‘Varisu’ audio launch: Fan frenzy as Vijay sings ‘Ranjithame’
Vijay’s ‘kutty’ story, Rashmika’s fan-girl moment, director Vamshi’s real ‘varisu’ — The Federal captures the air of celebration at the mega Kollywood event
Any Vijay film creates much a buzz in Tamil Nadu, but his latest, the upcoming Varisu (‘Heir’), goes a step further. There’s fan frenzy as the film releases for Pongal 2023, in a headlong clash with Ajith-starrer Thunivu (‘Courage’). After a long time, Kollywood is witnessing an Ajith film and a Vijay film competing directly at the box-office.
There was an air of expectation around the audio launch of Varisu, which took place on Saturday (December 24) at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. It turned out to be a glitzy affair, with Vijay singing the blockbuster song Ranjithame, much to the delight of thousands of diehard fans of the actor. The Federal recaptures the moments.
While the fans were seated by 3 pm, the cast and crew made their entry a couple of hours later. Vijay surprised the audience with a ramp entry, greeting the audience on the way. His co-stars had nothing but praise for him. A common refrain was Vijay’s capacity for hard work and his humbleness in the face of superstardom.
Actor Shaam: ‘He commands superstardom’
Actor Shaam, who plays Vijay’s brother in Varisu, said the latter doesn’t demand but commands superstardom. “Throughout this journey, I never saw him speak ill of others. He never complained. I have worked with many pan-India superstars in my career but Vijay’s professionalism and humbleness are on a different level. Because of such unmatched qualities, he doesn’t demand but commands superstardom,” he said.
Shaam had starred in acclaimed films such as 12 B, Lesa Lesa and Ullam Ketkume, before taking a hiatus.
Sarathkumar: ‘I predicted the superstardom in 1997’
Veteran actor Sarathkumar, who plays a key role in Varisu, said he had predicted Vijay’s superstardom way back in 1997. “This is the first time I’m working with Vijay but while speaking on the 175th day of my film Suryavamsam, I mentioned in my speech that Vijay would be the next superstar.
“Kalaignar Karunanidhi, the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, asked me why I was raving about another actor in the success meet of my film but I felt that Vijay had all the qualities to become the next superstar,” recalled Sarathkumar.
Prakash Raj: ‘His growth is impeccable’
Prakash Raj, another veteran actor, is reuniting with Vijay in Varisu after 14 years. “On the sets, I could see Vijay working hard to achieve excellence in each and every scene. Everyone will be awestruck by his performance in the climax of the film. I have become a Vijay fan — his growth is impeccable.”
In the past, the Vijay-Prakash Raj combo has delivered several hits, such as Gilli, Sivakasi and Pokkiri. The cat-and-mouse game the duo played in Gilli, and Prakash Raj’s role as a comic villain in that film, have acquired cult status.
Varisu heroine Rashmika Mandanna, for one, is a Gilli fan. She recalled how she had become a Vijay fan after watching the 2004 movie, and was waiting for the opportunity to share screen space with him.
Thaman: ‘Working with Vijay is like holding Aadhaar card’
Varisu‘s music composer Thaman said he had waited for around 28 years to work with Vijay. “Just like how Aadhaar is important to all the citizens of India, working with Vijay sir is a big identity for a music composer,” he said.
“My son, who is studying in class 10, put a lot of pressure on me to deliver good songs as his friends at school would not be happy if I didn’t deliver hit numbers for Vijay sir. Now, my son is quite relieved,” he shared.
The Rajnithame number in Varisu, which was launched as a single earlier, has topped the charts, both for its catchy tune and dance steps that have been faithfully replicated by fans on Instagram Reels.
Producer Dil Raju: ‘This Pongal is ours’
Varisu‘s producer Dil Raju recalled his surprise at Vijay’s humbleness. “During our first meeting, I was waiting in Vijay’s room, and he himself came in with two cups of coffee and served me. He was well aware of my work in Telugu and readily agreed to work with me.”
Raju further said the film is dedicated to all parents, including Vijay’s parents. “Varisu is going to be a big winner in Tamil, Telugu, and North India. This Pongal is ours,” he said.
Director Vamshi: ‘He doesn’t take fans for granted’
The film’s director Vamshi Paidipally said that when he had his doubts about the film’s take-off, Vijay’s assurance was a big relief. “Vijay sir guaranteed me that I’m his next director. I’m promising here that Varisu will be a memorable film in Vijay sir’s career,” said the director.
Vamshi noted that Vijay doesn’t take his fans’ love for granted. “Vijay sir feels more responsible with the love he receives from fans. He carefully reads the script paper for each and every scene and earnestly prepares before the shot.”
All for competition
Known for his kutty (short) stories while addressing his fans at audio launches, Vijay had one this time round, too. “Love is the biggest weapon in the world,” he said, adding: “Varisu talks about love and the greatness of the family.” In line with this, he narrated a story on familial bonds.
While Ajith and Vijay’s fans have had several clashes over the decades, the stars themselves have kept the competition healthy. Yesterday, Vijay went a step further and said competition is necessary.
“In the 1990s, an actor became my competitor. Later, the competition became serious. To surpass his growth, I started working harder. We all need such a competitor in life so that we can achieve big things,” he said. If someone thought he was referring to Ajith or actor Surya, Vijay had a quick clarification. “The name of the competitor in my life is Joseph Vijay. Yes, you have to compete with yourself to win big,” he said.
A selfie and its hashtag
At the event, Vijay took a selfie with his fans and asked his manager Jagdish to post it on Twitter as he himself doesn’t know much about social media. But he was particular about the hashtag: “Hashtag Nenjil Kudiirukkum (‘residing in the heart’).”
Earlier, the actor sent a flying kiss to the audience with the signature Ranjithame step that led to another bout of fan frenzy.
“Congratulations Dil Raju sir for your varisu — I’m talking about your newborn son,” said Vijay on stage. “When can we expect the Varisu sequel — this time, I’m talking only about our film,” he quipped.
Actor Simbu, who has sung the hit track Thee Thalapathy in Varisu, came in for praise. “Simbu, I’m touched by your gesture,” Vijay said. He also thanked music composer Anirudh Ravichander for lending his voice to the album.
There were the usual Vijay touches. When singer Maanasi’s mic had a glitch, Vijay went up to the stage and got it replaced. Maanasi couldn’t stop gushing on her social media handle later.
Vijay expressed happiness at the blood donation camps conducted by his fans, with a dedicated mobile app. Around 6,000 members have registered, and 2,000 have donated blood. “Blood doesn’t discriminate against anyone based on caste, race, and religion. We should at least learn this one good quality from our blood,” he said.
There was a minor stampede outside the venue, which caused some chaos before the launch event. Some cops were reportedly hurt.