Thursday, June 12, 2008


A new look at relationships

Telugu director Veera's maiden Tamil venture KARTHIGAI features two heroines Samiksha and Malavika opposite Vikramaditya, writes KK Moidu

Karthigai is a family entertainer and tells the story of relationships. The film with a high dose of sentiment is based on the bond between a father, son and his siblings. M Anjeneya forays into the Tamil industry by producing the big budget film Karthigai under the banner of Siddi Vinayagar Films Multimedia. M Anjaneya has produced superhit Telugu films with leading actors.
Director Veera makes his Tamil entry by directing Karthigai. He himself pens the story and screenplay of the film and dialogues are by Velumani. Veera has crafted around a dozen Telugu films.
The hero of the film is Whistle fame Vikramaditya. He romances vivacious Samiksha and sparkling Malavika in Karthigai. The rest of the support cast comprises Suman, Kadhal Dhandapani, Suman Shetty, Rani and Satyan. Award winning Telugu hero Srihari, the husband of former item girl disco Shanti plays a pivotal role in the film. Deva scores music for the lyrics of Snegan. Ashokraj is the choreographer and T Rajender is the cinematographer.
The shooting for the first schedule of the film was completed in Bangkok, which include three songs with Vikramaditya and Malavika, Vikramaditya and Samiksha and both the heroines and the hero. The other locations of the film are Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi and Kodaikkanal.
One of the heroine roles of the film is played by Samiksha, the pretty model-turned-actress. She is making a comeback to the Tamil industry as the love interest of Vikramditya in Karthigai. Mumbai based model, Samiksha made her debut in the Telugu film 143 and it was an average grosser. But her Tamil debut opposite Navdeep in the entertaining Arindhum Ariyamalum directed by Vishnuvardhan, a box office hit. Samiksha's role in Arindhum Ariyamalum has only little scope to show her skills.
But her outstanding performance and the success of the movie made the industry notice her. As expected, after the success of the film, leading offers did not knock at her door. The superhit movie couldn't made the cute and tall actress a sought after heroine. She was featured in minuscule roles in subsequent films. She performed item numbers in few films but that could not help her to fulfill her dream to become a front-line heroine.
Samiksha appeared in a couple of scenes and also performed a hot number in the Srikant-Meera Jasmine starrer Mercury Pookkal directed by SS Stanley. The film which tells the story of a couple who don't agree with each other was well accepted by the audience. In Manadodu Mazhaiklam, directed by Arputhan, Samiksha played second fiddle to Nithya Das and that also could not revive her fortune. Samiksha appeared in a glamorous and performance oriented role opposite Shaam in musical hit Manadodu Mazhaiklam. She also paired opposite Karan for the racy number in a college campus in Thee Nagar directed by Thirumalai.
Samiksha couldn't achieve success as a heroine or a second heroine in the industry, where Malayalam heroines rule the roost. She enacted the role played by Jyothika in the Kannada remake of Manmadhan. Silambarasan and Jyotika-starrer Tamil film Manmadhan was a superhit and the film was a turning point and a big break in Simbu's career.
Samiksha made her Hindi debut in the comedy film Mr Hot and Mr Kool and tried her luck in television serials. She became a favourite for the audience after her portrayal of a 21-year-old sweet natured Muslim girl in the Sahara One serial Zaara.
Unlike Samiksha, the other heroine of the film Malavika has been a Fair and Lovely cream model girl. The Bangalore girl was born as Shweta Konnur on July 19, 1979. She came into the limelight with her debut Tamil film Unnai Thedi opposite Ajith. The blockbuster film directed by Sundar C was dubbed into Telugu as Premato Pilicha. She repeated her success in the multi-starrer Tamil film Anandha Poongatre starring Ajith, Karthik and Meena. She proved her acting skills in Rojavanam and hatrick victory put her name in the list of top heroines of the industry.
But success was elusive and the box office disaster of Pooporika Varukirom ruined her heroine dreams. She failed to deliver any hits for the next two years and was stamped as an unlucky actress. The only hit in this period for the gorgeous heroine was Seenu opposite Karthik directed by veteran P Vasu. Malavika hit the Telugu and Hindi silver screen with Priya Nestama and CU at 9 respectively. But the films did not have much sale value even at the multiplexes.
Malavika performed an item number in Surya-Jyothika starrer Tamil film Perazhagan. It was the remake of Malayalam superhit Kunjikoonan. Surya played a double role in the film, one as an ugly looking youth with a hunch back and buck teeths and t he other role as a handsome, rough college student. Surya's double role was enacted by Dileep in the original.
Malavika had the luck to share screen space with legendary heroes like Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan in Chandramukhi and Vasool Raja MBBS respectively. Her item number for the hit-song 'valameenukum' in Chithiram Pesuthadi was a turnaround for her and she was flooded with offers. Her role in Thiruttu Payale as a married lady suffering in Jeevan's hands cemented her place in the industry. Her pairing opposite Jeeva as one of the heroines in Naan Avanillai also was a big success at the box office.
Malavika made a tremendous start to her movie career as a heroine opposite crowdpuller Ajith and enjoyed great success as a leading lady in initial films. She failed to repeat the magic of success after three films. Although she tried her luck in Telugu and Hindi films, she couldn't be a saleable heroine there also. The desperate actress was obliged to perform item numbers for surviving in the industry. Her cameo appearance in films kept the audience on the edge of their seats and directors mainly depended her, not as a heroine, but as an item girl.
Although Malavika has not played the heroine of many superstars, she has had glamorous cameo appearances in superhit films of heroes like Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Vijay, Vijayakanth, Arjun, Surya etc. She continued her presence in the industry after her marriage with Sumesh and had more offers than any other single heroines.
Will the audience welcome Malavika's role as a heroine in Karthigai and will Samiksha fetch stardom on her second arrival? The audience expect the leading producer and director of Telugu films to extract a heart-wrenching performance from the artistes in their maiden Tamil venture.
Will Vikramaditya repeat his earlier success of Whistle and Tholaipesi in Karthigai? Cinegoers are eagerly awaiting Karthigai to watch if it is different from other films based on the frequently told stories of relationships.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Wings of fortune

