When we heard that the audio of Vijay’s Puli was going to be launched at a resort a little past Mahabalipuram, the immediate groan was inevitable. But once we got there, the glitzy, charged with crazy fans atmosphere made up for it to a large extent. Save for the fact that there were Too many people who got on stage and many performances, there were five things that made it worth it.
Vijay’s perfect timing: It’s almost an industry standard, if not an Indian one, that the main man always comes late for his own party. Not Vijay. Though the launch was slated to start at 6 pm and every Shruti Hassan, Hansika Motwani and Sridevi arrived in varying degrees of lateness, Vijay was there an hour and a half early. The actor made sure his fans got their customary smile-and-wave before heading to the red carpet where he stood for over an hour, welcoming every single one of his guests. How’s that for South Indian hospitality?
TR Special: There are great orators. There are brilliant spokesmen. And then there’s Vijaya T Rajhendharr. We may never know if Keats was a worthy rival for the rhyme heavy beardman, but he certainly knows how to work a crowd. In a long winded, emotionally charged speech that lasted all of 18.43 minutes, TR proved that no amount of songs that take pot shots at him can take his Dandanakka away from him. He found so many adjectives and twisted pronouns to praise Vijay by calling him various kinds of Pulis (tigers), that even the fans were out of breath at the end of the verbal assault. Eventually, Vijay was so comically embarrassed that he got on stage and gave him the customary ‘shawl’ cover and persuaded him to call it a night.
Sridevi speaks Tamil again: Maybe she kept her accent well polished in the 28 years she was away, but when Sridevi got on stage to say her piece, the Tamil was near flawless. With her customary ease, the actress explained that she had taken this film when she had turned down so many others because the story excited her intensely. When asked what she had missed about the State, she said that she was always connected to Tamil and the industry that she didn’t really feel any separation anxiety.
DSP in a suit of armour: This may sound strange, but we’ve always wondered why Devi Sri Prasad was kicked about referring to himself as the rockstar. Obviously, his brand of music is a bit of a reason there but when the promo video featuring DSP was screened, the reason was crystal clear. He danced for an entire video in a suit of armour and looked happy rapping in it. Later on, DSP didn’t just get dance master Sridhar to teach him the horse riding dance step that went with the Puli theme song. He got an elderly gent who had acted as a side villain in SAC’s films in the 80s to come on stage and do the Puli boogie.
Athletic skills of Vijay fans: All they wanted was to watch the man in the white shirt speak. It took them six hours, but when it finally came, the two thousand odd fans were faced with a unique problem. On a level surface, if the guys in front of you stand up, your view is gone unless you stand on your chair. So if you stand up on your chair, the guy behind you will curse until you sit down. This is normal. But not with Vijay fans. They chambered on to the very head of the chairs and stood perched dangerously on the tips of the headboard, until Vijay finished his crisp speech.