CHENNAI: The police were expecting trouble, which is why they shut MRC Nagar down with a blockade. The organisers too were expecting trouble, which is why they employed over 50 bouncers and staged the programme at the only hotel with a running track for a driveway. And an hour before the audio launch of Vijay’s Kaththi was to begin, members of the Tamilaga Valvurimai Katchi caused a stir - tearing posters and condemning the producers (Lyca Productions) for their purported ties with Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We were prepared for this and so we had enough personnel to clear them off the street near MRC Marriage Hall and detained them elsewhere,” said a police official on duty. The traffic jam that resulted from over 400 policemen standing guard reached all the way to Mylapore and Besant Nagar.
For their parts, Kaththi’s director A R Murugadoss and the lead actor Vijay, have stayed mum on all the controversies that have plagued their film, till tonight. Despite the grandeur of a glitzy audio launch, held at the Leela Palace Chennai no less, the duo’s focus was on asserting where they stood on the Tamil issue.
A thinner, gaunt looking Murugadoss was particularly emotional when it was his turn to speak, “They told me not to talk about this issue, but I felt like doing it, so I am,” he said simply. “I have done films in Hindi and Telugu, but I know only one language. And that is Tamil. The only reason I have done films outside Tamil Nadu is because I wanted to prove that a man from a small village 200 kilometers away from Chennai could make films that a whole country would appreciate,” said the Ghajini and Holiday filmmaker, “My heart beats only for Tamil people and all that I have today is because of the alms given by the people of this state. I would never betray them for money.”
Vijay’s fans were denied entry and they were lined up on the roads leading to the hotel. In a surprise move, the actor stopped his car at the police barricades outside the hotel and despite being mobbed, chose to meet his fans, and walk the rest of the driveway to the venue - and still made it there before the scheduled start time.