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.

Friday, January 25, 2008




With her debut in aMalayalam film,
Sada has become an all-rounder in
the South Indian film industry. She has already played lead roles in Telugu, Tamil
and Kannada films.
Earlier, she gained the
Malayalam film industries’ attention
by replacing Nayanthara in an
item number in a Suresh Gopi
starrer Janmam, directed by Joshi.
The film is not yet released.
Her dream to work for a fulllength
Malayalam film is fulfilled
in Novel, in which Jayaram plays
her male lead.
Novel is an impressive love
story and is noted for its music
which is composed by
Balabhaskar, Jayachandran and
Ghazal singer Umbayee. Other
important roles in the film are
being played by Innocent, Jagathy,
Nedumudi Venu, Ganesh Kumar
and Indrans.
Novel is the first directorial venture
of Dubai-based businessman
East Coast Vijayan, a well-known
stage show organiser, lyricist and
producer of successful Malayalam
music albums.
Apart from producing and
directing the film, he is also writing
the script and lyrics for the
Jayaram acts in the title role of
Novel. Although Jayaram is a good
actor and has proved his talent earlier,
his career has been going
through a lean period for sometime.
The film’s success will give
him some relief and for newcomer
Sada, the success of the film is necessary.
Sada was born on Feb. 17, 1984
in a Marathi Bohra Muslim family
as Sadhaaf Mohammed Syed in
Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. The five
feet four inches tall actress is the
only daughter of her parents. Her
screen name Sada is taken from her
real name and her pet name
Although Marathi is her mother
tongue, she is capable of understanding
the dialogues of other language
films. In fact, that made her
a favourite of the industry.
Sada did her schooling in
Mumbai Sacred Hearts Convent.
After 12th standard, she completed
her first semester in Engineering
in Information Technology at
SNDT College of Engineering in
Mumbai. She is also a trained
Kathak dancer.
Sada made her debut in the
Telugu film Jayam directed by Teja
opposite Nitin. However, her
launching vehicle didn’t give her a
chance to shine in the industry. Her
hard work and efforts went unnoticed.
But her acting in the Tamil
remake of the same film opposite
Ravi became a blockbuster.
Sada won the best newcomer
Filmfare Award for her performance
as Sujatha in Jeyam. She
became a much sought-after actress
in Tamil. Jayam in Tamil was
directed by M Raja.
After the success of Jeyam, she
discontinued her studies and took
up acting seriously. Then, offers
started coming in. She played the
lead against Madhavan in Ethiri.
The film was directed by KS
Ravikumar and the music was
composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
The duo Madhavan-Sada were
again cast in Priyasakhi directed by
KS Adhiyaman. The duo is making
a hat-trick in lead roles in the forthcoming
film Leelai.
Leelai, directed by Kona
Venkat, is now being made in
Telugu as Adi Oka Idhi. In yet
another Tamil hit Varnajalam, she
played the lead against Srikanth.
The film’s story, screenplay, dialogues
and the direction were done
by Nagulan Ponnusamy with music
composed by Vidyasagar.
Sada’s real break came when
she was paired with Vikram in
Anniyan. The film directed by veteran
Shankar was released in 2005
and is her career best so far.
Anniyan was a superhit in Tamil
Nadu and its dubbed version
Aparichithudu in Telugu was a box
office hit in neighbouring Andhra
Pradesh. The film was not only
noticed for its theme, technical perfection
and performance of the
artistes but also for the music by
Harris Jayaraj.
Although Anniyan became the
biggest hit in her career, the film’s
success did not bring her many
opportunities in Tamil.
Sada tried her luck in Kannada
films. She made her debut in
Monolisa which was directed by
Indrajith Lankesh. She gained the
industry’s attention in her maiden
venture. She played a meaty role in
the suspense thriller Mohini directed
by SV Rajendra Singh Babu.
The actress also made her
Bollywood entry opposite Hyder
Khan, brother of Aamir Khan in Sirf
Romance......Love By Chance.
Things changed for her after acting
opposite Ajith in Tirupati and the
recent Jeeva directed Unnale
Unnale. That made her busy in the
Tamil film industry again.
Bangalore-based model and newcomer
Vinay played the male lead in
Unnale Unnale. The film has two
heroines, Sada and Tanisha, sister of
Bollywood actress Kajol.
A musical hit, Unnale Unnale
was released on Tamil New Year and
it is a big hit of 2007.
The film’s director, who was also
a cinematographer, Jeeva, died last
month in Russia. The film was
dubbed in Telugu as Neevalle
In the upcoming Telugu film
Classmates, Sada is playing the lead
opposite Sumanth. The film, a
remake of Malayalam blockbuster
of the same title is directed by K
Vijay Bhaskar.
In the forthcoming film Shankar
Dada Zindabad, her male lead is the
megastar of Telugu cinema,
Chiranjeevi. Sada plays one of the
heroines’ role in the film. It is directed
by Prabhu Deva.
In another film Love Game
directed by Srinivas, Sada is appearing
as one of the love interests of
Randeep Hooda.
The film has six other heroines
played by Riya Sen, Jesse
Randhawa, Divya Dutta, Rituparna
Sengupta, Kalpana Pandit and Rakhi
Sada proved herself a good
actress with her performances as village
girls as well as modern characters.
She has also performed in Mani
Ratnam’s stage show Netru Indru,
Naalai along with other stars.
Sada is a music lover and her
favourite music directors are AR
Rahman and Haaris Jeyaraj.
Although she is busy in other language
films, she has found time to
play the heroine in Novel.
One of the main reasons for
accepting the offer may be that the
Malayalam industry is lucky for
heroines from other states.
Even if her debut film Novel does
not do well, she is sure she will get
offers for playing lead roles opposite
Malayalam front liner’s.
But the million dollar question
now is whether an actress like Sada,
whose income per film in other
languages is around Rs2,000,000,
will continue in the low-remunerated
Malayalam industry. Or is her
debut in Malayalam only for completing
the circle?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Star qualities

