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To Vijay Sir, With Love

Watching ‘Mersal’ in a Delhi theatre is stressful and amusing for a fan

Written by Sowmiya Ashok | Published: October 27, 2017 12:02 am
Mersal, Vijay, Vijay movie, Mersal in Delhi, Delhi tamil movies, BJP, BJP Mersal, Narendra Modi, Mersal controversy, Indian Express, india news Predictably, this past week has been stressful as his fan but amusing as a South Indian.

NO butter or flavoured salt to sprinkle over the popcorn. The cream doughnuts were certainly nowhere in sight. Yet, for a brief period last Sunday evening, the first floor of a South Delhi mall transformed into the famous Sathyam Cinemas of Chennai. I had shown up early for Mersal starring actor Vijay, fondly referred to as “Vijay sir” by me and “Joseph Vijay” by the BJP, and desperately looked for a cutout of him I could pose with to add to my collection.

For instance, I have a lovely picture from 2014, when I stood next to a cardboard version of the actor before a 7.15 am show of Kaththi in which Comrade Vijay illustrates the tenets of communism using an idli. Full disclosure, I am a fan. But there was no cutout of Vijay in South Delhi so I leaned against the postered wall and admired the familiar sights of home: A family squeezed themselves onto the cushioned seat outside Screen 3 and chirped happily in Tamil; hipster Tamils took selfies through the reflection of a mirror, and a veshti-clad (dhoti) uncle declared he needed to pee.

I have lived in Delhi on and off since 2012 and I have more or less watched every Tamil movie that passes by a South Delhi screen. My dutifully showing up to watch Mersal had little to do with the controversy around it and more to do with the love for movies that I have grown up watching. And, specifically, my love for Vijay sir. Yet it was only two years ago that I really learnt what it meant to truly love a Tamil filmstar from a woman named Eswari who I met on a sweltering day under a traffic light in Chennai’s T. Nagar.

We were both there to gawk at filmstars. Eswari had woken up early that morning to get decked up. She had applied a thin layer of turmeric paste on her face and had decorated her long braid with jasmine flowers. Much of this was in anticipation of making eye contact with Sivaji Ganesan’s son, the actor Prabhu. In fact, throughout our conversation, she referred to Prabhu as her man, as she cradled her one-year-old grandchild in her arms. “Happa, naan en aale pathittein (Sigh, I have seen my man!)”, she squealed.

Unlike Eswari, I have never met or even seen Vijay except on-screen. Once, I made a friend recollect in great detail a one-line story of his morning workout till he was exasperated. “Vijay was wearing a hoodie and he ran past me,” my friend said. “Then what happened?” “No, nothing.” “But surely he must have said or done something?” “No, he just ran past me!”

Predictably, this past week has been stressful as his fan but amusing as a South Indian. A few months ago, I interviewed fans of Rajinikanth to understand if they would have his back if he chose to enter politics. I discovered that the answer depended on how young or old his fans were. Rajini had made grand statements, this was followed by Kamal Haasan who met Arvind Kejriwal. Mersal was in keeping with a row of Tamil actors who have repeatedly hinted over years that they have political aspirations.

In that South Delhi cinema hall, I was intrigued and confused by Vijay’s latest flick — the film’s references to MGR (often in a poster in the background), the good vs evil premise, Vijay’s comment on nearly everything, including GST and climate change, and a song that said in no uncertain terms that “a Tamil will rule”. “We fall in love with actors in two-hour increments over and over again,” a wise person on Quora once said. I did too, over several years and so it seemed all the others with me in the cinema hall.

But whether they will show up to a polling booth to vote for an actor who promises better medical care on screen remains to be seen. For now, Tamils gleefully take part in the exercise of waiting eagerly for the two scenes that have irked the BJP the most, mouthing the dialogues, and cheering the hardest.

