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Friday, April 20, 2001

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Things go better for Coke with Vijay


A film by Rajiv Menon.

Music by Harris Jeyaraj.

Choreography: Raju Sundaram.

Starring Vijay.

And of course, Coke.

HAVEN'T YOU seen it yet? The new Coke commercial that has Vijay breaking into a `gaana' after finding the culturals boring, and also wooing the girl, filmi style before the jingle signs off in native lingo: `Koka-kola ensoi'.

``Coke kudi da, Rap Enna da, Gaanavillae Kalakkalaam,'' goes Coca-Cola's latest anthem, and a regional one at that. Coke has signed Vijay for a year-long contract, after a survey revealed that he is the ``No.1 actor'' around in the South.

The Coke version is that it always has superstars endorsing the brand-Aamir, Hrithik, Aishwarya, Karisma and the like. And now Vijay, because he would help them reach more fans across the country, given his popularity here.

They claim that Ajit and Madhavan aren't really as popular as Vijay in the districts across Tamil Nadu. Partly true, if you go by the `rasikar manrams' tradition.

Apparently, Coke is working with the `rasikar manrams' of Vijay as well. Vijay's fans would take posters of their idol (with Coke) and have them all over cinema halls across the state for promoting his latest flick, `Badri'.

Earlier, Coke only had a promotional tie-up with the Vijay- starrer `Priyamaanavalae'. Not that they would be promoting every Vijay film now like Pepsi has been doing with Madhavan.

Vijay seemed to be very thrilled getting to work with Rajiv Menon in the course of shooting for the Coke commercial, shot at the NIFT campus, Hyderabad, in 2 days time.

He found the experience of shooting for an ad film surprising on how it manages to weave a ``kutti story'' of boy- wooing-girl with dance and `gaana', along with the persuasive element of Coke's communication and brand visibility, in a span of 45-60 seconds.

``It is not a simple thing. I was surprised. I don't know if I would do an ad again, but this one would be unforgettable,'' he told mediapersons at the press conference on Wednesday.

Ask him about his flair for `gaanas' (given the fact that he has a few songs to his credit as a singer) and Vijay confesses that he had not learnt singing formally. Doing an ad for the very first time was risk enough, singing the `gaana' as well would have been a bigger risk, he said. Looking at the ad now, Vijay did feel that he could have done better. The news for Vijay fans is that the keychain that he passes on to the girl during the dance, displays his real-life personal mobile number.

Those who spot the mobile number and call would have a surprise waiting for them (No, Vijay wouldn't answer the call, if that is what you think the surprise is).

The questions from mediapersons continued. Someone wanted to know about the role he plans to play in politics. He didn't quite seem to know what hit him as he washed his hands off the issue saying that he didn't have anything to do with politics and that he didn't know what politics was all about.

``I just know two people in the political circles. One is Mr. Stalin, the other Mr. Karunanidhi, that too, because I have met them. I know them as nice people. Beyond this, I have nothing to do with the `katchi','' he said.

The down-to-earth star, was pretty candid and gentle in all his answers, feeling at home talking in Tamil. When he was asked if he would do more commercials, endorse other products, he apologetically said, ``Theriyillainga'' and discreetly declined to divulge any details about the financial aspects of the endorsement deal with Coke.

The ad premiered on Thursday. Catch the catchy `gaana'. And `Ensoi'.

By Sudhish Kamath

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