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Kodambakkam - the Tamil Tinsel-town

Tracked By Chandra Gobichetipal


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August 1998 Edition

Yet to name it!

When they heard about the name "Padiyappa", many people around Rajini did not like that name for his next movie. However Rajni was initially very firm on that name. When suggested to change it, his reaction was…

9808_rajini2.jpg (16981 bytes)"Even for a name like ‘Arunachalam’ people were very skeptical. But ‘Arunachalam’ became a big hit to prove them all wrong. Like "Arunachalam", Padiyappa would also do wonders, reminding you of "Arupadai Vedu" of Lord Muruga."

While saying this, Rajni did attach religious sentiments to "Padaiyappa". But for many, the same name in Tamil has  direct connotation to a scratchy skin disease.

Fortunately for now, Rajini is said to have understood the nuance of the name "Padaiyappa". So it might be dropped, probably in favor of an earlier choice "GIRI" or altogether a different title.

A report from Chennai says both Meena and Simran are back in the race for the heroine slot of the movie. Sources also say that Shalini too was approached for a stronger role in the movie. Besides, contrary to the earlier reports, Tollywood queens Soundarya or Ramya may not find a place in this venture.

With details turning so mercurial, it might be wiser not to believe any news on the movie, until we hear something concrete from Rajini himself.

Copycats

The major gripe of music director Sirpy these days is how Alisha Chinai, popular Indian Pop star, lifted his "Azhagiya Laila" tune for her new album. But sources close to him say Sirpy himself stole the tune from an Arabian Music album, in the first place.

So in this world of copycats like Devas, Anand Milinds and Anu Maliks, Sirpy is no exception! May be his inspiring sources are untraceable.

The girl next-door

Whenever someone knocks at Devayani’s house,9808_devayani.jpg (13368 bytes) the actress herself comes out to receive her guest. Naturally, her fans are thrilled by the down-to-the-earth behavior of this leading actress.

Threatened by her competition, Devayani consulted an astrologer. Since the soothsayer reported everything is going strong with her career, Devayani is happy and much relieved now.

Currently Devayani is pinning her hope on "Unnakkum Yennakkum" a Livingston starrer, in which she has taken more pains to deliver a wonderful performance. In this movie, Devayani plays the role of a music-student, who is a young widow.

Interestingly, once Devayani wanted to opt out of  this movie, due to some undesired interference from its hero Livingston. But with  his recent hit "Sollaamale", don't be surprised, if Simran too signs a movie opposite Livingston.

From Vaatsayna's camera

The national award winning cinematographer Ashok Kumar is back on the limelight with 'Jeans'.

Talking about Ashok Kumar, his obsession towards girls is well known.

Interestingly, Ashok is the first cameraman to hire girls as his assistants.

As a cameraman, he is also accused of concentrating only on the heroines.

Once while working for a Hindi movie, Ashok placed the light meter on the chest of the heroine (Juhi Chawla) and got slapped instantly.

Ashok directed two Tamil films -- 'Andru Paeitha Mazhayil'(Tamil version of 'Fatal Attraction'), which had 'Silk' Smitha in her most seductive role, and 'Kamagni' in Hindi with Tina Munim, again in an erotic role.

Now this tinsel town "Vathsayana" is directing yet another soft porn in Tamil, 'Kama,' with new faces. "An erotic poem on celluloid," says Ashok for his new venture, when asked to elaborate on its theme.

On its way to Telugu...

Sarath Kumar’s movie "Natpukaga" is said to be a run away success. 9808_natpu.jpg (25933 bytes)For both Sarath and Simran, who are paired for the first time together, the movie’s success should have been a great relief. Particularly for Simran, when her reign in Tamil is questioned by flops like "Kondattam" and "Poochudavaa", the movie happened at the right time to consolidate her number one position.

Like his other hits "Nattamai" and "Suriyavamam" of Sarath, "Natpukaga" is also slowly making its way towards Andhara Predesh. When Super-star Rajini saw the movie, he immediately recommanded Mohan Bubu to remake it in Telugu.

Dr. Rajasekar also approached its producer A.M. Rathnam to buy its story rights for Telugu. Besides Venkatesh and Chiranjeevi were the other Telugu stars who wanted to be in its Telugu remake. But the final winner is Mega-star "Chiranjeevi". K.S. Ravikumar who directed the Tamil original, will direct its Telugu version too.

