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Kodambakkam - the Tamil Tinsel-town

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October 1998 Edition

A low-key affair

Early this month, Rajini had a formal inauguration ceremony for his next venture "Padaiyappa". During that occasion, the Superstar preferred to have it as a low-key affair devoid of all glamour and glitz normally found during such filmy inaugurals.

9810_ramya.jpg (23406 bytes)Rather than a kick off meeting, the entire event turned out to be a religious occasion, with a special "Homam" to Lord Ganapathi conducted at the Ragavendra Hall of Kodambakkam. Surprisingly Rajini, his wife Latha Rajinikanth, director K.S. Ravikumar, producers Sathyanarayana, Krishnaraav, Vittal Prasad and Thenappen were the only notable ones present during the function.

Subsequently, during Deepavali, Rajini announced in an interview that work on "Padiyappa" would officially begin on November 2nd of this year at Mysore. After a month long shooting in Mysore, they would move to Chennai and then to Hyderabad.

Meanwhile it is reported that Soundarya is a bit peeved about the whole thing because Ramya is the primary herione of "Padiyappa". However she does not show it outside, but hobnobs with Rajini, speaking to him mostly in Kannada.

Shalini appears as Rajni’s sister in the movie. Besides, there are rumors that Vijay has specially approached Rajini for a guest role and got it too. With this move, Vijay expects to increase his standing with the numerous Rajini fans.

Another snippet on "Padiyappa" is about Jayaram. During the making of "Arunachalam", poor Jayaram was unceremoniously kicked out of it because he had discussed about the plot of "Arunachalam" in public. However this time it looks like Rajini himself has offered a role for Jayram in "Padaiyappa". Hope at least now Jayaram learns that mum’s the word for survival.

Hey is it Hollywood are what!

The septuagenarian Gemini Ganeshan made into headlines by marrying for the fourth time in his life. This time it is Juliana from Singapore settled later in Bangalore. Young Juliana in middle thirties is said to have already moved to Gemini’s residence with the consent of his first wife Bapji.

While the newly married couple maintain it is companionship rather than sex that is paramount in this relationship, there are reports that the romance king of yesteryears is seeking the rescue of the wonder medicine Viagra. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies could get more mileage out of this in India, by asking the old man to do some special commercials for them.

When people raised eyebrows, Gemini appears to be the least bothered about them all. His argument is that if Nelson Mandela could do it, why not him.

Besides he gloats that no one else in the industry is as courageous as he is. Well why one should bother? It is after all his life!

On a different track

This is strange but shocking news from the Tamil movie industry. According to a Tamil investigative magazine, recently authorities have busted an X-rated movie racket in Kodambakkam. The kingpin of the operation is a Singapore based businessman, who conducts cultural programs in Singapore, by inviting artists from the industry. While his celebrity guests visit Singapore, he used to film them cleverly for his special contents, all without their knowledge. A former beauty queen from Madras, an actress who has a special northern aroma in her name and a wacky comedian are some of the people who are said to have engulfed in this operation. In addition to that, a movie couple who have dedicated their whole family to the moviedom appears to have professional links with the kingpin.

A singer’s delight

9810_vijay2.jpg (11912 bytes)What would be the reaction of a popular singer, if he happens to watch someone else singing one his hits numbers... that too right before him? Such a rare situation happened to the ace singer Harihran. During the two-hundredth day celebration for "Kaadlukku Mariyadai", Vijay sang the great number "Thaalata Varuvaalo", accepting to a request from the audience. Interestingly, Hariharan was also present at the same stage. While Vijay sang some few lines of the song, Harihran seemed to have deeply immersed in the melody of it. Later he appreciated Vijay for his wonderful attempt and also expressed his anxiety that Vijay should have sung the whole song instead of those few lines.

Warding off a bad patch

Earlier Ramba walked out of her mentor C. Sunder’s movie "Naam Irruvar Namkku Iruver", paving the way for Meena to expirement with her oomph. Due to Ramba's eleventh hour revulsion, not surprisingly the relationship between hetr and Sunder was strained for a while.

But once NINI bombed at the box-office, 9810_ramba.jpg (15748 bytes)Sunder started getting more and more nostalgic about his lucky mascot Ramba and started spreading nice words about her. Wasting no time Ramba too joined the mutual appreciation club to rave about Sunder.

Soon after their truce, there were rumors that Ramba would be the heroine of Sunder’s next venture. But the latest in this sequel is… Ramba does not appear in the new movie directed by Sunder. It is a Satyaraj starrer called "Azhagarsaamy" and  Roja is the heroine of the film. Presently the outdoor shooting for the movie is reported to be progressing well at Gobichettipalyam.

Talking on Ramba, the voluptuous actress undergoes through a bad patch in Tamil. Also her recent movie with Salman in Hindi "Bandhan" too turned out to be a damp squib in the north.

But when Roja went through a similar patch, she suddenly moved to a different house and remodeled it as per Vasthu Sastra, a branch of ancient Hindu astrology. Soon after her moving to the new home, Roja is currently flooded with an enviable number of projects.

Encouraged by Roja’s success, Ramba too is in the process of remodeling her Chennai home confirming to Vasthu Sastra.

Humpty-Dumpty

After her break up with Sarathkumar, Nagma moved back to Mumbai hoping to revive her career in Bollywood. While she was there, she pulled strings with her old friends in the industry and made her youngest sister to debut in a Hindi movie opposite Aksaye Khanna, a Bollywood hunk. But when Nagma tried to get some rolls for herself, she unfortunately met with no success. Moreover, a Bollywood magazine recently called Nagma as Humpty-Dumpty, snickering at her plump looks. With so many slim and sexy girls around, bulky Nagama’s chances to reenter Bollywood look extremely slim now.

