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July 1998 Edition

Meena's losing spree

Meena is trying to act costly these days. Earlier she had signed a movie called "Vandaanga Jeyichanga" directed by Guru Dhanapal. Initially she easily spared a huge chunk of her dates for this Satyaraj starrer. 9807_meena.jpg (39328 bytes)But all in a sudden, she stopped cooperating, with a firm demand to hike her rate. She argued that she has been giving consistent hits in Tamil and so she would not settle for anything less than Rs. 21 Lakhs. But as a result of her stand, finally Meena is out of  "Vandaanga Jeyichanga".

Besides, in her interviews Meena always expresses her desire to act with Vijay, the most successful Tamil hero of today. But when she was approached to act with Vijay in "Priyamudan", Meena declined the offer for some unknown reasons. Similarly due to unavailability of dates, Meena had to lose "Yendrentrum Kaathal", another Vijay-starrer too.

In her losing spree of movies, "Maavilakku" is another one. "Maavilakku" had both Meena and Jayaram as the leads. But when Jayaram lost his popularity in a short time, he was promptly replaced by Ajeet. As soon as he became the hero of the movie, Ajeet demanded and got Meena out of "Maavilaku". The inside story is, during a stage-performance in Singapore, Ajeet did make some unwanted passes at Meena. But infuriated mother of the actress, scolded Ajeet in front of everyone.

By removing Meena from "Maavilakku", it is said Ajeet is taking a sweet revenge for the Singapore incident!

While she is ready to lose movies after movies in Tamil, Meena’s Telugu market seems to be promising again. Meena once popular in Telugu, soon lost her place to Ramyas and Soundaryas. But her new movie in Telugu with Venkatesh, the remake of Tamil "Suriyavamsam", is declared to be a box-office hit. With this success in hand, Meena is trying to stage a come back in Telugu. In the process, she probably does not mind losing a movie or two in Tamil, where star compensation is said to be much lower than Telugu.

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Dire Straits

Tamil movie industry is in dire straits. In 1997, some 70 movies were released. This year it looks like this number won’t cross 50 even. There are 25 movies on the floor and out of them only 8 are said to be actively under-production.

Gemini Color Lab has declared a 3 day a week schedule, because they do not have enough work. A dubbing theater, which used to gross Rs 3 lakhs a month, got only Rs 1,000 in June. Four major preview theaters in Chennai, which used to make over 60 shows a month, did not have even 30 in June. Prasad Studios did not have a single film unit working there, except for an odd TV commercial maker.Obviously,   the industry that entertain millions is in deep trouble. Hope it is just a passing phase and the industry will be resilient enough to recover from this ugly predicament.

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Soundarya, a non-conformist

Soundarya is the numero uno actress in Telugu. 9807_soundarya.jpg (15935 bytes)She is the one lady who debunked the Telugu industry’s norm of expose-and-succeed, a rare feet which could make even Sridevi envy. This fully clad beauty is said to demand a cool Rs 25 lakh per film and that too without any hitch!

Subsequent to "Arunachlam" and "Kadhala Kadhala", there is a great demand for her in Tamil too. But the busiest lady in Telugu does not accept any Tamil projects for the lack of time.

Recently Soundaraya is keen on entering the national market with a new Hindi movie, a remake of the Tamil original "Suriyavamasm". In the Hindi version, Soundarya is doing Devayani’s role and she is paired with Abishek Bachan, the Big B’s son.

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Shimmers and Sizzles

Simran is the heroine of the new movie "Kannedire Thondrinaal" produced by Shiva Shakti Pandian. Pandian’s earlier movies "Vaanmathi", "Kaadal Kottai", "Kallamellam Kadal Vazga" and "Kaadale Nimati",9807_simran2.jpg (25507 bytes) were all family-oriented movies with no scope for glamour or titillation. On the contrary the heroine of his current project is non other than the "Kavarchi-pooyal" (translated roughly as glamour-cyclone) Simran herself.

With Simran as the lead, are there going to be any Simranish shimmers or sizzles in "Kannedire Thondrinaal"?

"No way.." says Pandian. He maintains, like his other movies even "Kannedire Thondrinaal" will also be a family entertainer with very little scope for glamour or exposing. May be she would appear in modern dresses, but nothing more than that!

