CLASS TAKES ON MASS IN CHEN­NAI

Crowd favourite Vi­jay goes head to head with brainy body­builder Suriya. It’s Suriya on top. For now.

India Today - - CINEMA - by Lak­shmi Ku­maraswami

One film is from the dream team that brought us Gha­jini— di­rec­tor A.R Mu­ru­ga­doss, mu­sic di­rec­tor Har­ris Jayaraj and Kol­ly­wood’s choco­late boy Suriya. The other comes from lit­tle-known di­rec­tor M. Raja, with mu­sic by Vi­jay Antony known for his Tamil koothu dance numbers like Naaka Mukka, with the big­gest koothu dancer of them all—vi­jay.

This Di­wali saw a clash be­tween Suriya’s 7aum Arivu, pro­duced by Ud­hayanidhi Stalin for Rs 85 crore, and Vi­jay’s Ve­layud­ham, pro­duced by Aas­car Ravichan­dran for a com­par­a­tively lower Rs 45 crore. While Suriya, 36, is still rid­ing high on the suc­cess of his last film Singam, Vi­jay, 37, with six flops be­hind him since 2007, des­per­ately needs a hit. Fans of both stars con­gre­gated around the state to add to the hype around the films. “We had 300 kg of flow­ers brought in from Ban­ga­lore worth Rs 25,000 to gar­land a 50 foot cutout of our hero at Al­bert the­atre in Eg­more (in Chen­nai),” says R. Veera­mani, sec­re­tary of the All In­dia Suriya Fan Club with 1 lakh mem­bers. Not to be out­done, Vi­jay’s fans poured nu­mer­ous litres of milk on a large cutout of the star at Ega the­atre in Chet­pet and Ud­hayam the­atre in Ashok Na­gar ar­eas of Chen­nai. “We also con­ducted a pooja and burst crack­ers at three ma­jor the­atres in the city,” adds R. Ravi­raja, sec­re­tary of the All In­dia Vi­jay Fan Club with 45,000 mem­bers.

Apart from the fact that they were re­leased to­gether, the films don’t have much in com­mon— 7aum Arivu re­volves around Suriya in a dou­ble role of a king and his de­scen­dant who have to stop a bio­chem­i­cal war with China while Ve­layud­ham is about a milk­man who gets en­tan­gled in a ter­ror­ist plot.

A few days af­ter Di­wali, it was fi­nally time to re­veal who had come out on top. As it turns out, the au­di­ence just wanted to have fun. “I went for Suriya’s film and had to force my­self to sit through it. Many peo­ple walked out,” says Sid­darth Rao, who works in a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany. He says that he liked Ve­layud­ham be­cause it gave the au­di­ence what it wanted. “Peo­ple wanted a typ­i­cal Vi­jay film with fights, com­edy and danc­ing and that’s ex­actly what they got.” Film crit­ics too panned Suriya’s film, say­ing that the nu­mer­ous sub­plots left the viewer baf­fled.

But while 7aum Arivu has been dissed by view­ers and crit­ics alike, it leads at the box of­fice with Rs 25 crore in five days. In­dus­try ex­perts say this suc­cess won’t last long. “The movie will prob­a­bly re­cover its money, but con­sid­er­ing it was made for a big­ger bud­get and dubbed in dif­fer­ent lan­guages, the col­lec­tions are dis­ap­point­ing,” says Anirudh Kr­ishna, who tracks the Tamil film in­dus­try. He adds that Vi­jay’s film, which has made Rs 19 crore so far, is a far big­ger suc­cess given its bud­get. “Ve­layud­ham, on the other hand, is be­ing called a mass en­ter­tainer and more peo­ple will want to watch this film...it will prob­a­bly be­come the su­per­hit of the sea­son,” he says.

7AUMARIVU

SURIYA ES­SAYS ADOU­BLE ROLE IN THE SCI-FI THRILLER,

VI­JAY IN ASTILL FROM HIS LAT­EST RE­LEASE,

VE­LAYUD­HAM

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