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November 1998 Edition

Glamour dolls

Next year we would witness an array of glamour dolls invading the Tamil screen. Prominent among them are Isha Khoppikar in "En Swasa Katre" and "Kaadal Kavithai", Laila in "Kallazhagar", Vindiya in "Anandha Poongatre" and "Sungamam", Malavika in "Unnai Thedi" and Poonam in "Sollividu" and "Thirunaal".

9811_poonam.jpg (61342 bytes)Not surprisingly, many leading actresses in the industry are reported to be already perturbed by the arrival of these beauties.

When approached to perform in "Unnai Thedi" a Ajit starrer, Laila had declined the offer saying that she would not sign up for any other movie till her "Kallazhgar" with Vijayakanth is released. So Malavika lucked out to make her movie debut with "Unnai Thedi". Speaking of Malavika, there are already reports that rave about her great looks.

Vindiya, hailing from Roja’s hometown Thirupadi, is very selective in choosing her roles with little or no scope for wearing revealing outfits. On the contrary, both Isha and Poonam are reported to be ready to use their oomph in their movies as long as there is scope for them to demonstrate their acting skills as well. In this connection, Laila too does not have any qualms about accepting such roles.

Isha the most popular of all these newcomers is already shifted her residence to Chennai and many movie pundits predict that Isha would be a strong contender for the number one position in Tamil movies sometime next year. So Simran...   rough weather is ahead and be weary of the Konkani storm called Isha.

Besides these five girls, Nagma’s second sister Jyothika is signed for the two movies "Vaali" and "Poovellam Kettuppaar". When it comes to doing sensual roles, Mumtaj in T Rajenderan’s "Monisha en Monisha", Asha Mehra and Urvasi, both of them from Ashok Kumar’s "Kaama", are said to have performed well in that department.

Rajini's new getup

In "Padiyappa" Rajini plays the character of a foreign-returned youth. For his movies Rajini normally does not appear with special hairstyles or wigs. But for the first time in "Padaiyappa" he appears in imported wigs.

Even while acting for "Arunachalam" he just patched his front hair a little, but never used any artificial hairstyles. But now he has ordered a set of custom built wigs for "Padaiyappa", probably to look younger on screen. What is special about those wigs is the way they are made with a lifelike skin tone below. Once you see Rajini on the screen with his new makeup, his close sources swear that no one could make out it is unreal.

In related news about "Padiyappa", it was reported earlier that the popular "Kaadalukku Mariyaadai" pair Vijay and Shalini would be part of the movie. But now the lattest on this is… Abbas and Preeta do the parts of the younger pair in "Padaiyappa".

Seshan's Sensation

India’s ex-election commissioner T.N. Seshan always tries different stunts to remain in limelight. This notoriously stubborn man was very unpopular among the political parties. When he had left his office, he tried desperately for the office of the President of India, but defeated badly by K.R. Narayanan the current President of the country.

Later he publicly went gaga over the shapely Shilpa Sheety from Bollywood and hit the headlines. Now his latest publicity stunt is entering Tamil movies. Seshan plays the part of a press reporter in a new movie called "Udaya" produced by Pyramid Natrajan and directed by Azhagamperumal. It is a Vijay starrer with the current dreamgirl of Tamil movies Simran in the lead.

9811_simran.jpg (24750 bytes)As "Udaya" progresses one won’t be surprised, if Seshan changes his loyalties to Simran from Shilpa.

Speaking of Simran, the actress is thrilled to bag "Udaya" her third movie opposite the most successful youngster Vijay. Her first one was "Love Today" released last year and the second one is "Thullithirinda Kaalam", which is under production.

Looks like Meena once had a dig at Simran in an interview, saying that Simran with all her exposing alone would not exist long in Tamil. Hearing about that remark Simran was rather surprised and felt Meena should not have passed such statements. But at the same time she went on to taunt Meena  saying that she is doing her third movie opposite the current box-office sensation Vijay, while Meena is yet to be paired opposite him.

Vande Matharam again

A.R.Rahman’s music video "Vande Mataram" had very high sales for a non-film album.

It was Bharat Bala who orchestrated its success, taking advantage of Sony Corporation’s impressive marketing efforts. Soon the album gained popularity among the urban populace of India, but it was not received well among the rural masses.

As a sequel to the original "Vande Mataram", Bharat Bala has made "Vande Mataram 2" with the mellifluent voice of Lata Mangeshkar. Surprisingly, it is Ranjit Barot who scores music for this new album, while A.R.Rahman was the composer for its first part. Also this time it is released through HMV… but not through Sony, because Lata normally sings her albums for HMV alone. Since it was chiefly Lata who mattered for the new album, Bharat Bala has agreed to all her conditions and ditched Sony.

