Crowd gives a thumbs up to Vijay’s 'Theri'

Policemen and security guards struggled to get the fans to settle down on their seats as they jostled to dance right in front of the screen.

Updated - December 05, 2021 09:03 am IST

Published - April 14, 2016 01:47 pm IST - Chennai

Crowd pours in to catch the first-day screening at Albert Theatre in Chennai.

Crowd pours in to catch the first-day screening at Albert Theatre in Chennai.

There couldn’t have been a better way to usher in the Tamil New Year for Vijay fans. Egmore’s Albert Theatre, considered a film lover’s Mecca to catch a star’s first-day-first-show, was decked in all its fineries to showcase one of the biggest releases of the year.

Eavesdropping on a conversation revealed that tickets (on the black market) were being sold for as high as Rs.700 (10 times its actual value!) for the special 8 a.m show.

As fans waited for the gates to open, the police force (which I’m told numbered around 30 policemen) frisked everyone before letting them enter the premises. A young fan, who was found carrying firecrackers into the screen, was sent out unceremoniously, even as a whole box of fireworks were being confiscated by cops at the gate.

But this lack of firecrackers didn’t deter the sonorous mood at the theatre. The fans more than made up for the lack of explosives. Their war cry, a jibe at Ajith’s Vedhalam , was thapalathy therika vida porom as they marched into the theatre.

As a season of freebies, members of the Vijay’s Rasigar Mandram too doled out their share of gifts to fans waiting in line—a stainless steel tumbler, one laddoo, and bar of Munch for everyone.

The customary abishekams too seemed to have gotten a facelift. Apart from the usual palabishekams , fans poured bottles of Fanta and Coca Cola on cut-outs of their star. A fan, mistaking it for a packet of milk, smuggled in a packet of curd—not that it deterred him from performing the abishekam anyway. Another fan’s effort to pour beer was quickly, and efficiently, halted by an angry policeman.

The authorities started playing the film a good 20 minutes after it was originally scheduled to. Policemen and security guards struggled to get the fans to settle down on their seats as they jostled to dance right in front of the screen. But there was nothing anyone could do to stop the audience from erupting as ‘Jithu Jilladi’ came on.

During the interval break, the audience obsessed over sending tweets and messages about the film so far. Ram Kumar, who sat next to me, sent a single message to all his Whatsapp groups — ‘ Theri semma massu da!

This seemed to be the general feeling around the theatre too during interval break. Gokul, a college student and an ‘Illayathalapathy veriyan’ said, “I was worried it would be similar to Yennai Arindhaal when I saw the trailer. But the film is totally different and I’m relieved. I can’t wait to see Vijay’s other avatar. Hope the second half is as good as the first.” His friend, who seemed even happier, said, “Feels like we got back the old Vijay.”

The film didn’t disappoint. “Atlee didn’t let us down’, Gokul exclaimed after the film got over. “We can forget Puli now,” he says.

As they left, the audience welcomed the fans waiting for the next show with unanimous jubilation. “Pakka padam macha. Super da,” said Pandian to an eager looking fan at the gate. “Second half is just as good as the first half”.

“We want emotion and comedy from Vijay and not just action. This film gave us that and we weren’t bored for a single second. I loved it,” says Dhanush, who works at a Hotel.

“Some fans may want more fight scenes but I liked it the way it is. Even non-fans will like the film because of this,” added Balaji, an IT professional.

Another fan, wearing a Thalaiva t-shirt says, “The comedy worked just as well as the sentiment. I enjoyed the equation between Vijay and the little girl. Family audiences and women are going to love it.”

He adds, “It’s the first time that another character’s dialogue is going to be popular after a Vijay film. It’s not Vijay’s dialogue that’s going to go viral, its little Nainika’s ‘Theri Baby’ that has become our new punchline.”

The author was at Albert Theatre to catch the first-day-first-show of Theri

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