Thursday, January 29, 2009

Glamour girl returns: Anushka Shetty

Telugu leading lady Anushka Shetty returns to the Tamil film industry after a three-year hiatus, writes KK Moidu
Anushka made her Tamil film debut three years ago opposite R Madhavan in Rendu. The film, directed by Sundar C, was a moderate success at the box office.
She is now returning to the Tamil industry as the heroine of two popular young Tamil heroes, Karthi and Vijay, in forthcoming films Siruthai and Vettaikkaran respectively.
Anushka is the lady love of Karthik Shivakumar in Siruthai directed by Suraj, who has delivered hits like Thalainagaram, Marudhamalai etc. Yuvan Shankar Raja scores music for the film. Siruthai will be produced by Studio Green and distributed by Ayngaran International. The film is a remake of superhit Telugu film Vikramarkudu, where Anushka played the female lead opposite Ravi Teja.
Anushka plays one of the heroines in Ilayathalapathi Vijay's Vettaikkaran. Tamanna Bhatia will play the other heroine in the film. It is produced by AVM Balasubramanian and directed by Babu Sivan, an earlier assistant of Dharani. Her fans hope the forthcoming films with success guaranteed heroes will make her a recognised heroine in the Tamil industry.
Anushka, nicknamed Sweety Shetty, won the hearts of the Telugu audience with her beauty and talent. The box office success of her films opposite senior Telugu heroes like Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Ravi Teja etc. made her a darling of the industry.
She filled the glamour slot in commercial entertainers and had enough luck to play a double role in the recently released women oriented Telugu film Arundhati. Its success took Anushka's career to new heights and won appreciation from all corners.
Heroines like Anushka rarely get a chance to show their acting skills in the male dominated film industry. The leading ladies have nothing much to do in commercial entertainers except romance the hero and appear in a few song sequences.
Anushka's double role as Arundhati and Jejamma in Arundhati directed by Kodi Ramakrishna is not only a money spinner at the box office but also a new experience for the audience in technical perfection. The Hollywood standard of graphics by Rahul Nambiar in the film is a wonder and one of the major highlights of the film. There are plans to make the film, produced by M Shyama Prasad Reddy, in Tamil and Hindi languages.

Mangalore girl Anushka was born in the renowned Bellipady family as Maha Lakshmi. She is the only sister of Dr Sai Ramesh, a dentist and Gunarajan, a businessman. Anushka graduated from the famous Mount Carmel College in Computer Application (BCA), Bangalore University.
Anushka hails from a family of professionals but concentrated on the fitness world instead of choosing a career in the fast growing IT sector. She learned yoga from the renowned yoga guru Bharat Thakur and became a yoga trainer.
Anushka made her film debut as one of the heroines in the Nagarjuna starrer Super directed by Puri Jagannath. She performed the role of Sasha beautifully, who is madly in love with the unemployed hero Akhil, played by Nagarjuna. He doesn't have any romantic feelings for Sasha, his sister's friend, and treats her only as a friend.
Anushka not only paired opposite a senior hero like Nagarjuna in her debut film but also proved her vocal ability by singing a song Mila Mila. Music director Sandeep Chawta was nominated for the Filmfare Best Music Director Award and the songs were chart toppers for several weeks.
Although Anushka was a debutante in Super, she received a decent salary of Rs20 lacks as per report. But the success of her pairing opposite superstars in films like Vikramarkudu, Lakshyam, Arundhati etc. multiplied her payment five times in less than five years. She is one of the highest paid South Indian actresses.
Anushka won acclaim for her repeated pairing opposite Nagarjuna in Don written and directed by Raghava Lawrence. The film was dubbed into Malayalam as Bhai and in Hindi as Don No. 1. Raghava Lawrence himself choreographed the film and also made his debut as a music director.
It was the commercial success of Vikramarkudu that stamped her as a successful heroine of the Telugu industry. Her character Neeraja was the lady love of the hero Ravi Teja, who for the first time played a double role in the film as a petty thief and police officer. The film, directed by SS Rajamouli with music composed by MM Keeravani was also remade into Malayalam as Vikramathithya.

