was a definite hit. With us, at least.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger wore boots to Chennai. With a gray suit. And an orange t-shirt. Ever the maverick, our Arnold!
5. Despite several attempts from the beleaguered hosts, Rajinikanth refused to say anything about Shankar. “Adhukku innum time irukku,” he said when Chinmayi insisted.
6. Vikram’s grand entry was hit with technical issues several times. But when it finally came together during the performance of the song, Ennodu Nee Irunthal, it was out of this world. In the garb of a snarling beast (that probably inhabits Narnia), the star emerged on-stage to a stunned audience. Amy Jackson in her jewelled corset and skirt provided quite the contrast.
7. Several members of the audience refused to believe that this monster on-stage was Vikram, the man who had terrorized rowdy gangs the world over and also, romanced pretty south Indian girls. But when he opened his mouth and started thanking everybody, doubts were put to rest.
8. Amy Jackson floored us all when she said,”romba sandhoshama irukku“. We’ll take this any day over “konjam konjam theriyum“. She also wore several gorgeous outfits, each one more glittery than the other. But she shined the brightest. (We like Amy, okay.)
9. The I stage also played host to a group of bodybuilders who performed to a medley of Rajini’s biggest hits. Once they were done, they all kneeled in front of Arnold, a sign of respect for the man they all call ‘the God of Bodybuilding’. A delighted Arnold rushed towards them, congratulated each and every one of them, and even posed for a picture with them later on.
10. When Vikram made an appearance again, this time as himself, Arnold had left the scene for he had a flight to catch. Naturally, everybody was a little disappointed. But Vikram did the Remo ramp-walk for us and made us all feel better. #Anniyan Days.
11. Though Arnold did leave a little early, we were quite sure that he’d ‘come back’. Sorry, we just couldn’t resist.
12. Rajinikanth launched the audio with Puneet Rajkumar and even stayed through Ana Yang’s bubble show and the fashion show that Amy Jackson headlined. He managed to stay till the end of the evening, only leaving minutes before the end of the show. And when he did, the crowd left with him.