For a Monday morning, the number of vehicles parked at Sathyam Cinemas’ was high, even for an audio launch. The reason: the movie hall’s balcony (where fans usually sit) was teeming with enthusiastic Dhanush fans. In a few minutes, cheers erupted from the balcony. Their star, Dhanush, had just walked in.
Thodari’s trailer and a song ‘Adadaa’ were screened. Based on the trailer, Thodari appears to be a train hijack drama with a love story. Strongly reminiscent of the Hollywood film Unstoppable, Thodari has been shot entirely on train sets. D Imman’s music had its usual beats, and the video had Dhanush and Keerthi Suresh excessively bobbing their heads to it.
A number of guests were called on stage (in groups of three for some reason). To the delight of the fans, they all had abundant praise for Dhanush. As the appreciation piled up, the roar from the fans got louder and louder. Statements ranged from calling him the best actor of the generation to calling him a Hollywood star. The fan frenzy escalated; there were shouts of ‘Oscar Nayagan’. And when actor Thambi Ramaiah called him Rajinikanth’s heir, half the audience had to cover their ears; so loud was the applause.
Actor Parthiban, known for his unusual quips at events, outdid even his own quirky standards. Praising Keerthi Suresh for her beauty and talent, he said that he wished parents of actresses like Keerthi would give birth to 10-12 more girls, so that there would be more talent in the industry. Thankfully, the uneasy collective murmuring from the audience assured us that we weren’t the only ones discomfited by that.
One of the guests, stunt choreographer Jaguar Thangam, might have mistaken the event for an election rally. He kept heaping praises on Dhanush, and at one point, even shouted ‘Ilaya Superstar Vazhga’ a couple of times. Producer Thanu, known for his love for classical Tamil, introduced us to the word ‘Sundarakalavi’ (a beautiful mix?). Dhanush, he said, was a ‘Sundarakalavi’ of Sivaji Ganesan and MGR.
For one beautiful moment, director Selvaraghavan, also Dhanush’s brother, spoke so well of Prabhu Solomon’s hard work, that the latter was moved to tears. As the fans in the gallery shouted ‘Pudhupettai-2!’ Selva shared a proverb about Dhanush: Thambiyudayaan Padaikku Anjaan (One who has a younger brother, need not fear any army).
A modest Dhanush said he hadn’t done enough to earn the titles the fans were attributing to him. But, he said he would work to his fullest to satisfy his fans. He encouraged the fans to do the same, and strive to achieve bigger things, and make their parents proud.
Soon after, the audio launch was over. Even as the audience for the noon show began trickling in, the lights suddenly went out, and the Thodari trailer began playing again. This time, just for Dhanush and his family.