After the commercial success of Vikramarkudu, Anushka once again paired opposite Ravi Teja in Baladhoor, but couldn't repeat the success of Vikramarkudu. Her sexy, slimmer new look failed to attract the audience because of the film's poor direction, bad music, routine commercial formula and high expectations from the audience. Baladhoor is one of the biggest flops in Ravi Teja's career. The director and choreographer chose the unnecessary and unwanted exposure from the heroine to attract the audience.
Anushka's first time pairing opposite Gopi Chand as a college girl in Lakshyam, directed by debutante Srivas, was one of the biggest hits of 2007and the hero Gopi Chand's career. But the duo couldn't repeat their success in their next venture Souryam.
Anushka played a naughty college girl in the film. Her graceful performance as a bubbly college girl who teases the hero, and at the same time, a sensitive girl at the home, was highly appreciated. Cameraman J Siva Kumar made his debut as director in the film produced by Anand Prasad under Bhavya Creations banner. The commercial action-packed entertainer had all the ingredients one could expect from a Gopi Chand film.
Anushka played an ill-tempered businesswoman in the big budget romantic triangle Swagatam, directed by Dasaradh. Jagapathi Babu played the male lead in the film and Anushka's character Shailu finds a new perspective in life with the assistance of the hero and falls in love with him, who is a widower. Although the film won rave reviews, it was a commercial let down. Jagapathi Babu, the other heroine of the film Bhoomika and the director walked away with credits.
Anushka played a glamour role as one of the heroines in Okka Magaadu starring Balakrishna. She also rendered her voice for the song Ammatho with Naveen for the film.

Anushka as Sunitha won appreciation for her perfect pairing opposite victory Venkatesh as one of the heroines in the romantic comedy Chintakayala Ravi. Mamta Mohandas played the other heroine's role in the hilarious entertainer. The film directed by Yogesh of Oka Raju Oka Rani fame and the duo Vishal-Shekhar, who delivered mind-blowing numbers for the Bollywood hit Om Shanti Om, made their debut by composing music for half-a-dozen songs in the film. The major portion of the film has been shot in the US including New York and Washington DC.
Anushka will rub shoulders with Prabhas as the female lead in the forthcoming Telugu film Billa. The film is a remake of the Tamil superhit with the same title. She will play the role enacted by Nayantara with dazzling costumes and a two piece bikini in the original version. According to reports, she has agreed to appear in a two piece bikini for a whopping amount of one crore rupees. The film, produced by Gopikrishna Movies Pvt Ltd, has presented many blockbusters earlier. It will be directed by Meher Ramesh with tunes by Mani Sharma. Major portions of Billa will be shot in foreign locations like Malaysia, Korea, Dubai etc.

Will Anushka's forthcoming Tamil films with popular heroes like Vijay and Karthik bring her luck? Will the success of the films make her the most wanted heroine in the Tamil film industry? We'll have to wait and watch.

Saturday, January 17, 2009



Mohanlal-Best Actor

Gopika-Best Actress
Mohanlal and Gopika have won the Ujala-Asianet Film Award 2009 for their performance in Madambi and Veruthe Oru Bharya respectively.
Director of Veruthe Oru Bharya Akku Akbar won the award for the best director and Jayaram, who played the lead role, was adjudged the popular actor.
 Jayaram-Popular Actor
Twenty-Twenty directed by Joshy has been chosen the best film. Singer K.J. Yesudas has been selected for the special lifetime achievement award. The special award for patriotic film went to Kurukshetra, directed by Major Ravi. Jagathy Sreekumar won the special jury award for his various roles.
The other awards are: character artistes Innocent (Innathe Chintha Vishayam), Samvrutha Sunil (Minnaminnikoottam), villain Siddique (Madambi), comedian Salim Kumar (Annan Thambi), lyricist Gireesh Puthencherry (Madambi, song ‘Amma mazhakarinu…’), music director Vidyasagar (Mulla), playback singers M.G. Sreekumar (‘Kando kando kakkakuyile…’ Innathe Chintha Vishayam), Swetha Mohan (‘Kuyile kuyile…’ Novel and other films), child artiste (Baby Nivedita, Innathe Chintha Vishayam) cameraman M.J. Radhakrishnan (Adayalangal, Thirakatha), editor Renjan Abraham (Veruthe Oru Bharya, Mulla), best pair Jayasurya-Roma (Minnaminnikoottam, Shakespeare M.A. Malayalam), debut artistes Vineeth Sreenivasan (Cycle) Meera Nandan (Mulla).
The awards have been given to the films released last year. Artistic excellence and popularity were the yardsticks for selection. Nominations from the audience too were considered for selecting winners. The awards, comprising a purse and statuette, will be presented on January 17.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Festival fare: Villu, Padikkadhavan & Kadhalna Summa Illai

KK Moidu takes a look at three Tamil films Villu, Padikkadhavan and Kadhalna Summa Illai scheduled for release during the Pongal season
Pongal, which falls in the Tamil month Thai (Jan-Feb) is the most important Tamil festival. It is celebrated by the Tamil community all over the world with the hope the new harvest will be blessed.