Roma Asrani shares screen space with superstar Mammootty in the film PARUNTHU, writes KK Moidu

From a promising debut to a medley of films, Roma Asrani graces the entertainment mediums with her trademark smile and charismatic appeal. She secured a place in the hearts of filmgoers by playing tomboyish campus roles in Malayalam films. She earlier refused offers for playing village-girl roles in Tamil films. The cute actress recently surprised everybody by playing a village belle, Alli, in Shakespeare MA Malayalam.
Jayasurya played the lead in the film as Shakespeare Pavithran, representing real-life characters on stage. The film, with a backdrop of a drama troupe, is directed by debutante duo Shaiju-Shaji. It is an entertainer without a super hero and venomous villain. The director duo started their career in theatre and later joined as the assistants of Anil C Menon, Akbar Jose and TK Rajeev Kumar.
Pretty Roma's performance and the success of her country girl role in Shakespeare MA Malayalam merited her a pivotal role in Parunthu. She is playing one of the heroines opposite Mammootty, a senior hero of the industry. The film tells the story of a greedy moneylender Gillette Purushothaman played by Mammootty. Parunthu is directed by M Padmakumar and the script and dialogue is by TA Rasaaq. The film also features Navneet Kaur and Lakshmi Rai in heroine roles of equal importance. Jayasurya and Kalabhavan Mani play meaningful roles in the film. Parunthu, produced by Howly Pottur under the banner of Dream Team Productions, will come to theatres during Onam as a festival release.
Roma won the hearts of fans by playing female leads exclusively with young heroes in her two-year career. She was the first choice for the heroine role in Flash opposite superstar Mohanlal. Parvathy, her co-star in Notebook, replaced her and the film was a flop at the box office.
Although Roma has not acted opposite senior heroes like Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi, she was lucky enough to play the ladylove of crowd-pulling young heroes like Dileep and Prithviraj. She was the love interest of Dileep in July 4 directed by Joshy, which bombed at the box office. Her pairing opposite Prithviraj in Chocolate, was a money spinner at the box office. According to reports, the remake rights of Chocolate was bought by Mirchi Movies, a subsidiary of Times Infotainment Media for a big amount. The campus love story, directed by Shafi, featured other artistes like Jayasurya, Samvrutha Sunil and Ramya Nambeesan. Chocolate gained the attention of the industry because of its rare subject. The film tells the story of a young boy who is forced to seek admission in a womens' college that is ruled by a gang of three girl members. Chocolate not only did well at the box office but it also was a turning point in Roma's career.
Roma bagged prestigious offers after the success of Chocolate and she is one of the heroines in Minnaminnikkoottam directed by Kamal. Kamal is not only a veteran in making romantic films but also an expert in giving catchy titles like Mazhayethum Munpe, Kaikudanna Nilavu, Swapnakkoodu etc. Kamal, who directed trendy and youth oriented films tells the story of the friendship and love of a group of IT engineers working in an IT park in his latest Minnaminnikkoottam. Narien, Indrajith, Jayasurya, Salim Kumar and Anoop Chandran play important roles in the film. Other two heroines of the film are Meera Jasmine and Samvrutha Sunil. Minnaminnikkoottam produced by Rakhiram under the banner of Nihar Films will be distributed by Mulakupadam release.