So poor Nags is back at Chennai. The glamour doll who once claimed up to 25 Lakhs for a movie, is said to have slashed her price to a humble 3 lakhs for Ramanarayan’s new movie "Maya". Napoleon is the hero of "Maya" and it is simultaneously made both in Tamil and Kannada.

Hungry Cameras

Nagma air-dashed specially from Mumbai to participate in a grand function intended to felicitate Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaignar M. Karunaanidhi for his unparalleled contribution to Tamil movie industry.

9810_kamal.jpg (11869 bytes)During the function Nagma was originally scheduled to perform a dance number with Vijay. However Nagma’s erstwhile boy friend Sarathkumar is said to have promptly played his political cards. Due to his intervention Nagma’s dance number was shifted to the end. Later it got cancelled eventually for the lack of time.

Another interesting story from the function is Kamal and his Marudanaaygam beard. Since he started the shooting of his dream project "Marudanaayagam", Kamal never showed up in the public with his beard. Actually everything about making of "Marudanaygam" was a big hush-hush with his entire crow shielded from the public by professional guards of the Karate-man Husaini.

But since it was one of the kind event, Kamal has to forgo his self-imposed excile to participate in Kalaignar’s felicitation. During that occasion several of hungry cameras zoomed on the actor to capture his new look. Kamal too appeared very friendly and did not mind those inquisitive photographers.

Like father like son!

Inspired by the success of "Kaadalukku Mariyadai", producer Kovai Chezhiyan wanted to repeat the pair of Vijay and Shalini in his next movie. Initially when he approached Vijay’s father S.A. Chandrasekar, the latter flatly refused the offer saying that Vijay is fully booked and there are no dates from him for next two years. 9810_vijay.jpg (18910 bytes)But relentless Chezhiyan happened to get Vijay on his cellular and explained him all about his unique story and above all the availability of Shalini as its heroine. Hearing that Vijay wasted no time agreeing to do the project.

Interestingly, Vijay is also reported to have the former Miss-world Aaishwarya Rai signed opposite him for another venture. Vijay’s father Chandrasekar would direct this movie after a long time. At the moment, details on this is very sketchy.

Talking about Vijay, there has been quite a number of news items related to his marriage with the London based girl Sangeeta. The latest in this is about Sangeeta’s elder sister who too is unmarried yet and only after her marriage Vijay would tie the knot.

Meanwhile Sangeeta who is a Hindu by birth is already baptized to Christianity, the religion of Vijay. May be a reversed role for Vijay here, compared to "Kadalluku Mariyadai" in which the Hindu Vijay is after the Christian girl Shalini. As a matter of another coincidence, Vijay’s mother Shoba also went through baptizing while she was marrying Chandrasekar. Hey… is it why they say "Like father like son"?

Pally with the press

Mani Ratnam these days is giving interviews to every Tamil journalist who comes on his way.

"The Tamil press hates me. They rip my films apart. They celebrate when my films flop. So I patched up with them by joining their stupid organization and sat with those idiots, answering stupid questions. Now they like me. My next film is in Tamil and I want to have everyone on my side," Mani is said to have confided in an aide.

Mani's 'Uyire,' the dubbed Tamil version of his Hindi 'Dil Se,' with Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala, was a disaster at the box office. However they claim it has outperformed in Tamil for a dubbed movie. Also the Telugu version of Uyire is said to be a hit in Andhra Pradesh.

Above all the Hindi version is proclaimed to be a washout, barring Delhi where it has done a good business. Due to this, Mani says goodbye to films based on terrorism and also plans to make his next movie in Tamil only.

Simran explains it all

Earlier it was Simran who was supposed to do Preity Zinta's role in Dil Se and even signed the film. 9810_simran.jpg (14517 bytes)According to some sources she mercilessly ditched Mani Ratnam at the last moment due to date problems. When questioned by a Bollywood magazine about those rumors, Simran is aghast with anger and retorts in the following way:

"Yes, I was supposed to do Dil Se. Preity has done a great job. Manisha stands out and the film is handled very well. I don't know what went wrong and why the film didn't do well. When Mani Ratnam approached me, he said the film would be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. And touch wood, I have a very good market in Tamil and Telugu. If people there saw me doing a minuscule four-scene role in front of Manisha, don't you think my value would drop? It would affect my market in the South and I would only be offered minuscule roles. There were no date problems, as was mentioned in some magazines by his camp. Just because he is a big name, people believe him and nobody bothered to ask me about it.

"When Mani Ratnam approached me, he didn't even bother to tell me about my role. If he had, I would have told him before signing the film, 'Sir, I have done a wonderful film with you before this. But please don't push me into doing such a small role'. If I had done the film, it would have messed up my career in the South. When I signed the film, I did have to adjust dates and I was in a dilemma regarding what to do. In spite of that, I adjusted dates for Mani Ratnam. I requested my other producers like Nagarjuna and Sharath Kumar, and they complied with my request.

"But when I finally got to know about my role, I wasn't excited. If it was just a Hindi film, I would have happily done it. But in the South, I have an image to maintain. Tell me, wouldn't you have been surprised if Kajol had done that role? I have the same kind of standing in the South and I don't want to spoil that for anyone."

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