However, the harvest festival Pongal is also a visual feast for Tamil cine lovers. Three new Tamil films Villu, Padikkadhavan and Kadhalna Summa Illai are scheduled for release during Pongal.

Although films like the Vijayakanth-starrer Engal Asan are ready for release, they are now delayed to avoid competition with biggies like Villu and Padikkadhavan.

Prabhu Deva teams up with Vijay in the rollicking entertainer Villu, after hitting bull's eye with the earlier superhit Pokkiri, released for Pongal in 2007. After winning the hearts of audience as a dancer, actor and choreographer, Prabhu Deva proved his mettle as a director in the blockbuster Pokkiri.

Prabhu Deva's latest directorial venture Villu was released in more than 400 screens worldwide on Jan. 12, two days before Pongal. This has made the celebration cheerful for die-hard fans of Ilayathalapathy.
The lead of the film, Vijay has always delivered mass entertainers with punch dialogues, defeating the baddies and by creating ripples of laughter. His latest Villu, an action-packed comedy film guarantees fun-filled moments with Vijay in the company of Vadivelu.
Vijay's love interest of the film is the highest paid South Indian actress Nayantara, who is pairing with Vijay for the first time in the youthful extravaganza.

The big budget stylish film is produced by Ayngaran Internationals and the music is tuned by Devi Sri Prasad. Raju Sundaram, Shobi, Asok Raj, Baba Bhaskar and Dinesh are the five choreographers of the film. The songs of the film, already topping the charts and Vijay's partnership with Prabhu Deva in the title song, will be a real Pongal feast for the fans.
Vijay plays an angry young man, Pugazh, who is taking revenge for the murder of his father.

Mass hero Vijay's appearance in dual roles as father and son are one of the pleasant surprises for the audience. Item girl Mumaith Khan and her sister Sabhia Khan dance with Vijay for a racy number Daddy Mummy and Kushboo features in Vijay's intro song He Rama...Hey Rama.
Cinematographer Ravi Varman's brilliance in mixing the colours to set the mood for every sequences will be delighted the audience and Kola Baskar edit the film. The 48th film of Vijay is shot at various countries has all the ingredients to satisfy Vijay fans. Villu, one of the costliest films in crowd-puller Vijay's career is undoubtedly the most eagerly awaited film of this festive season.

Dhanush hopes to repeat his previous success of Yaaredi Mohini with his latest action-filled entertainer Padikkadhavan releasing on Pongal day. The title of the film is inspired by Dhanush's father in law Rajinikanth's yesteryear hit Padikkadhavan and the fans of Dhanush are awaiting for an action filled and entertaining Pongal.
Padikkadhavan is directed by Suraj, who delivered big hit Marudhumalai recently. Padikkadhavan is made for satisfying the ordinary people with an overdose of comedy with the company of Vivek.

Dhanush plays the role of a youth, who is not good in academic and suffers insults from his educated family members. Dhanush, who paired opposite highly payed leading ladies like Nayantara and Shriya Saran in previous hits like Thiruvilayadal Aarambam and Yaaredi Nee Mohini, romances the latest Kollywood sensation Tamanna. She is an aeronautic engineering student in the film and Suman plays her father. Atul Kulkarni and Shayaji Shinde play important roles.
Mani Sharma scores music and the film produced by Vijaya Production has been taken over by Sun Pictures and have all the elements of success. The makers hopes the movie would set a new trend in terms of comedy because of the twists and turns in the story and the treatment.

Kadhalna Summa Illai Kadhalna Summa Illai is a remake of Telugu blockbuster Gamyam. Raj Television Networks maiden silver screen production venture directed by Illankannan features Ravi Krishna, Kamalinee Mukherjee and newcomer Sharavanaanand in the lead roles. Sharavanaanand enacted the same role in the original and had enough luck to make a Tamil debut in a film, which was a hit at Telugu box office. Young director Illankannan has made the necessary changes in the script according to the taste of Tamil audience.
Kadhalna Summa Illai, revolves around three main characters and the film had enough thrills and spills in it. The two youths in the film have different approach on life and are opposite to each other.

