Meena plays the heroine opposite Manoj K Jayan in the forthcoming Malayalam film Kaavyam, directed by debutante Aneesh Verma and Santhosh, writes KK Moidu
Meena, who has played the heroine opposite front-line Malayalam heroes Mohanlal, Mammootty, Suresh Gopi and Jayaram, is for the first time being paired with Manoj K Jayan in Kaavyam. The movie will be produced by Saji Kadambazhippuram and Rashi Chelakkara under the banner of Sai Baba Films. Other artistes of the film are Nedumudi Venu, Sai Kumar, Vijayaraghavan, Ponnamma Babu etc. Meena was introduced to the Malayalam film industry by director Sibi Malayil in Santhwanam. She played Suresh Gopi's daughter in the film released in 1991. Its success made her famous which lead to roles with senior Malayalam heroes. She was the female lead in Varnappakittu, Olympian Antony Adam, Mr Brahmachari, Naatturajavu, Chandrolsavam and Udhayanaanu Thaaram opposite Mohanlal. Her pairing with Mammootty in Rakshasa Raajavau directed by Vinayan was a superhit. She was the love interest of Jayaram in Kusruthtikkuruppu and Friends. In the forthcoming Magic Lamp, she will be playing the heroine opposite Jayaram. Meena was the female lead opposite Suresh Gopi in Dreams directed by Shajoon Karyal. In the recently released Black Cat featuring Suresh Gopi, she is one of his heroines. Meena played Sreenivasan's wife in the Christmas release Kadha Parayumbol. Although her films like Udhayanaanu Thaaram and Raakshasa Rajavu were box office hits, the success did not boost her career in the Malayalam film industry. The delay of the release of Black Cat put a pause in her film career as well. Meena Durai Raj was born in Sept. 16, 1979 in Chennai as the daughter of R Durai Raj and Raja Mallika. Meena completed her eighth standard from Vidyodhaya School in Chennai. Her early entry in filmdom forced her to discontinue her education before matriculation. However, she passed her 10th standard with private coaching and earned a degree from Madras University through the open university system. Meena started her career as a child artiste at an early age and performed in South Indian language films like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. When she was an eighth standard student she became a heroine. She succeeded in delivering a mature role at the age of 13. Her first film was Nenjangal with Sivaji Ganesan. After that she worked in many films as a child artiste like Anbulla Rajinikanth, Uyire Unakkaga, Rendu Rella Aaru, Sirivennela etc. Meena played a married woman's role in the 90s Sun TV Serial with famous Tamil actress Manorama. She achieved success at the age of 11 by portraying a married girl's role. She was the female lead in Sun TV serial Lakshmi. Meena made her debut as a heroine in Tamil film Oru Pudhiya Kadhai and played heroine roles in more than three dozen films. En Raasaavin Manselae, Yejamaan, Bharathi Kannama, Naattaamai, Avvai Shanmughi, Porkaalam, Muthu etc. brought her popularity among the audience. Meena's Telugu admission as a heroine was opposite Rajendra Prasad in Nava Yugam. She has played heroine roles in more than 40 Telugu films. Her career's turning point in Telugu was Seetha Ramayya Gaari Manava Raalu, where she played Nageswara Rao's grand daughter. The film continuously ran for more than 200 days in Andhra Pradesh. Telugu film Chanti opposite senior actor Venkatesh was a milestone in her career and the film ran for more than 200 days. Meena also acted in few Kannada films like Putnanja, Cheluve3, Mummaga, Autograph etc. She was a strong presence in the Tamil and Telugu industry as a leading heroine. She entertained the viewer's with her charming looks and acting talent for nearly one-and-a-half decades from the early 90s. She performed well in almost all roles with an innocent sweet smile, beautiful eyes and a baby voice. In her long career she has mainly played characters without negative shades. She also surprised her fans by appearing in glamorous roles and item numbers in few films. Her role in the Tamil film Maaman Magal opposite Sathyaraj and Mutta Mestri in Telugu opposite Chiranjeevi etc. are examples. As an actress Meena always selects her character, which will not be similar to her earlier films. She was lucky enough to pair opposite leading South Indian superstars like Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, Mohanlal, Mammootty etc. The commercial success of Muthu, Yejamaan etc. opposite Rajinikanth earned her fans and fame in Japan. Meena is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer and speaks six languages Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and English. She is the winner of the prestigious Kalai Maamani Award from the Tamil Nadu Government. Her performance in Seetha Ramayyagaari Manavaralu and Rajeshwari Kalyanam fetched her the Nandi Awards from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. In 1993 she won the Tamil Nadu Government Best Actress State Award for Ejamaan and Sethupathi IPS and in '98 for the film Porkkaalam. Meena won Six Cinema Express Best Actress Awards and Thumps Up Best Actress Award for the films Muthu and Bharathi Kannamma. Meena won several other Awards from respective organisations like Kalai Selvam Award from the South Indian Artiste Association from the hands of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi and Dinakaran Best Actress Award etc.
Manoj K Jayan is the son of famous Carnatic musician Jayan of the Jaya-Vijaya fame. He was born in Kottayam and has excelled in many roles in Malayalam and Tamil films. He won the Kerala State Film Best Actor Award for his performance as Kuttan Thampuran in Sargam. He secured a place in the hearts of cine goers by immortalising the characters in Ananthabhadram, Perumthachan etc. He also performed second hero and negative characters in crass entertainers like Rajamanikyam, Maayavi, Big B, Rock N Roll, Udayon etc. Manoj K Jayan made his debut in Perumthachan directed by Ajayan. After that he acted in reputed directors notable films like Valayam, Sargam, Venkalam, Chamayam, Sallapam, Palayam, Manthrika Kuthira, Swarnakireedam, Churam, Valliettan, Saivar Thirumeni, Ravanaprabhu, Thandavam etc. He is doing important roles in forthcoming films Twenty Twenty, Pazhassi Raja, Oru Pennum Randaanumm and Akasha Gopuram etc. Although he has played heroic roles in many films he never rejected second hero and negative roles. He perfectly did whatever roles comes to him. He achieved more success in doing second hero and villain roles. He also proved his talent as a playback singer in Saivar Thirumeni (Alli Kallinu Vellam Kootti). He is married to award winning actress Urvashi.
