The year 1999: The first time that I came to know about this movie was sometime in September-October 1999 when I found Madhavan’s photo in the front cover of the Tamil magazine, ‘Ananda Vikatan’. Since he was coming in the ad for ‘Fair & Lovely’ at that time and I found him to be quite handsome, I immediately started turning the pages curious to know what was written about him and also to know his name. I found an interview with him and this is the first of the many interviews of his that I have read/watched till now. Being a person who didn’t watch many movies, it didn’t excite me much when I came to know that he was going to act in a Mani Ratnam movie! Believe it or not I wasn’t as crazy as I am now about Mani Ratnam’s movies. In fact the only movies of Mani Ratnam that I had watched at that time were Roja, Bombay and Anjali! I had watched a couple of other movies of his but didn’t remember anything about them.
This was the first picture of Alaipayuthey that I saw in ‘Vikatan’:
April 2000: I saw the trailer of Alaipayuthey for the first time in mid April at my cousin’s place. I just loved it! The song Snegidhane was shown beautifully switching between black & white and colour. Only Mani Ratnam can come out with such a wonderful picturisation!
Ours would have been one of the very few houses that didn’t have cable connection till 2000. We gave it in April and from the moment we got the connection I kept on changing the channels trying to find a trailer of Alaipayuthey and I watched them again and again and again!
The movie got released and to my surprise, I did watch the movie in theatre (a rare thing for me at that time). From the moment we watched the movie, my sister (another crazy fan of Mani Ratnam, Madhavan and A.R.Rahman like me) and I became even more crazy about the movie! The picturisation of the song Pachchai Nirame left us speechless. (It’s difficult to say one thing about the song that I like very much.)
We both were so excited after seeing the movie that we forgot most of the scenes in the movie within a couple of days!
The one thing about Mani Ratnam’s movies is that you will get to watch the whole video of the songs in TV only some months after the release of the movie. The first time Yaaro yaarodi was shown fully was in sometime in August. My sister recorded it in a video cassette and we kept on watching the song for more than 5 times everyday. For a long time, the video of Pachchai Nirame was shown only till the point just before the starting of the line ‘Alai illaadha aazhi vannam’ (the beginning of blue colour in the video). The first time the whole song was shown in Sun TV was in December 2000! Snegidhane was shown on January 1st, 2001. We recorded that too and watching all the songs everyday became a habit!
I watched the movie again on January 2001. Since me and my sister had forgotten most of the movie, it was like watching it for the first time again! We watched it twice. Alaipayuthey was telecast on Sun TV in May 2003. I recorded the movie and from then on it has almost become a habit of watching Alaipayuthey atleast once in two months. The magic of Alaipayuthey still remains the same. I now have a DVD of Alaipayuthey autographed by Mani Ratnam! 🙂
Meanwhile, I watched all other Mani Ratnam’s movies except Pallavi Anupallavi, Unaru and Idhaya Kovil and the rest as they say is history. 🙂