Roma has also signed another film Star Singer opposite Suresh Gopi. The film will be directed by Vijy Thampy. The story is based on television reality shows. Songs have importance in the film and the director launches highly popular and talented singers like Najim Arshad, Durga, Sannidhananthan, Hesham Abdul Wahab, Vani Jayaram, Amrutha Suresh, Roshan etc. of Idea Star Singer 2007, which aired on Asianet TV. The celebrity Idea Star Singer products are not only crooning for the film but also test their acting skills. Six leading music director's tunes for the film and five talented lyricists pen the lyrics. Sarath, Alphons, M Jayachandran, Ouseppachan, Mejo Joseph and Shan are the music directors and Gireesh Puthancherry, Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma, BR Prasad, Anil Panachooran and Shibu Chakravorty are the lyricists.
Roma will play the heroine role in a campus movie Sultan opposite another young and upcoming hero Vinoo Mohan, who made a decent debut in Nivedhyam directed by Lohithadas. Sultan, directed by Sree Prakash, also features Sandhya, one of the heroines in Vinoo Mohan's recently released Cycle directed by Johnny Antony. Other important artistes of the film are Lalu Alex, Vijaya Raghavan, Jagathy and Salim Kumar.
Model turned actress Roma Asrani made her debut in the Malayalam film Notebook playing Sairah Elizabeth. The film was the second directorial venture of Roshan Andrews after superhit Udhayananu Tharam starring Mohanlal, Sreenivasan and Mukesh. Roshan repeated his success in Notebook without any star value and was praised for the strong message of the film 'children should grow up with their parents and not in boarding schools.' Notebook with beginners in the lead, set against the backdrop of a boarding school in Ootty goes deep into friendship, love and parental care in a colourful manner. Roshan Andrews will make his Bollywood entry by directing Notebook in Hindi. The film will be produced by Navajeevan Films, who made more than 30 films.
Although Roma had done many television ads earlier for big brands, the role in Notebook was a big task for the bubbly girl because of her inexperience in acting and the difficulty of understanding Malayalam. She has done several advertisement in Malayalam and Tamil such as Kalyan Sarees, Triveni Notebook, Sunny Jacob Jewellers, Swadesi Mermer, Archana Silks etc. After the success of Notebook Roma became very popular and won the Best Newcomer Awards by Film Critics, Asianet TV, Amrita TV and Kala Keralam for the film.
Roma is the daughter of Delhi-based Muralidhar and Madhu. They are settled in Chennai and run a wholesale Jewellery Shop in Chennai. After gaining fame as a heroine, Roma appeared in a music album by the band Team Malayalee with popular singer Vineeth Sreenivasan and young hero Prithviraj for the Minnel Azhake song.
She also stepped into other language films like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada within a short time. She made her Telugu debut opposite Sivaji by playing a modern girl in the film Dr Erra Babu directed by debutante K Kishore. Her male lead in Tamil film Kathale En Kathale directed by PC Shekar was Naveen. She was paired opposite Kannada golden star Ganesh in actor-director Nagasekhar's Aramane produced by K Manju.
Within a couple of years, good-looking Roma features in a prominent role in a Mammootty film in an industry where experienced heroines have to wait for a long time. Will the young and chirpy Roma fly high with her new role in Parunthu?