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February 1999 Edition

Vasanth to direct Vijayakanth

Successful director Vikraman is known for his family oriented themes. You can always watch his movies even with your kids, without fearing vulgarity or sexual overtones. 9902_vkanth.jpgHe is the only director in Tamil, who believes in a strong story made with the best talents in the industry, rather than counting on the assets of some glamorous heroine.

After his recent success with "Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen", Vikraman is now ready for his next venture. Interestingly for the first time in Vikraman's movies, this one would have Vijayakanth as its hero. Also after a long time Vijayakanth appears in a duel role with contrasting characters.

Currently Vikraman is in the process of finalizing a story that is unique and at the same time suits the image of Viyakanth. Vijayakanth too is keen on working with Vikraman. Particularly after his recent success "Kallazhagar" with unusual theme, action oriented Vijayakanth these days is more inclined to do movies with strong stories.

Diva in demand

Shanker who took years to complete his mega-budget movie "Jeans" is now keen on finishing "Mudalvan" in time. This is chiefly because "Mudalvan" is his own home production. Related to "Mudalvan", earlier it was reported that miffed by his heroine Manisha's laid-back attitude, Shanker had included Shilpa Shetty as the second heroine of "Mudalvan". However according to some sources, though the second heroine story is true, it would be Laila who would do this role rather than Shilpa. Interestingly, Laila who missed her Tamil debut in V.I.P due to her starry airs, now has become a diva in demand with her recent release "Kallazhagar".

Speaking of "Kallazhagar", its producer Henry has already signed Vijyakanth again for his next movie too. Not surprisingly, Henry who has a penchant for movies with social themes would base the story of his new movie on the shameful massacre of an Australian Christian missionary that happened recently in a tribal village of Orissa.

Another Multi-starrer

Producer "Kalai Puli" Dhanu, known for his movies like "Kizhakku Seemaiyilae", "V.I.P" and more recent "Mannavaru Chinnavaru" is back in the headlines again with his next venture. 9902_ash.jpg

"Minsaara Kanavugal" fame Rajiv Menon directs this new movie and Isai-Puyal A.R. Rahman scores its music for Vairamuthu's lyrics. Popular Tamil writer Sujatha pens the screenplay for the movie.

Malayalam mega-star Mammutty plays a pivotal role in it with Ajeet and Abbas as its other heroes. Aishwarya Rai and Tabu are the heroines of this multi-starrer. Manivannan, Nizhalgal Ravi, Srividya and Shamli appear in important roles of this yet-to-be-named venture.

Meanwhile it is believed that Prasanth was originally considered as one of the heroes of this film. But successful Prasanth who once saw his career nose-dive after his earlier multi-starrer "Kalluri Vaasal" with Ajeet, has very wisely rejected the offer. Now lucky Abbas has bagged this role... yet another prestigious project for him after the much-talked about "Padaiyappa".

Get Well Prasanth

Currently Prashanth enjoys the fruits of his three successive hits "Jeans", "Kannadirae Thondrinaal" and "Kaadal Kavithai". Looking at his hit parade, as they say in Tamil, maybe someone has set evil eyes on Prashanth and his career. Otherwise why should Prashanth be hurt badly during the shooting of his "Poomagal Oorvalam", produced by R.B. Choudry?

For a scene in "Poomagal Oorvalam", Prashanth was to perform a make-believe fight with a bunch of goons. Unfortunately during this stunt scene, a sharp iron rod hit him on his face and he was hurt dangerously at his left cheek. He immediately had three stitches on this wound from a local hospital. But to avoid a scar on his face resulting from this injury, Prashanth is being rushed to London for a cosmetic surgery. Let us hope everything goes well and the talented lad gets well soon

The Dream Girl

Once people thought that "Devadai" girl Keerthi Reddy would take the tinsel-town by storm with her extraordinarily charming looks. But thanks to her affluent background this soigné damsel soon became unpopular with her unreasonable demands. So much so, while she had outdoor shootings in some remote villages, she would still demand the comforts of her five-star-hotel-like home. Not surprisingly, helpless producers started shunning her soon. Besides a string of flops like "Devathai", "Iniyavale" and "Jolly" saw her career nose-diving soon after its great launch.

9902_keerthi.jpg (32457 bytes)Subsequently Keerthi shifted her focus into Telugu movies. Initially her first movie in Telugu "Gunshot" went unnoticed. But her next film — "Toliprema" went on to become one of the biggest hits of Telugu movies in 1998. And suddenly a girl, who was jinxed earlier in Tamil, has become a front-runner in Telugu. Now with her  "Toliprema", Keerthi has become the new dream girl for Telugu audience.

Interestingly "Toliprema" was also the launch pad for Kalyan the hero of the movie. Kalyan actually is the younger brother of Telugu Megastar Chiranjeevi. Being born and brought up in Chennai, Kalyan has no problems with Tamil and he even converses in so called Madras-Tamil with relative ease.

