Monday, 29 February 2016

Ilayaraja 1000 - A night to remember

One Man 1000 Films. First of all I don't know whether to praise Vijay TV for organizing such an event for Raja or to curse them for messing up for most of the parts.

I was very excited about this event since it was announced. I reached as early as possible by 5:30pm and the audiences were already started flowing in. Usha Utup was on stage rehearsing her songs, little we know she will get to sing those songs well past midnight. Vijay TV filled the gap by playing the promos of their every soaps and and irritating Tanjara ad. It was horrible to watch those promos again and again. And, the stage looked good, but it was like two km away from our 500 rs stand. The event scheduled to start by 6 pm started by 7 pm as expected with a delay. The event started with a chorus section singing "Guru Brahmma" and "Janani Janani" followed by the orchestra performing various evergreen BGMs of Raja and then the chorus section again joined to perform A Capella medley of few songs starting from Thendral Vanthu. After this, the king arrived on stage with "Hey Hey Ram" and "Tharai Thappatai BGM" with a thunderous response from those 15000 people gathered.

And, then the event starts to fall apart once the ever-irritating DD entered the stage. I expected GVM or even Gopi to host the show, really didn't expect DD. The speakers stopped working, we were shouting like anything for like 15 minutes. People started jumping the barricades and throwing the water bottles. Meanwhile Vikku Vinayagam's Gadam performance and Ilayaraja's Carnatic guru TVG was performing while all this was going on. And, the LED displays were getting on and off. It took some time for things to get settled.

Then comes Guitar Prassana with two foreigners in drums and bass guitar. They performed few songs which were mind-blowing, "Hey Unnaithane", then a medley of "Anthi Mazhai" and "Thoongatha Vizhigal" and finished with "Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran". The way his fingers moved over his guitar was really amazing to see, genius at work. He was one of the heroes of this show. And, the American drummer held his spirits high throughout the segment.

Then DD called Parthipan on stage, who was at his usual best, started praising Ilayaraja with his own wits and he called few directors on stage to talk about their experience with Raja. It was going on and on, especially Bhakyaraj, who took more time. Then, DD called few yesteryear heroines and they were blabbering for some time, looked like no one was prepared. And, Kamal joined them towards the end who kept his speech very short and reminded DD that this is a stage to sing not to speak, but she never learn. And, this followed by a set of female singers on stage who all said unanimously that they were here at this stage only because of Raja. By that time I was already confused whether there will be any performance.

Thankfully Chitra stayed and sang two songs one of Janaki's "Kannan Vanthu" and another one Swarnalatha's evergreen "Ennulle", followed by Mano's "Maanguyile" and "Ilamai Ennum". The next segment was actually wonderful, GVM, presented his playlist with Karthik and Guitar Prasanna. They performed "Kodai Kala Katre", "Neethane en Ponvasantham", "Katrai Konjam", "Rasave unna nambi" and ended with Kamal's "Pottu Vaitha Kadhal Thittam". Once again Guitar Prasanna rocked that segment.

Then comes the legend SPB, the moment everyone was waiting, savior of the show. He said he's born for Raja and Raja is born for him. And, Kamal explained all three love each other so much, which is shown in their songs. He started with "Enna Satham intha neram", then "O Priya Priya" where he sang his lyrics in Telugu and female singer in Tamil, then the much awaited "Ilaya Nila" with Guitar Prasanna once again exhibited his skills. The next song, "Sundari Kannal" with Chitra was the most amazing moment of the event. The prelude itself was Goosebumps inducing, the whole set of violins, flute, the whole orchestra really rocked, it was really worth all the money I paid. And, he finishes with "Jotheyeli", an evergreen Kannada song. And, he was wondering whether he should continue or leave the stage. Such the way Vijay TV organized, he promised to come back if he gets a chance, but sadly there isn't any time for him.

DD called the heroes, but only Jayaram and Venkatesh were present and also Kushboo to stage and they had few words about Raja. Violinist L Subramaniyam all the way from New York performed, followed by film fraternities' every "sangam" presenting a memento to Raja.

Next on stage was DSP, who was disappointed not to Raja, who has left to eat, but DD asked to perform him. A guy came all the way from Finland and sang "Kalyana Malai", must appreciate his effort. Then, after a long wait, Usha Utup came on stage when the time was well past midnight. She performed her song "Vegam Vegam" followed by ThanniThotti with Senthil and Rum Bum Bum with DSP. It was her performance which woke up the crowd and made them alive. And, DSP continued with a solo performance.

