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Star fall on Friday night

People danced in the rain to Kamal hits, sung by SPB and other leading singers to celebrate the actor’s fifty years on screen. Pheroze L. Vincent joined them on a trip down memory lane


ALL STARS S. P. Balasubrahmanyam on stage with the MC, Archana

Coimbatore braved the rain to celebrate Kamal Haasan’s 50 years in cinema, on Friday. The Hindustan College of Arts and Science hosted more than 3000 fans that turned up for Kamalum Kaadhalum — night of romantic music f rom Kamal’s hits. Serpentine queues led to the venue decked with speakers of up to 60,000 watts.

“We’re praying it doesn’t rain,” said an executive of Vijay TV that organised the event. As organisers scurried in the drizzle with their walky-talkies, the galaxy of star singers in the make-up room had heated discussions about the songs they wanted to sing.

Singer Harini, who sang in Kamal’s cult film Indian (1996), has been a fan since she was five. “He is my all time favourite. I admire him for his acting and singing,” she said. Excited before the show, she confessed that her favourite Kamal number is Kannai Kalaimane from Moonram Pirai (1982).

The legendary S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was easily the star of the show. “Most songs I have sung have been for Kamal’s films,” he said. He said he was doubly happy. One, that even after all these years, he still has the capability to sing for one of the greatest artistes and two, that younger artists with him on stage, would present songs that he had originally sung.

The star cast of singers doing a medley

The show scheduled at 6 p.m. began by 7.30 p.m. and went on till 11 p.m. The compere, TV anchors Archana of Illamai Pudhumai fame, bedazzled the crowd in her shimmering black and blue saree.

“Kovai has beaten Chennai to boast of the most beautiful girls. No wonder, even I’m from here,” she said. She hoped that all the single people in the audience would leave as couples. Shyam Orchestra from Chennai gave a terrific performance. The show began with SPB walking in, dressed in black, to the music of Illamai Idho. With hits like Sippi Irukuddhu, Manjal Veiyil, Swasame and Sigappu Rojakal, there was something for every generation. Parents, with babies cradled in their arms, couldn’t stop themselves from standing up and doing a jig in the rain.

SPB magic

SPB wowed the crowd as he sang Mere Jeevan Saathi. He then sang Kadavul Amaithu Vaitha, complete with impossibly real sounds of birds, aircraft and even the nadaswaram. The crowd clapped and clapped. It was vocal magic.

Kamal’s favourites

He also sang Kamal’s favourite song, Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam from the 1959 Hindi hit Kaagaz ke Phool. The enchanted crowd swayed to his voice.

All the singers — SPB, Chitra, Karthik, Haricharan, Madhumitha, Harini, Saindhavi and Sriram Parthasarathy came on stage together and performed a medley which took the audience on a trip down memory lane.

From his first film Kalathur Kannama (1960), the singers went down the decades. The crowd rose up when Anbe Sivam was sung. In the film, the song was sung by Kamal himself.

Younger members of the audience like Karthik (12) and Kavin Krishnan (11) said that though they weren’t fans, they enjoyed his films and Dasavathram (2008) was their favourite. The kids joined others in showering confetti in revelry.

Fireman Sekaran, on duty backstage, said that though they all love Kamal, duty comes first.

The firemen vicariously enjoyed the show, listening to the roar of the audiences and the boom of the speakers, as they stood by the fire engine, through the rainy night.

After a brief felicitation by the Coimbatore district Kamal fan club, the show moved on to foot-tapping numbers. Singalathu Chinna Kuyile, Rum Pum Pum from Michael Madana Kamarjan (1991), Engeyum Eppodhum, Illamai Idho saw some furious dancing by the audience.

The venue with only three exits, on the southern side caused a bit of jostling as the crowd was leaving. But, neither the rain nor the security restrictions could stem the nostalgia and spontaneous jigs of the crowd in this fitting tribute to the Ulaga Nayagan.

Kamalum Kaadhalum is part of a month-long series of events to celebrate Kamal’s golden jubilee in cinema. The Hindu is a media partner.

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