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September 1998 Edition

The final word

After sixteen months of expectations, predictions and confusions, finally Rajini is out of his self-imposed hibernation. Recently he made an official announcement on his next movie "Padaiyappa". Yes…it is still Padaiyappa and his leading ladies in the movie would be still Soundarya and Ramya Krishnan, the matinee-goddesses of Telugu screen.

Totally enthralled by his announcement, Rajini’s fans are already in action. 9809_rajini.jpg (20054 bytes)Similar to "Arunachalam" days, when sacred beads of Lord Shiva were used in place of dots over Tamil consonants of the name "Arunachalam", this time "Vel" the divine spear of Lord Muruga would adorn over the Tamil letter "P" in the middle of "Padiayappa". This is because the name Padaiyappa is related to the Tamil God Muruga and His famous six hill temples. Besides Rajini maintains that "Padaiyappa" also means "The commander-in-chief" in Tamil.

Well if the name relates to Muruga, is it a religious movie? No…says the Super-star. It would be a social movie with a rustic touch. Unlike his earlier movie, "Padiyappa" will not have any dig at the current political situations. Actually whenever someone utters the word politics, these days Rajini avoids him like a plague.

As expected the new movie is financed by some of his very close friends and part of the proceeds of it would go to his new charity organization meant for meritorious but economically backward students.

Padiyappa’s director is K. S. Ravikumar and A.R. Rahman scores music for the movie. Vairamuttu would pen its lyrics. The works on this venture would start only in early November, because Ravikumar is currently busy with the Telugu version of "Natpukkaga" starring Chiranjeevi, the Telugu Mega-star in the lead. However the good news is "Padaiyappa" would hit the celluloid right on the Tamil New Year’s day April 14, 1999.

Another interesting aspect of the movie is Thespian Sivaji Ganesan. Sivaji is expected to perform the role of Rajini’s father in "Padaiyappa", a rare combination, which repeats after a long time, since their earlier movie "Viduthalai".

Interestingly, it is reported that Simran is totally disappointed with her exclusion and she openly expresses her grief to everyone. But Devayani, whose name was shortly in the news for the movie, has taken her rejection lightly and never talks about it to anyone.

The Success story

In "Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen" Ajeet appeared in a guest role. Subsequent to that, he is chosen as the main hero of a new movie produced by the same company. Besides Ajeet, the new movie also has Karan as the second hero. Probably, encouraged by the success of "Unnidathil Ennai Kodhuthen", Ajeet these days is very eager to act in two hero subjects.

Talking about "Unnidathil Ennai Kodhuthen", Roja is another person who is ecstatic about its success. In fact, during her college days, Roja was a fan of Karthik. Those days, though she could not understand Tamil, she would watch Karthik’s movies with her friend who was fluent in Tamil. After almost seven years since her debut, Roja says it is a great feeling to appear opposite her favorite star Karthik. So she generously thanks Vikraman for providing this opportunity.

Ethnic Look!

After making her presence felt in the south, Rambha, who moved to 9809_ramba.jpg (29198 bytes)Bollywood has now started saying what a big difference acting in Hindi movies has done for her career. The actress who charges Rs 25 lakh per film says that it is only after taking to Bollywood that her image improved. The scale adopted by Ramba in this connection is the increase in her fan mail. Earlier she used to get a mere 200 letters per day while now it has catapulted to 2,000.

Having seen Ramba in those micro-minis, it is going to be a different experience for her fans to watch her in her forthcoming movie ""Desiya Geetham", directed by Cheran. In "Desiya Geetham" Ramba appears as a village belle fully clad in a traditional half-sari.

Cheran who has kept everything about his project secret until now, reveals that the movie is about a village, where people have aspirations and technical awareness comparable to any modern city. They can talk about computers, cellular phones or even about India’s recent nuclear test, all with a relative ease. Such a village in India is a dream and Cheran believes that his movie is the first step towards that direction. With its unique theme, Cheran feels his Murali-Ramba starrer, scheduled for this Deepawali, should be another hit among the masses.

Screening them for the screen

Recently Sarathkumar celebrated his birthday in Chennai. 9809_sarath.jpg (20555 bytes)During the occasion he nostalgically remembered Nagma his ex-girl-friend, who left him high and dry and went back to Mumbai.

"I could have given her all the happiness and anything she wanted from me," rued the poor guy, his voice choking.

On a different note, Sarath is  said to look more confident after his recent success in "Natpukkaga". In a span of few weeks, the actor has contacted seven popular directors to discuss on the possible stories for his next movie, spending as much as an hour and half for a story. From the slew of stories he heard, Sarath has short-listed two of them for now. According to him both those stories, if filmed, would become unparalleled box-office hits.

