Reporting by Janani K; Photos by Sriram Narasimhan. Photos from the press meet are below the report.
Prasad Labs is lit up with Madhavan’s endearing smile as he walks in. There’s little anyone can do, but smile back at him. He enters through one door and leaves through the other. Outside, he talks to producer Sashikanth, of Y Not Studios. Director Sudha Kongara Prasad enters next, sporting aviators and a Gap sweatshirt. Unlike Madhavan, she sits down with us and talks about how overwhelming the reviews for Irudhi Suttru were. Madhavan re-enters, and realises that the seats are taken. “It’s alright,” he says, “I’ll sit on Sudha.” Before anyone can react, Sudha is yelling.
When the joking subsides, we congratulate Madhavan for such a vivid portrayal of Prabhu. He says, “Today is the day I feel bad for not able to read Tamil fluently. So many great reviews for Irudhi Suttru. My friends kept sending me voice messages about them.”
In a couple of minutes, Prasad Labs is bustling with celebrities, photographers, and fellow journalists. Producer G Dhananjayan begins the thanksgiving meet with an eight minute video from the Irudhi Suttru premiere in Chennai. Producer Sashikanth says that producing Irudhi Suttru was a nightmare, “So much pressure in these four years. Literally, we thought that this might our ‘last round’ in the industry. But, glad that the film found its right place.”
The Irudhi Suttru thanksgiving meet turns into a mini award ceremony when Producer Council members T Siva and Kalaipuli S Thanu present medals to the crew. The Cinema Pathrigaiyalar Sangam and Naren (National Champion), representing the Boxers Association, also honour the team. Editor Sathish Surya echoes our thoughts when he says, “I think this is the first film to have received an award within 3 days of its release.” Dialogue writer Arun Matheshwaran says writing dialogues for Irudhi Suttru was easy. Although, he says Ritika had to be taught many Tamil profanities, to bring authenticity to her character.
Actor Kaali Venkat, who plays Saamikannu, becomes emotional as he talks. He says, “During the script reading session in Mumbai, I really wanted to prove myself. So, I had memorised all the Hindi dialogues. I began reciting them and everyone started laughing. I felt happy, thinking they were laughing at my comic rendition. But all my joy went away when Madhavan told me that I had [inadvertently] uttered a profane word, and that’s why people were laughing. Also, when we were shooting for the climax, I was so emotional that I couldn’t stop crying for 10 minutes. The entire crew was silent. Every time I see it on screen, I feel overwhelmed.”
Ritika Singh, who portrayed Madhie, has her own list of people to thank. She says, “[Thanks to] Madhavan, director Sudha Kongara Prasad, and Sashikanth, who had faith in me. They even fought wars for me. The ‘Vaa Machaney’ song is my favourite. To all the fisherwoman in Nochikuppam and to all those who believed in me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Director Sudha can’t stop smiling. She says, “When I was at the Irudhi Suttru premiere at the Sathyam Cinemas, I started receiving 8 to 10 calls at a time. Believe me, more than the female journalists, the male journalists called me and started crying. I am crying too. From the start, everyone who criticised the project, said it would work in Hindi only. But, the film took two days to gather momentum in the Hindi market. In Tamil Nadu, it only took two shows.” By then, she is moved to tears.
So is Madhavan. Madhavan says that Tamil cinema is his life and he would never leave the industry. He says, “Nothing was going the right way for us from the start. Whenever we faced hurdles, we were looking for at least some sign to continue. When we screened the movie for the press, the reviews were so overwhelming. The reviews were the sign. A sign of relief. It gave us a lot of confidence and also motivated us to outperform in our next venture.”