Vivegam, Tamil superstar Ajith’s next, is riding on great pre-release buzz. The film is among the most eagerly awaited films this year. In fact, some are of the opinion that it is bigger than a Rajinikanth’s Kabali and if all goes well, it might get a bigger opening than even Thalaiva’s last release (Rs 21 crore). Nothing gets bigger than that in Kollywood.
As per theatre owners, the tickets for the opening weekend were a sell-out. Tickets at multiplexes for the first days went in minutes and booking systems of many theatres crashes in seconds after they began online booking. On Thursday, Chennai city alone will have over 300 shows of Vivegam, which is a record of sorts. In Tamil Nadu, the film releases in more than 700 theatres. The four-day weekend window (Ganesh Chaturthi begins on Aug 25) should help the film get its initial box office numbers.
On the eve of the film’s release, here’s looking at what makes the film so anticipated:
Siva and Ajith combination
In Kollywood today, the Siva and Ajith combination is among the most successful teams. The first time they came together was for Veeram (2014) which went on to be a megahit. They repeated their success with Vedalam (2015) and now they have collaborated again in Vivegam (2017). What makes this team tick? Faith in each other’s talents. Speaking to Firstpost, Siva had said how back in the day, Ajith had told him that they would do many more films together. Then, he hadn’t given it much thought, but by the end of the day, he released that he would indeed do more films to Ajith.
“He (Ajith) respects a scriptwriter’s space. He has never influenced my writing in any way. When I scripted Veeram, he said he would wear simple dhoti and shirt throughout the film, given the genre. Apart from that, he didn’t make me change any sequence or dialogues for him. I think that’s a unique attribute he has. He completely believes me, as a director or scriptwriter. His faith in me pushes me to do more, to improvise more,” Firstpost quoted him as saying.
International spy drama
International terrorism (or at least that’s what the trailer would have us believe) and seeing our own ‘guy’ fighting them is a great high. Remember Baby when Akshay and his boys went around the world to nab a global terrorist, hostile towards India? Well, to be fair, we have had quite a few stories like that in the last 20 years, but now the stories are being told with far greater finesse. What’s more, the plot takes ‘our’ hero all over the world. Ajith plays an Indian Interpol officer who reaches Malaysia to find a high-profile gangster, according to IMDB. From there, the story moves to Slovenia and Serbia.
Film’s foreign crew, daring stunts
Vivegam’s story of a cop chasing a criminal may be as old as the hills, but narration is likely to make all the difference. Vivegam is an action thriller, shot in picturesque locations. Naturally then, its crew will have to be special to make the cinematic experience special.
Hollywood action director/choreographer Jorian Ponomareff, who has previously worked on films like Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, has worked on some of the stunts that feature in the film. He had posted a video on his Facebook page in December 2016 praising Ajith.
Speaking to Firstpost about shooting daring stunts in extreme weather, Siva said how Hollywood stunt choreographer Kaloyan Vodenicharov was awed by the daredevil sequences Ajith pulled off: “I wrote seven sequences for a high-octane bike chase scene and prepared the storyboard to show it to the stunt master. He asked me if we can use a body double and I said Ajith sir would do the chase himself. The stunt master asked if I was joking — he was very sceptical. When we explained the sequence to Ajith sir, he said ‘Okay’, and the stunt master had a bewildered look...”
“Ajith sir took the keys, performed a donut, a wheeling, a drift and the master was completely bowled over, and he said, ‘I have worked with a star, a racer but never worked with somebody who combines the two. It’s going to be my best bike chase’. Despite shooting many risky stunts, no one was hurt, and there were no minor mishaps either,” the director added.
Anirudh Ravichander’s pulsating music
Vivegam has music by Kollywood’s hot favourite – Anirudh Ravichander. Known for his range – he has given lilting melodies to pulsating numbers – Anirudh’s talent has never been in question. When in June this year, Surviva released, the song went viral in no time. The song teaser, which was Tamil and English, is groovy and high on energy. Small wonder it was an instant hit. As of today, the song has garnered more than 12 million (12,443,423) hits.
Kollywood’s best talent
While Ajith is its chief draw, the film also boasts of good support cast. Kajal Aggarwal plays Ajith’s wife and brings in romance and glamour while Akshara Haasan (whose role is under wraps) makes her Tamil debut with the film. Bollywood’s Vivek Oberoi too is making his Kollywood debut. He plays the antagonist, a former colleague of Ajith’s character, who turns rogue.
Long-time collaborator of director Siva, Vetri is the cinematographer for Vivegam. Of all the films Siva has made, Vetri has been part of six, according to Firstpost.
“Vetri is a very special friend. Whenever I write a script, he is the first person I narrate it to. And he always gives me genuine opinions. So when I told him the story and screenplay of Vivegam, he immediately said the movie is going to be extraordinary. His skills with the camera are incredible. I have been behind the camera for almost 14 films, so I know how tough a cinematographer’s job is. A film like Vivegam is undoubtedly challenging for a cameraman, but he has done a miraculous job,” Siva said.
What makes Vivegam a compelling choice to make is, of course, its star Ajith. The star-actor is on a roll – his last four films have been major hits in Kollywood -- Arrambam (2013), Veeram (2014), Yennai Arindhaal (2015) and Vedalam (2015).
The buzz around Ajith’s toned and chiseled body for Vivegam has been around from the time the film’s first poster was out in February this year. His physical transformation has come up for much praise, given that he had to undergo a painful knee operation in November 2015, after the release of his last film, Vedalam.