 

sowmiya.ashok@expressindia.com

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  1. Ravi Indran S R
    Oct 28, 2017 at 10:28 am
    another blind fool, brains went down his back side. such are the caliber of the general public, cant differentiate the glitz and the bloddy fkn truth. A FAn my foot. Indiaaaa,, where the fk are you being taken by these s,
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      Raghu
      Oct 28, 2017 at 4:13 am
      Vijay Sir!!! My foot...this convert is hiding his relegion since long to fool all the Hindu population. Intresting thing is allmost all south c groups are all Cathos by convertion or by birth. I mentioned this earlier also actor Chiranjeevi family including his inlaws Allu family same. And most of the converts know this since they all meet in churches every week. So, they have clarity about what they are doing! We Hindus are just fools not to smell this and united on our rights. That is why we have been (actually still) ruled by foreigners. What a shame...wake up Hindus wake up. Funny thing is in Telangana a newly carved state 3 years ago, is handed over to KCR family who is not even local and actually a Mu.s.lim living under coverup of Hindu iden y!!! What a pity...you know what he already accumulated thousands of Crores and all the promisess gone into air still those ideo.ts think he is gonna do good to them!
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        Raghu
        Oct 28, 2017 at 4:08 am
        Vijay Sir!!! My foot...this convert is hiding his relegion since long to fool all the Hindu population. Intresting thing is allmost all south c groups are all Cathos by convertion or by birth. I mentioned actor Chiranjeevi family including his inlwas Allu family same. And most of the converts know this since they all meet in churches every week. So, they have clarity about what they are doing! We Hindus are just fools not to smell this and united on our rights. That is why we have been (actually still) ruled by foreigners. What a shame...wake up Hindus wake up. Funny thing is in Telangana newly carved state 3 years ago, is handed over to KCR family who is not even local and actually a Mu.s.lim living under cover of Hindu iden y!!! What a pity...you know what he already accumulated thousands of Crores all the promisess gone into air still those ideo.ts think he is gonna do good to them!
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        1. M
          Murthy
          Oct 28, 2017 at 1:42 am
          On Mollywood, Kollywood and Bollywood, talk to someone who knows FINANCE. "Leading" Actors and many other workers in the Industry are PAID in BLACK MONEY. DMK and the CONS Know All that. They do not trouble the Filmies, because all these "..Woods" contribute HEAVILY towards Election Expenses. Our Governments also turned a blind eye on MONEY LAUNDERING by these FILMIES. Every time a NEW Movie is made AT LEAST a few Crores of Rupees of Black Money is turned into "White". There are "Special" Accountants in INDIA who KNOW how to do that. Next HAWALA. Bollywood, in particular, has EXTENSIVE contacts in DUBAI and UAE. That is where our Bollywood works with the Pakistani ISI. Even STORY LINES and Dialogues are "Guided" by the Hawala Dadas - "D" Company (Dawood Ibrahim) is one of them. Earnings from abroad, Bollywood Accountants would ROUTE through Dubai, not through Western Banks. I tell you what, INDIAN EXPRESS would never do a "Sting" on any of the above. They NOT Poona Curator
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          1. M
            Murthy
            Oct 28, 2017 at 1:29 am
            Indian Express' Editor must be glad that his paper gets a lot of Pakistani followers. Some of them are living in the USA. What the Editor may not have realised is that they are ISI Funded. They are given Hindu Names [ Mr. Shukla, Yogesh Bhosle, Singh ], some Pseudonyms [ Soothsayer ]. They are picking up from some of our own R.e.t.a.r.d.s, on "Aryan vs. Dravidian" or "North vs. South" and so on. Not all of them are ISI Funded. The genuine ones, like Beena Farhat say they are from Pakistan. Kamal Pasha is another of our Converted Cousins who uses his actual name. There was a screamer from Pakistan who deployed two names Yakobi, then Md. Dar. The TROUBLE I have is: They NEVER address the Points I make. They merely play to the Gallery of Semi-literates in India itself. They make the mistake of thinking that I would be UNNERVED if they call me "Hey Brahmin", "Hey Aryna". It is a comforting thought for me that they do NOT have the brains to address my points. Barking only.
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