The Malayalam film industry gears up for the festival season with four new releases, Flash, Kadha Parayumbol, Kangaroo and Romeo. KK Moidu writes
The festive season, Christmas and New Year, coincides with Eid Al Adha this year and frontliners Mohanlal, Mammootty, Prithviraj and Dileep have new releases for their fans. The last season of the year is one of the best times for new releases, not only in time for the celebrations, but also for the two-week holiday in Kerala. Flash Director Sibi Malayil and Mohanlal team up after an interval of seven years in Flash. Fans of the superstar have high expectations of the psychological thriller scripted by journalist S Bhasura Chandran. Recording artist Gopi Sundar makes his debut as the music director. Of Notebook fame, Parvathy plays Dhwani, an obstinate rich girl, born and brought up in Chennai. She is the sole heir of the wealthy Kalarithodi family but has little knowledge about her relatives or her state, Kerala. After the death of her mother, Dhwani returns to her ancestral home in Kerala. She is welcomed with immense love and affection by her grandfather because of the long years of separation. Mithun Madhavan (Mohanlal), a Mumbai-based IT businessman's entry in her life changes everything. Jagathy Sreekumar plays an important role in the film as Idea Sasi, a close friend of Mithun. Sasi always has ideas, which are always impractical. Tamil actor Ponvannan, Indrajith, Sai Kumar, Jagadheesh, Siddique, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Bijukuttan, Vineeth Sreekumar, Shamna Kasim etc. are the other artistes in the film. The movie, filmed at Kannoor, Kanjangad, Kozhikode and Changanassery is cinematographed by Sajan Kulathil. The classic makers Lal and Sibi have earlier created superhits like Kireedom, Maayamayooram, Bharatham, Kamaladalam, His Highness Abdulla etc. Will Mohanlal bring back his glorious success in his reunion with Sibi Malayil in Flash? Lal's pairing opposite Parvathy in Flash will be another record for the highest paid actor of Malayalam cinema. The fifty-plus actor is playing the hero opposite an 18-year old Parvathy this time! This is the biggest ever age gap for the actor in his more than two-and-a-half decades long career. The actor has worked on his appearance and lost weight to romance the young heroine in the thorough entertainer. The first half of the film is comedy and romance and the second half gives importance to suspense and action. The success of the film will be a relief for the superstar Mohanlal who is going through a series of flops. Starting with Alibhai, even his latest film Rock N Roll, directed by Renjith, failed at the box office. According to reports, success or failure will not affect the superstar's career for a couple of years because his hands are full with offers with a group of heroines. Mohanlal earlier created news by appearing with eight heroines in his forthcoming film Casanova. Other leading directors like Sathyan Anthikkad also cast him opposite four heroines a new release. The upcoming film Kaarthika Thirunaal Kaarthikeyan will also feature him with leading heroines Parvathy Milton, Padmapriya, Namitha and Shwetha Menon. He paired with three ladies Shwetha Menon, Padmapriya and Lakshmy Gopalaswamy in Pardesi. Kadha Parayumbol M Mohanan, an assistant of Sathyan Anthikkad, makes his directorial debut in Kadha Parayumbol with Mammootty. He plays the role of Ashok Raj, a film superstar, scripted by Sreenivasan. Sreenivasan is also playing a full length character in the film. Mukesh not only plays an important role in the film but also produces the film under the banner of Lumiere films. The movie tells the story of a rare friendship between Balan (Sreenivasan), a barber in a village and a reigning superstar Ashok Raj. They are childhood friends and studied in the same school. Balan becomes a luminary in the village because of his unusual companionship with Ashok Raj. Villagers are ready to do anything for Balan and his family. He climbs the ladder of success within no time, but Balan does not disclose his closeness to the superstar. The arrival of Ashok Raj in Melukaavu Village for the shooting of a film becomes a trial by fire for Balan. Will the superstar recognise his childhood campanion? Will people get to know their intimacy? Innocent appears as Ashok Raj's personal assistant cum chef in the film. Mukesh plays a parallel college teacher role. Meena is barber Balan's wife, who makes a living by selling goat's milk. Other artistes in the comedy entertainer are Jagadeesh, Salim Kumar, Jagathy, KPAC Lalitha, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sadiq and Mamukkoya. M Jayachandran tunes for the lyrics of Anil Panachooran and Gireesh Puthencherry. Will Mammootty create another hit with a debutante director? He could as he has tasted success earlier with debutante directors Joemon, Blessy, Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Lal Jose etc. Kangaroo Prithviraj, who is delivering hit after hit in Tamil, has repeated his success on home turf in the recently released Chocolate. His new release Kangaroo will add to his prestige to keep his star status. Kavya Madhavan is his love interest in the film. Other artistes are Jayasoorya and Kaveri. Prithviraj plays the role of an auto driver for the first time. In the film, he always carries a baby which he found on the street everywhere with him. Although Josekutty was born in a rich family, he is almost like an orphan and has grown up as an ordinary person. The film, produced by Isabella Movie Tone, is directed by Raj Babu. Other cast members are Jagathy, Salim Kumar, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Lalu Alex and Sukumari. Whenever any south Indian superstar played an auto driver's role, the movies were superhits like Basha starring Tamil superstar Rajnikanth and Aye Auto with Mohanlal. Another possibility of a box office victory for Kangaroo is his partnership with Jayasurya. These young actors earlier appearance in Swapnakoodu, Classmates and the recently released Chocolate were big hits. Will the auto driver role in Kangaroo take the young hero to new heights? Romeo Superstar Dileep, who did not have a release in the last five months, is returning as a male nurse in Romeo. Like Mohanlal, Dileep also has three heroines in the film, Vimala Raman, Samvrutha Sunil and Shruthi Lekshmy. This is Dileep's first appearance with Vimala Raman. Romeo is directed by 90s hit maker Rajasenan and is produced and scripted by the super hit team of the year Rafi-Mecartin. Rafi-Mecartin became a successful script writing duo in Aniyan Bhava Chettan Bhava directed by Rajasenan, which released one-and-a-half decades ago. In Romeo, the duo returns as the producer with their mentor Rajasenan, who is going through a bad phase in his career. Romeo also reunites Rajasenan and Dileep after Darling Darling. The humorous entertainer is centered on Manu (Dileep), son of a junior film artist. Manu is a male nurse in a reputed hospital. He loves music and girls. He has a special attachment with doctor Priya (Vimala Raman), who works in the same hospital. Manu is in love with Leena (Samvrutha Sunil), the star contestant in the music reality show on television. His love for music forces him to study classical music and that makes way for a new female fan (Shruthy Lakshmy). The film tells the story of Manu's varied experiences in life with music, love and women. Other important roles are played by Bheeman Raghu, Ashokan, TP Madhavan, Cochin Haneefa, Mallika Sukumaran and Bindu Panicker. Alex Paul-Vayalar Sharath team handles the music department of the film and it is cinematographed by KP Nambiathiry. Dileep's last release was July 4 and it was not a box office hit. The delay of Calcutta News directed by Blessy created a long gap for a new release in Dileep's career. Romeo was opened in 45 centres in Kerala on Dec.14. The film is enjoying a wave of success with satirical comedy sequences. Will Romeo continue the lead after the release of other superstar films? Will Mohanlal's Flash with Sibi Malayil bring back their earlier success? Will Mammootty's debutante director formula create box office wonder? Will Prithviraj repeat his Chocolate success in Kangaroo? Among the last Eid Al Fitr releases Chocolate, Nasrani, Pardesi and Black Cat, the Prithviraj starrer Chocolate turned out to be the biggest box office hit. Mammootty's Nasrani is also doing well at the box office. Mohanlal's Pardesi and Suresh Gopi's Black Cat bombed at the box office. Who will be the winner in this festival season? It remains to be seen as each film promises to be a hit.
