MUMBAI: Tamilians love their movies and even more the actors in them. It is well known that for Tamilians, film stars are no less than gods, as they pack a punch in every movie that thunders at the box office. And celebrating this were the 10,000 people, who had arrived in anticipation to catch a glimpse of stars at the eight annual Vijay Awards held at the Nehru Indoor stadium in Chennai.
Even before the arrival of the stars, the whistles and cheering commenced in full force. Capturing the entire crowd along with the 100 feet by 60 feet stage were 20 SD cameras both inside and outside the venue. This included still cameras, hand held cameras, jibs and one drone camera that caught the eye of the audience as it flew above the crowd.
The award show that went on for nearly seven and a half hours will be telecast in two parts (four hours each) on 20 July and 27 July. The entire execution was done by an in-house team of 100 with just the ground logistics and drone handling outsourced. The creative of the show as well as execution was taken care of by Vijay Awards core creative VP Mahendran while Star Vijay senior VP for programming Pradeep Peter was the man behind the camera work for effective on air scene shots.
The huge list of sponsors brought in by Star Vijay senior VP for ad sales Dev Shenoy included title sponsor Gionee Smart Phones, Casa Grand as powered by sponsor, Dr. M. G. R University Maduravoyil, Nandu Brand Lungies, Repco Home Finance and RRP Housing as co presenting sponsors, Sunland Refined Sunflower Oil, Step Stone Promoters, V Care hair growth Vitalizer, The Chennai Silks, Poomalai Housing, Kibbs Lungigal, Vijaya optical House, RPG Developers, Shakthi Masala, Ran India TMT Kambigal, Fairever Fairness Cream as associate sponsors. Hyatt Regency Chennai was hospitality partner, Dindigul Thalappakatti Biryani was delicacy partner and The Hindu was print partner. Now, the hunt is on for on-air sponsors.
Vijay Awards hosted by Divyadarshini and Neeya Nana Gopinath saw dance performances by the winners of Zee TV’s DID L’il Masters season 3 winners, actress Shruti Hassan and Hansika Motwani. Says Star Vijay GM K Sriram, “We have been working for 24 hours from the past 45 days to make it a success. Vijay Awards is one of the most popular awards in the state of Tamil Nadu and people throng to witness it and to see the stars that come for the event. Our anchors are on par with any big celebrity host.” Last year the show was hosted by Gopi and actor R Madhavan.
The channel says that the stage, LED, lighting, choreography, costumes as well as AVs and scripts for the show were scaled up from the previous year. Indeed, several dance performances saw fire being shot from the stage for enhanced viewing. Dance performances saw dancers drop from above the stage for impact. The event only got better with the Kollywood stars arriving in the stadium, which saw an increase in the noise decibels. These included Vijay, AR Rahman, Kamal, Surya, Kushboo, Hansika, Nayantara, Ajith, Hassan and Karthik. Not to forget, the event was also attended for the second time in a row by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who was presented with the ‘entertainer of Indian cinema’ award by Rajinikanth’s wife Latha.
An intense marketing campaign was launched four weeks prior to the show that saw ads of 10,000 square centimeters being given in all leading dailies in English and Tamil newspapers such as Times of India, the Hindu, Ananda Vikatan and Kumudham. Radio spots were bought on Radio Mirchi across Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy. “The voting was exclusive on the digital medium and we had an audience attention of close to three crore over the four week period. Close to Rs one crore worth of advertising space and time had been mobilised for this massive promotion,” says Star Vijay senior VP for planning and marketing Balachandran. 25 hoardings and 10,000 posters were booked across the state as well showing the golden lady trophy of Vijay Awards. Digital and print will be once again used prior to the TV screening.
“Close to Rs 8.5 crore was spent on the entire event to make it a grand one,” says Sriram. Indeed, the spectacle of seeing eminent personalities on stage together standing and posing for a selfie was the moment of the night. Although the audience did not stay still for a second, the entire stadium erupted in a din when Vijay and Shah Rukh Khan entered the venue. While the soft spoken Vijay, who plays the macho actor on screen, shyly took away the award for the ‘favourite actor of the year’, SRK was at his usual best and grooved on stage to his own numbers while the audience cheered and clapped.
Some of the awards, out of the 40 given were, Kamal Hassan for ‘Best Actor,’ Nayantara for ‘Best as well as Favourite Actress,’ Aarambam for ‘Favourite Film,’ Vishwaroopam for ‘Best Film’ and AR Rahman for ‘Best Music Director.’