An emotional Silambarasan TR, a confident Venkat Prabhu set the stage for Maanaadu 

The pre-release event of Silambarasan-Venkat Prabhu's Maanaadu was no less exciting than an FDFS of a star vehicle 
An emotional Silambarasan TR, a confident Venkat Prabhu set the stage for Maanaadu 

Emotions ran high at the pre-release event of Maanaadu. Heavy rain was no deterrent to the scores of fans who were there to catch a sight of their idol, Silambarasan TR. The organisers did have a tough time settling the fans down when they almost mobbed Silambarasan before the event commenced. Like many guests had aptly pointed out, the atmosphere was more of an FDFS. 

The film is being billed as Silambarasan’s comeback, (in a new trailer screened at the event, the actor says, “Vandhutten... thirumbi.”); the event marked another comeback as well, that of the venue, Krishnaveni theatre. The single-screen theatre has been recently renovated and the pre-release event of Maanaadu is the first event being organised there. Senior actor YG Mahendran recalled his experiences of skipping college as a youngster to catch several successful films of MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, and K Balachander at the theatre, and went to say that Maanaadu will recreate the victory of the films he has seen there.

Among the several prominent film personalities who graced the event was veteran filmmaker Bharathiraja, who, in a lighter vein, made it a point to walk up to the mic, even when it was being handed over to him. Having acted alongside Simbu in Eeswaran, he called his co-star a “lovely boy” and wittily addressed the film’s action sequences by saying, “I want to make an action film to compete with Venkat Prabhu now.”

While every guest was vocal about their admiration towards Silambarasan, it was producer Thyagarajan whose words stood out from the rest of the adulation the actor was being showered with. “Back in the day, Rajinikanth and I were filming in Vijaya Vauhani studios when we heard everyone were eager to get a glimpse of the shooting that was happening on the adjacent floor. We saw Simbu perform in front of the camera, and Rajinikanth said, “intha paiyyan perusa varuvaan’.” Of all the plaudits he has heard today, I'm sure that's the one Silambarasan will be taking home.

Venkat Prabhu’s calm-headedness was a recurring point that several guests had posited, from producer T Siva, who bankrolled the filmmaker’s Saroja and Party, to Stunt Silva, the action choreographer of Maanaadu. “Venkat Prabhu is the Captain cool of the filmmakers,” a guest said, and the analogy seemed fitting considering the filmmaker’s journey began with a film about cricket. “He is still standing on the first step and there are many more heights for him to achieve,” Siva said, adding, “Venkat Prabhu is the only one in Tamil film industry who is capable of pulling off a film like Maanaadu.”

Yuvan Shankar Raja's work, especially his background score, was appreciated by those who had seen the film. Yuvan, however, being a man of few words, kept his speech brief. "When Venkat Prabhu narrated the story, I was puzzled and wondered how it would translate onto the screen. Watching the footage, though, gave me positive energy. Simbu has done a phenomenal job, and you'll see the actor in a different shade this time around.

Venkat Prabhu, expectedly, maintained his speech in a light tone, and one quip that had the auditorium in splits was when he said it's not necessary for him to thank Yuvan for his contribution. "Yen na avanuku vera vazhii kedayaathu," Venkat humorously remarked, before going on to praise the music composer. "There's a seven-minute sequence in the film, which always leaves me in tears. Silambarasan and SJ Suryah have delivered great performances, and it's Yuvan's music that further accentuates the scene."

The filmmaker was particular about thanking everyone from the film's team, from his assistant directors to publicity designers, especially his editor Praveen KL, who hits a century with Maanaadu.  

The event was not overshadowed completely by Silambarasan though. SJ Suryah, whom producer T Siva called “Naveena Nambiyar,” shared the limelight equally. When Suryah delivered his famous dialogue from the film’s trailer, “Vandhaan, suttaan, setthaan, repeat’u,” it was met with a blazing reaction from the packed auditorium. The film’s producer, Suresh Kamatchi, had revealed that the Mersal-actor has dubbed for the film’s Telugu version as well, and he did deliver the same dialogue in Telugu, and the response, once again, was equally thunderous akin to the weather outside the auditorium. Suryah’s Telugu dialogue also lead to one of the funniest moments of the event, when Silambarasan mimicked his co-star’s enthusiasm to dub for himself.

You can see the video here:

Maanaadu was announced in 2018 and the production of the film has witnessed several difficulties. Silambarasan thanked his producer for holding onto the film through the arduous phase and shared that the film’s take on religion intrigued him the most. And then… there was a sudden silence for a few brief moments, with Silamabarasan finding it hard to continue with his speech. The actor eventually broke down before cheers and hoots from his fans pervaded the auditorium, with all of them chanting his name in synchronisation. He summoned his thoughts to end his speech and the event on a high. “I have faced too many problems. I will look after the issues… you look after me…”

The promotional event was, indeed, cinematic. 

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