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When I met Vijay for the first time

I pen my thoughts about the battle that I had to go through within myself when I was to meet Ilayathalapathy Vijay. Yes, a battle between the fan boy and also the journalist in me.

I had grown up watching his films. He is one of the reasons, why films became an integral part or the most important part in my life. I have not gone to the extent of doing milk 'abishegam' or screaming for him. I don’t believe in such fan worships. But I used to indulge in fights for him at school. People knew that if they want to irritate me, they would talk ill about Vijay’s films. I gradually changed. Vijay’s lean phase between 2007 and 2011 had a big part to play in this. I started loving cinema as a whole and not just Vijay.

Vijay is someone very special to me but I would say I am also his biggest critic. When you are a fan of someone you would want them to be the best. By best, I do not mean the box office records alone. I want him to be a part of some cult films. I want my great grandson to see and enjoy his films. That is the expectation that I have on Vijay.

Coming back to my moment with Vijay. I was going to meet him for the very first time. I was meeting him professionally but as a fan, I wanted to express my views to him. I had a solid 30-minute drive from my place to the hotel in which Vijay was going to meet all the media personals. So I prepared a small speech. The event was scheduled at 7PM, I went to the hotel around 6.50 PM, waited outside expecting a delay like one usually finds during any press meet or an event organized by a star.

By 7.05 PM, I went to the floor where the event was arranged. I saw around 30 odd heads standing in a queue just outside the hall. So I joined the queue and when I approached the entrance door, a guy asked for my name. I told my brand’s name, Behindwoods. He said - tell only your name first when you meet Vijay. That was an instruction that was given to him. Vijay met around 150 journalists that day and it is impossible to remember everyone. But the attempt of Vijay wanting to know the name of every single person who visited him that day was something impressive. And when I passed that guy and entered the hall, towards my right, I saw a simple, ordinary guy standing to receive the guests. For a moment I did not know who it was. Only after a few seconds, I recognized it was Vijay.

First thing, he was standing at the entrance to receive all the guests, a remarkable gesture for someone of his stature. Second, the way he received me. He doesn’t know me, but he came forward and said ‘hi’, wearing a smile on his face. Asked ‘eppidi irukeenga’. That’s it, I got blanked out. Like I said, I had a speech in mind, an official intent and a fan outcry. When I actually met him, I got blanked out. I still regret that I could not tell him how much I like him and that 'fan boy' in me still has a question for him.

I carry a brand on my shoulder and I cannot be a 'fan boy' that I wanted to be. I could not shout out loud and say “unna kadasiya pathutean thalaiva”. I am not that sentimental, but that moment I wanted to say that. As a fan, I wanted to take a selfie with him but as a journalist, I wanted to behave in a dignified way and I avoided taking a selfie.

Having followed Vijay for a long time, I have always felt that he is never comfortable meeting strangers. He looks to be an introvert. For a person like that, to meet around 100 odd strangers, greet them, thank them and share a casual exchange of words is something very nice. This is only because of the courtesy and respect he has for the media.

Although I met him, till the moment I saw the pictures, I was not able to believe it and it still appears like a dream. But, next time around, I am sure I am going to speak my heart out to him. This is a promise that I have made to myself.

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