Incidentally, since K.S. Ravikumar is preoccupied with this movie, he will start his work on Rajini’s next movie only after completing this venture. However some sources say this could happen as early as coming December.

Cheran's arrogance

Director Cheran’s new movie "Desiya Geetham" hit a minor snag. The problem was Parthiban had already registered the name "Desiya Geetham" as a probable title for his future release. But when requested, Parthiban magnanimously relinquished his registered name for Cheran’s benefit.

Speaking of Cheran, Director Bharathi Raja is said to be miffed with him. Charan gave an interview somewhere boasting that his movies will always be remembered unlike his predecessors Bhararthi Raja and Balachander’s works. Infuriated by Cheran’s statement, Bharathi Raja is reported to have dropped Cheran from one of his future projects. Cheran is successful indeed with both of his ventures "Bharathi Kannama" and "Porkaalam" being roaring hits. But it does not warrant him to undermine the efforts of his seniors,

A little girl in tears

9808_preeta2.jpg (31850 bytes)

The movie "Sandipoma" was made with RS 2.5 crores and "Dharma"  with even bigger budget. But… since both of them bombed in the box-office, Preetha is almost in tears now. With the failure of both her initial movies, she is afraid it would affect her career adversely.

But this lucky girl has an array of movies in production with leading heroes like Satyaraj, Parthiban, Pandiya Rajan and Livingston. Hope one of those movies clicks for her soon.

However other heroines must be a bit relieved by her set-back, because right under their noses, Preetha bagged many prestigious projects, entirely due to the clout her star-family has in Kodambakkam.

Story of an actress

She is the elder of the two star sisters from Kerala, who once ruled Kollywood with their looks and accomplished acting prowess. During early eighties, she was the dream girl of Tamil Movies with many memorable performances, paired opposite many leading heroes like Rajini, Kamal, Mohan etc. But now her current plight is very deplorable.

Earlier she married a non-resident Indian living, in the US. But soon she missed her star status and returned back to Kodambakam. Desperate for any role, she tried hard to make a come back in Tamil. But with several younger girls around, obviously there were no takers for this aged woman.

Frustrated, she soon resorted to wooing several richer men around the industry to maintain her standard of living. The latest victim in her list is a popular comedian hailing from Madhurai. Interestingly, often the pair is spotted in many high-priced restaurants of Chennai, arriving by an expensive import car of the comedian. With an outright "D –" in his looks, the comedian is said to be hardly a match for this ex-kollywood queen. As to this odd couple, people in the industry wonder what made the heartthrob of yesteryears to stoop down to such an unprecedented disgrace.

The tantrum queen

Finally the heroine for Vijayakanth’s next movie "Kallazhgar" is decided as Laila, a popular actress in Telugu.

9808_laila.jpg (24094 bytes)While Laila was doing modeling in Mumbai, it was the veteran comedian Mahamood, who introduced her as heroine in the Hindi movie "Duniya Dushman ki". Despite its attractive star cast of Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan, the movie bombed badly in the box-office. However, soon she moved to Tollywood and became an instant success in Telugu with several hits to her credit.

Well... is Laila new to Tamil?

No... she is not new to Kodambakkam.

Actually, when it comes to Tamil movies, Laila has a very bad track record.

If you recall a little, Laila is the same the girl who was supposed to debut in Kalaipuli Danu’s "V.I.P". However due to her tantrums she was thrown out of "V.I.P", paving the way for the sizzling Simran to storm into Tamil movies.

Though Danu’s version could be different, in an interview Laila’s version on V.I.P was:

"I did not know Danu before I signed the movie, but because I liked the story, I signed it. But when I landed in Chennai, I was shocked by the producer's behavior. To start with, Dhanu put me up at a cheap hotel in Egmore and asked me to purchase my own clothes and pay for my hair dresser. Apparently, he had earlier signed a girl called Pooja Kumar as the heroine and had printed the invitation cards, but then she walked out. So Dhanu asked me to change my name to Pooja because he did not want to print another set of cards. Then, at the muhurat, I met Rambha who turned out to be the other heroine in the film. But the strange part was that they had told me that I was to be the only heroine in the project. The last straw was when they honored me with a silk shawl at the function, but took it back later. I immediately returned their money and walked out."

Besides V.I.P, Laila has also rejected K. S. Ravikumar's 'Dharmachakram' and Pavithran's infamous 'Kathal Palli'. According to her, Ravikumar's story was not very good and as for Pavithran, his behavior with heroines is supposedly not too good.

