For a First Day First Show, Kumaran theatre in Coimbatore is absolutely bereft of any activity on Friday. No haphazardly parked vehicles, no long queues, no disappointed fans who have not found a ticket …
Once you walk in, you realise why. They’ve filed into the theatre long ago and have been sitting in near-meditative silence waiting for their Chiyaan to light up the screen. It’s a full house.
As the titles roll, the chaos begins. The whistles… Oh the whistles. Within 10 minutes of director A.L. Vijay’s Thaandavam, your head begins to throb with all the screeching and squealing.
And then, things quieten down a bit, in fact a lot. You can even hear Santhanam’s dialogues. He rocks, by the way. Catcalls and wolf whistles greet Amy Jackson’s arrival. Claps abound during Anushka’s entry. A lot happens on screen. A lot more happens off it.
A young couple cozies up while the boys behind us and in the front rows decide to cook up their own dialogues. “English padam-a?” asks one, as the characters break into a flurry of Queen’s English. “Illa da, music pathina padam pola,” says another as yet another shot of the piano being played in the church fills the screen. “Dho paruda, National Geographic,” remarks one as the camera freezes on a tiny ant that saunters across the piano keys.
Behind us, a boy screams into the phone: “Suresh-ku phone panni sollunga, thappu illa…” Many concentrate on that conversation, ignoring the movie.
School boys Navin, Sanjeev and Anand are fans of Ajit, but love Vikram too, which is why this FDFS. “Everything is nice, but why is the first half so slow?” they wonder, biting into egg puffs during the interval.
Near them goldsmith P. Manigandan, ardent Chiyaan fan, bristles with righteous anger.
“He (Vikram) has done a good job, but the film is very slow. The dialogues are not good enough,” he says, and someone recalls the Picasso and Da Vinci dialogues (referring to the characters discussing these legends).
Post-interval, a number of seats in the Queen’s Circle are vacant. Evidently, the occupants are on an extended popcorn break. The remaining had a stream of doubts. “Andha Amy ponnu enna panraa padathula?”, “Thaandavam-nu yaen paer vachanga (Why did they named it Thaandavam?)”… Should it have been The Blind Man and The Piano?