When questioned about his not repeating A.R.R for their new album, Bharat Bala defends saying "When Rahman sang 'Maa thuje salaam…' it was a hit, but we wanted Lataji for the second album because, way back in 1952, when she sang the song, it was a sensation. Flushed with freedom, we were thrilled. Today, 46 years later, we wanted the present generation to experience that thrill."

Interestingly in its new Tamil version, it is Vishali Kannadasan who writes lyrics for the album replacing Vairamuthu who wrote them for its earlier version.

Nepali nymph back in Tamil

The dream team of "Jeans" is fragmented now. While its producers and hero Prasanth have drifted one way to work for "Kaadal Kavithai", its successful director Shanker is out of them and debuts as a producer for his own venture "Mudalvan".

9811_manisha.jpg (19243 bytes)In the process, former miss world Aishwraya Roy is kind of left out, because she is not part of either of those movies. While "Kaadal Kavithai" has Isha Khopikar as its lead lady, Shanker’s "Mudalvan" has Nepali nymph Manisha Koirala as its heroine. With this Manisha frequents south agai, after her memorable appearances in "Bombay", "Indian" and "Uyire".

Jeans was a big hit and everybody raved about   bewitching beauty and awesome talent of Aishwarya. But what went wrong for Aishawarya? Why is she absent in "Kaadal Kavithai" or "Mudalavn" for that matter? The answer is her astronomical price. It is reported that the glamour doll charges a cool 75 lakhs for a movie and in these lean days, there is not that many producers in the industry who could afford her cost. Interestingly, once Mega-star Chiranjeevi was keen on having Aiswraya as heroine for his home production in Telugu. But when he learnt about her substantial demand, he decided against the idea and Okayed a less expensive South-Indian heroine.

Speaking of budgets, Shanker is known for his outrageous spending on the movies he directs. He made his debut with "Gentleman" costing nearly RS 5 Crores. Subsequently his "Kaadalan" was made with 6 crores, "Indian" with 8 crores and  more recent "Jeans" with whopping 12 crores.

Currently Shanker is producing his own venture "Mudalvan". What is surprising about "Mudalavn" is... its projected cost. When it comes to his own production, the extravagant director-turned-producer has already become penny-pinching and his allocation for "Mudalavan" is only 3 crores.

Since Shanker normally demands months and months of bulk dates, initially there was no one to come forward and accept the hero’s role "Mudalvan". Now his earliest hero Arjun does the lead part in "Mudalvan" too. Arjun who has a row of failures to his credit, is said to have willingly accepted this movie, hoping that it would give him the much-needed break to bounce back in Tamil.

Roja bailed out

It was a frustrating Deepavali for Roja. The dusky beauty once borrowed some Rs 7 lakhs from a financier to complete one of her home productions. Since her movie venture was a financial fiasco, she could not repay the financier. Meanwhile the same 7 lakhs has grown into 70 lakhs in few years, thanks to huge rate of interest imposed by the financier. So the financier went to court, claiming the actress had not honored their agreement and failed to pay back his debts. He also demanded to hold back the release of her films, till she clears all his dues.

So two of Roja’s Deepavali releases, 'Veeram Velanja Mannu' and 'Pudhumaipithan,' were almost held back. But thanks to the generous producers of these movies, who paid the financier off her debts, Roja was finally bailed out of the crisis.

In related news, relationship between Roja and her fiancé Selvamani is in hot water now. Earlier Selvamani, used most part of her earnings for his directorial ventures, which turned out to be box-office disasters. So Roja, who used to live-in with Selvamaaani, smartly moved away from him and stays in a separate house. Soon after her relocation, Roja’s "Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen" became a great hit and subsequently she is flooded back with many offers.

At this time her fiancé Selvamani is reported to be pestering her back for money. While there are rumors that Roja and Selvamani are already married secretly, there is also a report that the couple was spotted fighting in a local lawyer’s office, disputing over money matters.

Astounding accolade

In her forthcoming movie "Rhythm", Meena appears as a young widow. Besides she is also mother of a kid in "Rhythm". While young heroines like her would be afraid to do such roles, how could Meena be comfortable with it?9811_meena1.jpg (29900 bytes) When questioned, Meena retorted saying that she has already played mother of a child in "Avvai Shanmugi" and people seemed to have no gripes about it. As long as the role offers her an opportunity to perform, she does not mind accepting such unconventional characters.

Speeking of Meena, the girl with fluttering eyes has got a special compliment on her beauty... that too from another actress. When no woman would normally acknowledge the beauty of another woman, surprisingly it was Priya Raman who candidly admired Meena’s beauty and her magical eyes.

Priya Raman, who is once again back in demand in Tamil, is all out to entice the audience with her luscious looks. The example for her new stand on exposing is her Deepavali movie "Puthumaipithan". In fact Priya in "Puthumaipithan" has already made the moviegoers go berserk with her outlandish exposures. So if a bewitcher like Priya herself praises Meena’s beauty, what better compliment that Meena could long for?