After walking out of three movies, it is surprising that the tantrum queen is once again turning towards Tamil. Let us hope making of "Kallazhgar" has a smooth sailing with the controversial Laila in it.

Return of the Mogul

The movie Mogul K. T. Kunjumon's is known for his inimitable extravaganza in  movies produced with astronomical budgets.

9808_karishma.jpg (47120 bytes)After his big-ticketed shows like "Gentleman", "Kaadalan", "Kadal Desam" and his most recent "Ratchgan", KTK is currently producing a movie called "Kodeeswaran", a launching pad for his son Aby as  hero. Not surprisingly, the current glamour sensation Simran is the heroine of "Kodeeswaran".

However what is surprising is the current Bollywood Queen Karishma appearing for a single song sequence in the movie. Looks like she earned a huge sum for just doing that number.

As per the story, Karishma descends from a spaceship, to entice Aby in the song sequence. Reportedly, Karishma’s space-alien costume cost a whopping one million rupees. And the landing zone for the alien craft -- a special set erected in Ramoji Rao's studio in Hyderabad -- cost uncounted millions more.

 

Shilpa finds her soul-mate!

Bollywood sex siren Shilpa Shetty, who debuted in Tamil with "Mr. Romeo" is seen extremely happy these days.9808_shilpa.jpg (11408 bytes) Because she is in love with Boolywood’s Casanova Akshay Kumar and to her utter delight they have already engaged formally.

Akshay, a former superstar in Hindi with a mega hit like "Mohraa", is known for his affairs with Bollywood girls like Pooja Batra and Raveena Tandon. Notably, at one point of time, Akshay-Raveena pair looked inseparable. But due to one reason or other that relationship is history now.

Bollywood insiders say that this new love story of Akshay-Shilpa is much stronger. Because, unlike his earlier engagement with Raveena, which was a big hush-hush, this time Akshay came out openly to announce his engagement with Shilpa. Interestingly, the hunk is also reported to learn the South Indain language "Tulu", the mother tongue of Shilpa.

"Padaiyappa" - another Celluloid vaporware?

It has been quite a while, since we last saw the superstar Rajini in Arunachalam. Particularly, it is traumatic for his ardent fans, with no sign of their idol’s movie anywhere nearby. When both Deepawali and Pongal passed without his presence in the marquee, their frustration grew even more.

9808_rajini.jpg (17109 bytes)While everyone was eager to know more on Rajni’s next venture, there were always rumors. Initially, they said it would be called "Alex", reminding you of Alex pandian in "Moondru Mugam". Later they claimed that "Ramakrishna" would be his next movie directed by Suresh Krishna. For this movie both Simran and Meena were tipped to be the heroines.

Now the current news in this vaporware sequel is "Padaiyappa". This one would be directed by K.Ravikumar for ARR’s music score – a reunion of the successful pair from the legendary "Muthu".

Surprisingly, Simran won’t be the heroine of "Padaiyappa". As of now, the lucky girls for the heroine’s slots are Soundarya and Ramya. A strange combination indeed, because Ramya is a non-entity in Tamil and Soundarya is like an infrequent visitor to Tamil movies. However both these girls do enjoy a great deal of popularity in Telugu. Ramya was almost number one in Telugu and Soundrya is the current number one. With them around, probably the strategy is to make "Padaiyappa" more acceptable in Telugu, where there is a considerable demand for the movies dubbed from Tamil.

"Padaiyappa" is said to be Rajini's effort to help certain close friends of him. Besides, a portion of the returns from the movie, would be donated to an educational foundation, meant for poorer children.

And the winners are...

Recently, popular Bollywood magazine "Filmfare" hosted their award ceremony for the South Indian movies.. Normally Chennai is the center for this gala event. However last year due to the movie industry strike, the focus was shifted to Hyderabad. Once again the festivities came back to Chennai at the mammoth Kamraj Hall.

9808_simran.jpg (16055 bytes)Sarath Kumar was the hero of the day, winning his second Filmfare trophy for the Best Actor for his performance in Sooryavamsam.

Meena, the Best Actress for Bharathi Kannamma was notably absent for the function. Actually she was in Japan for the premier of her movie "Muthu" a Rajini-starrer, screened for the first time in that country with Japanese sub-titles. In her absence her father received the trophy on Meena’s behalf.

S Janaki, the playback singer, who in her four-decade-long career has rendered as many as 14,000 songs in various languages received the coveted "Lifetime achievement award".

