Silverscreen goes to the VIP press meet
All events these days tend to begin with us meeting extremely tall men. At the Bhooloham press meet, we had to contend with not one, but five big men. But thankfully enough, at the Velaiyilla Pattathari event, we had to look up to only two – as we walked in to the venue, we saw actors Amitash Pradhan and Hrishikesh, who are both marking their debut in the Dhanush starrer. While Amitash is a more recognizable face thanks to his appearance in the film’s trailer, Hrishikesh’s part in the film has been kept under wraps.”Not that it’s a secret,” he hastens to assure us. “I play Dhanush’s brother and I have a solid role. But my character does have a bit of a surprise element to it!” He doesn’t look anything like Dhanush, we tell him and he explains,”Even that has a back-story. Really, there’s nothing much I can tell you at this point without revealing key plot details.” Challenge accepted!
We spend the next twenty minutes trying various ‘patented’ sleuthing skills to drag something out of the guys, to no avail. We finally accept defeat and walk away, but not before we ask them how exactly they became very tall. We were told when we were very young that generous helpings of upma help. Not so for Amitash and Hrishikesh. They smile and go on, to attend their very first press meet. Not long afterwards, actress Surabhi walks in. She has done an ‘extended cameo’ of sorts in the film and has come to the city to start off a ‘hectic round’ of promotions. She is also a recent graduate. “I’m finally done with my fine arts course and I did very well, really!” she exclaims. She had to give up a lot of intriguing offers to focus on her studies, but now that it’s over she’s ready to start making more Tamil films. Her role in VIP will be a stepping stone to a better career, she informs us. “It was an absolute honour to work with so many stars in only my second film! Especially Vivekh sir. He was super fun to work with on set and teased away all my fears.”
Dressed in a black shirtwaist dress, the actress was the cynosure of all eyes. Vivekh chose to make jokes, however. “I think Surabhi must have forgotten to put on her pants because she was running late. When I walked in, I thought she was one of the girls who works here and was waiting for her to come take our order!” he quipped, but followed it up with, “Jokes apart, she’s a very dedicated actress and has actually managed to learn Tamil in the short while she has been here instead of saying konjam konjam theriyum like the other actresses from the north!” He also talked about his ‘neighbour’ actress Saranya Ponvannan. “Saranya and I live next door and share a compound wall but we have never met each other till now. She goes her own way and I go mine. She must be one of the busiest actresses around here!” he quipped. Vivekh did not want to act in VIP, initially. ” I had many reservations about taking up this role. I have been doing these films with Dhanush for a long time. My roles in Padikkathavan and Uthamaputhiran have been lauded a lot and I didn’t know if I could beat that. It was Dhanush who convinced me to take this up. I was dead set against it initially but I caved in once Dhanush thambi asked!”
This will be Amala Paul’s first film after her marriage. In a white shirt and patterned skirt, the actress looked cool and comfortable and didn’t bat an eyelid even after the twentieth ‘marriage seems to agree with you’ comment! She plays a girl next door type role in the film. “I was supposed to have worked with Dhanush earlier but the project didn’t pan out. So I made sure that when VIP came by, I didn’t miss out on it again! It’s an absolute privilege to be acting opposite Dhanush. He’s a versatile actor and makes the acting process seem very effortless.” She also revealed that one of her first acting gigs was in an advertisement where she shared screenspace with her onscreen mother in law, Saranya Ponvannan. “Saranya ma’m is like family to me. I have known her for a long time now and the camaraderie I shared with her, made VIP seem like a home away from home.” Samuthirakani ‘anna’ was also very good to her, she laughed. “I used to call Samuthirakani my friend before marriage. But I can’t now, so I’m going to call him ‘anna’ from today!”
Actor Vivekh interrupted to wish Amala a happy married life. “I would like to take this opportunity to clarify something. Amala did invite me for her wedding but I couldn’t go due to previous commitments. This is the kind of situation where I can’t even say : Adutha dhadava vandhudaren (I will come next time instead) because that would just be way too wrong. So I’d like to ask Amala for her forgiveness in front of all of you and hope she has a lovely future with Vijay!”
The film’s lead Dhanush had travelled all the way from Mahabalipuram for the press meet. He sported a light limp and had to lean on a friend to get to the stage. He was overjoyed, however. “I’ very happy and thankful that my twenty fifth film has such an amazing cast and crew. It’s been fourteen years since I debuted in the Tamil film industry. The media and I have had a rocky and uncertain relationship at times but they’ve always supported me when I needed it and that’s all I want from you the next few weeks as well. If you feel that VIP is a good film then please support us.”
The film is scheduled to release on July 18. P Madan of Escape Motion Artists Ltd has secured the distribution rights of VIP while a leading channel has bought the satellite rights of the film.