Simmarasi in doldrums

In "Simmarasi" Sarath kumar has taken pains to perform a furious "Thandav" dance with special outfits. But unfortunately it was not received well by the audience. They seemed to be bored with the hero appearing in dual role in most frames of the movie. So the producer quickly edited and revamped many parts of the movie and redistributed it. Despite all the rehashing, the latest news is… "Simmarasi" is still in  doldrums at the box-office.

On the contrary Cheran’s "Desiya Geetam" is expected to be yet another big grosser for Cheran-Murali combination, the earlier one being "Porkaalam" the blockbuster of last Deepaval.

Vijaykanth’s "Viram Vizhanda Mannu" is reported to be doing a moderate business. However some movie critics feel the plot of the movie involving conflicts between a father and his son is hackneyed and that could affect the prospect of the movie.

Unassuming beauty

These days lady luck is smiling back at Prasanth. After an extraordinary success of Jeans, Presanth's latest movie "Kannedire Thondrinal" is also a hit. Besides he has also grabbed the next venture from Dr. Murli Manohar, the maker of the magical "Jeans".9811_isha.jpg (27562 bytes)

This new movie’s name is "Kaadal Kavithai" and it is directed by the national award winning director Agathiyan. Popular Mumbai model Isha Khoppikar is the heroine, paired opposite Prasanth.

In "Kaadal Kavithai", Isha is a young classical dancer, touring Europe for her performances. While she was there, she happens to visit princess Diana’s memorial monument. Amongst all those messages flooded there, in praise of Diana, Isha was particularly attracted to a poem in Tamil, written as homage to the popular princess. Moved by the pathos in the poem she leaves a note of appreciation to the author of the poem, Prasanth. This in turn, soon sparks a series of letter exchanges between Isha and Prasanth, all without seeing each other in person.

Isha Khoppikar, a fair-complexioned Konkani beauty, is said to be director’s dream. She grasps every thing quickly and does exactly what is expected from her. In the process, she does not mind running that extra mile, when it comes to harmless titillation. Above all she is surprisingly unassuming, a quality which is rare among most of the imports from Mumbai.

Unfortunately Isha’s most talked about movie "En Swaasa Kaatre" with Aravindswamy is getting more and more delayed. But according to some movie critics, once "Kaadal Kavithai" and "En Swaasa Kattre" are released, Isha would pose a formidable challenge to the ruling glamour queen Simran.

A nameless movie!

9811_meena.jpg (19066 bytes)There is a new Telugu movie released recently with Chakravarthy and Meena in the lead. What is special about it? The movie does not have any title. Earlier Kamal tried a trick with "Pesum Padam" a silent movie. Now comes the nameless movie from Andhra Pradesh.

Meena is also in the Telugu version of Natpukkaga directed K.S. Ravikumar with the Megastar Chiranjeevi in the lead. Initially Simarn who did the heroine’s role in its Tamil original, expected that she would be signed in for Telugu too. But she now has lost the role to Meena. Incidentally, Simran is also not in Rajni’s "Padiyappa". The common factor? K.S. Ravikumar directs both these movies. With this background, one wonders what is the problem with K.S.R and Simran.

Talking about Chakravarthy, this talented Telugu actor has become an instant hit in Bollywood with his recent Hindi movie "Satya", which is also dubbed in Tamil. Sathya is directed by Ramgopal Verma and not surprisingly his favorite girl Urmila Matondkar is its horoine. But what is surprising is Urmila, who is normally known for her sensous exposures in movies like "Rangeela"and "Duad",  appears   fully clad  in Sathya.

Controversial Cheran

Cheran’s latest movie "Desiya Geetham", released for this Deepavali, has many political overtones. In the movie, four youngsters of a village kidnap the Chief Minister of a state, just to let him have the first hand experience on various hardships faced by the villagers. Aparently Kalaignar M. Karunanithi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is very much upset with the theme of "Desiya Geetham", which involves abducting a Chief Minister and make him work like a common man.

9811_desiya.jpg (30666 bytes)To clarify his stance, Cheren personally approached the C.M. explaining that he has no intention of attacking him personally. He even requested Kalaignar to watch the movie with him. But somehow Kalignar did not accept his offer.

But when Rajni saw the movie, he was totally moved by its story. He whole-heartedly praised the efforts of Cheran, saying that Cheran has brought out in "Desiyageetham" whatever messages Rajni personally would have liked to deliver. Subsequently, Tamil Manila Congress Supremo Moopanar also saw the movie and generously praised Cheran for his work.

Earlier it was Rajni who orchestrated the victory of Moopnar and Kalaignar alliance in the state elections. Now, while the Chief Minister is still upset with Cheran, the liberal lauding of the movie by both Rajni and Moopanaar is suspiciously viewed in the political circles.

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