Admit it, we are greedy. The annual Chennai Open Tennis tournament, Margazhi concerts, IPL matches aren’t enough. We need more to entertain us! Fortunately the event organisers have finally taken note, and as a result, there were quite a few exciting events in the city this year. (Phew! No longer do we have to feel like those kids in school who got left out of the cool parties.) Here’s a recap of the top five events that made us feel like the coast with the most.
Star-studded: We love our Rajnikanth and Sivaji Ganesan...but we also love Aamir, Shah Rukh and a battalion of other Bollywood stars just as much. Call it playing hard to get or lack of awareness of their popularity here, the actors who were earlier elusive now know better than to forgo Chennai and its host of cinema crazy fans when they are on their promotional rounds. King Khan and Deepika Padukone danced about in lungis and Kanjivaram saris before dashing in and out of this city to promote Chennai Express. Hrithik Roshan followed suit, interacting with the media at Sathyam just after the release of Krrish 3. And more recently the cast of Dhoom 3 as part of their D(h)oomsday conspiracy flew in to the city in a private jet to ensure we watch their masala action film. When else have we got to see Aamir, Abhishek Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Uday Chopra all together under one roof that too in Chennai. Well, do not underestimate the power of a common fan!
Right move: The World Chess Championship is a big deal...especially if it’s happening in Chennai. This year the event took place here…there were banners along the roads and life-size chess boards and pieces; and this was perhaps the only time when Chennaiites, including people with little or no knowledge about the game, spent quite some time talking about chess and hovering around the venue. Yes, a lot of us even spent ample time Googling “chess rules” and “Magnus Carlsen”! Too bad, local hero Vishwanathan Anand didn’t win the title, but it still made us proud to be hosting such a prestigious competition.
High note: We’ve been lucky this way. A lot of popular singers perform here and the turnout is phenomenal. This year a rather unlikely singer made his live show debut here — Honey Singh. And was he a hit? Yo! Yo! The euphoric young crowd gathered at the venue sure confirmed the same, proving that we just love music — be it Tamil, Hindi, English or even Punjabi. Then came the multi-faceted Farhan Akhtar performing his repertoire of offbeat tracks. With his gravelly voice, handlebar moustache and impromptu push ups on stage this artiste managed to win over the audience who danced and sang along. Are we ready for an encore? Of course, bring them on!
Word power A lot of us during our formative years have just read the Chicken Soup series. This year gave us an opportunity to meet/catch a glimpse of the bestselling author. A hall full of audience listened intently as Jack Canfield, the author who was apparently rejected 144 times, told them how to persevere and get what they want and be what they want.
A book that was published in 1992 is still often seen in circulation. So it was only obvious for John Gray, the author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus to be brought to Chennai. He imparted his words of wisdom as his legion of readers/followers sat through the (exorbitantly priced) session making mental notes on how not to let their relationships crumble. Apart from the Chennai audiences being well read and good listeners, the other reason for us to be in the reckoning for such events could also be the fact that we are generous with our purse strings.
Funny take “Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad!” The man who made this phrase famous, Russell Peters, performed in the city during his Notorious India tour. The tickets, we hear, were sold out in record time. The stand-up comedian’s much-awaited act left the audiences amused. His risqué, double entendre humour tickled the crowd, right from young adults to stern-faced elderly men and women who laughed and sportingly put up with his insulting jabs when he picked on them. And you thought the “conservative” city doesn’t get humour?
Spice route If you are a fan of the well-packaged, fancy food shows on television, it would be blasphemous to not know who Gary Mehigan is. One of the judges on MasterChef Australia, Gary’s nod of appreciation is like the Holy Grail for the participants. He was in the city as part of Ozfest (organised by the Australian Trade Commission in partnership with Hyatt Regency) doing what he does best — cooking…as part of a cook-off. Also, the master chef did seem quite pleased with his appam-making skills.