Shrewd Simran

In "Natpukkaga" both Soundaya and Keerthi Reddy were the names considered for the heroine slot. Since neither of them could perform the role, Simran became the third choice.

Actually when she was approached, Simran was busy to the teeth with no dates to spare for the movie. However after considering the rare combination of the producer A.M. Rathnam, director K. Ravikumar and Sarathkumar, she wasted no time in reshuffling her other dates to accommodate the new offer. One could say it is a great judgement on Simran’s part, because "Natpukkaga" turned out to be a smash hit.

Similarly as per the grapevine, in "Mudan Mudhalaga" Boolywood’s top lady Karishma Kappor is out due to some unspecified reasons and Simran would replace her as the lead opposite Aravindswamy.

Roja's new strategy

After losing heavily with two of her home productions, Roja is now working hard to earn enough to pay back the debts.9809_roja.jpg (38494 bytes) It was precisely for this reason she also postponed her wedding with Selvamani to the next millennium.

After a considerable absence due to vicious rumors related to her health, Roja is once again back on the center stage with many movies up on her sleeve. What is the reason for her sudden demand? The actress is said to have slashed her former price by one third. During these lean days of Tamil movie industry, the offer by Roja has received a great response from her producers. Also, other heroines are upset with Roja, because due to her actions, they too are forced to reduce their rates to remain in circulation.

Though she is busy in the Tamil film industry, Roja is not finding too many takers in Telugu cinema. The current opinion there is if she keeps experimenting the way she did with a set of contact lenses to enhance her beauty as in the recent Telugu release "Prema Pallaki", she may even lose the little standing she has now in Telugu.

Back to shape

For sometime Ravali was very popular in Telugu movies. With few of her initial hits, she even managed to bag a prestigious project 9809_ravali.jpg (66400 bytes)opposite Krishna, the evergreen hero of Telugu industry. But due to excessive happiness or so, Ravali started bloating suddenly to look as round as a dumpling in that movie. As a result of it, she soon lost her momentum in Telugu and forced back to concentrate more on Tamil, where obese women do not have any problem in surviving.

Since both of her earlier Tamil movies "Abhimanu" and "Peryamanusan" did not provide her the much-needed break, currently Ravali counts largely on her forthcoming movie "Maravade Kanmani".

In "Maravade Kanmani" Ravalli is paired opposite Vinnet. During the start of the movie people jeered at the corpulent girl, saying she looked like an elder sister to Vineet. Infuriated Ravalli, immediately went on severe diet and work-out programs. Result? She has pretty much slimmed down soon to look great in the movie.

"Maravade Kanmani" has a new music director Maha Kumar. For a rookie, Maha Kumar has done a wonderful job in the movie with couple of melodious songs like "Yellora Oviyam" sung by Unnikrishnan with Anuradha Sriram and "Koo Koo Kuyilamma" by Sujatha.

Titanic inclusion?

Kamal is always famous for making into headlines with his unique adventures. Earlier he got none other the Queen of England, Elizabeth to inaugurate his dream project "Marudanayakam", Later a famous special-effects man from Hollywood was brought in specially for his "Chaachi 420" in Hindi.

This time Kamal is reported to perform another rare feet by including Kate Winslet, heroine of the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, as one of the heroines of Marudanayam. Not surprisingly, news about Kate Winslet acting in "Murudanayagm", has already generated a ton of excitement among Kamal’s fans. Moreover with this kind of sensational star-cast, many distributors are also said to be rushing to reserve the screening rights of the movie.

Simran's list

There is a general rumor that Simran does not have that many movies in hand. When asked about it, she strongly disagrees and gives a big list of her projects.

Her movie with Prasanth, "Kannedire Thondrinal" made by Shivashkti movie makers is almost complete and ready for the release soon. 9809_simran.jpg (19723 bytes)"Vaalli" is another movie in which she is paired opposite Ajeetkumar. In Kunjuman’s movie "Kodeeswaran", the producer’s son Abi is her hero.

She also pairs with Vijay in an unnamed "Super Good Films" venture. Besides she does a movie with Telugu superstar Balakrishna and one with Govinda in a Hindi movie called "Annari Number 1"

With these many movies in hand, Simran wonders how anyone could say she ran out of movies.

Meanwhile Simarn’s sister Monal is already signed for a new Tamil movie directed by C.Sundar. But her other sister Jothi, who is an eighth-grader studying in Mumbai, is viewed by Simran to be too young for movies. However she does not rule out the possibility of Jothi joining her profession in future.