But the next question we have is,  why Simran... why not Devayani or Suva Luxmi kind of heroines? This apparently looks like a total misuse of Simran’s talents! With Simran fully clad for "Kannedire Thondrinaal", no wonder Prashant the Aiswarya-stuck hero of the movie, is reported to be voraciously reading "Mahabharat" in the sets!

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Ramki to marry Nirosha

Ramki, a hero of several low-budget movies, has finally come out open on his clandestine affair with Nirosha. Though there were several stories published in many magazines, he never bothered to accept or deny his relationship with her. For late-comers, Nirosha is a Tamil heroine of late eighties and character actress Radhika’s sister. 9807_ramki.jpg (8126 bytes)Among her movies, notable ones are Agninakchatrum, Surasamhaaram and Mainthan.

Responding to a report about their alleged secret marriage, published in a local daily, Ramki maintained that there is no truth in that story. However, he revealed that their marriage is definitely on the cards, probably sometime next year. Since both his family and Nirosha’s family approve of their marriage, Ramki asserts that there is no need for them to go for a secret marriage.

Meanwhile it is reported that Nirosha is already staying in one of the houses owned by Ramki. But when a reporter from a Tamil daily, tried to contact her at that house, Nirosha was indifferent and curtly drove the reporter away!

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Aravind's demands

During the making of the movie "Engineer" at Kaaraikudi, looks like Madhuri Dixt, the heroine of the movie, had special privileges like a room with Air-conditioner, attached bath-room etc. When there was a question about such special treatment for the heroine only but not for the hero Aravindswamy, soon he too got all those amenities for himself. But the pity is Aravind’s salary in Engineer is much less than what is paid to Madhuri, the ex-queen bee of Bollywood. Well, this time... it is going to be difficult for Aravindswamy to claim parity with La Dixit, when it comes to his salary.

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Fruits of patience

9807_prashanth.jpg (19796 bytes)After a dull start of "Jeans", people  predicted Prashanth would have no future in Tamil movies. Even Sivashakthi film wanted to fire Prashant out of their project "Kannedire Thondirinaal". But Prashanth soon responded and reduced his compensation to retain his role. Currently, "Kannedire Thondirinal" is rapidly progressing. Also, as soon as he got some positive feedback on the box-office performance of "Jeans", Ashok Amirthraj has  decided to retain Prashanth for their next venture too. Besides, Agathiyan, Kavithalaya and "Chinna Vadiyar" fame TNS are the other people who have signed Prashanth for their next movies. After his long absence from Tamil movies due to "Jeans", finally Prashant seems to enjoy the fruits of his patience.

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Ramya's home-coming

Being jinxed in Tamil, Ramya shifted to Telugu movies to become one of the most successful actresses of that industry with her oomph, 9807_ramya.jpg (16117 bytes)generous exposures and not to mention about her erstwhile mentor Raghavendra Roa. Once her competition in Telugu has become stiff with the new arrivals like Soundarya, Saakchi and Raasi (Manthra), Ramya tried to get an entry into Bollywood with her David Dawan connection. But when her "Banarasi Babu" with Govinda turned out to be a damp squib at the box-office, there are no takers for Ramya in Hindi too.

So now this Tamil girl is trying to come back home with the new Tamil movie "Athai Mahan". Ramya will be one of the heroines of "Athai Mahan" a Karthik statter with the other heroine being Swathi.

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Vijay's fianceť

While working for his recent release "Priyamudan", 9807_vijay.jpg (17508 bytes)Vijay had an accident and hurt   his spine. Later he and his parents (S.A. Chandrasekar and Shoba) visited UK to treat his ailment. In the process they have also found a girl for Vijay now!

On June 22, Vijay was celebrating his birthday in  London. During this occasion, Chokalingam an industrialist was visiting them with his wife and daughter Sangeeta. When Vijay’s parents saw Sangeeta, they were very impressed with the way she carried herself and instantly decided that she alone would be the future bride for their son.

Like an obedient son, Vijay has also agreed to marry Sangeeta, but after two years. Because he is currently concentrating more on his career.

Incidentally Sangeeta, a student of medicine, is a Srilankan Tamil, whose parents migrated to UK long back.