Based on its overwhelming success in Telugu "Toliprema" is now being dubbed into Tamil as "Aananda Mazhai". A.M.Ratnam produces "Aananda Mazhai" under the banner of S.S.C. Arts. Its star-cast includes Kalyan, Keerthi Reddy, Sangeetha, Vasuki, Nagesh and others.

Karunakarn an erstwhile assistant of popular director Kathir helms the movie with his own story, screenplay, dialogue and direction. While Mahendran is in charge of its Cinematography, Our "Thenisaai Thendral" Deva, who is getting popular in Telugu these days, is the music director of this movie.

Transcending Titans

The irrefutable "Super Star" of Bollywood "Amitabh Bachan", once had a remarkably large number of fans even in Tamil Nadu. But his successors could not leave similar mark in the state chiefly due to the inherent language barriers. But now on the same lines of Amithab, Sharukh Khan is emerging as the true "Super Star" of the nation. Of late he has proved that his charisma could penetrate beyond all the language boundaries of the country. Particularly his recent work "Uyire" from the renowned director Manirathnam has made Sharukh a household name in Tami Nadu too.

The latest news about Sharukh is… he is all set to do a real Tamil movie soon, unlike his "Uyire" which was basically made for the consumption of the Hindi audience. And guess what… Shah Rukh Khan will be acting in the film to be produced and directed by Kamal Haasan. Kamal will be the other hero of the movie that is simultaneously made in three different languages Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. So it is going to be a clash of two outstanding performers, one from the South and the other from the North.

Shahrukh who is an admirer of the versatile Kamal himself, is said to have accepted the role immediately. However it still remains a mystery as to what the star cast for this exciting venture would be. However based on her popularity the Khandala girl Rani Mukherjee of "Ghulam" and "Kuch Kuch Hota hai" fame is expected to play the heroine’s role in this movie, probably opposite to Shahrukh Khan. Also there is a dead heat going on among the Kollywood girls to grab the role opposite Kamal. But whatever the final cast would be… it is going to be a rare event to watch  two of the greatest performers transcending each other.

Bitten by the Love-bug!

In early nineties Mohini was the heartthrob of Tamil moviegoers. Starting her career with "Naddodi Paattu" this amazing beauty has acted in several Tamil movies including "Unnai Vazhtthi Paadukiren", "Vanajaa Girija" and "Kanmani".9902_mohini.jpg (30070 bytes) With no projects in her hand now, Mohini has decided to call it quits. Besides she is also bitten by the love-bug. Soon she is going to wed her beau Bharat, who is a manger in a Chennai firm.

The couple has been seeing each other for quite sometime. Their initial encounter started with an argument and very soon it blossomed into true love. Finally while they were dining in an upscale restaurant in Chennai, Bharath proposed her by kneeling before the beauty and presenting her with a bouquet of flowers. Mohini too accepted his proposal and they both are all set to ring the wedding bells on May 19th of this year.

Soon after their marriage in May, the couple has plans to celebrate their honeymoon in Mauritius. When a reporter wondered won’t it be too hot in Mauritius during those days, Mohini retorted bashfully saying it would be so only for those who venture out of their honeymoon suite.

Too many cooks

When it usually takes several months to complete a movie, if someone claims that he could finish it in a day, your natural reaction would be to term it quixotic. But in reality there is a new Tamil movie in the making called " Suyamvaram" that is slated to get completed in a very ambitious time frame of just 24 hours.

Kamal and Rajini The main intention of its producers Hemnaak Ramu and Hemnaak Babuji is to enter into Guinness Book of World Records with this rare feet. Apparently these two producers of yesteryears made several Tamil movies in the past, including Rajnikanth’s "Garjani", "Kaali" and "Murattukkarangal". Now after a long hiatus of fifteen years they reunit again to create this unparalleled effort.

As the first step towards their goal, recently the movie " Swayamvaram" was formally launched amid a galaxy of stars led by Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasan. During this occasion  it was a rare sight to watch when both these heavyweights together lighted up the traditional lamp the symbol of auspicious beginning.

This historic Tamil movie is based on parallel efforts from several members of the industry. It would have an amazing fleet of twelve heroes including leading stars Vijayakanth, Parthiban, Karthik, Arjun, Prabhu Deva and Prashant. Besides them there is a rumor that both Rajini and Kamal would be persuaded to take part in this unique venture. And another stellar gallery of eight heroines including Simran, Ramba, Roja, Devayani, Keeriti Reddy and Kushboo would make this movie a special event.

The main theme of "Suyamvaram" is that the head of a family is about to die in 24 hours. As per his last wish, his three sons and six daughters should get married well before his death.

To achieve the one-day deadline, the movie would be simultaneously helmed by ten directors including S.A.Chandra Sekar, P.Vasu, R.K.Selvamani, K.S.Ravikumar and Sunder C. With each of these creators shooting it at different locations, Dimond Babu has the most difficult task of coordinating their efforts. Interestingly there would be four songs in the movie scored by four different music directors Ilayaraja, Deva, S.A. Rajkumar and Sirpy.

The work on "Suyamvaram" would begin on March 24th morning and the entire movie would be ready for editing by the end of the same day. Presently the movie is slated to release during the first week of May 99.

