When it comes to unique actor combinations, upcoming Tamil film Maamannan is up there.
It has Vadivelu, Fahadh Faashil, Keerthy Suresh and Udhayanidhi Stalin in lead roles, names that Tamil cinema fans might have never envisioned in the same film.
This much-awaited film, directed by Mari Selvaraj and produced by Red Giant Movies, had a grand audio launch at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Thursday evening. Here are the top highlights from the star-studded affair that went on till the wee hours of Friday:
AR Rahman jams with Vadivelu
We all know Vadivelu the ace comedian. We all know that there’s a Vadivelu dialogue for every situation in life.
But, did we know how well Vadivelu can sing? Well, the Maamannan audio launch got together Vaigai Puyal (Vadivelu) and Isai Puyal (AR Rahman) on stage for a memorable performance. Armed with a harmonium, AR Rahman played his notes while Vadivelu enthralled audiences with a rendition of ‘Rasa Kannu’, a song that he has sung in the film. “The first time we met, he seemed a little nervous,” recalled Rahman, “I spoke about music composer MSV and the songs of Nagore Hanifa, and put him at ease.” Rahman went on to perform his latest track ‘Jigu Jigu Rail’ from the film that is slated to release on June 29.
Directors get the loudest cheers
Fans of Tamil cinema have always cheered for their superstars. But the Maamannan audio launch showcased a different side to fans; they cheered for the directors who had graced their occasion. From Pa Ranjith to Vetri Maaran, all filmmakers were greeted by loud cheers, something that even they were least expecting. SJ Suryah took notice and commented, “I loved the way how this crowd cheered for the directors.” Vetri Maaran added, “Tamil cinema fans are the most evolved audience.”
The Kamal Haasan touch
With the who’s who of Tamil cinema present in the audience, Kamal Haasan — the chief guest of the function — spoke extensively about the film, a special screening of which he has already seen. “This is a voice that needs to be heard. It’s not Mari’s politics, it is our politics. The success of Maamannan will determine the taste of Tamil audiences,” he said, adding that he and Ilaiyaraaja were among Vadivelu’s earliest fans. Kamal Haasan’s Thevar Magan (1992) was among the biggest inspirations for Maamannan, a fact that both Vadivelu and Mari Selvaraj attested to. “Idhu padam illa, idhu nejam (This is not a film. It is truth),” said Vadivelu, “The root of my performance in this is from what Kamal sir taught me in Thevar Magan.”
Will Udhayanidhi act again?
Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and grandson of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, turned actor in Tamil cinema a decade ago in the light-hearted comedy Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (2012). He has, since then, acted in multiple genres and been associated with various directors, but has recently announced that Maamannan is likely to be his last film, considering his current political responsibilities (he is the Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development in Tamil Nadu).
But is it? “Don’t go away from cinema. Give 40 days of your year to films,” urged Mysskin. Vadivelu himself urged Udhayanidhi to do one last film under Kamal Haasan’s production banner before bidding goodbye to cinema.
A celebration of Mari Selvaraj
Mari Selvaraj is just two films’ old — he debuted with Pariyerum Perumal and went on to work on Dhanush-starrer Karnan — but has grabbed people’s attention with his sincerity and hardwork. “I was not afraid even when I did my first film, but I was afraid of Pariyerum Perumal,” said Pa Ranjith, who went on to produce the film that had music by Santhosh Narayanan, “I was not sure how many people will understand it. But the Tamil cinema fraternity has accepted his work, and that success has propelled him to this level. Maamannan is a political story.”