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Clash of the Titans

It is a well known fact that Maestro Illaya Raja and Kaviyarasu Vairamuthu cannot stand each other and won't  work for any film together. Recently director Cheran had a song for his "Desiya Geetham" written by Vairamuthu. But when Raja came to know about it,  he was upset and said he won’t work in the project, provided Vairamuthu’s song won't make into the movie. Subsequently the disputed song was dropped and Raja had his own way!

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Ramba at the cross-roads

9807_gharwali.jpg (23932 bytes)Ramba always denied that Simran’s arrival has not hurt her career even a bit. However at the moment, she seems to have lost the race to Simran with not that many Tamil projects in her hand. Also with her Telugu market less promising, she is slowly expediting the possibilities of entering into Malaylam movies. It is to be noted here that Ramba made her debut as an actress first in a Malayalam movie.

For Malaylam audience, Ramba is said to have a different strategy.

Knowing that her glamour would not fly in Malayalam, this sexy siren is already concentrating on her acting skills rather than her diminishing costumes.

Incidentally, Ramba counts largely on her new Hindi movie, "Gharwali, Bhaharwali". In this Anil Kappor-Raveena starrer, Ramba is the second heroine and if it succeeds it could enhance the prospects of Ramba’s sagging Bollywood career.

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"My Jeans are not washed out" - Manisha

Initially the mega budget movie "Jeans" from Shanker was thought to be a fiasco. Many blamed Prasanth for its believed failure. 9807_rivals.jpg (39976 bytes)So much so, a gang of people stormed into Prasanth’s home with rotten eggs and tomatoes to show their disapproval!

Now the scene has completely changed with the movie fast approaching towards its hundredth day and Shanker seems to have gone beyond his hat trick with a clean double double.

Interestingly, the dubbed Hindi version of "Jeans" went belly up. Hardly within few days after its release, the movie was taken out of the Bollywood circuit. In this connection, here is a comical reference to its failure, quoted from a popular Bollywood magazine:

"Even Aishwarya’s finely rounded bottom could not save the film ("Jeans") from ripping at the seams. People just were not interested in the film. May be it has got to do with the new swadeshi movement in the country. May be the film should have had an Indian name. How about langoti, khadi, dhoti, chaddi, lungi, etc.? Sounds as good as any ol’ jeans!"

Jokes apart, basically the audience in the North failed to recognize anyone else in the movie other than Ash. Bad dubbing, confusing double roles and flaky story line are the other attributes for its failure in Hindi. Nonetheless, financially it was not a great loss because the Hindi version of this film, costing over Rs 20 crores was sold only for a meager Rs 80 lakhs!

Also, with "Jeans" songs in Hindi losing ground, it is yet another set-back to A.R.Rahman in bollywood. It is to be remembered that he was not that successful with his earlier Hindi movie "Duad" too.

As for Aishwarya, it is her second consecutive flop in Hindi since her debut in "Aur pyar ho gaya" and this has made her rivals like Manisha gleeful.

Currently, both Manisha and Aishwarya are not in talking terms, because eariler Aishwarya had stolen many good projects that were specially slated for Manisha. But after the failure of "Jeans", it is Manisha who is having the last laugh! She openly goes around telling that her jeans are not washed out. Also Manisha believes that all her directors would realize her worth only after they have worked with other girls. Probably, director Shankar could be one of them, who had worked with Manisha in 'Hindustani' but did not repeat her in his next film. May be he too would realize her value by now, like Mani Ratnam who took her again in 'Dil Se' after his close encounter with Ash in 'Iruvar'.

Swept by the wave!

The glamour wave created by Simran has a definite impact on many Tamil heroines. From Meena to less known "Karuthama" Rajasri, everyone in the industry is ready to bare their heart and soul. Rajasri particularly is all out to wipe out her village girl image, with her exciting photo sessions filled with liberal exposures.

Another one who is desperate to expose for success is Easwari Roa, the "Raman Abdulla" girl. In her forthcoming movie "Guru paarvai", Easwari appears in a titillating bathing scene under a water fall, clad in a transparent sari with nothing else to cover her top. Well, don’t have too much hope on this scene guys, because it is doubtful it could escape the hungry pair of scissors from the censor board!

Love's labor lost

Recently a popular Tamil weekly, exposed Sarath Kumar and 9807_nagma.jpg (17136 bytes)a famous movie couple about their attempts to threaten and coerce Nagama to marry Sarath.