Director Sathyan Anthikkad has paired Mohanlal and Meera Jasmine again in his latest film, writes KK Moidu
Director Sathyan Anthikkad's forthcoming film, a Vishu release for April, featuring Meera Jasmine and Mohanlal, is still untitled. Sathyan always delays naming his films as he gives a lot of importance to their titles. National Award winning actors Mohanlal and Meera Jasmine paired for the first time in superhit Rasathanthram directed by Sathyan Anthikkad. After Achuvinte Amma, Rasathanthram and Vinodhayathra, this is the fourth consecutive time Meera Jasmine is playing the heroine in Sathyan films, which no other heroine has ever done. His latest venture will be produced by Mohanlal's trusted aide Antony Perumbavoor for Aashirwad Cinemas. Mukesh and Rahman will play pivotal roles along with prominent actresses Khushboo, Mohini and Seeta. Other Sathyan regulars like Nedumudi Venu, Innocent, Mamukoya etc. also feature. According to reports, the movie will be cinematographed by Shaji. Like his earlier hits Vinodhayathra and Rasathanthram the director himself wrote the script for the film. His favourite Ilayaraja will score the music. Music maestro Ilayaraja composed for his last four films Yaathrakkarude Sradhakku, Achuvinte Amma, Rasathanthram and Vinodhayathra. Most of the tracks in these films were chartbusters which played an important role in their success. Sathyan repeatedly cast Mohanlal as the hero in the 80s and Jayaram as the male leads in his 90s films. But in the last couple of years, Sathyan changed heroes in each of his films and he makes only one film a year. Jayaram played the male lead in Manasinakkare released in 2003. Achuvinte Amma released in 2005 was a heroine-oriented film and Sunil (Narein) was the love interest of Meera Jasmine. In last year's Rasathanthram, Mohanlal played the hero's role. The film gained attention even before the release because of the reunion of Mohanlal and Sathyan after a long interval of 12 years. Another superstar of Malayalam cinema, Dileep, played the male lead in the recently released Vinodhayathra. It was Dileep's maiden appearance in a Sathyan film. Sathyan Anthikkad was born on Jan.3, 1954 in Anthikkad, Thrissur, Kerala. His wife is Nirmala and they have three sons Arun, Akhil and Anoop. In his career spanning more than 25 years, Sathyan has directed about 50 films. He entered the film industry as an assistant director in Rekha Cine Arts in 1973. He made superhit family oriented fun dramas, especially with scripts by Sreenivasan. Sathyan is also a talented lyricist and has penned around 100 film songs in Malayalam including Oru Nimisham Tharoo Ninnilaliyan, Oh Mridule, Rajani Parayu, Pranayavasantham etc. Although he was a successful lyricist, his ambition was to become a director. In order to fulfill his dream, he became an assistant to Dr P Balakrishnan. He also worked as an assistant to director P Chandrakumar in Agni Parvatham, Adhikaaram and Aarathi. Sathyan made his directorial debut in Kurukkante Kalyanam in 1982. His career's turning point was his successful partnership with Sreenivasan. The duo contributed memorable hits to the history of Malayalam cinema. Few of them are Nadodikkattu, Pattanapravesam, Gandhi Nagar Second Street, Varavelppu, TP Balagopalan MA etc. In all these films, Sreenivasan was a second fiddle to superstar Mohanlal. Sathyan directed films with Mohanlal never harmed the producers. He also directed films with Malayalam superstar Mammootty but they were not box office hits except Kalikkalam. Late actor Sukumaran played the lead in Sathyan's first three films. His hero in Veruthe Oru Pinakkam and Appunni was Nedumudi Venu. Other actors like Bala Chandra Menon and Suresh Gopi also played heroic roles. Sathyan concentrated mainly on making family oriented films with socially relevant subjects in a humorous way. He never tried run-of-the-mill subjects and never featured vulgarity. These qualities made him a favourite of the family audience. Sathyan made two Malayalam novels into films. Appu, starring Mohanlal, was based on VKN's novel and Irattakkuttikalude Achan, the Jayaram-Manju Warrier starrer, was based on CV Balakrishnan's novel. Another milestone in Sathyan's career was his bold attempt for writing scripts. He kickstarted in Rasathanthram and repeated success in Vinodhayathra. As a director, he is celebrating the silver jubilee of his career. His latest film will be a gift to his family audience who have not seen a film from the talented film-maker for a long time.
Veteran Indian illusionist RK Malayath aims to spread the message of global peace through his Gulf stage shows, beginning in January, reports KK Moidu
RK Malayath, who contributed immensely to popularise modern magic — is in the UAE. He will perform stage shows all over the Gulf. His fourth visit to the UAE after a hiatus of 12 years will be noteworthy for his latest production, Mental Magic, in which he will attempt to read peoples' minds. His earlier Gulf stage shows Mohanlal and the Magic Lamp along with Malayalam superstar Mohanlal was in 1995. Malayath, in fact, taught Mohanlal a few magic tricks for the film Manthrikam. Malayath's long career, spanning more than four decades, has helped in giving the word "magic" a new meaning in India. He hails from teak-rich Nilambur, also known as the "Magic capital" of Kerala. He has played an important role in separating magic from superstitious beliefs, thus saving the art. According to him, magic has six principles; production, vanishing, transformation, transposition, mental magic and artistic gravity. With these principles, an illusionist can perform any magic trick. He can also invent new ideas for his programmes. Malayath said that performing new tricks is not the difficult part in a show. The greatest challenge of magic is the rising cost of the equipment, accessories and costumes! His troupe consists of more than 20 members, excluding members of his family. A stage show costs more than Indian Rs50,000 (Dhs5,000). When asked about a fully-equipped magic show in the Gulf, he spoke on the difficulties in transporting the equipment needed for a show that weigh about three tonnes. The initial show will cost Dhs200,000 but repeat performances will cost only Dhs50,000. Malayath's family may be the only one in India to perform professional magic. His wife Nirmala, elder son Rakin (Jr Malayath), an MBA holder, and younger son Nikin, are also practitioners of the art. His wife Nirmala took a break from magic during her tenure as the chairperson of Nilambur Grama Panchayath (Nilambur Village Organisation). Malayath is the only one in the country who can perform magic and hypnotism together. Others present magic and hypnotism on one stage too, but they are performed by different people. Malayath learned hypnotism from the late AT Kovoor, well-known anti-superstition activist. Together they performed magic and hypnotism on many stages. Malayath started a special programme Mentarama, a stage hypnotic programme in 1983. He has performed stage shows, not only in different parts of India, but also in the Gulf and other foreign countries like Japan. He was the one who revolutionised magic by presenting 3D Magic in Thrikkarippur in Kasargode district of Kerala in 1992. It was the first performance of 3D Magic in India. He was known as the "king of magic" in Kerala in the late 70s and 80s. He always has social messages in his magic performances. Malayath selects themes related to social issues and always gives strong exposure to the dangers of communalism, terrorism and social injustice. He is the winner of the maiden Fantasia Award, instituted in the memory of Prof. Bhagyanath, by the Indian Magic Academy. RK Malayath was born in South Kuttoor, near Thirur, son of Thiyyadath Puthanveettil Raman Nair and Malayath Kunjikuttiyamma. He completed his schooling from Nilambur Manadevan High School. He did his pre degree from MES College Mambad and BCom degree from Sree Guruvayoorappan College, Kozhikode. Nilambur has always had a fascination for magic and it also affected Malayath quite early in his life. His attraction for performing magic started at a very young age. How he entered the field is itself a piece of magic. A magic show failed in Nilambur and it ended up with the magician being manhandled. The audience was unsympathetic, though it was the first performance of the magician. In order to keep peace with the audience, a stranger performed few tricks with cards and ribbons and disappeared from the stage — like another magic act. The audience was impressed by his performance. The performer was Prof. Alikhan from Manjeri. Malayath was one among the audience who witnessed this event. He was taken in by the presence of mind of the performer. He too wanted to be like him. He went to Manjeri to fulfill his magic dreams. Malayath learned early lessons of magic from Manjeri Alikhan. Later he got an opportunity to study magic from the legendary Vazhakkunnam, famous for his skills, during his college days in Kozhikode. In order to learn more, he went to Kolkata and worked with famous magicians of West Bengal. Although Malayath's first guru was Manjeri Alikhan, he performed his first stage show with Prof Vazhakkunnam, the "Grand Father of Kerala Magic." After completing his education, Malayath joined the New India Assurance Company as a development officer. He was dismissed from service because of his complaint to the Indian Prime Minister for not allowing him eligible casual leave to perform a National Integrity programme. He returned to the service because of the intervention of political and cultural frontliners like EMS, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Vaikkam Muhammed Basheer, KT Muhammed, P Govinda Pillai, VR Krishna Iyer, etc. Later, he took voluntary retirement from the company and totally concentrated on "magic with a social cause." After his marriage, Malayath's wife Nirmala also joined the troupe and together they performed on many stages. Malayath, the founding president of the Kerala Magic Circle, links magic with art and science. As a college student, he performed magic tricks and formed the first student's federation for the performance art, namely, Magic Study Circle. At the peak of his career, he took a break and became a bus operator. He continued his social service in the bus, named Maanava Maithri. He painted and wrote awareness stickers on the dangers of communalism, importance of education, poverty eradication etc. on his buses. His awareness campaign was mocked by the people. Some of them laughed at him by saying that if anybody travelled on Malayath's bus, they could appear for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exams, since so much information was given on them! Malayath, who turned magic into a weapon for addressing social issues, differs from other professional magicians. His rally from Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram (North to South of Kerala) against communalism was inaugurated by no less than the literary doyen Vaikkam Muhammed Basheer. As a magician, his productions like Road Safety Magic, AIDS Awareness, Daredevil Driving (riding a motor cycle after blindfolding his eyes with a black cloth), Freedom 50 Magic Show, Rajyaraksha Mayajal, Communal Harmony & Integration through Rail Magic from Kerala to Mumbai and Kerala to Delhi, A Photo Exhibition of Hiroshima Institute of Peace Foundation, Manvikas, Akshayajalam, Mental Health Awareness Magic, etc. are only a few among his outstanding creations. His National Integrity programme before Parliament was inaugurated by MA Baby, Kerala education minister. Veteran Indian actor Kamal Hassan presented a golden shawl to Malayath for his efforts in raising awareness against communalism and also for presenting magic shows at 1,000 centres. Famous short story writer and novelist Dr Punathil Kunhabdulla wrote a short story RK Malayath after being impressed by Malayath's performance. It was published in the leading Malayalam publication Malayala Manorama weekly. In order to keep magic alive and for training the next generation, Malayath has founded Malayath Magical Entertainers in Nilambur. He is the director of the institution that gives training in magic, conjuring and illusions, hypnosis, self-hypnosis and auto-suggestion. It has facilities like a library and a stage for public performance. But alas! Though he has made plenty of contributions to society through his magic, the government has not recognised him by honouring his talent. It may be his failure to market himself, which is perhaps an unavoidable factor in a modest man. But nevertheless, he continues to pursue magic as a mission. He has made sure his legacy will live on, since his son Rakin is continuing his work. We can hope that Rakin, who made his magic debut with the astonishing and difficult item "fire escape," will not be a failure in marketing, because he is an MBA graduate!