The surprising package of the event was the band Thaikkudam Bridge from Kerala. They performed a few songs as a medley and finished it on a high with "Oh Shivoham" and took everyone by storm. It was really one of the highlight of the event and the person in Violin (I think Govind Menon) stunned everyone. Next, U1 was called on stage who spoke a few words and left, but everyone asked him to comeback and performed "Pottu Vaitha Kadhal thittam" song, which he couldn't do justice.

Finally, Kamal and Raja came to stage together well past 1:00 am. Raja promised to bring us a treat with a show of his own with complete orchestra, looks like even he was pissed off. And, Kamal and Raja performed the title song of Marudhanayagam, which was another surprise and looked like Kamal will restart the movie soon. And, finally they performed with the trailer running on screen and signed off. And, the time was 1:30 am.

Special mention to Arunmozhi @ Napolean who played flute. He was brilliant throughout the show, Once he missed his part during "Ilaya Nila", SPB sang those portions again just to make sure Arunmozhi gets it right. I have seen him in many events, he is really great.

Overall Vijay TV didn't plan the event properly, DD was irritating, she kept talking even after Kamal and SPB asked her to shut up, no one seems to know what's next. And, only few little songs were performed, but SPB, Guitar Prasanna, Arunmozhi's flute, Thaikudam Bridge, Usha Utup and a song from Marudhanayagam made this event a worthy one and a night to remember.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Two weddings, two trips and a lot of fun

Celebrating your friend's wedding is always fun and if its two wedding within a week in two different places, it was twice the fun . So, it was two trips of nearly 2600 kilometers in Buses and Trains and Vans within a week.

The first trip was to Nagercoil, it was my first visit to that place, it was just a one-day trip to attend the wedding and reception. In the morning most of us dressed in traditional dhotis, after clicking us enough pictures and selfies, we went in to hall to watch the ceremony. And, we had some fun on the stage during our photo session with the couple. We embarrassed the newly wed during their cake cutting ceremony which we bought to the stage, but it was fun for us and I don't think they will forget what happened.

Worst thing was we couldn't find a hotel to have our breakfast and our curse for finding a hotel started there and continued in our next trip as well. And, the weather was horrible it was similar to Chennai, too hot and humid which I didn't expect. So, to cool ourselves we went to Thirparappu waterfalls. It was fantastic and enjoyed ourselves. Later in the evening attended the reception and returned to Chennai after a 12 hours travel in the bus. It was short, but a sweet trip.

The next trip was even bigger with a lot of people. It started as a thriller, where one of our colleague was chasing the train in a local train and he missed it by a touching distance.  The party started right on the train itself and we made sure nobody slept in our compartment until we all slept. There was even some action involving "Rayapuram" Peter and comedy happened later in the night it seems, but I missed those as I went to another compartment.

On the first day of the trip few people decided to visit a dam, but most of made a decision to stay back and go for a movie. So, we all went to JilJunkJuk, one of the worst movies of this year in a worst theater and most of us slept through the movie. It was such a waste of time and money. And, later in the evening three of us caught by the police for going triples in a totally new place for us, but as usual a 100 rupees saved us.

And, in the evening after the mandatory selfie sessions we attended the reception. We made sure everyone knew about our arrival once we all went on to the stage with a huge roar. It was a big crowd and the enthusiasm was seriously high. I don't think I have attended any wedding like this before, we were all so excited.

The next day, Valentine's Day, was spent in Ooty, how romantic, but with 22 guys sigh. But, it's not like someone is waiting for me here. We were really not sure whether everyone will make it to Ooty since it was a big crowd, but we did. Once again the curse of finding a hotel for a breakfast continued here as well which took us a precious time and we don't even want to think about the hotel where we had lunch. I think we spent more time for breakfast and lunch than in any other spots there.

So in Ooty we visited the Doddabetta peak, took enough pics and selfies, but not sure whether we actually enjoyed the scenery. Then, the boat house where the pedaling was little hard, but fun. And, finally the Botanical Garden and the photo session went on and on there. Thank god, we didn't visit here first or else we would have spent the entire day clicking ourselves here. But, the weather was too hot for Ooty's standard during the day.

And, we thought the return to Coimbatore to catch the train would be a thrilling race against time since there was little traffic up in the hills, but we achieved the target with ease with plenty of time to spare. It didn't go down to the wire as expected. And, it was a great win to finally complete this trip successfully without any major hiccups.

Wish both the couples a fantastic and exiting life ahead.

Chennai - Nagercoil - Chennai - Erode - Ooty - Coimbatore - Chennai and that's how it was last week. Number of spots visited, 4, number of pics clicked, 243135, suitable profile pictures found as of  now, 0. For me it was a trip filled with thrills, action, comedy, suspense, but as usual zero romance. So. who's gonna be the next and where will be our next trip?