Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Super pair for a superhit

S Shankar's dream project, Robot, features India's highest paid actor Rajinikanth and most popular actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. KK Moidu writes

Acting with Rajinikanth is the dream of every heroine in the industry. Former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, is fortunate to be paired with the superstar in the forthcoming sci-fi film Robot.
Aishwarya's salary will be one-and-a-half crores for the film, the highest remuneration ever received by an Indian actress. For playing Rajinikanth's heroine, she has to sacrifice her other projects. Fortunately, her two Hindi films Jodhaa Akbar and Sarkar Raj are completed and will be screened in February and April respectively.
Her English film, The Pink Panther Deux, is scheduled for release early next year. Being a married actress, she is not expected to get pregnant before the completion of her latest project Robot.
Director Shankar, who is known for the slow pace of his projects, needs a long call sheet for the heroine. She will not be able to do other projects during this period.
Heroines are ready to sacrifice other projects in order to act with Rajinikanth, but lady luck smiles only on a few.
Aishwarya made her film debut in Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Iruvar opposite Mohanlal in 1997. She shifted base to Bollywood and became one of the most sought after heroines in the industry. The green eyed beauty captured the hearts of millions and continues to create magic with her eminent looks even after 10 years in the industry.
Aishwarya, the queen bee of the industry, has acted in more than three dozen films. She has acted in different language films, mainly in Hindi, few English, three Tamil, one Telugu and one Bengali.
She won her first Filmfare Best Actress South Award for her role in the Tamil film Jeans directed by S Shankar. Her performance in the Hindi film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas also fetched her Filmfare Best Actress Awards. Her last Tamil film was Kandukondain Knadukondain released in 2000.
Aishwarya now returns to the Tamil industry after a hiatus of seven years with a role in Robot, the tenth film directed by S Shankar.
The rumour of Aishwarya's pairing with Rajinikanth in Shankar's magnum opus Robot started after her last visit to Chennai. She revealed her willingness to work in Tamil films, if the script was interesting.
Industry pundit's had seen less possibility for the married Aishwarya Rai. Millions of Rajinikanth's fans would not like their 'screengod' romancing a married lady on screen. But the former Miss World's presence will give an international acceptance to the film in the country and abroad.
Cinegoers were overjoyed by the confirmation of Ayngaran International and Eros Entertainment, the producer's of Robot. UK based Ayngaran International is an overseas film distributor of Tamil films and Eros Multimedia will produce the costliest Indian film ever made at a budget of 120 crores. The music of the film will be composed by maestro AR Rehman.
Robot tells the robotic incarnation of a normal man and will exploit the world's best technicians in visual and sound effects.
The trio Shankar-Rajinikanth-AR Rehman will team up once again for making another big budget film. Their previous hit Sivaji The Boss rewrote the records in production cost and box office collection. The biggest blockbuster was a world superhit and the first Tamil film to feature in the UK Top 10.
According to earlier reports, Shah Rukh Khan had agreed to produce and play the lead in Robot. But he was evicted from the project because of a creative disagreement between him and the director.
Another hero, Kamal Hassan, was also a choice for the lead in the film. According to reports, director Shankar also approached superstars like Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Vikram, Ajith etc.
The high tech film with the state-of-the-art technology is being made in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and other languages. Shankar has finally realised that without Rajini's presence in the movie it will not come full circle. But the hero hunt has definitely become an asset for the publicity of the film.
Soon after announcing the film, several leading ladies like Deepika Padukone, Asin, Nayanthara, Trisha Krishnan etc. were considered for the female lead. Although many actresses were in the race to pair with the crowdpuller, Aishwarya came out the winner.
Pairing with Aishwarya Rai was a pending dream of the superstar for nearly one decade, right from the days of his superhit Padayappa. Whenever Rajinikanth announced a film, rumour spread that Aishwarya will be his lady love in it. Finally the dream has become a reality with Robot, the biggest film of his career.
However, Robot is a long delayed project. The budget of the film was 50 crores and the dream came true after six years. The expense of the film has doubled and the expectations has also multiplied.
Before Rajini starts working in Robot, he will play a superstar role in Kuselan. The film is a remake of the Malayalam superhit Kadha Parayumbol. Kuselan will be made simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu.
Kuselan will be jointly produced by K Balachandar's Kavithalaya, Vaijayanthi Movies and Malayalam banner Seven Arts, which distributed the original and will support the remake of the film.
Kuselan is being made as a quickie to avoid the long wait for Rajini's innumerable fans. The bilingual film will be directed by P Vasu.
Rajinikanth will play the role enacted in the original by Malayalam superstar Mammootty. Sreenivasan wrote the story of Kadha Parayumbol and also played the barber in the film. Pasupathy and Jagapathi Babu will perform the hair stylist role in Tamil and Telugu respectively.
After viewing Kadha Parayumbol in a Chennai cinema, Rajinikanth appreciated Sreenivasan for his wonderful script and performance in a pure entertainer. The movie tells the friendship of a reigning superstar and a poor hair dresser in a village.
Sreenivasan was a junior to the superstar in the film institute and Rajini was impressed by the emotional climax of the film.
Like Robot, many heroine's name were considered for Kuselan like Tabu, Simran, Sneha, Meena, Nayantara etc.
Finally, sensational Nayanthara will get a hat-trick by pairing with Rajinikanth as one of the heroines in the film. She was his love interest in Chandramukhi and also did an item number in Sivaji The Boss.
Simran and Tabu were supposed to play the female leads of the film. But Simran was expelled from the project because the director was not happy with her demands. Simran also had many conditions to act with Pasupathy in Kuselan. But the reason for her withdrawal from the project is her earlier commitment for a mini screen serial for Jaya TV.
This was the second time Simran was moving out from a Rajini project. She was the first choice for Chandramukhi, because of her marvelous dancing skills since the story of the film revolved around a dancer. Jyothika replaced her in the film for which she won acclaim.
Simran, the erstwhile numero uno is struggling to make a comeback in films after her marriage and childbirth. She recently made a comeback in the south Indian film industry by playing Indrajith's heroine in the Malayalam film Heartbeats. The film bombed at the box office and she filed a case against the producer for a dispute over her role.
Another choice of heroine for Kuselan was Tabu who is extremely busy in the Telugu film industry. This forced the makers to search for other heroines. GV Prakash Kumar is the composer and Arvind Krishna the cinematographer of the film.
Although Kuselan is a remake of Kadha Parayumbol, in which Mammootty appeared in a cameo as superstar Ashok Raj, the remake gives importance to Rajinikanth's role. P Vasu will make necessary alterations in the script to satisfy the fans of the actor in Tamil and Telugu.
Will Simran get the nod from the producers of Jaya TV to act in Kuselan? Who will play the other heroine in Kuselan? More details about the film will be announced early next month, when Rajinikanth comes back from the Himalayas.

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