Ravi Krishna plays a different role in the film as a easy go lucky youngster, who is never serious about anything in his life. One of the main highlight of the film is a 'thiruvizha' song pictured in a lavish manner. It features Ravikrishna and Tejashree and a huge set was raised in Prasad Studios for the shooting of the song sequence.
Vidyasagar, Anil and Mani Sharma scores music for the film and Vincent, an earlier assistant of PC Sreeram is the cinematographer. Nasser, Illavarsu and Crazy Mohan are the other artistes in the film.
Although Vijay is the most favourite among the two dozen young Tamil heroes, will the duo Vijay-Prabhu Deva repeat their earlier success of Pokkiri in latest Villu with a winning formula? Will Dhanush's commercial entertainer with a promising heroine Tamanna repeat the success of his father-in-law Rajinikanth's earlier hit with the same title? Will Kadhalna Summa Illai, a remake of super hit Telugu film Gamyam repeat the box office victory in Tamil?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking back with pride: Mammootty & Mohanlal

KK Moidu looks at the career graph of Mammootty and Mohanlal and their dominance at the box office

At the end of 2008, front line Malayalam superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal had reason to be happy — they remained in the top slot. Their box office successes with super hit films and success guaranteed projects in their hands show their strong presence in the industry.

He started 2008 with the hit film Roudram by playing a cop for the 25th time in his career. His double role in Anwar Rasheed's superhit Annan Thampi was one of the biggest superhits of the year. Other films of Mammootty like Parunthu and Maya Bazaar didn't do well at the box office. But the actor, who started the year by playing a cop ended it by shining in a lawyer's role in the magnum opus Twenty 20.

Compared to the seven releases in 2007, Mammootty had only five films last year including Twenty 20. In 2007 the actor had two offbeat films like Ore Kadal and Kaiyoppu, which has screened in various film festivals and won few awards. But this year the actor didn't have an art film.
The biggest achievement of the actor last year is not the released films, but his completed projects like Pazhassi Raja and Kuttishranku. The epic movie Pazhassi Raja, made on a big budget, reunites the literary genius MT Vasudevan Nair and Mammootty. The film, directed by Hariharan, also stars senior Tamil hero Sarath Kumar and veteran Ilayaraja scores music.
Like Pazhassi Raja, Mammootty is playing a rare role in Kuttishranku directed by National Award winning director Shaji N Karun. Both the movies have a chance of benefiting him by winning accolades at the national and international levels.
Mammootty has already completed the shooting of few commercial entertainers and the first release of 2009 will be Love in Bangkok directed by Rafi-Mecartin. Telugu heroine Navneet Kaur is making her Malayalam debut as his love interest.
His bilingual film Vandemataram titled in Tamil as Aruvadai has only few scenes left for completion. Tamil action hero Arjun plays an important role in the film. Mammootty romances Sneha and their pairing in Thuruppugulan was a hit at the box office.
According to reports, three times national award winners Mammootty and Kamal Hassan are expected to team up in a forthcoming film in different South Indian languages. The film will be a remake of Bollywood offbeat hit A Wednesday. If Kamal succeeds in buying the rights of the Hindi movie, he himself will act in the role of Naseerudheen Shah and Mammootty will once again fit the cops cap as a police officer, which was enacted by Anupam Kher in the original.
Mammootty will play the lead in director Jayaraj's forthcoming film scripted by Renjith. The ace director's earlier movie Johny Walker with Mammootty in the lead, released one-and-a-half decades earlier, was also scripted by Renjith.
In the forthcoming film Thaappana, which means an elephant used to train wild elephants, Mammootty plays the proud owner of a famous elephant. The film will be the next directorial venture of Akku Akbar, after his runaway hit Veruthe Oru Bharya. It will also feature the elephant owned by actor Jayaram featured earlier in Rappakal.
Mammootty dons the lead in another success guaranteed film of the newly formed ABS Combines owned by director Shafi, script writer Benny P Nayarambalam and production controller Anto Joseph. Shafi and Benny are known for giving catchy and funny titles to their films and have come up with another interesting title — Mallanum Madhevanum for the forthcoming film. ABS Combines' maiden venture Lollypop, released last Christmas, is running successfully in theatres.
The commercial success of Annan Thampi, Roudram and Twenty 20 has helped him to pass the year 2008 without a hitch in his career. His forthcoming films are not only capable of ringing the cash registers at the box office but also have the potential of winning national and international recognition. The fifty plus actor will continue his domination as a leading superstar of the Malayalam industry at least for another couple of years.