It was his eighth Filmfare award for AR Rahman for his "Minsaara Kanavu". When asked to sing a stanza or two, the ever-bashful Rahman merely said, Vande Mataram and scampered off the stage.

Cheran won the Best Director Award for the Tamil film Bharathi Kannama and cinemotographer Santhosh Siven got the best technician award for his work in "Iruvar".

The irrefutable winner of the Best Newcomer Award for the whole South was Simran. Within a short span, Simran stormed into Southern screens with her Tamil hits like VIP Nerukku Ner etc. Interestingly, her forerunner, Naghma, who had also made a similar transition from the Mumbai to the South films, presented Simran the statuette.

Wrath of a father

9808_preeta.jpg (17540 bytes)Surya, son of thespian Sivakumar, was once in garment business at Thirupur. When director Vasanth and Mani Ratnam approached Sivakumar with an offer for Surya in "Nerrukku Ner", Surya had reluctantly accepted the offer, despite his father’s approval.

Unfortunately the father is repenting on his decision to allow his boy to act in movies. The reason is the Tamil film 'Sandhippoma' in which Surya is paired with Preetha, daughter of the Vijaykumar-Manjula couple. The girl is reported to be virtually chasing Surya and making blatant overtures to the young man. She is also reported to have cajoled the director into including a kissing scene in the film. Even before the director could shout "action," the imp was said to be fondly at it, smooching Surya all over. Not content, the girl also insisted on several retakes. This news soon reached Sivakumar and he was already out of control. But one night when Preetha rang up Surya, his dad picked up the phone and severely reprimanded the girl at the other end.

 

More on "Uyire"

9808_priety.jpg (23999 bytes)It is known already Manirethnam’s "Dil Se" in Hindi is soon to be released in Tamil as "Uyire". Here are some less known facts on the movie. In Tamil Aravindsawmy has lent his voice Sharukh Khan, while Suhasini was dubbing her voice for Manisha. Like his earlier movies "Roja" and "Bombay", "Uyire" is also based on a real-life story, woven with the backdrop of terrorism. This time, it is said to be inspired by a student’s agitation happened in Assam and a particular terrorist group of that state. Besides, an interesting love story is interwoven elegantly.

One more news about "Uyire" is, there is this special song in the movie. It was shot bravely at Indo-Pak border under very hostile conditions, where exchange of bullets between the troops is very common.

The movie also has the former Liril girl Preethi as the second heroine of the movie.

 

Melody Maker

The ace singer of Indian movies Hariharan is said to be extremely busy in South these days. Whenever he visits Chennai, he has to work for Illaya Raja, ARR and other popular directors, all under a tight schedule. Hariharan, one of the outstanding singers of Tamil movie songs is reported to claim Rs 25,000 per song. Though producers find this to be on the higher side, they don’t mind paying him so much to include his magical voice in their movies.

Like S.P. Bala who writes his Tamil songs in Telugu and sings, Mumbai born Hariharan also transliterates his Tamil songs in Hindi.

One more feather on her cap!

It is well known that Suhasini Manirathnam is hosting her personal site on the Net at http://www.suhasini.com. It is a great site and by far it could be the best Indian star site on the Net, hosted by a movie personality herself. 9807_uyire.jpg (20762 bytes)The latest news is, multifarious Suhasini  hosts yet another web site at http://www.tamiltalkies.com. Recently, this new site was officially launched by the Boolywood idol Shahrukh Khan.

In Suhasini's own words, the purpose of this new site is to bring the exciting world of Tamil films to theaters all over the world. As the first step towards that direction, she is currently promoting through her site, the forthcoming Tamil movie "Uyire" starring Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala (a sure-fire Bollywood combination!) Preity Zinta and others. The story screen play and direction for "Uyire" is in the able hands of Suhasini’s husband Manirathnam (for a change let us qualify him like this!) . Unlike his other movies, which went dubbed from Tamil to Hindi, "Uyire" would be the first movie originally shot in Hindi (Dil Se’) and dubbed into Tamil. A.R. Rahman scores music for the movie, tuned with Vairamuthu’s lyrics.

"Uyire" is scheduled for global release on 14th August. So if you are one of those distributors who wants to screen "Uyire" in your country, be in touch with Tamil Talkies soon for  further details. Otherwise also, you can just visit them to view a nice collection of still photographs and a synopsis on the movie.

This edition of Star-tracks is tracked from various Internet Sources.

Earlier Editions of Star-tracks




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