Actor Vishal chose to launch the audio of his action film Poojai twice. While he launched it at a private FM station early in the morning yesterday, it was the other setting that was close to his heart.
The 37-year-old arrived at the Bertram Hall of Loyola College at 3 in the afternoon to an ecstatic welcome from the students. He was accompanied by director Hari, cinematographer Priyan and the film’s lyricist, Na Muthukumar. Yuvan Shankar Raja was notably absent from the proceedings, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. For all eyes were on Vishal, who constantly referred to himself as a proud ‘Loyolite’. “Most heroes and heroines are asked to visit a spa to de-stress after a big project. But for me, that doesn’t work. So when I want to unwind after a long schedule, I come here, meet you guys and go back to work. This college and its students have been the biggest stress-busters in my life!”
As usual, he was also clearly uncomfortable to be the focus of so much attention. “Eppovum maadhiri kai kaal ellam nadungudhu…adhu mattum maarala!” he said to tumultuous cheers. His unease elicited sympathetic glances from some of the teachers present and one of them was even kind enough to hand Vishal a tissue, which he gratefully accepted. “This stage fear prevented me from exploring many things in college and so many years on, I feel quite proud that I have conquered this to an extent.”
He narrated an incident from his college days to reiterate his point. “I was part of a dance team during my first year in college. But when we were about to dance on-stage, I was very afraid. All my friends began dancing and I just stood there without moving! Twenty years down the line, here I am, a successful man. And a hero at that. I’m living proof of the mantra that goes ‘you can be anything that you want to be’.”
A visibly emotional Vishal also revealed the reason behind his decision to launch the audio at a college event. For the second time. The audio of his Pandianadu was also released at the same venue and went on to become a great success. “It’s for purely sentimental reasons. I have launched my own label this year and I wanted my people to be around when I release the first album from the company. So I brought it here,” he said, adding, “I’m grateful that you have seen fit to invite me time and again. My parents joke that you ask me to these events because you can’t find anyone better. But I don’t care. Coming here as a chief guest matters a lot to me. Naan college padichapo panna saadhanaigalukku…enna librarylernde ban pannitaanga. But now, I’m presiding over an event! What a changeover mama!”
Of course, everyone had their own Loyola story to tell. Na Muthukumar had a brother who studied in the college while director Hari talked about applying for the famous Vis Com course. “I didn’t get through the selection process. So, I had to settle for a seat at the Govt Arts College. But I have to say, from what I’ve seen of the graduates from this place, I’m quite envious. I wish I’d studied here!”
After a while, the brand new trailer of the film was launched along with the soundtrack. The Loyola students were the lucky few to watch the trailer first and even listen to the songs. They went crazy and screamed their hearts out. And when it finally came to an end, Vishal was the last to leave. “I’m a little reluctant to leave this hall. So many memories! And all of them so precious. But what to do? I have a lot of work to do. Perhaps you can invite me next year too?” he joked as he went on his way.