Hit film maker Lal Jose, a master in discovering new talent, is introducing Meera Nandan opposite Dileep in his forthcoming film Mulla. KK Moidu writes
Ace director Lal Jose, who created superhits like Meesa Madhavan, Chaanthupottu, Classmates and Arabikkatha, has announced his new film titled Mulla (Jasmine). The film is the Vishu release for 2008. In the film, Lal Jose presents a new heroine, Meera Nandan from Cochin. Another newcomer, Reena Basheer, plays a pivotal role in the film. Shruthi also plays an important role. Meera Nandan, daughter of Nandakumar and Maya, is an anchor of the popular reality show Idea Star Singer which airs on Asianet Television. She is a singer and is also doing her plus two. In Mulla, Meera plays the role of Latchi. She is a cheerful girl and works in a bakery and an expert in decorating birthday cakes. She has other talents like painting, henna designing and is also a beautician. Train is everything in her life. Lal Jose's greatest challenge of the film Mulla was to find a suitable heroine. He is not ready to compromise while selecting heroines for his films. He searched everywhere, but did not find a suitable face anywhere among TV presenters, models, dancers etc. Finally, Meera Nandan's name was suggested by leading Malayalam heroines Kavya Madhavan and Samvrutha Sunil, who were discovered by Lal Jose for his earlier films. Another newcomer Reena Basheer plays Malathy Akkan's role in the film. Malathy Akkan is the wife of a gang leader in the colony. Reena, who gained popularity through Amrutha TV's Vanitha Rathnam Programme, was introduced to Lal Jose by Poornima Indrajith. Shruthi plays the role of Vasanthi in Mulla. She is a nomadic girl, who makes a living by singing songs in the train. Shruthi, a native of Palakkad, lives in Mumbai. Her earlier important role was in Sancharam, directed by Lijy J Pullappally. The story of Mulla takes place in a village named Karakkad, near a small railway station on the banks of the river Bharathappuzha. The film, scripted by Sinduraaj, is a complete entertainer. Vidhya Sagar and Sharath Chandra Varma pen the lyrics. The film has plenty of violence and focus on action. Other artistes of the film are Innocent, Salim Kumar, Riza Bhava, Binish Kodiyeri and Anoop Chandran. Although Lal Jose has directed only 10 films, he is one of the most favourite in the industry. He always selects diversified subjects in films and has proved his craftsman ability. Lal Jose has the courage to cast young actors in heroic roles in a superstar dominated Malayalam film industry. Lal Jose was born in Valappad in Thrissur and completed his education from Ottappalam. He made his entry into filmdom as an assistant director to Kamal. He assisted Kamal in superhits like Pradesika Varthakal, Champakkulam Thachan, Mazhayethum Munpe, Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu etc. He also worked as an assistant to other directors like Thampy Kannamthaanam, Sudheesh CS and KK Haridas in Manthrikam, Maanasam and Vadhu Doctaraanu respectively. Lal Jose was an assistant to Sreenivasan in Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala. He made his directorial debut in the superhit Maravathoor Kanavu under the script of Sreenivasan where Mammootty played the male lead. In his second film Chandranudikkunna Dikkil, he introduced Kavya Madhavan as a heroine. He couldn't repeat his success in his third film, the Suresh Gopi-starrer Randaam Bhaavam. Lal Jose surprised everybody with the blockbuster Meesa Madhavan scripted by Ranjan Pramod. Meesa Madhavan created history in Malayalam cinema and the film also catapulted Dileep into superstardom. Lal Jose's Pattalam with Mammootty and Rasikan with Dileep did not perform well at the box office. But one of the heroines, Samvrutha Sunil, who made her debut in Rasikan, became a successful heroine of the South Indian film industry. Lal Jose regained his industry status with Chaanthupottu. The film was scripted by Benny P Nayarambalam. Dileep played the lead role as Radhakrishnan — a male with feminine features — which was one of the best in his career. In Achanurangatha Veedu, Lal Jose boldly casted comedy actor Salim Kumar as the hero. The heroine of the film was newcomer Muktha. Like other art films, Achanurangatha Veedu was a box office disaster. But the film was noticed for its theme and performances of the artists. Lal Jose's new discovery Muktha became a leading heroine in the industry. She was lucky enough to appear in the Mammootty-starrer Nasrani in the beginning of her career. She also played the heroine opposite Vishal in the Tamil film Thamirabharani. Now, her hands are full with offers from Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film makers. In 2006, Lal Jose created another box office wonder with Prithviraj in the campus love story Classmates, the biggest grosser of Malayalam cinema. Although Prithviraj had a couple of hits in Tamil, his films were not doing well on home turf. After the success of Classmates, he became the heart-throb of youngsters. Prithviraj's recently released Chocolate is running in packed houses. Lal Jose directed films not only perform well at the box office, they get noticed for one reason or the other. In his last film Arabikkatha, the female lead was Chang Shu Min, a Chinese national. This was the first time a Chinese national played a heroine role in the history of Malayalam cinema. Lal Jose's latest film Mulla is a package of surprises. One of them is Dileep, who appears bald in a few scenes. He dazzled in the industry earlier by appearing in different kinds of roles; a henchman, blind man, joker, handicapped etc. In his short career, the director has also proved his efficiency in handling any genre with equal ease. Cinegoers are eagerly waiting for the release of Mulla with high expectations. Will the duo repeat their earlier success in their latest venture? Can Meera Nandan gain popularity with her girl-next-door image and will she become the new flavour of the industry?
