Soaring mercury levels notwithstanding, the denizens of Chennai thronged the YMCA ground to witness the first ever Vijay Television Awards to honour top talents of the channel, as voted by the people.
The nearly 10,000-strong crowd cheered as their favourite TV stars won mask-shaped trophies in over 30 categories including favourite junior male/female, favourite fiction/nonfiction comedian, best male/female dancer, supporting actor/actress, best actor/actress, best entertainer, best judge male/female, favourite anchor male/female, favourite show etc. Of the many awards, DHFL sponsored favourite actor while Karbonn Smart A5 sponsored favourite male singer. Two gigantic screens placed next to the stage allowed people seated at a distance to soak in the award acceptance speeches, performances and other goings on.
The gags and light-hearted banter of the hosts for the night, Ma Ka Pa Anand, Bhavna, Ramya, Jegan, Robo Shankar, Erode Mahesh and Balaji, was punctuated by some high-octane performances including salsa, acrobatics and a flute. In one instance, a blind and physically challenged boy adopted by Star Vijay sang to a huge applause from the audience. Lending sheen to the show were celebrities including Simran, Sudha Chandran, Chitra, Ananth Vaidyanathan and Sivakarthikeyan.
Save for the long-drawn conversation in between the performances, the approximately Rs 4 crore event went off without a glitch in the technical or execution department.
The event was sponsored by Sunfeast Farmlite and powered by Karbonn Smart A5 with a long list of associate sponsors including DHFL, Vivel, Cinthol, Airtel, Ramraj, Prestige, Eldia, Vasantham, GSK Horlicks, Ruby Builders, Chennai Silks and Hyatt.
The four-hour show is expected to go on air in the second week of June with on-air advertisers the same as on-ground ones. 16 cameras were used to record the event on ground with post-production to be done in-house by the Star Vijay team.
Prior to the awards, a month-long campaign was undertaken across magazines and leading newspapers, specifically The Hindu, along with a 15 day radio campaign. Posters and hoardings were put up across Chennai. Starting this week, the outdoor marketing campaign will begin informing people about the on-air telecast of the awards. Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Trichy and Erode are among the cities being targeted. According to sources, the total marketing cost for both pre-even promotion and pre-telecast is estimated to be nearly Rs 1 crore.
Significantly, voting was an open process conducted through the digital medium with nearly 20 lakh people voting for their favourite stars. “We planned the event nearly two years ago but at that stage, we didn’t have so many fiction hits and categories. Now was the right time,” says Star Vijay general manager K Sriram. The scale will go a notch higher in the second edition of the awards, he says.