Action hero Vishal will play a gallant cop for the first time in his career in the forthcoming film Sathyam, directed by Raja Sekhar. KK Moidu writes

Young and vibrant Vishal, the current sensation of the film industry, has been granted the title Puratchi Thalapathi. His movies' success at the box office and the new honour has given him the image of a commercial hero.
In the short span of a three-year, spotless career, Vishal has played lead roles in only six films. But his name features in the list of "top ten" heroes of the industry. His distinct style, dances and actions has made him one of the most popular among the two dozen young Tamil heroes.
All Vishal's films, except the box office flop Sivappadhikaram, has been dubbed in Telugu. This has made him a favourite in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh where the junior action king has gained many fans.
His aim is to run his films like the other superstar movies and his status in the industry is growing with each film.
Tall and dark Vishal dons an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) role in the forthcoming bilingual film, Sathyam in Tamil and Salute in Telugu. His leading lady of the film is Nayanthara, the highest paid actress of South Indian cinema. She will play a TV reporter in the film. One of the highlights is the duet with the hero and Nayanthara. Kannada actor Upendra plays the antagonist and Harris Jayaraj scores music for the film. Sathyam is produced under the banner of GK Films Corporation.
Vishal is very happy about his new ACP role and the film gives him the opportunity to bare his physique. He had done a lot of groundwork for the role and watched many cop films for the perfection of his encounter specialist role in the film. His role model for the film is Sylendra Babu, former Assistant Commissioner of Chennai City Police.
Vishal has undergone a training programme for changing his body language for the ACP role. He also sports a cropped hairstyle to look like a smart and brave policeman. He does not want to be stereotyped as an action hero and he is doing the best for giving life to the ACP in every frame, instead of actor Vishal.
Sathyam gained media attention not only for Vishal's cop role but also for the highly expensive chase scene. The producer lavishly spent an amazing and unbelievable price of one-and-a-half crore rupees for a single scene. The police officer takes the witness to the court and the goons are trying their best to kill the witness. This scene was filmed in Poonthamalli in the outskirts of Chennai. Four cameras were used for shooting the scene and it was set up in a foreign jeep.
Vishal Krishna Reddy, known as Vishal, was born on Aug. 29, 1977 in Chennai. He is the son of noted producer GK Reddy. He has made films with top actors and has retired from the field due to the failure of the business.
Vishal hails from a noble family and he is a graduate of Visual Communication from Loyola College. He never dreamed about an acting career and has a strong passion for direction. His role model is director Ram Gopal Varma.
Although his passion for direction got him an apprenticeship with Ram Gopal Varma, he compromised for his parent's desire to have him closer to home. But his thirst for direction took him to actor-director Arjun's production house. He worked as an assistant to him for films like Vedham and Ezhumalai.
A chance encounter with GJ team (Gnanavel and Jayaprakash) re-wrote an aspiring director Vishal's career — as an amazing actor. Many hero's knock on the doors of producers for a chance, but luck knocked at the doorstep of Vishal. He made his debut as a hero in the superhit Chellamey, produced by GJ Cinema and directed by Gandhi Krishna.
Vishal landed on the set after completing a three-month acting course from a Koothupatrai troupe. This was because he did not have previous experience in acting and never performed in school or college dramas. He also learned dance and action, an unavoidable talent for a hero and without these skills, a hero cannot survive in the industry.
In his debut film, Vishal performed as a seasonal hero and not as a newcomer. However, everybody's effort was rewarded and the film shaped up very well. The success of the film not only earned profit for the producers but also made Vishal a superstar over-night.
Chellamey also boosted the career of Reema Sen, the heroine of the film. The film was a turning point in Vishal's co-star Bharath's career. Chellamey was dubbed into Telugu as Prema Chadarangam.
After Chellamey, followed Sandakozhi and Thimiru too were big hits and dubbed in Telugu as Pandam Kodi and Pogaru respectively.
Meera Jasmine played the lady love of Vishal in Sandakozhi directed by Linguswamy. Thimiru directed by debutante Tharun Gopi was a front runner of 2006 in Tamil Nadu. Shreya Reddy won acclaim for her role as Eswari in the film and the dubbed version Pogaru was a runaway hit in Andhra Pradesh.
Vishal scored a hat-trick, a rare luck in cinema and that catapulted him to super stardom. Sandakozhi and Thimiru was produced by Vishal's brother Vikram Krishna Reddy, who tried his luck as an actor earlier under the name Ajay.
Vishal also made a cameo appearance in Jeeva starrer Dishyum, a musical hit.
Vishal's fourth release Sivappadhikaram directed by Karu Palaniappan, didn't come upto expectations. Malayalam actress Mamta Mohandas made her debut as a heroine in the film. After playing the heroine of Vishal, Mamta gained fame in Telugu as an actress, playback singer and won a Filmfare award as a playback singer.
The success of Vishal's last two releases Thamirabharani and Malaikottai regained his crowd pulling status. Thamirabharani was the Pongal festival release of 2007 and won rave reviews and achieved box office success by competing with strong opponents like Pokkiri and Aalwar. Thamirabharani was dubbed in Telugu as Bharani.
Malayalam actress Muktha made her debut as a heroine in Thamirabharani. She has changed her name as Bhanu during this film. The success of the film earned her lead roles in Telugu and Kannada films.
Malaikottai was an above average grosser in the box office and the lack of competition continued its run till last Deepawali. Vishal has tried comedy for the first time in his career in the film. Director Bhoopathy Pandiyan, an expert in mixing comedy with action himself provided the racy and spicy script of the film.
Malaikottai was also a turning point in heroine Priyamani's career. She only played village belle roles in earlier films. After Malaikottai, she got a release from playing village girl roles. Malaikottai did well in Malaysia and its dubbed version in Telugu Bhayya also earned box office revenue.
Vishal, who made his entry into filmdom as an assistant director, has grown up as a full-fledged action hero within a very short period of time. However, Vishal didn't give up his dream for directing films. Although his films never harmed the producers, he will not play the lead in his film — his choice for the hero is Vijay.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Former heroine Rambha is making her return to Tamil Cinema with Marupadiyum Chinna Veedu, and fans are expecting a lot, reports KK Moidu