Lal Jose with Mohanlal The meticulous director Lal Jose has succeeded in casting superstar Mammootty in his very first film Oru Maravathur Kanavu. Now, the director is going to fulfill the long awaited dream of Malayalam film buffs by making a film with Mohanlal, another superstar of the industry. Lal Jose's upcoming film, the Mohanlal starrer Cousin, already gained the attention of the industry. Cousin, produced by Bhagyachithra, will be scripted by Dr Iqbal Kuttippuram and will be one of the most important projects of Mohanlal and Lal Jose in 2008. The bond of the talented and experienced director Lal Jose with an actor like Mohanlal, who can play any kind of role, definitely spells success. The year 2007 started for Mohanlal with fabulous hits like Chhotta Mumbai and Hallo. But the actor could not repeat his success in the second half of the year. His films Alibhai, Pardesi and Hindi film Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag bombed at the box office. An item number in his recently released Rock n Roll is a chart topper, but the film faded out with youngster's favourite Chocolates. Although Mohanlal has a lot of offers from directors like Roshan Andrews, Sathyan Anthikad, Sibi Malayil etc., he has put on hold an offer from UTV Motion pictures because of his busy schedule. By agreeing to do a Lal Jose film is in itself a big recognition for the director.
Leading ladies of film industry vanish from the silver screen, especially after they tie the knot, only to make a comeback, reports KK Moidu
Madhuri Dixit Nene, Kaveri, Sari, Kiran Rathod, Mohini and Sarika are some of the erstwhile heroines returning to the film industry. Madhuri Dixit Nene Former Bollywood queen Madhuri, who dazzled the industry in the number one spot, is poised to make a comeback in Aaja Nachle, directed by Anil Mehta. In the film, Madhuri plays a dancer, Diya, who returns from New York to Shamili in India, in order to save Ajantha Theatres. Diya's 'guru' (dance master) Makarand is dying and the institute where she learned dance is under the threat of demolition. Diya joins Dr Raghubeer Yadav, the caretaker and a true art lover, to save Ajantha Theatres. In order to achieve the impossible task of putting together a theatrical production, she makes sure that every member of the production unit is from Shamili. Diya has to prove her point within a short period of two months, otherwise the bulldozers are waiting. Can she achieve success in her venture? Aaja Nachle is an eagerly awaited film because Madhuri plays a pivotal role in it after a hiatus of six years. Other artistes in the film are Akshaye Khanna, Konkona Sen Sharma and Kunal Kapoor. Aaja Nachle, produced by Aditya Chopra, is distributed by Yash Raj Films. Madhuri settled in the US after her marriage with Indian-American UCLA-trained cardiovascular surgeon Dr Sriram Madhav Nene. They are blessed with two boys, Arin and Ryan. Award winning actress Madhuri is considered an icon of Bollywood. She dominated the industry in the late 80s and 90s by playing the heroine in many superhits. Madhuri entertained the audience with her beauty, talent and her fascinating dance skills. She is a trained Kathak dancer. Madhuri made her film debut in Abodh and performed insignificant roles in the beginning of her career. She came into the limelight after the success of Tezaab. Then, she starred in many superhit films with leading Bollywood heroes. She won the fourth Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in Dil To Pagal Hai in 1997. Dil, Beta and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun are the other films that fetched her the Best actress Filmfare Awards. Madhuri won the hearts of fans with her stunning performance and dance sequences in songs like Ek Do Teen (Tezaab), Dhak Dhak (Beta), Choli Ke Peeche (Khalnayak) etc. Her Devdas with Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai was featured at the Cannes Film Festival and Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon, a film named after her, was also released before she got married. She also topped the list of "Best Bollywood Actress Ever" on the recent Women's International Day. Kaveri Kaveri gained the Malayalam industry's attention with her innocent looks and girl-next-door image in films like Udhyanapalakan, Daadasaheb, Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum etc. Her role as Nurse Vandana in Rajeev Anchal's Nothing But Life won her acclaim. Her male lead was played by young and popular Tamil hero Madhavan. Kaveri left the Malayalam industry when meaty roles dried up on home turf. She achieved success in Telugu films as Kalyani acting opposite leading heroes. After marriage, she left the industry like her seniors. Kaveri is now making a comeback in the role of Nancy in the new Malayalam film Kangaroo, directed by Raj Babu. Kaveri is not re-appearing as a heroine in the film. Prithviraj plays the male lead as an auto driver Josekutty. Kavya Madhavan and Jayasurya appears in other important roles. Josekutty takes care of a one-and-a-half year old boy, which he found on the street. Josekutty carries the child everywhere with him, giving the full meaning to the title of the film Kangaroo. According to reports, Kaveri has rejected earlier comeback offers and was waiting for a good role. Hope her role as Nancy in Kangaroo will shower luck on her. Sari Sari, who secured a place in the hearts of cinegoers by playing village belle roles, has returned to the Malayalam film industry after eight years. She is from Andhra Pradesh and was born and brought up in Chennai. Sari made her debut in veteran late director Padmarajan's Desadanakkili Karayarilla. Mohanlal played the male lead in the film. Sari accepted the offer of Desadanakkili Karayarilla with a little hesitation, because of her lack of knowledge about Malayalam films and Padmarajan. After the film she didn't get many offers from the industry. Padmarajan again casted her as the heroine in Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal. The success of the film earned her many other heroine roles. After her marriage to Prem, she settled in Bangalore. Sari plays an important role in her second arrival in the recently released superhit Chocolate directed by Shafi. Incidentally, her debut film was picturised in Ernamkulam and Chocolate is also filmed there. Kiran Tandon Punjabi girl Kiran has acted in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films. Kiran was the love interest of superstar Mohanlal in Malayalam film Thaandavam directed by Shaji Kailas. She made her debut in Yaadein in 2001 and continued in the industry for years. She took a year-long break and returned last year with Saawan, The Love Season and Souten The Other Woman. Kiran plays the female lead of Vikram in Tamil superhit Gemini. She is also noted for her cameo appearance in New with SJ Surya and Simran. Kiran did not want to return to South Indian films, but after hearing the story of Vasool, she accepted the heroine role. Newcomer Hemanth Kumar is making his debut in the male lead and director Raj plays the villain. Mohini Mohini made her film entry one-and-a-half decades ago in Tamil films. She was not successful and later changed her base to Malayalam. She gained fame by playing heroine roles in superhits Ghazal, Punjabi House, Ee Puzhayum Kadannu, Kudumba Kodathi etc. She has played the heroine of Malayalam superstars Mammootty in Sainyam and Mohanlal in Nadodi. In her return film, Mohini plays one of the heroines in the Suresh Gopi-starrer Collector. Her character name is Sethulakshmi and she is a Corporation Mayor. Yamini Sharma and Megha are roped in from Bollywood for the other heroines roles. Mohini made an attempt for a comeback earlier but failed due to her excess weight. This time, she appears with an all new look — slimmer and streaked hair. Sarika Sarika was forced to stay away from the industry by falling down from a building. She made a comeback by doing a glamorous role in a Tamil film. After divorcing her husband actor-director Kamal Hassan, Sarika returned to the film industry to prove the strength of "woman power." She succeeded by winning the best actress National Award in Parsaania. The film, based on the Godhra incident, was one of her career's best. Her male lead was Naseerudin Shah. Sarika entered the film industry as a child artiste years ago and played boy's roles in 80s Hindi films. She gained the attention of the industry with Geeta Gata Chal. Her parents compelled her to act in films and she didn't complete her basic school education. After her marriage to Kamal Hassan, she became a costume designer. She fetched the best costume designer award in Kamal Hassan's Hey Ram. Silk Smitha Soft porn actress Silk Smitha was an ultimate sex-siren of the South Indian film industry. She died on Sept.23, 1996. Smitha's Thankathamara, filmed in 1995, had not seen the light of the day because of financial problems. Now, more than a decade after her death, it is being released in theatres. Smitha was born in a poor family as Vijayalakshmi in Eluru in Andhra Pradesh. She has appeared in character, song-and-dance and cabaret numbers in around 200 films in different languages like Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. She was popular becasue of her sultry and glamorous appearance. Smitha was introduced to the film world by Thiruppathi Rajan, and as fate would have it, her last film Thankathamara was also directed by him. Her first major role was in Vandi Chakram. She assumed the name 'Silk' after her character as a bar girl in the film. Her dance numbers and bold performances in films like Moondru Mugam made her the ultimate symbol of sensuality. Smitha's Malayalam film Layanam, directed by Thulasidas, earned her cult status in the adult film industry. It was remade in Hindi as Reshma Ki Jawani. She played the heroine in Sphadikam and Adharvam opposite Mohanlal and Mammootty respectively. Her most memorable film is Moondram Pirai. Smitha's one-and-a-half decades long career brought her both fortune and misfortune. Her failed attempts to produce films cost her lots of money. She allegedly committed suicide. Thankathamara's success or failure will not affect Silk Smitha. But for the others, success is important. After doing a few films, the roles may not be so important — being in the film industry is what matters.