Compared to the half-a-dozen films of 2007, Mohanlal played leads in eight films in 2008. They are College Kumaran, Innathe Chinthavishayam, Pakal Nakshathrangal, Madambi, Aakashagopuram, Kurukshetra, Mizhikal Sakshi and Twenty 20. He won appreciation with a noteworthy performance as a larger-than-life character Devan aka Devaraja Pratapa Varma in Amma's multi-starrer Twenty 20. He succeeded in satisfying his fans by his common numbers like folding up his dhothi, twirling his moustache, delivering punchlines along with a challenging performance with his screen rival Mammootty in the film.

Mohanlal had two super hit films, Madambi and Innathe Chinthavishayam, under his belt last year. He fetched the first hit of last year with the Vishu release Innathe Chinthavishayam directed by Sathyan Anthikad. His screen rival Mammootty's Annan Thampi was also released in the same season.

His biggest disaster of the year was College Kumaran which unfortunately failed to attract even his die hard fans. Another despair of the actor last year was the weak box office performance of the big budget war film Kurukshetra directed by Major Ravi. The movie was expected to perform well at the box office like their previous war film Keerthichakra.
Mohanlal's noteworthy performances in offbeat films like Aakashagopuram as Albert Samson, director Sidharthan in Pakal Nakshathrangal and another modest role in Mizhikal Saakshy will be selected for screening in film festivals.
Mohanlal satisfied his fans and art house cinema lovers by acting in commercial and off beat films last year.
His fans are waiting for the release of his film of the year, Red Chilies, directed by Shaji Kailas. The thriller was expected to be released last Christmas and tells the story of an FM Station and its leading RJ's.
Mohanlal also completed the shooting of another commercial film Bhagawan directed by youngster Prashanth Mambully. He is playing the role of a gynaecologist, Dr Balagopal, in the film. The film produced under the banner of Anaswara Film is planned as a Republic Day release.
Mohanlal will play an underworld don in the forthcoming film Sagar Alias Jacky directed by Amal Neerad. Neerad's maiden venture Big B, featuring Mammootty, has been criticised for copying scenes from Hollywood films but won appreciation for its technical perfection.
Sagar Alias Jacky will hit the screen in March. The film is a sequel of an earlier superhit Irupatham Noottandu, which made Mohanlal a superstar two decades ago.
His character as Sagar Alias Jacky from the film Irupatham Noottandu will be modified for the taste of the new generation audience. Mohanlal will appear in stylish attire and will tour in expensive vehicles like Ferrari with his bodyguards. The big budget film is pictured in foreign locations like Dubai. The film is scripted by SN Swamy, who penned the script for the original. The stylish flick Sagar Alias Jacky is cinematographed by the director Amal Neerad himself.
Mohanlal's Onam release of this year is titled Alexander The Great. The film will be directed by Murali Nagavally, an old friend, and is not a historical on the great emperor. Alexander The Great planned to be shot at Mumbai and Dubai will be scripted by C Balachandran. The film will be produced by VB Menon under his home banner Anugraha Cine Arts.
Mohanlal will play the lead in two films directed by veteran Joshy. The first movie will be scripted by AK Sajan and other by Sibi K Thomas-Udhay Krishna.
This year, Mohanlal will team up with Blessy in a forthcoming film produced by Raju Malyath. Mohanlal-Blessy partnership has earlier created Thanmathra, which won accolades and a best actor State Award for Mohanlal.
According to reports, 75 per cent of films released last year flopped at the box office. Among the five dozen films released in 2008, only five films like Twenty 20, Annan Thampi, Madambi, Innathe Chinthavishayam and Veruthe Oru Bharya were superhits. Half-a-dozen films like Cycle, Crazy Gopalan, Lollypop, Roudram and Shakespeare MA Malayalam managed to become hits. Thirakatha, Kurukshetra, Malabar Wedding and Kabadi Kabadi did not harm the makers and all the other movies were losers at the box office.
The films released in the first quarter of the year like Of The People, Novel etc. bombed at the box office. But Cycle released in the first month of last year was a surprise hit. Vineeth Sreenivasan made his acting debut as a hero in the film.
Jayaram, who was going through a lean patch in his career, made a comeback with Veruthe Oru Bharya — one of the biggest superhits of the year.
Dileep also turned lucky at the end of the year by delivering the hit Crazy Gopalan directed by Deepu Karunakaran. His other films with reputed directors like Blessy (Calcutta News) and Lal Jose (Mulla) drowned at the box office.