Chennai, these days, is under a pleasant spell of weather which makes people look up to their calendar to check what time of the year they are in. Adding to this spell of pleasantness, the contest winners of behindwoods.com had one more reason to rejoice – their meeting with Cheeyan Vikram.
It was a pleasant afternoon in Chennai and the winners were eagerly waiting for their Raavanan aka Veeraiya to arrive. Not making his fans wait for long hours, Vikram arrived sooner. He was dapper in a pair of jeans and a black T shirt and he accessorized them perfectly with beads round his neck. However, it was not his attire or looks that impressed the gathering but his joie de vivre was the reason that floored them.
Vikram was ready to interact with his fans right from the word go. He began the session with a jocular comment – “you can ask me anything but Raavanan, Mani Ratnam, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek, Priya Mani and Prithviraj.” When the audience was reeling under this comment trying to assimilate his words, he followed it with quick live wire comment – “I was just kidding” – much to everyone’s relief.
He braced all kinds of queries thrown at him with an honest demeanor that belied his stardom. The questions ranged from his career to favorite directors to his future projects.
The proof of Vikram’s all pervading appeal and the impact of his performance in Raavanan came across in a question posed to Vikram by a senior member present in the audience. An elderly woman impressed the Raavanan himself when she wanted to know if he had used a body double in the climax scene when she said, “enakke bak bak nnu irundadu anda scene paakumpodu. Neenga eppadi pannineenga?” Vikram was evidently impressed by the lady’s dialect, obviously from Raavanan, and replied using her words that he did not use a body double but all the same was tensed doing those shots.
Another fan wanted to know who is the one actress that he is eager to pair with, now that he has acted with the most beautiful woman (implying Aishwarya Rai). “Angeline Jolie,” came the quick reply.
According to him, Chappani of 16 Vayadinile is one character he would like to essay. To another fan who questioned about Vikram’s competitor whether it was Suriya or Kamal or Vijay, he said that it was him who he is competing with and no one else.
When the discussions veered to masala films and some of his fans expressed their desire that he should not feature in such movies, Vikram politely said that he would also do them but bring in his own uniqueness to such films.
The most interesting question posed to Vikram was one that almost all his fans would have had n their minds; Why is there a big gap between his releases? Why don’t we see him more often on screen?
To this Vikram gave a rather elaborate answer. It came across that the star genuinely wanted to explain his stand and style of working to each and every fan. He recalled the days during which Anniyan was in the making. It was a lull period for Vikram without a single release in more than a year. During one of his journeys at this time he met a senior artiste of the industry who chided him for spending too much time on a single project. He told Vikram that he had lost a lot of ground to his competitors, one of whom had done almost seven films during the period. He had suggested that Vikram had been left behind by seven steps. Even that did not make Vikram give up his dedication to that mammoth project. And, when Anniyan finally released the results were for all to see. Vikram said that after having been left seven steps behind, the huge success of the movie made him feel as if he had gained forty steps in one shot. That is why, he explained, he believed in taking time to deliver the best product possible. That is one philosophy that, we have to say, definitely works.
Many people in the audience were a bit upset with the way the film had ended. Almost all of them were angry about the climax and offered alternatives. To these suggestions, Vikram replied with a lot of enthusiasm. He said that there had been a lot of suggestions about the climax. The one that had affected him most was a mail that he received from one of his fans. The fan had suggested an alternative ending where Veera jumps off a waterfall, taking Ragini along, plunging into the waters as Dev and his co-officers looked on helplessly. At that time a range of explosives is set off killing the entire force, leaving only a badly injured Dev who watches from the precipice as Veera and Ragini swim to safety and walk away into the dense covers of the forest; forever.
That would have been a poetic climax. Vikram said that his mother too preferred Veera’s character to survive. And, finally, even Vikram said that he would have ideally wanted Veera to live and Dev to die.
Then there was a fan who wanted Vikram to reprise the unforgettable ‘multiple personality’ scene from Anniyan where he has a heated exchange with Prakash Raj in the interrogation room. Vikram politely pointed out that it would not be possible without the presence of Prakash Raj. But on repeated insistence he relented and provided the eager audience with a small sample, delighting everybody present.
The session proceeded with many more such questions and the fans showered their plaudits on the star for his remarkable performance in Raavanan. Finally, it was the photograph and the autograph session which the National Award winner obliged with an ever smiling face.
Like all good things must come to end, the afternoon also culminated but with pleasant memories to take home to which his fans are sure to cherish for a long while.
Thank You Vikram!