Rambha will play one of the five heroines in her comeback vehicle Marupadiyum Chinna Veedu directed by K Veera. She hopes her re-entry with a dazzling performance will once again make her the darling of the industry. Marupadiyum Chinna Veedu deals with marital infidelity of men. Five heroines of the film reflect the qualities of five elements.
Rambha won the hearts of cinegoers by playing innocent village girl roles as well as glamorous roles with the same ease. In Malayalam films like Sargam and Champakkulam Thachan she was a typical village beauty. She captured the audience with her glamorous performances in Tamil and Telugu films.
She climbed the ladder of success in the Tamil and Telugu industry and tried her luck in Bollywood also. When she returned to the South, her new slim appearance was not accepted by the audience and that dried up her career in the Tamil and Telugu industries.
Her downfall in the industry started after the box office disaster of her own film Three Roses. She was backseated because of the huge loss of her production venture.
After gaining name and fame as a heroine, Rambha started her career as a producer in Three Roses. Jyothika, Laila and Rambha played three lead roles in the film, a copy of Hollywood movie Charlie's Angels.
Three Roses faced many hurdles right from the beginning. One of the three heroine's, Laila's accident caused a six months delay in shooting. Rambha's row over a trifle with another heroine Jyothika ended up in the postponement of the shooting of the film.
The hero of the film, Arjun moved out from the project, since it is a heroine oriented film and the action hero hardly had anything to do in the film.
All these problems and the box office flop of the film incurred her huge losses. In order to recover from the debts, she sold her house in Chennai to the financiers for a release from the burden.
Rambha, the one time leading lady of Tamil and Telugu films, found the shortest route to remain in the public eye. She opted for a comeback to the South Indian film industry by doing item numbers in Telugu films Yamadonga, Desamuduru etc.
Rambha earlier performed item numbers in Sukran, Azhagiya Theeye, Chathrapathi etc. She also did an item song in a remote village in Karnataka for the Kannada remake of Tamil hit Pithamagan, which fetched Vikram the National Award for the best actor. In the Kannada version Anatharu, directed by Sadhu Kokila, Upendra starred in Vikram's role and Sangavi played the role of Sangeetha.
Rambha considered the Malayalam film industry as a temporary alternative and played female leads in the Mammootty-starrer Chronic Bachelor and Dileep's Kochi Rajavu etc. Both the films did well at the box office but the overflow of actresses from other states could not accommodate her in more Malayalam films.
Rambha played a glamorous role as the heroine of Kalabhavan Mani in the recently released Malayalam film Paayum Puli. But the director could not succeed in his attempt to cash in on her glamour factor. He failed to provide something meaningful instead of nonsensical stereotyped stuff from a talented actor like Kalabhavan Mani.
Rambha was born on June 5, as Vijaya Lakshmi in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradhesh. She is the daughter of Venkateswara Rao and Usha Rani. She discontinued her studies from eighth standard and was eager to face the arclights. She gained the attention of the audience by playing a Goddess role (Amman) on her school anniversary day — that was the first day she put on make up.
Rambha has more than 100 films to her credit and delivered many hits in different languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada etc. One of the main reasons for her success in Bollywood was her uncanny resemblance to Bollywood heroine late Divya Bharati, an actress who died at the peak of her career.
Beautiful faced Rambha's charming eyes, gorgeous looks and her lavish performances entertained all kinds of audience. She has a rare combination of an innocent face and luxurious body. That made her different from other heroines and she exhilarated the audience, especially those from the opposite sex. She also managed to maintain the glamorous image for a long period in the highly competitive industry.
Rambha was launched in the industry by veteran Malayalam director Hariharan. She made her debut as a heroine in the Manoj K Jayan starrer Sargam opposite Vineeth.
Although Hariharan fetched the best director State Award and Manoj K Jayan won the second best actor State Award, Sargam didn't do very well at the box office.
Her Telugu debut opposite Rajendra Prasad in Aa Okkati Adakku was a roaring success. Director of the film EVV Sathyanarayana changed her name to Rambha. Then she entered Bollywood, Tamil, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Bengali etc. She paired opposite leading actors of the industry like Rajnikanth, Vijay, Ajith, Chiranjeevi, Mammootty, Mithun Chakraborthy, Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Sunil Shetty, Govinda etc.
Rambha played the role of a blonde, Mango Dolly, in Shashak Ghosh's bilingual film Quick Gun Murugan, made simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu. The brainchild of Shashanka Ghosh, Quick Gun Murugan is a small screen hit and he himself directs the film.
The title role is played by Rajendra Prasad and Nasser is the villain of the film. The theme of the film is vegetarianism versus non-vegetarianism. Quick Gun Murugan promises to rescue cows because he thinks he is a cowboy and Nasser runs a fast food restaurant that promotes eating beef.
Ramba will play a full length role as a protagonist in the Telugu film Donga Sachinollu. Krishna Bhagwan and Raghu Babu will play the lead in the comedy flick directed by Raja Vannam Reddy. The film, produced by J Sambhasiva Rao and SV Prasad, is under the banner of Sasidhar Productions.
In a long career of more than 15 years, Rambha has achieved success as a heroine. She is recognised and mobbed on the streets as a celebrity. Unlike other former heroines, Rambha is not playing an aunt's role in her re-entry. This is because she still exudes the charm of a heroine.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Malayalam cinema: The hits and misses