20 TIME OUT The Gulf Today / Thursday, August 16, 2007 CINEMA
NEW LOOK AT SUCCESS
PRIYAMANI, WHO WON THE HEARTS OF FANS BY PLAYING VILLAGE-BELLE ROLES, IS NOW IN A GLAMOROUS ROLE IN THE FORTHCOMING VISHAAL-STARRER MALAIKOTTAI WRITES KK MOIDU Priyamani is a lovely heroine with amiable eyes and a smooth smile. She recently won the best actress award at the Osean’s cine-fan festival in New Delhi. Her attractive performance as Karuppachi Muthazhagu in Paruthiveeran, as a village girl who meets with a grievous end in the film, fetched her the award. Although a movie’s success depends on the entire team, an actor or actress becomes known for a particular character after the success of their roles in hit films. Majority of actors or actresses stick to those stereotypical roles and wait for luck to come their way. Priyamani, the heroine of the super hit Paruthiveeran is bold enough to say “no” to typecast roles. Surya’s younger brother Karthi played the male lead in his debut film Paruthiveeran directed by Ameer. He played a tough role, without giving the audience a chance to think that he was a beginner. In the film, the love of a girl from a respectable family changes him forever. The movie not only won rave reviews but also did well at the box-office. The highlight of the film was it’s climax. Priyamani’s riveting performance as Muthazhagu in Paruthiveeran brought an end to her agonising wait for success. Her earlier films were with big names of the industry, but she couldn’t achieve fame. Paruthiveeran took her career to new heights. Priyamani was born on June 4, 1984, into an Iyer family in Palakkad, Kerala. She is the daughter of Vasudev Mani and Latha Mani. Her father is an industrialist and mother was an international badminton player and worked in UBI as an assistant manager. She later took voluntary retirement after Priyamani’s entry into the film industry. Priyamani has done modelling for famous jewellery brands and textile houses like Kancheepuram Silks, Eorde Silks and Lakshmi Silks etc. Renowned director Bharathiraja, who discovered Revathi, Radhika etc. gifted Priyamani to the spectacular film industry. She is a smart and talkative girl, loves music, dance and acting is her craze. Priyamani has acted in four Tamil films, two Malayalam films and one Telugu film in a short span of her three-year career. She made her debut in the Tamil film Kangalal Kaidhu Sei. Although the film was directed by veteran Bharathiraja, the movie bombed at the box-office. But her excellent performance and camera-friendly aspect in the film was noted by few in the industry. Priyamani’s second Tamil film Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam was directed by talented Balu Mahendra and she proved her mettle as an actress in the film. Priyamani was the love interest of Dhanush, but the movie did not help her to make a name in the industry. Priyamani played the heroine in Madhu, a romantic entertainer and the male lead of the movie was Jithan Ramesh, Jeeva’s brother and the third son of famous producer RB Choudhary. Madhu was directed by Thennarasu and produced by Thanga Sekar. Although Priyamani was brought up in Bangalore as a modern girl, the offers which came on her way were the typical village-belle roles. In order to escape from these roles, she tried her luck in the Malayalam film industry and did a glamorous role in her debut movie Sathyam. Her male lead of the film was Prithviraj. Sathyam was noticed by the image change of Prithviraj as an action hero. But lady luck was not on her side and the movie did not give her a promising career. Her other Malayalam film Ottananayam also went unnoticed. Priyamani returned in Tamil after a break and played the deglamourised role in Paruthiveeran. Her seniors like Gopika, Navya Nair, Meera Jasmine etc. from Kerala were receiving glamorous roles in Tamil and Telugu and at the same time they performed in Malayalam films. They were shining in the industries but the pretty actress Priyamani had a tough time to establish herself in all the three languages. Priyamani’s Telugu film Pellaina Kothalo with Jagapathi Raju made her popular in the industry. The films success merited her prestigious offers like Yamadonga, Toss and Mitrudu. In the forthcoming film Yamadonga directed by Rajamouli, she pairs with Jr NTR. In Toss, a love story directed by Priyadarshini Ram, her male lead is Raja. Upendra will appear in a pivotal role in the film. Mani Sharma is the music director. In another forthcoming Telugu film Mitrudu, her hero is Tarun. After the success of Paruthiveeran offers were flooded to the actress from various sides. But all for the same village-girl roles that she performed so well earlier. Priyamani knows that rural beauty roles without makeup will not make her a front-line heroine in Tamil and Telugu. Her realisation of the industry forced her to portray the right glamour in Malaikottai. Priyamani wants to establish herself as a commercial heroine in the industry and is looking for different roles. In order to gain that roles in films, she has changed herself with new hair styles, costumes and attended film parties. Priyamani, who was known for donning performance-oriented roles, has managed to obtain offers for glamorous roles. Her experiments in style and appearance will fulfill her dream to become a sought after heroine of the South Indian film industry. Her forthcoming Malaikottai, a mass entertainer, is a big-budget film directed by G Boopathy Pandian. The story and the screenplay of the film is contributed by the director himself. The film is produced by T Ajaikumar under the banner of Lakshmi Productions. Mani Sharma tunes for the lyrics of Muthukumar and Yugabharathi. Other artistes of the film are Ashish Vidyarthi, Devaraj, Ajai, GM Kumar, Ponnambalam, Mayilsamy, Manobala, Dandapani, Azhagu, Jayasurya, Urvasi, Nirosha and Arthi. Besides her city-bred college student role in Malaikottai, Priyamani has signed another promising Tamil film, Thotta. She is paired opposite Jeevan and it will be directed by Selva. Priyamani has succeeded in gaining glamorous roles in films, but the audience will decide the success of her new glamorous roles. Whether the audience will accept her in revealing costumes or will they like to watch her in village-belle roles only is left to be seen. If her movies work well at the box-office, her dream to establish herself as an actress who can fit into any kind of role will become a reality.