Shock treatment

Subsequent to his successive failures, Arjun hopes that "Mudalvan" would be his comeback movie. Soon after he signed up for this latest venture from Director Shanker, there were many people who wanted to have him in their projects. But so far Arjun has refused them all, as he felt that he is strongly committed to Shanker and his "Mudlavan". But thanks to its heroine Manisha Koirala, who muddles with her dates, the movie is said to be progressing rather slow. Meanwhile Arjun has accepted a new movie directed by Selva.

Peeved by Manisha’s attitude, Shanker has included Shilpa Shetty as another heroine for "Mudalvan". On hearing this, the latest news is… the shocked Manisha has become more concerned now and not surprisingly she has given bulk dates for Shanker.

Awestruck in Madhurai

Among the northern girls in the industry, Suvaluxmi is one who has developed a special liking for Tamil and Tamil culture. Usually in most of her interviews you would find her praising the Tamil People. But some times she would even overdo it to win the hearts of the locals. SuvaluxmiFor example once an interviewer asked her that who was her favorite poet. The immediate answer from Suva was "Bharathiyaar"! During another occasion she was asked to explain the meaning behind her name. For that the explanation from Suva was... it is a derivation of  the Tamil name "Subbha Luxmi"!

Come on Suva… give us a break! We know very well that Bhrathaiyar’s verses in Tamil would be quite difficult for you to read and "Suva" is a pure Bengali prefix that has nothing to do with "Subbha Luxmi". Believe me... even with out such quirks, we would still adore you for taking Tamil so close to your heart.

The latest on Suva is about her recent release "House-Full". In "House-Full" Suva comes as a roadside flower vendor and guess what… she has delivered her Tamil dialogues with her own voice! Besides she has decided to use her own voice in all her future movies.

Earlier during two weeks of "House-full" outdoor shooting in Madhurai, Suvaluxmi used to visit the Meenakshi temple often. She says that she is still awestruck by the temple’s towering structures and its beautiful lake.


The blue-eyed boy!

Prasanth seems to be blue-eyed boy for Murali Manohar of Metro films. Earlier as a co-producer Murali Manohar had Prasanth and Aiswarya Rai working for his super hit movie "Jeans". After its massive success in Tamil, Prasanth was once again chosen for his next venture "Kaadal Kavithai. However in "Kaadal Kavithai", La Rai was left out and the promising newcomer Isha Gopikar was offered the heroine role.

Now the famous producer is all set to make another multi-crorer called "Jodi". "Jodi" has Prasanth again in its lead and ravishing Aishwarya Rai would be one of the main heroines of the movie and sensational Simran would be the other one. Wow... talk about the competition! In addition to them Nasser, Manivannan, Raghuvaran, Vivek, Chinni Jayanth, Srividya and Ambika form the rest of its cast,

"Ratchagan" fame Preveen Gandhi directs "Jodi" and A.R.Rahman scores music for the movie. The songs of "Jodi" is expected to be released soon and the film itself is scheduled as May 99 release.


The stalemate

Vijayakanth’s "Kallazhagar" and Karthik’s "Chinna Raja" were the movies, which were meant originally for this Pongal. Unfortunately both these movies failed to hit the theaters that time, each of them for different reasons.

In Kallazhagar's case, the movie was flatly rejected by Indian censors, because of its potential to spark religious conflicts. Particularly it has a scene in which some Muslim extremists masquerade themselves as religious Hindus and join in the celebration of a major festival in a temple. Their main intention is to bomb the temple and cause communal unrest in the state. Based on the tensed situation in the country, the censors declined to certify the movie fearing a major communal backlash. If the movie is to be released, their condition is to remove all incidents that have communal undercurrent. But since the main crux of "Kallazhgar" is based on religious conflicts, its producers now have a tough time revamping its story to please the censors.

Karthik Roja and Priya Raman in Chinna RajaThe reason for the delay of "Chinna Raja" is different. Apparently last year "Udaviku Varalamma", a Karthik starrer bombed badly in the box-office. While the loss from the movie is very heavy, distributors from Kovai alone suffered a loss of some Rs 10 crores. Since the film's collections were way below the advance paid by the producers, as per their agreement its producer Gaffer (Karthik’s friend) should return a portion of the original advance back to those distributors. However Gaffer did not honor the agreement and failed to return their money. So while they somehow allowed the other Karthik starrers  "Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen" and "Pooveli" earlier, suddenly the Tamil Nadu distributors have united and determined to ban the release of "Chinna Raja", till they are properly compensated.

Though Gaffer is the producer of "Udaviku Varalamma" on papers, it is said that entire funding for the movie is actually from Karthik himself. So the distributors insist that Karthik should make up for their losses.

However Karthik has recently made a public statement saying that "Udaviku Varalamma" is Gaffer’s movie and now he does not have anything to do with Gaffer. Then he appealed that he should not be held responsible for Gaffer’s actions. Besides he has also sought help from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to intervene and resolve this  issue.

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