Actor Vijay responded to the controversial ‘Superstar’ debate during a grand post-release event of his recent release, Leo, which was held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. The fans-only event was attended by the film’s cast and crew, including director Lokesh Kanagaraj, screenwriters Rathna Kumar and Deeraj Vaidy, actors Trisha, Arjun Sarja, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Mysskin, George Maryan, Madonna Sebastian, Mansoor Ali Khan, Mathew Thomas, and more.
“There’s only one ‘Puratchi Thalaivar’, only one ‘Nadigar Thilagam’, only one ‘Puratchi Kalaignar Captain’, only one Ulaganayagan’, only one ‘Superstar’, only one ‘Thala’ … the people are the kings and I am their ‘Thalapathy’ (commander),” said the star at the event.
During his speech, he also urged the audiences to watch cinema as just an entertainment medium. “That’s how it is perceived across the world, as a product of a creator’s imagination. Take the positives and let go of the negatives.” The actor further urged his fans to not engage in toxic fan wars on social media and to pursue their dreams. “The real hero is not someone who achieves what’s easy; the real hero is the one who aims big. Dream big, nobody can call your dreams too big to be true.”
What came as a surprise to the audience was when the star subtly hinted at his rumoured entry into politics. When the anchor asked him to say something about the year 2026, Vijay replied with a dialogue from his 2019 film Bigil: “Cup’u mukkiyam, Bigilu!” (Winning the cup is important, Bigil).
In a short speech, director Lokesh expressed his gratitude to the fans and thanked each of the cast and crew members of the film. “If this film got such unbelievable receptions in non-Tamil states, that is only because of Vijay sir,” said Lokesh. When asked about his films’ anti-drug themes, the filmmaker said, “It’s something I have often thought about; if huge stars like Vijay sir, Kamal Haasan sir and Suriya sir speak about this in their films, at least a few might see the sense, I believe.” The filmmaker also honoured all of his assistants on stage.
Meanwhile, Trisha expressed her gratitude to Lokesh and said that she was honoured to be a part of his Lokesh Cinematic Universe. The actor took a friendly jab at the filmmaker and said, “Thankfully, he didn’t kill me off in this film.” On acting with Vijay in Leo, with whom she has now shared the screen in five films, the actor said that it felt like meeting a school friend after a long time. “He’s a dear friend of mine and I love working with him.”
Producer Lalit Kumar of Seven Screen Studios thanked Vijay and recalled how the star stood by him when their previous collaboration, Master, was released during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many OTT offers came, but he said that we have to help the theatres and that he will stand by me.”
Arjun praised Vijay for his punctuality, something he said he only ever saw in the late legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan. “From the shy actor I once knew of, he has now grown to become one of the biggest names in Indian cinema.” Interestingly, Arjun referred to Vijay’s potential entry into politics. “Vijay really wants to do good for the people and I am sure he will become a big leader in the future,” he said.
Director Gautham Menon expressed his gratitude to Vijay and producer Lalit Kumar. Mentioning Yohan: Adhyayam Ondru, his dropped project with Vijay, the filmmaker said, “I asked him to do Yohan, but what he gave me, and I say this with a lot of pleasure, is Leo.” Known for his penchant for romance dramas, Gautham said that Vijay is still capable of pulling off a romance film. “He is not in that zone now. But he will do it when the time is right,” he added.
Actor-filmmaker Mysskin said, “I have only read about two legends in my life: Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson. And the only legend I saw through my eyes is actor Vijay.” Calling him a ‘real hero’ who tasted success through hard work, Mysskin said that he couldn’t understand how an actor could attract everyone for over 25 years. “My wish is to see him in a James Bond-like role,” he added.
The makers of the film also invited distributors from across the country and honoured them with a memento.