KK Moidu looks at last year's performances of Malayalam film superstars Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Prithviraj and Dileep, and the film industry in general

Padmashri Mammootty continued his strong presence in the industry with seven films last year. He started the year with the superhit Maayavi directed by Shafi. Unfortunately he couldn't repeat his huge success in the other films, Mission 90 Days and Big B.
Mammootty, who has always performed commercial and art films with the same ease, appeared in two offbeat films Ore Kadal and Kaiyoppu in 2007. Like other art films, majority of the public did not show interest to these films.
Mammootty's commercial entertainer Nasrani directed by Joshy did not come upto expectations. Katha Parayumbol scripted by Sreenivasan once again gifted him success at the end of the year.
Mammootty passed the year without big bruises and hopes the forthcoming projects will favour him. His launching vehicle of the year Raudram, where he plays a cop for the 25th time in his career, will release this month.
Mammootty is the only actor after Prem Nazir who has completed more than 300 films as a hero. His upcoming films like Pazhassi Raja, Annan Thampi, Maaya Bazaar, Pattanathil Bhootham, Kutty Shranku, Chempaka Raman, Rikshakkaran, Vandematharam, Paramadhikaram and more than a dozen untitled films with prestigious banners and reputed directors will shower luck on the superstar in the future.

The highest paid actor of Malayalam cinema, Mohanlal, did half-a-dozen films last year. Among the six films, his magic worked in the box office with two films, Hallo and Chhotta Mumbai.
The other films like Alibhai, Pardesi, Rock 'N' Roll and Flash were box office disasters. His recently released Flash directed by Sibi Malayil disappointed his fans. The director-actor duo has earlier created superhit classics and the cinegoers expected nothing less than a superhit from the reunion of Sibi and Lal after eight years.
But the failure of the films will not affect the talented actor's career. He is working in films like Bheeshmar, Ee Irupathiyonnaam Noottandu, Karthika Thirunaal Kaarthikeyan, Alexander The Great, Casanova, Nadodikkattu 4 etc. where success is guaranteed.
His College Kumaran directed by Thulasidas will be released in the last week of the month. Other untitled films committed by the actor are with industry favourites like Sathyan Anthikkadu, Sidhique, B Unnikrishnan, Joshy, Lal Jose, Blessy and another from Priyadarshan-MT Vasudevan Nair team.
Suresh Gopi
Action hero Suresh Gopi, a veteran in performing brave cop roles, failed to satisfy his fans last year. He competed with Mammootty and Mohanlal in a number of films. But in his six releases last year, the only film that gave him a breath of fresh air was Nadhiya Kollappetta Rathri. All other films like Time, Detective, Bharathan, Kichamani MBA and Black Cat shattered at the box office.
The actor's new year release, The Sound of Boot, a maiden venture of Pyramid Saimira will be released by the middle of this month.
The biggest gainer of 2007 in the industry was Prithviraj. His Chocolate was one of the biggest hits and he repeated his success as a crowdpuller in campus films. His recently released Kangaroo's success made his position safe in the industry.
His success in Tamil films Mozhi, Satham Podathey and Kannamoochi Yenada has already made him a favourite for family audiences.
Although Prithviraj never tasted failure in the neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu's film industry, his last year's films on home turf like Avan Chandiyude Makan, Veeralippattu etc. went unnoticed. His cop's role in Khakee added one more flop to his career.
Prithviraj will play Naxal Joseph's role in the forthcoming Malayalam film Thalappavu directed by Madhupal. He is also doing a couple of films in Malayalam and Tamil.
Dileep's year started with an average hit Inspector Garud. Followed by superhit Vinodhayathra, it was his first film with director Sathyan Anthikkad. But continuous flops like The Speed, July 4 and the recently released Romeo was unexpected for the actor and his fans.
They hope that Dileep will regain his super success status in the much delayed Calcutta News directed by Blessy, which will release last week of the month. His other hope is Mulla directed by Lal Jose, who earlier made blockbuster films with Dileep.
The box office failure of Romeo has not only affected Dileep but also the successful duo Rafi-Mecartin, who scripted and produced it. Rafi-Mecartin were in the peak of their success as scriptors in Maayavi and by directing and scripting the superhit Hallo.
