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The audio launch of Mani Ratnam’s upcoming Chekka Chivantha Vaanam was held on Wednesday evening in Chennai. Despite a late start around 7.30 pm, the event was a crisp affair, wrapping up well before 9 pm. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A.R. Rahman and his troupe of musicians performed three of the film’s songs to a thundering applause. The composer sang ‘Mazhai Kuruvi’ while Sunitha Sarathy and Shaktisree Gopalan (‘Bhoomi Bhoomi’) also took turns on the mic. Karthik and Chinmayi, two Rahman regulars, were the hosts of the event.
  • Lyricist Vairamuthu was the only speaker who took his time and delivered a detailed address. “Mani Ratham has survived and thrived in the industry for 35 years,” he said, speaking highly of the director’s longevity. He said that the state has seen the demise of three chief ministers during Mani’s career. He also credited Mani with having introduced Rahman to the industry with the 1992 Kavithalaya production Roja, calling the composer “Mani’s best production yet”. He thanked the Tamil audience for tolerating their collaborative efforts for the past 25 years and giving them the impetus to keep working together.

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  • STR limited his speech to thanking those present. He said that the film would speak for itself and that he would be more vocal once it released. He ran off the stage once he was done, much to the audience’s amusement. Of all the actors present, he drew the loudest cheers from the crowd. Vijay Sethupathi was conspicuous by his absence while Jyotika also skipped the event.
  • The speakers were called on stage based on how they had been paired in the film. Arvind Swami – Aditi Rao Hydari, Arun Vijay – Aishwarya Rajesh and STR – Dayana Erappa addressed the gathering in pairs. As expected, they used the opportunity to speak highly of Mani and Rahman. Likening Mani to a good teacher, they wished him a Happy Teachers Day. “Though I’ve been a part of eight of Mani’s films in some capacity or the other, I’m jealous that he has done many other films without me,” said Arvind Swami. He also commended Aditi Rao, saying that her Tamil diction and delivery of lines were spot-on, despite her unfamiliarity with the language. Aditi joked that not knowing the language gave her more time to interact with Mani.
  • One of the standout moments of the evening was when Rahman and later Aishwarya Rajesh likened Chekka Chivantha Vaanam to the director’s classic Nayagan. This means we can expect an engaging gangster drama with a galaxy of stars in meaty roles.

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  • The highlight of the event was when Mani Ratnam, Rahman and Vairamuthu were asked to pick their favourite song among those that they had worked on. Vairamuthu chose ‘Uyire Uyire’ from Bombay, Rahman picked ‘Kannalane’ from Bombay while Mani’s choice was ‘Thamizha Thamizha’ from Roja.

Chekka Chivantha Vaanam was announced as a September 28 release, but there is some uncertainty over this date due to some shuffles in the Kollywood release pipeline.

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