A Deepavali memory from her chilhood that stays fresh in Soundarya Rajinikanth’s mind is the fireworks competition she and her neighbour engaged in.
“If we lit up a 100-wala, they would set off a 200-wala,” she laughs. Deepavali is celebrated with the most fervour at the Poes Garden residence of actor Rajinikanth. “Our Deepavali days used to begin with my mother (Latha) applying nalangu on myself, appa and my sister (Aishwarya Dhanush).
Nadaswaram music would add a festive look to the morning. Appa would wear pattu veshti and shirt, and we would spend the entire day with our friends, family and well-wishers,” she says. There was also the customary, and elaborate, lunch — a tradition that continues in the family till date. And when one of Rajinikanth’s films releases on the day, the family would wrap up celebrations early and head to the theatre to catch him onscreen. “Luckily, this year, appa is in town, and we are celebrating it together,” she adds.
— by Srinivasa Ramanujam
Shoba Chandrasekhar has a Deepavali custom she follows to a T should her son’s (actor Vijay) film release on the occasion.
“I watch the matinee show at Satyam Cinemas, and I call him on the phone to tell him how it was,” says Shoba, adding that this year is no different. “I prefer watching Vijay’s films at the theatre among his fans instead of at a preview theatre,” she says. Of all Vijay’s Deepavali releases, Shoba prefers Thuppaki (2012). “I still watch it from start to end whenever it is aired on TV. It was vera level from the films he was making at that point,” she says.
As a youngster, though, Shoba adds that Vijay loved celebrating the festival by setting off firecrackers with his father, filmmaker SA Chandrasekhar. Of late, it is tough for Vijay to take time out during Deepavali what with his work commitments. “Which is why anytime he visits, it is a festival for me,” she says, adding, “…but he makes it a point to meet me on my birthday.” Vijay is scheduled to fly abroad to film Thalapathy 64 for a month but when he is home, he prefers to have a simple meal. “He likes to eat kari dosa with chicken gravy. Sometimes even milaga podi will do,” she laughs.
— by Pradeep Kumar
In the Sivakumar household, Deepavali marks the time for a family reunion.
“From our childhood, we always had our cousins and relatives visiting us,” says Brindha Sivakumar, sister of actors Suriya and Karthi. Brindha reveals her elder brothers’ fondness for sweets. “Both of them are fond of ladoo and jalebi. We made sure that we helped our mom to prepare ladoos, which was an excuse to devour leftover pieces. In fact, very few ladoos made it to the plate,” she laughs. Brindha recalls how for one Deepavali the brothers drove down from their T Nagar residence to her place in Thiruvanmiyur because they could not hear her wish them on the phone due to the overwhelming noise of firecrackers. For her, and the rest of her family, the festivities have only gotten bigger over the years, “…thanks to my sisters-in-law,” she adds.
— by Srivatsan S
All about tradition
Simran has clear-cut Deepavali day plans — watch Bigil with family.
A true blue Chennaiite these days, having adopted the city as her home, Simran relates to the feeling of watching a film at the theatre on Deepavali. “It is a special experience, especially if it is my film,” she says. On a personal front, the festival is really about imbibing Indian culture and values in her kids. “We renew our family vow of togetherness and happiness. And there are lots of sweets and lights at our home,” she adds. Her favourite part about observing the festival? “It is making kolams and rangoli at my home. I really enjoy it,” she says.
Uma Krishnan misses having Trisha around for this Deepavali.
“She is in Uzbekistan shooting for her film Raangi,” she says, adding the celebrations will happen once she is back. For Trisha, and her mother Uma, a Deepavali without firecrackers has been the norm for quite some time. “We have two dogs at home, and one of them is very scared of fireworks and loud noise. So, we decided to do away with it,” says Uma. Deepavali, for the 96 actor, is all about eating sweets, watching new films and visiting friends. “She usually visits all her friends’ houses, and they have a gala time,” she adds.
— by Gautam Sunder