Another achiever of the year is multi talented director-actor-scenarist Sreenivasan. He once again proved his talent in Arabikkatha directed by Lal Jose. Sreenivasan was featured as a staunch leftist 'Cuba Mukundan' in the film, which was well scripted by Dr Iqbal Kuttipuram.
The movie was not only a discussion in political circles and among gulf expatriates but also achieved box office victory.
Sreenivasan continued his success journey in Kadha Parayumbol as an actor and scriptor. His superior script and character barber Balan played an important role in the success of Kadha Parayumbol. His detective role in Ayur Rekha directed by AM Manu was the only minus of the actor in 2007.
The flop of Anjil Oraal Arjunan and Sooryan ruined Jayaram's career. He is coming up with a new film Novel. Novel is produced by East Coast Productions and directed by East Coast Vijayan. Anniyan fame Sada is making her Malayalam debut as a heroine in the film.

Like previous years, Kalabhavan Mani showed his strong presence last year with films like Nagaram, Indrajith, Nanma, Abraham and Lincoln, Paayum Puli and Rakshakan. But the audience were not interested in his stereotype performances.
Rahman, Mani's co-star in Abraham and Lincoln, Nanma etc. benefited from the partnership and finally managed to play the hero in the forthcoming Musafir.
Indrajith, who played villain roles earlier, played heroic roles in few films last year. He couldn't repeat his villain role success as a hero. The failure of films like Hareendran Oru Nishkalangan directed by Vinayan, Heartbeats directed by Vinoo Anand and Soorya Kireedam directed by George Kithu was a setback for the heroic dream of Indrajith.
The year 2007 elevated Harishree Ashokan from a second fiddle of superstars to a hero. He played the lead role in Aakasham and appeared with a new clean shaven look. He also played an important role in Ottakkayyan. The films were noticed for its theme and performance but the films didn't create any remarkable impulse in the box office.
Another young hero Narien, a successful actor of Tamil industry, couldn't achieve success as a hero in Malayalam films. He was the male lead in Panthayakozhi and the film miserably failed at the box office.
Jayasoorya shined as a second hero in films like Arabikkatha, Chocolate, Kangaroo etc. but his Changathipoocha, where he played the hero's role was a flop at the box office.
Director Shafi repeated his Maayavi success in the recently released Chocolate. Anwar Rasheed couldn't repeat his Rajamanikyam super success in Chhotta Mumbai, but the charisma of Mohanlal saved the film.
Internationally famed director Adoor Gopalakrishnan has once again done something different in 2007. His Naalu Pennungal continued the tradition of telling powerful themes with a simplicity. The film was based on four stories written by Njanpit winner Thakazhy Siva Sankara Pillai.
Adoor told the story of four women from different social layers in the film as a tribute to the literary doyen.
The failure of big budget sci-fi thriller Athisayan directed by Vinayan bombed at the box office. But the director has achieved the impossible by casting Amitabh Bachchan in a cop's role in the forthcoming film. Vinayan's previous film Albhuthadweep released in 2005 again gained the attention, because of Ajayakumar's (Undapakru) Guinness Book entry.
Director Lohitha Das was one of the industry's most dependable. He returned to the industry with a simple film Nivedhyam in 2007. Although the movie was not a big success, but it worked partly. The highlights of the film was the suitable characterisation, efficient performances and convincing story telling. He contributed two new talents Vinu Mohan and Bhama to the industry.
AKG, a documentary film about late communist leader and former opposition leader of Parliament was directed by Shaji N Karun. Shaji couldn't achieve success in his new venture like his other works Piravi, Swaham and Vanaprastham.
P Sreekumar played AKG's role in the film produced by Purogamana Kala Sahithya Sangham, Kasargode District Committee.
Director Kamal, who always makes films against the trend, has made a film according to the trend. But he couldn't repeat his success in Goal with newcomers.
Among the 70 releases of Malayalam films last year, four mega hits were created by reigning superstars and the winner's are Mammootty's Maayavi, Mohanlal's Hallo, Dileep's Vinodhayathra and Prithviraj's Chocolate. Sreenivasan stands next with his Arabikkatha.
The failure of films will not affect the superstars. Although half of their films failed at the box office, their place is secure in the industry and in people's hearts.