Director Vinayan's Hareendran Oru Nishkalankan is an experiment with young heroes in a superstar dominated Malayalam film industry, writes KK Moidu
Vinayan's Hareendran Oru Nishkalankan is a youthful yummy film starring young generation heroes Indrajith, Jayasurya and Manikkuttan. These three actors made their debut in Vinayan films. Jayasurya and Indrajith made their debut as hero and villain respectively in Oomappenninu Uriyadappayyan. Manikkuttan moved from acting in serials for television to the silverscreen with Boyy Friennd. Bhama and Shirin join them in the female lead roles in the film. Indrajith plays the title role of Hareendran, a young computer engineer. He runs a software company and dreams of making millions from his IT business. The film narrates the problems faced by him at a crucial juncture in his life and that questions his professional and personal honesty. Gopala Krishnan aka GK (Jayasurya) supports Hareendran's activities. They like the fast and modern life, but have a lot of differences between them. They have a common aim to make it big in life and that unites them. Manikkuttan plays a different role as Alex, better known as 'Stalin' Alex, who is an electrical engineer. He is also a political leader and sports a beard and glasses in the film. He has quit his present job and works in a newspaper to sustain his principles. Alex is in his 20's but behaves like a 40-year-old. For Manikkuttan, this is first time he plays a serious role. Bhama, who made her debut in Lohithadas's Nivedhyam appears as Indhulekha. Indhu, an engineering student, is the love interest of Alex. She enters Hareendran's life at an unexpected time and that changes the meaning of his life forever. The other female lead, Shirin, who made her debut in Moonnamathoraal plays a vibrant role as Pooja, opposite Jayasurya. Pooja is the only daughter of businessman Vasudevan. He is a Gulf returnee and turns out to be an alcoholic. Vasudevan depends on his daughter's earnings and that makes GK his main enemy. Other artistes of the film are Jagathy Sreekumar, Cochin Haneefa, Salim Kumar, Saju Kodiyan, Rajan P Dev, Narayanan Kutty etc. In Hareendran Oru Nishkalankan, Vinayan deals with the young generation who want to enjoy every moment of their lives. He also maintains suspense in the film by focussing on the fate of people who are accused of committing a crime — that happens without their knowledge. The film tells the story of present-day youth who work in the booming IT field in India. It also goes into the unwillingness of political parties, especially the leftists, who do not accept the current socio-economic changes around them. Director Vinayan himself pens the dialogues of his elder son Vishnu's story. Vinayan has given the necessary time for the basic plot to develop to suit the layout of a full-sized film. Hareendran Oru Nishkalankan is produced by Satheesh Nair under the banner of Nandikesh Film. Bernie-Ignatius sets the tunes to the lyrics by Vayalar Sharath Chandra Varma, Prabha Varma and Rajeev Alunkal. Cinematography is done by Venugopal and G Murali edits the film. Vinayan is a director who experiments varieties and shoulder's new challenges. His attempts to be successful with so-called variety has not triumphed always. He has tasted success, though, with films like Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum, where Kalabhavan Mani played the male lead as a blind man. The box office victory of the film gave Mani, who always played second fiddles to superstars, a star image. Mani fetched the National Special Jury Award for his portrayal of the blind man. Vinayan once again casted Kalabhavan Mani in the lead role in Karumadikkuttan which also became a hit, despite the absence of superstars. Other directors, who make films with young and good looking heroes in action and romantic roles, struggle for survival in the industry. But Vinayan films, with not so good looking heroes, have created wonders at the box office. This proves Vinayan's credentials as a director. Vinayan's Oomappenninu Uriyadappayyan was made with debutante Jayasurya in the lead in a mute and deaf role. No other director had the courage to experiment with this type of film with a newcomer as the hero and another fresh face as the villain. Vinayan has also been successful with established actors like Mammootty with whom he made such superhits as Rakshasa Rajavu and Dadasaheb. He made continuous hits even when the Malayalam industry was in the doldrums because cinema houses were flooded with soft-porn films with actresses like Shakeela and Maria. Vinayan's 25th film Albhuthadweep (Wonder Island), has been his bravest effort so far. He selected dwarf actor Ajay Kumar (Undapakru) to play the hero in the movie, though Undapakru has never played a hero before. Vinayan thus rewrote the concept of hero in Malayalam cinema. Prior to Albhuthadweep, Undapakru was seen only in bit roles and on television in comedy programmes. The film’s storyline was as different as its cast. It was about an island full of dwarfish men and normal women. Vinayan arranged for 300 dwarves from various parts of Kerala, Gujarat and even Bihar. One of the main reasons for Vinayan’s extraordinary success could be the fact that he goes for variety while selecting stories. But his efforts are not always fruitful. He failed in his experiments with the last couple of films like Black Cat, Adhisayan and Boyy Friennd, although he got noticed for some reason or the other. Black Cat was Vinayan's first film along with Suresh Gopi. Sci-fi thriller Adhisayan was noticed as it was the debut of Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff in Malayalam cinema. Another attraction was the central character played by a six year old boy Devadas. Boyy Friennd was embroiled in controversy because Vinayan used computer wizardry to show superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal in a song sequence in the film without the permission of the actors. This visual feat was achieved by the technicians who used masks on the actors. Both Mammootty and Mohanlal complained to the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) about Vinayan capitalising on their popularity to promote his own film. However, to the surprise of critics, Vinayan started his next project after completing his present one as he never finds difficulty in finding a producer. Before the release of Hareendran Oru Nishkalankan, Vinayan hit the headlines once again — Amitabh Bachchan, the greatest star of Indian cinema, will make his appearance in a Malayalam film directed by him. The film will be produced by Satheesh Nair and BS Nair will have Big B in the role of a retired police officer. The film will also star half-a-dozen young popular Malayalam and Tamil heroes in other key roles. According to reports, discussions are going on regarding the availability of dates of the megastar. If Vinayan succeeds in casting Big B in his forthcoming film, it will not only be the biggest achievement in his career, but also a great moment in the history of Malayalam cinema. Otherwise, it will drag Vinayan into another controversy which goes hand-in-hand with his career right from the start.
Moving away from her image as the sultry, glamour girl, Bipasha Basu takes on the role of a physiotherapist in Dhan Dhana Dhana Dhan Goal. KK Moidu writes
In Goal, Bipasha Basu, the cat-eyed actress, appears in a totally new look in a completely new role. Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, it is the story of contemporary Asian expatriates in the UK, told with the backdrop of professional soccer. Appropriately named, Goal is based on the game of football. Rumana (Bipasha Basu), is the team's physiotherapist. She is the cousin of team captain Shaan (Arshad Warsi) but she falls in love with Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham) and that complicates the situation. But she shows maturity and values the club's interest more than anything else. The story revolves around Southall United, a football club going through a crisis. The messy team has no coach, no star players, no sponsors and definitely no audience. In order to survive, the dying football club must beat every opponent and win the Combined Counties Football League in England. They hope to reawaken the team and win the cup. The city council teams up with a sports commentator to acquire the large area of land of the Southall United Club and that even puts the existence of the club in a dilemma. The city council sends an eviction notice by blaming the club's lustreless performance and threaten to take the land from them unless the team improve their performance. They are sure that the team will never give a better achievement and will lose the cup and the land will finally come to their hands. But the owner of the club, Sir Devi Dayal Dhariwal, hopes to save the land from greedy hands. He plays the last card to save the team by appointing a new coach. Tony (Boman Irani) is assigned as the coach of the team. He is traditional and he wants the teams and players under his rule. He is an ex-player and forced out of the game after threats due to extreme racism. His resurrection of the team has to fight his own demons. Sunny is a celebrated footballer and hopes to join a top team like every aspiring British footballer. He is not selected for the National Team because of his skin colour, so he joins the Southall United and is forced to reconsider his plans. His relationship with his father and girlfriend and his future as a footballer are at stake and he has to make a final decision. The captain of the team Shaan doesn't like Sunny's entry in the team because of professional jealousy. He can't see eye-to-eye with Sunny, who replaces him when he got injured. But he tries to make a comeback in the team. The rest of the film tells how the coach manages to re-arrange and strengthen the entire team. Will the Southall United win the title and preserve the ground? One has to wait and watch. Goal is the second sports-based Hindi film of this year after Chuk De India, starring Shah Rukh Khan. Chuk De India was about the neglected game of hockey. Produced by Ronnie Screwvala under the banner of UTV Motion pictures, other major roles are played by Naveen Andrews, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Kushal Punjabi and Dilip Tahil. Music is scored by Pritam Chakraborty. Kolkata girl Basu, one of the tallest actresses in the Mumbai film industry, is the second of three daughters (her elder sister is Bidisha and younger is Bijoyeta) and is lovingly called Bonny. But among her friends, she is better known as Bips. Basu was born in New Delhi and her family later moved to Kolkata. Her entry into films and modelling was accidental; she wanted to study chartered accountancy or medicine. Basu came into the limelight after winning the Ford Supermodel of the World 1996 contest at the age of 17. She is also the winner of Tulips Miss Super Vivacious. After her victory, she flew to New York, where she was spotted by the renowned photographer Steven Meisel. After appearing in Vogue magazine, she was flooded with offers for modelling, but, she gave it up and returned to India. Before acting in films, Basu shot to fame by appearing in prestigious advertisements. She became popular with the famous video Tu for Sonu Nigam's album Kismat. She also made a guest appearance in Jay Sean's music video Stolen. Like other models and beauty pageant winners, Basu was also attracted by the Indian film industry. She made her debut in Abbas Mastan's Ajnabee and won the Filmfare Best Debut Actress Award. She played a married woman's role, who goes all out to woo her husband's married friend. With this film, she got the chance to share the screen with leading Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol and Kareena Kapoor. The success of the film gave her career a boost. Basu played an amazing role in Raaz, although it was just the beginning of her career. Since then, she has played different roles in almost two dozen films. She also made special appearances in more than half-a-dozen films that includes the song sequence Phoonk De in No Smoking directed by Anurag Kashyap. Basu's item number Beedi in Omkara also won her acclaim. Basu was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in Raaz and Corporate. She was also nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award in No Entry and for the Filmfare Best Villain Award in Jism. Basu also tried her luck in regional films. She made her debut in the Telugu film Takkari where she played the mischievous thief Donga. The Mahesh Babu-starrer was later dubbed in Hindi as Choron Ka Chor. Basu also starred in the Tamil superstar Vijay's Sachien. Her character in the film as Manju, who runs behind the hero in skimpy clothes, did not earn her other prestigious offers from South Indian directors. After Goal, the audience can decide whether they like Basu's new look or not. Will they prefer the track pants, jackets and specs, or her glamorous appearance which made her the darling of the masses. If Goal brings out the untapped talent in Basu as an actress, it may prove to be a turning point in her career.
