The winners of the Behindwoods-OKOK contest had a very special Tamil New Year weekend as they watched a special screening of Oru Kal Oru Kannadi on Saturday and also got to interact with Udhayanidhi Stalin, director Rajesh and cinematographer Balasubramaniem. With the screening of a fun-film like OKOK, the mood was always set to be buoyant, and the festival mood of the weekend enhanced spirits of the event that was held at Prasad’s Studio, Chennai.
The winners, many of them, self-confessed fans of director Rajesh and his trump card; the inimitable Santhanam, said that they expected nothing less than a laugh riot from this team. Some of them had already caught up with the film on the first day and had come here to enjoy it one more time, and more importantly, to interact with the men behind the movie. One thing that stood out very prominently was the fact that almost everyone who came for the event seemed to have a very clear expectation of what OKOK should and will be. The expectations of OKOK, from all types and age groups of people, seemed identical. That itself says a lot about the Rajesh-Santhanam brand of cinema which has created a place for itself. These days, half the battle of the film makers is about satisfying diverse expectations of audiences. Here, that battle seems to have been won by unifying the expectations of all types of viewers.
At the event, it was very interesting to see that the audiences had quite a few questions for the director, as well as Udhayanidhi. Usually, star interactions tend to get tilted towards actors, but Rajesh’s huge success streak has made him the face of his films. Some in the audience wanted to know the secret behind Rajesh making full-fledged entertainers with a wafer-thin storyline (or as one person said it –‘with no story at all’). Rajesh was quick to admit that his plots were very slim but he did manage to bring out good entertainment courtesy, the team he worked with. He also added that this is what seemed to work well for him. Another person asked Rajesh why he was repeating the same hero (Santhanam) for all his films. This was met with a lot of applause and smiles; even Udhayanidhi couldn’t resist smiling at this comment. Rajesh said that Santhanam was one of his favourite actors and he would continue to cast him, no matter what. A lady tried to come across as a very upset viewer at the tendency of Rajesh to use ‘alcohol’ related scenes and dialogues very often in his films. But, her tone and face betrayed her as it soon became quite a humorous exchange. Rajesh said that all directors drew a lot of inspiration from their own life and this was no different. This response received huge applause from the audience.
There were quite a few questions for Udhayanidhi too. A lot of them wanted to know about his future acting plans. To this, he politely queried the audience about whether they would want him to act again; the response was unanimously positive. One person quipped that Udhayanidhi’s dancing skills reminded him of the heydays of Bhagyaraj. Udhayanidhi took this is in a light vein and said that he was happy that he could do so much and would look to improve in future. When asked about the toughest part of shooting for OKOK, Udhayanidhi said that it was controlling his laughter during the combinations with Santhanam.
The event ended with a photo session where all the participants got a chance to be clicked with the OKOK team. It was a typical fun-filled interaction worthy of a comedy festival like Oru Kal Oru Kannadi.
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