New albums

The lovers of Mappilappattu (traditional Muslim folksongs of Kerala) are extremely delighted at the release of the fascinating new albums Musaf 2 and Chanthamulla Pennalle, since they find the new collection not only stirring but also soothing

Musaf 2
One of the first things to be noted in Musaf 2 are singers like Afsal and Shafi. The music is further enhanced by Saleem and Rasheed of Speed, and has been scored by Sayan Anwar.
Lyrics are by Jaleel, Bawa, Chittoor Gopi and Y Sudamsu and the songs have been sung by Afsal, Rahna, Shafi, Salim Kodathoor. Arabic lyrics are by Siddique Fathahi and the album has been designed by Sasisarga.
With nine songs, the album starts with a duet, Vellikolusaninju, by Afsal and Rahna.
The other four songs - Poomulle, Nee Porumo Koode, Qalbile and Kinavinte — are sung by Afsal. Misrippon Poove and Mullappoovinte are sung by Shafi.
One other song, Thamarappoove, is sung by Saleem Kodathur. Panineerin has been soulfully rendered by Rahna.

Chanthamulla Pennalle
Sonara Middle East Ltd. presents Speed Audio's melody rich audio CD Chanthamulla Pennalle, produced by Shakkeer and Shafeer.
Noufal Illathayil scores the music for two songs Ee Enne Marannu Nee written by himself and sung by Nisar Vayanad. Naanamenthe, with lyrics by Noufal Thozhiyoor, is sung by award winning playback singer Jyothsana.
All other songs in the album are composed by Thaju Ponnani and he himself has written Chanthamulla Pennalle, Mumthase, Manikyakalle and Onnu Thottotte. Chanthamulla Pennalle and Manikyakalle are sung by Shafi, Mumthase has been sung by teen favourite Vineeth Sreenivasan and Onnu Thottotte has been vocalised by Thaju Ponnani.
The only duet in the album — Ee Pennoru — is sung by Afsal and Jyothsana and Allallaro has been performed by Afsal. Lyrics have been written by S Adanassery.
Razak and Noufal Thozhiyoor's lyrics for Enthinu Shabna and Naanamenthe are sung by Vithu Prathap and Jyothsana respectively.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008