Maestro’s turn

Last year, A R Rahman, the whiz-kid revived the almost forgotten 'Vande Mataram' with his video and brought it back into people’s memory.

This year it looks to be the turn of his rival Illayaraja. For this year’s Independence day, Ilayaraja and his family decided to go the Rahman-way by producing a music video titled 'Freedom.'

The maestro's daughter, Bhavadharani, did the composing for this video album and also did a jig on it. It was almost similar to Rahman's one, but for the aerial view of the Rajasthan desert and other richer backdrops. But then, Rahman and his video producers had the backing of the mighty Sony Corporation behind them.

In pursuit of a dream

After his "Kaadalaa Kaadalaa", Kamal was away from Chennai, visiting France. Meanwhile there were rumors that Kamal had shelved his dream project "Marudanaayagam", due to some financial crisis.

9809_kamal.jpg (12687 bytes)But the truth is Kaml is still hell bent on completing his Magnum Opus. Actually he and his wife Sarika spent nearly two months in France to select people for some French characters of the movie.

A lady for heroine’s role, important villain character, "Jackzha" a historic character and an old man character are some of the items in his list. According to Kamal he has already short-listed three French girls for the heroine’s role, from whom he would decide on the final one.

Since many characters of "Marudayagam" are supposed to be French speaking, Kamal had specially approached and got John Claude Carrier (the person who translated "Mahaabharat" in French) to write French portion of the script for the movie.

With a massive budget of RS 20 Crore planned for the movie, Kamal feels it is definitely a mammoth amount for him.

Recently Kamal has purchased 40 acres of land near Kaaraikudi to create the backdrop of colonial India. They have already made 40 tanks, 2000 armors, 1500 swords and 1000 spears, all of them being intended for use in a war scene.

Interestingly, Kamal’s armor alone weighs 20 Kg. Besides some 400 horses, 40 elephants and 6 hunting dogs are being used in the movie.

Since the story happens during pre-electricity era, Kamal has taken special pains to avoid electric lamps for the nocturnal scenes. It is reported a hill temple near the shooting spot had some electric lamps burning at a distance. But…soon Kamal made the temple authorities switch off their lights!

"When it comes to script, my lines would not sound like ‘Manohara’ or ‘Veera Pandiya Kattabomman’" claims Kamal. He feels it would be totally a novel effort on his part to perform his dream role.

A stellar conjunction

After his grand success of "Kadalukku Mariyadi", Fazil is extremely busy at his home state of Kerala. He is directing a new Malayalam movie called "Harikrishnans". For Malayalam move-goers this one is a treat, because the movie's heroes are none other than the mega-stars Mamooty and Mohan Lal., arch-rivals of Malayalam movie industry.

"Harikrishnans" is a comedy oriented movie, in which Mamooty and Mohan Lal appear as two lawyers. Interestingly Juhi Chawla from Bollywood, is the heroine and in the movie both the heroes go bananas behind this beauty.

Newfound Profession

9809_suva.jpg (14477 bytes)

Suvaluxmi has completed her Bachelor of Law degree from Calcutta University. One would think she must be very happy that she could pursue and obtain her long cherished goal of becoming a lawyer. On the contrary, the Bengali beauty is worried. This is because, she needs to practice as lawyer in a local court. Unfortunately with many of her movies being shot at outdoor locations, Suva wonders how she could be regular with her newfound profession.

Waiting is the name of the game

Ace director Shanker, with four successive hits to his credit, finds it difficult to get top heroes to act in his new home-production. The reason being Shanker’s demand for bulk dates from his heroes. Last time when working for "Jeans" poor Prashanth was forced to devote a year of precious time for Shanker alone. This type of setting aside a schedule of six months to one year exclusively for a single movie is a big no-no for many leading stars. The latest one to refuse Shanker is the current sensation Vijay. The final news is, Shanker has selected his old "Gentleman" hero Arjun for his next venture. Good for Arjun, whose career incidentally is heading south now with a row of flops.

Talking about Arjun, he always recommends Vidya Sagar, a man from his home state of Karnataka, to score music for his movies. But this time, since Shanker has already decided to repeat Rahman for his next movie, Arjun could not help Vidyasagar. Apparently in this connection, Vidyasagar is said to be a bit upset with Arjun.

Mysterious Mela

Recently superstar Rajini, conducted a mass marriage for a number of poor couples. Rajini being a Good Samaritan, normally no one would suspect this commendable gesture. However some sources report that the entire episode had an ulterior motive.

It all started when Rajini’s astrologer told him that the heavenly stars are not auspicious for him and so he must do penance. Immediately Rajini summoned his fans and told them to arrange for this mass marriage function.

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