But Nagma managed to get out this predicament with the help of a high level political source in Tamil Nadu and moved back to her original head quarters, Mumbai. From Mumbai Nagama is now on an interview spree to Bollywood magazines, talking a lot about her broken relationship with Sarath.

Incidentally it’s Nagama’s second failure in her relationships, with the earlier one being with Rajeev Kapoor son of the greatest showman Raj Kapoor.

As an aftermath of their split, Nagma is replaced by Kanaga in Sarath’s new movie "Simma Rasi". "Simma Rasi" is directed by Erode Sounder and it also has Kushbu, Vineeth, Manivannan, Ananda Raj, R.Sundar Rajan, Manorama, 'Thalai Vaasal' Vijai and others. Music for the movie is scored by S.A.Raj Kumar.

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Cinematic marriage

Last month actress Gowthami got married to Sandeep Bhatia an industrialist from Mumbai, under thrilling circumstances. Like it happens in movies, while Gouthami was eagerly looking forward to Sandeep for the Muhurat, the johnny-come-lately groom showed up pretty late, guess what?.. during "Yemagandam", an inauspicious hour!

Bhanupriya follows the suit

Looks like Bhanupriya too is married now!. 9807_bhanu.jpg (16645 bytes)Recently, Bhanu was in the US to visit her sister Nishanti (remember her in "Enga Oru Pattukkaran"?).

As it turned out to be, she met this handsome six-foote, Adarsh Keshav and got attracted to him. Subsequently, the couple got married at the Sri Venkateswara temple in Malibu California on June 14.

Right now, Bhanu is in the USA with her husband Adarsh, who is a Hyderabadi, settled in the United States as a computer digital graphics’ engineer.

Besides Bhanu’s mother, her sister Nishanti, her husband and a handful of the grooms’s relatives, nobody else was present during this wedding.

Story of an actress

A popular Tamil Weekly is under fire from various circles for its autobiography of an anonymous young actress, revealing her behind the screen ordeals and adventures. With each episode turning cruder than other, the story of this actress is nothing but a soft-porn, exposing various popular movie personalities and their bedroom secrets.

Sivakumar's restriction

These days Sivakumar willingly agrees to play fatherly roles in movies, but with a restriction - he does not want to play father for Surya (his real son) in movies! Recently he refused one such role in "Sandipoma", leaving Prakash Raj to play that role. Sandipoma's heroine is Preetha Vijayakumar, who is causing ulcers to many of her rivals by grabbing prestigious projects with many leading men like Vijayakanth and Sathyaraj.

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Monisha moves on...

Monisha’s lead girl Mumtaj has started speaking in Tamil, thanks to T. Rajendar. How did he managed to do that? "Hey... I have made even Amala to speak Tamil in my movies. Making this girl speak Tamil is a peice of cake" says T.Rajendar.

In Monisha T. Rajendar appears in a character called "Kaadal Dasan." For this role, his job is to sing an eve-teasing song on a college beauty queen Sneka, along with other students.

Interestingly, the versatile T.R writes story, screenplay and dialogue for this film. Besides, he also takes care of the cinematography!

To make this venture a family affair, Usha Rajender works as the costume designer and for the first time Silambarasan composes music for some of its songs.

Most of the starcast of "Monisha" are fresh faces with names like Rahul Saxena, Mumtaj, Sneha, Ravi Kishan, Swathi Paudekar and Kunega.

Kalai Maamani awards

Recently Tamil Nadu government has announced "Kalai Maamani" award to seventy five people from the Tamil movie industry. Prominent among them are Napoleon, Vijay, Prasant, Meena, Roja, Manivannan, Naazar, Raghuvaran, Director Agathiyan and lyricist Palani Bharathi.

Star sisters

Right from Padmani 9807_simran_sis.jpg (17037 bytes)days there were always star sisters invading the Tamil cinema. We had Ambika-Radha and Radhika-Nirosha in eighties and now the trios Nagma, Roshini and Jothika.

The latest addition to such star sibblings are Simran and her sister Monal. But for her nose, Monal is said to be a look alike of Simran.

Initially Monal had no interest in acting in movies. However when she was visiting her sister Simran from Mumbai, she has landed into a Tamil movie pairing her with none other than Prasanth!



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