Eminent comedian Innocent was felicitated with the Sathyan Award for his contribution to the Malayalam film industry. KK Moidu writes
The Sathyan Award was initiated in the memory of the renowned Malayalam actor, late Sathyan, who ruled the Malayalam film industry until his death in 1971. The award includes a cash price of Rs10,001 and a medallion designed by artist Aryanad Rajendran. The award was presented to Innocent by the Forest Minister of Kerala, Binoy Viswam, on Nov.9 at the Sathyan Memorial Hall. A three-member jury headed by director K Madhu chose Innocent, one of the most successful actors of Malayalam cinema, for the prestigious award. Innocent Vincent was born in Irinjalakkuda, Thrissur district in Kerala. He entered the film industry two-and-a-half decades ago. At first, he produced a few serious offbeat films, but he was not successful. In the acting field though, he hit the jackpot. In the long span of his career, Innocent has worked in around 500 films in a variety of roles, mainly in Malayalam. He has also done a few Tamil and Hindi films. Innocent is one of the leading comedians of Malayalam films. He is a veteran in performing comic roles in his own style with a signature Thrissur accent. He shone on the silver screen as a comedian in superhit movies like Ramji Rao Speaking, Maannar Mathai Speaking, Kilukkam, Godfather, Vietnam Colony etc. Innocent also excelled in character and villain roles. He proved his skills in serious roles with a touch of laughter in Kabooliwaala, Gajakesariyogam, Mithunam, Mazhavilkavadi, Manassinakkare, Thuruppugulan, Rasathanthram, Mahasamudhram etc. His effort, along with that of the superstars who starred in the films, played an important role in their success. His role as Warrier (a Hindu caste man) in Mohanlal-starrer superhits Devasuram and its sequel Raavanaprabhu was noticed for its nuances in the performance. The role is one of the best in his career. His pairing with KPAC Lalitha was perfect and Pai Brothers, Manichithrathazhu etc are a few examples. Innocent always laughs with the audience with his outstanding performances in comedy roles. Either as a responsible house owner or irresponsible elder member of the family and even in villainish roles, he contributes with his own style. His typical Thrissur-style dialogue delivery and hilarious performances in comical roles with witty mannerisms has created waves of laughter in movie halls. That has made him popular among the audience. Innocent is also the most imitated actor of Malayalam cinema and mimicry artistes have brought him closer to women and children among his fans. At the mimicry events held during the Onam festival season, artistes like Raja Saheb, Kalabhavan Yousuf, Tiny Tom, etc. imitate the voice and behaviour of Innocent for Maveli (the legend behind Kerala's harvest festival Onam). This kind of performance not only helps the programme achieve success, it also takes Innocent's fame to new heights. Innocent's participation in stage shows also guarantees him a leading role as an anchor or performer. His Kathaprasangam (a kind of oratory, combined with poetry) Olayaal Menjoru is one of the regulars in Gulf stage shows. Innocent has been the president of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) for the last nine years. He has held the post for the last three consecutive terms and has managed to successfully handle the issues in his own inimitable manner. Innocent's name was heard in politics as an LDF-supported independent candidate from the Irinjalakkuda assembly constituency in the last Kerala elections. But nothing came of it. He made it clear he didn't have a mindset of a politician. It is perhaps one time when even the politicians laughed!
The Malayalam film industry lost one of its glorious actors ever — Sathyan — when he passed away at the age of 59. But he still lives in the hearts of cinegoers with his superior and male symbolic roles. Sathyan's strong performance and style of acting made him stand apart from the crowd of heroes of his time. Sathyanesan Nadar was popularly known as "Sathyan." He is a two-time Kerala State Film Award winning actor. He entered the film industry at the age of 39. He won the best actor award for his role in Kumarasambavam in 1961 and Karakaanakadal in 1971. Sathyan was the leading star of Malayalam films in the 60's. He was well-known for playing ideal male symbol roles. On the other hand, actor Prem Nazir was recognised as a romantic hero in the beginning of his career though he later drew attention by playing movies with themes based on social and religious injustice in the society. Another actor, Madhu, was usually picturised as the sad and suffering lover's role. Sathyan was born in Nov.9, 1911, in the village of Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. The place was a part of the State of Travancore. Before his entry into filmdom, Sathyan was a teacher and served the army as a soldier and took part in WWII. Before taking up his acting career, he also worked as a clerk at the Trivandrum Secretariat and the Travancore State Police Department as a sub inspector. He was an inspector during the 1947-48 communist riot in Alleppey North Police Station. As an actor, his career's turning point came in Neelakkuyil. It was the first National Award winning Malayalam film. Although Sathyan has delivered memorable performance in a variety of roles in different films, Sathyan's most popular film is Chemmeen. His character Pazhani, a fisherman in the film, was an epic love story set against the background of the coast of Aalappuzha. Chemmeen was based on the story of Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and the heroine of the film was Sheela. After the film, Sheela came to be known as the Karuthamma (the name of her character in Chemmeen) of Malayalees. Sathyan had his own style of acting and his role as a rickshaw puller in Odayil Ninnu is one of the best in his career. He played the title role in Kayamkulam Kochunni released in 1966 and it was noticeable by his excellent performance. Playback singer KJ Yesudas also played an important role in the film. The movie tells the story of a good thief, who was a favourite of the poor and downtrodden in Kayamkulam in Kerala. Sathyan played historical characters based on Vadakkan Pattukal. He has played legendary heroes like Thacholi Othenan. He also delivered memorable performances in revolutionary roles in Ningalenne Communistakki based on Thoppil Basi's novel and Inquilaab Zindabad.