Playing Rajinikanth's heroine in films is the dream of every South Indian actress. If the movie turns out to be a box office hit there, is no limit for happiness. Shriya Saran is literally enjoying that happiness after the sensational success of Sivaji.
Sivaji's box office victory has not only made her a superstar but also brought in a number of prestigious offers from big banners opposite front-line heroes.
Shriya is Bobby Deol's lady love in the upcoming Hindi film Ek-The Power of One. The movie is directed by Sangeet Sivan and produced by leading production house K Sera Sera.
Shriya's other Hindi film, Awarapan, opposite Emraan Hashmi, was released recently. She tried her luck in Bollywood earlier with Tujhe Meri Kasam directed by K Vijaya Bhaskar, a remake of the Telugu blockbuster, Nuvve Kavali. Tujhe Meri Kasam was a hit among the youth. But the success of the film didn't earn Shriya any fame nor did it help her career in Bollywood.
Shriya played lead roles in Hindi movies like Shukriya: Till Death Do Us Apart and Thoda Tum Badlo Thoda, Hum. In Shukriya: Till Death Do Us, Apart, she played the female lead opposite Mast-fame Aftab Shivadasani.
Thoda Tum Badlo Thoda Hum was directed by Esmayeel Shroff and Arya Babbar played the male lead. Both the films failed at the box office, crushing Shriya's Bollywood dreams.
However, after the success of Sivaji, her Tamil career is blossoming and chances are that her Bollywood dreams may materialise.
Shriya has great expectations about her upcoming Tamil films Kandasaamy and Azhagiya Tamil Magan. In Kandasaamy directed by Susi Ganesan, she plays the heroine opposite superstar Vikram and in Azhagiya Tamil Magan directed by Bharathan, her hero is superstar Vijay.
Before playing the lead role opposite Rajinikanth in Sivaji, Shriya paired opposite Rajini's son-in-law Dhanush in the recently released Tamil film Thiruvilayadal Aarambam.
Dhanush, Rajini's daughter Aishwarya's husband, is a favourite of cinegoers in the South. With this role, Shriya achieved the rare credit of acting in lead roles opposite father-in-law Rajinikanth and son-in-law Dhanush.
Another South Indian heroine Nayanthara will soon become the second actress to play the role of heroine of father-in-law and the son-in-law. Nayanthara is the heroine of Dhanush in Yaredi Nee Mohini directed by Selvaraghavan, brother of Dhanush. She had earlier played the lead role of Rajini in the super hit Chandramukhi.
Shriya was born on Sept. 11, 1982, in Ranipur, Haridwar, the second child of Pushpendra Saran and Neeraja. She completed her school education at the prestigious Delhi Public School, Haridwar and took her BA degree in literature from Lady Sri Ram College.
Shriya is a good Kathak dancer, trained under guru Shovana Narayan. Before acting in films, she was a model and that led her into advertisements and music albums.
Shriya has played lead roles in different languages like Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. Most of her films were big budget, ranging from romantic comedies, dramas and science to action thrillers. She also had opportunities to play lead roles opposite leading heroes in the South like Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Jr NTR.
Shriya made her debut in 2001 in the Telugu film Ishtam produced by Usha Kiran Movies. Her first film, however, bombed at the box office. But she was noticed by the industry's big banners who were in search of fresh faces for lead roles in their films.
Shriya's second Telugu film Chennakeshava Reddy opposite Balakrishna was also a disappointment. But she gained the needed attention after her role as the leading lady Bhanu in the super hit film Santhosham. Santhosham put her into the list of top heroines and her co-stars of the film were Nagarjuna and Gracy Singh.
In fact, Shriya's luck began with her role opposite Chiranjeevi in Tagore directed by VV Vinayak. Tagore's success has not only brought her fame but also made her one of the leading actresses in theTelugu film industry in a short span of time.
Shriya's heroine role in the film Nuvve Nuvve, written and directed by Trivikram Srinivas, opposite Tarun, was a real boost to her career. Another film with Nagarjuna Nenunnanu, directed by VN Aditya, was also a success at the box office.
Shriya's performance in Bhageeratha opposite Ravi Teja and Chatrapati written and directed by SS Rajamouli opposite Prabhas earned her accolades.
Prabhas made a comeback through Chatrapati after miserable flops like Adavi Ramudu and Chakram.
Shriya's upcoming Telugu film Mirchi is directed by Gopal Reddy and her hero is Mahesh Babu.
Shriya's Tamil debut was in 2003 with Enakku 20 Unakku 18, in which Tarun and Trisha Krishnan were her co-stars. The film was a musical hit composed by the legendary AR Rahman.
Although many glamorous roles were waiting for her in Tamil, she chooses to return to Malayalam cinema. But she made a strong comeback in the Tamil film Mazhai with young hero Jayam Ravi. The film turned out to be a hit. Shriya has proved to be lucky with her pairing with Dhanush in Thiruvilayadal Aarambham.
Finally, she played the heroine of the hero of the masses Rajinikanth, the highest paid actor of Indian cinema and the number one in Tamil cinema. Sivaji The Boss, directed by veteran Shankar, is also the costliest Indian film till date and it is the 100th Tamil film of Rajinikanth.
According to reports, Shriya accepted the Sivaji offer by agreeing that she will not do any other projects during the filming of this movie. Critics warned her that instead of wasting a time on one film, she could have chosen other films with lucrative offers.
Knowing that playing the heroine in a Rajinikanth film would bring her fame and prosperity, Shriya discarded all criticism and advice.
She was proved right and the success of Sivaji has taken her to new heights in her career. She can do wonders in her career as an actress. There is no doubt that her ability to work hard, her sparkling eyes, expressive face and glamorous look will make her a big hit on the silver screen.


Expecting a glorious comeback

Vikram's forthcoming movie Bheema can either make or break his career, observes KK Moidu

Tamil superstar Vikram's much delayed film Bheema, directed by Linguswamy will soon hit the screens. It's after a hiatus of one and half years that Vikram's new movie will be released. Actress Trisha Krishanan, who was his heroine in the superhit movie Saamy, is his female lead in this project.
Vikram had disappointed his fans without any movies in the previous year. His last movie release was Majaa in November 2005. But now his fans have a chance to rejoice with the release of Bheema and the news that he would start shooting for the Tamil film Kandaswamy, directed by Susi Ganesan. Actress Shriya Saran would be his heroine in this film.
Vikram aka John Kennedy was born in April 17 at Paramakudi in Ramnad district of Tamil Nadu (a place famous for the birth of versatile Indian actor Kamal Haasan). He completed his education from Mount Fort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School at Yercaud, Salem and earned a PGDMBA from Loyola College.
Vikram's father is a small time actor who has made appearances in many movies and had appeared as Trisha's father in the mega hit film Ghilli.
There is an interesting tale behind his screen name Vikram. 'Vik' is derived from the name Vicky and 'ram' from his astrological sign 'Aries.'
Vikram is also affectionately addressed as 'Chiyaan,' a title given by Tamil Nadu after the success of his first blockbuster Sethu. Chiyaan was the nickname of his character in Sethu. The actor rose to super stardom by doing more than half dozen megahits like Sethu, Dhill, Dhool, Saamy, Gemini, Pithamagan and Anniyan and Kasi. Kasi is the remake of the Malayalam super hit film Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum.
Vikram's rise to superstar status was slow and gradual. He began his career by doing low profile roles and chance appearances. He has acted as a second hero in many Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil films.
In the Malayalam movie Dhruvam, Vikram was the second hero. The movie had Mammootty, Jayram and Gowthami in lead roles. Vikram has appeared in Malayalam movies like Indraprastham, Etha Oru Snehagatha, Indriyam, Sainyam etc. In Telugu, he has acted as the son of Nageshwara Rao Akkineni in director/writer Narayan Rao Dasari's movie Bangaru Kutumbam. Vikram has also proved his talent in Tamil movies like House Full, Meera, Ullasaam etc.
But success was elusive. It was Sethu which put Vikram on the map of South Indian film industry. Nearly a decade after his debut, Sethu rewrote his fortunes overnight. The movie directed by Bala was released in 1999 and grossed over Rs50 million at the box office.
After the success of Sethu, there was no looking back and the collection from his movies multiplied. His role as the police officer Kanakavel in his second blockbuster Dhill (2001), directed by his childhood friend Dharani, collected more than Rs100 million at the box office. The same height of success was achieved in his movies Gemini (2002), Dhool and Saamy (2003). In Gemini, he plays an illiterate goon who tries to woo his lady love by reforming his character and joining in an evening college. Actress Kiran was his heroine in this film. Vikram plays the rough and tough character Arumughan in Dhool. The movie was directed by Dharani and had Jyothika as the principal female character.
Saamy, directed by Hari broke the box office record and grossed over Rs300million. After this the film industry began to compare him with Tamil film's super megastar Rajnikanth.
The same year he won the prestigious National Award for his performance as an undertaker in Pithamagan directed by Bala. Vikram has also won four times the Filmfare Best Actor Award South.
After the success of Saamy, veteran director Shankar cast him in Anniyan. The film broke all his earlier records and grossed over Rs500 million at the box office. Anniyan played 150 days in Kollywood and 240 days in Tollywood.
Vikram made his Bollywood debut with Aparichit, the dubbed version of Anniyan. This movie was the first Tamil film to be dubbed in French. The concept for this movie was taken from the famous Sidney Sheldon novel Tell Me Your Dreams. One of Anniyan hit numbers Kannum Kannum Nokia was shot at the Nokia headquarters at Espoo in Finland.
In Anniyan, Vikram brilliantly portrays a person who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). In this movie, Vikram's character has three personalities.
One of the personality is Ramanujam who is a lawyer, otherwise known as 'Rules Ramanujam'. He got his nickname because he reacts to the injustice in the society.
When his childhood friend and sweet heart Nandini (Sada) refuses his love, he shattered and loses his mind. Ramanujam's second personality Anniyan begins the website and acts as a parallel arm to punish evildoers in the society. The third personality is Remo, a charming supermodel. Remo easily wins Nandhini's heart.
The other noteworthy things about this movie is it's extraordinary visuals, breathtaking action scenes and catchy songs.
In his two decade career, Vikram has also appeared in duds like Majaa, Arul, Kaadhal Sadugudu, King, Samurai etc. Majaa directed by Shafi was a remake of superhit Malayalam film Thommanum Makkalum. The film tells the story of a father and his two sons, who were petty thieves living in a small town. Actor Manivannan plays the father's role in the remake. Actor Lal, who had major role in the original, is portrayed by actor Pasupathy. Asin plays the principal female character. Unfortunately, the Tamil version couldn't repeat its sister's success at the box office.
In Bheema, Vikram will portray the character Shekar and Trisha Krishnan will play Shalini. The movie deals with underworld. For the role, Vikram had to develop his physique. The actor who is known for his dedication and commitment to work, has taken the help from former 'Mr Tamilnadu' Rajendran.
Actor Prakash Raj plays an important role in this movie. The screenplay is by N Linguswamy, who is also the director. The dialogues are by Sujatha and the movie is produced by AM Ratnam.
Bheema will also be dubbed in Telugu. The renowned Tamil poet Vyramuthu is the lyricist and music is composed by Harris Jayaraj. Cinematography is by RD Rajasekhar and A Sreekar Prasad handles editing.
For keeping his career alive, Vikram has changed his previous decision of doing less than three films in a year. He has accepted new offers after Kandaswamy and also signed the dotted line in a project with director Selvaragavan, who had directed the superhit movie Pokkiri, starring Vijay and Asin.
After the success of Anniyan the hardworking star has had no hits to his credit. Hope, Bheema will redo Anniyan's magic and work wonders in his flagging career.