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July 26, 1999


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Ramya on a roll

Ramya Krishnan. Click for bigger pic!
Strange how popularity snowballs -- as in the case of Ramya Krishnan, to take one exemplar.

Her performance as Neelambari -- the headstrong girl who, when she doesn't get her love, withdraws into a room and stays there for 15 long years, emerging only to attempt revenge -- went down big with audiences who enjoyed her clashes with Rajnikanth.

This in turn led to modelling assignments, wherein she was made to mimic some of her more flamboyant mannerisms from the movie.

And now comes the clincher -- a heroine-oriented film, Kadhanayaki, in Malayalam under the Om Cine Arts banner.

The film, briefly, is about a wannabe actress who is destroyed by some bigwigs, and how she gets her own back. Supporting roles are played by the likes of Biju Menon and Pratap Chandran with Manoj Babu directing. And now word is that given her popularity with Tamil audiences, the film will now be dubbed in that language.

Meanwhile, an aside. Minsaara Kanna is the title of a song from Padayappa, right? It is also the name of a film in the making. And Khusbhoo, who plays the female lead, will do a character that has a more than superficial resemblance to the one Ramya played, in Padayappa.

Going great guns

Karthik. Click for bigger pic!
Rojavanam, the latest from K Balachander's Kavithalaya banner, is proceeding apace, with four songs having already been canned in Switzerland, France and Geneva.

The film brings together the same team of director Selva, hero Karthik, cinematographer Raghunath Reddy, editor Suresh Urs, composer Bharadwaj and lyricist Vairamuthu who were behind Kavithalaya's recent outing, Pooveli.

Malavika and Laila play the female leads.

Making a comeback in this film is erstwhile vamp Kuyili, who is most easily recalled as the girl who did that sexy number on the motorboat, while Janakaraj and Kamal Haasan watch, in Naayakan (Ramya Krishnan, coincidentally, did that number in Dayavaan, Feroz Khan's rather misguided Hindi remake).

Interestingly, Kuyili also appears in the under production film Ooty, playing ma-in-law to Murali. Now here's a thought -- how come heroes remain ageless, while for the distaff side, the progression from female star to supporting actress to straight out mother roles is so rapid?

Made in India

Simran. Click for bigger pic!
Most movies today boast of foreign locales. Here's one that boasts of Indian ones, and how!

Kanavey Kalayaadhey, produced by Shivasakthi Pandian (who has hits like Kaadhal Kotai and Kalamellam Kaadhal Vaazhga on the credits) is shot in locations like the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh, the rock gardens in Chandigarh, the Wagah border and Ananthpur Sahib. Shooting coincided with recent celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa Panth.

The film has Murali and Simran in the lead, under Gowthaman's direction.

Interestingly, even Shankar -- who is known for his penchant for doing things on a grand scale, vide his Seven Wonders song shoot for the Prashant-Aishwarya Rai starrer Jeans -- is shooting his under-production Mudalvan entirely in India.

As if to compensate, producers of television serials appear hell-bent on going abroad to shoot, these days.Uravugal, starring national award winning actress (for Manichithrathazhu) Shobhana, and now being aired on Vijay TV, is entirely shot in Singapore.

Back to London

Meanwhile Radhika, who these days is heavily involved with the small screen, is producing, writing and starring in Siragugal -- a two-and-a-half hour telefilm shot fully in London with Manobala directing.

For Radhika, it is a return to a city where she was based during her teens, when she was studying in a London school before returning to India to debut, on the big screen, in Kizhake Pogum Rayile.


Illayaraja. Click for bigger pic!
Maestro Ilayaraja is busy putting together a music album, Nenjinile, For which Kamal Hassan renders a song, written by premier Tamil novelist Sujatha.

Sujatha has worked with Kamal in the past, on film scripts, and is as of now collaborating with the star on the script of Kamal's historical opus, Marudhanayagam.

And while on stars turning warblers, child-star-turned-heroine Shalini does a number for Amarkalam, which co-stars Ajit, now riding high after the huge success of Vaali.

Composer Bharadwaj and director Charan decided to make her sing because Shalini has gone through traditional, classical vocal training for about eight years.

For a song and dance

Vijay. Click for bigger pic!
On the upwardly mobile list of directors, include Ezhil -- his debut film, the Vijay-Simran starrer Thullatha Manamum Thullum just can't seem to stop running, both in Tamil Nadu and in Kerala.

And even as he directs the Telugu version, Ezhil is simultaneously readying his next film -- with Vijay pairing with Roja, this time, in Pennin Manasai Thottu. Roja had made a one-song appearance in Vijay's latest, Nenjinile, directed by papa S A Chandrasekhar.

And while on one-song appearances, the fad is seemingly catching on. Simran's song-and-dance appearance for the song Thottu Thottu Pesum in Ethirum Puthirum (where she shakes a nifty leg opposite Prabhu Deva's brother Raju Sundaram) has become a huge hit.

And now she's doing another one of those -- this time, in Anthapuram.

Winner in every way

Prakash Rai.
Anthapuram, while we are on the subject, is the Prakash Rai film directed by Krishnavamsi with a star cast headed by Prakash Rai (Raj, to Tamil audiences) and co-starring Soundarya and Jegapathi Babu.

The film was not only a commercial smash, it also went on to wow the critics, bagging several Nandi awards in various categories. Prakash Rai is now remaking the film in Tamil, the only change in line-up being Parthipan for Jegapathi.

The love bug

Soundarya. Click for bigger pic!
Love stories are doing good business in Tamil Nadu, and now neighbouring Andhra Pradesh appears to have caught the fever as well. Tamil directors are in fact working on a couple of romantic subjects there.

One such is Anganaga Oka Ammayi starring Srikanth, Soundarya, Abbas and Poonam, produced by Krishna Prasad and directed by Ramesh Sarangan.

The film has, among other highlights, a mimicry-type song somewhat akin to Kadavul Amaithu Vaitha Medai, the song Kamal Hassan, playing a mimicry artiste, sings in the landmark film Aval Oru Thodarkathai.

A Mallu cop in Madras

Khushboo. Click for bigger pic!
There was a time when Tamil audiences couldn't be lured into a theatre showing a Malayalam film, not for all the inducements you could offer.

That changed with Oru CBI Diary Kuruppu, which featured Mammootty playing a Tamil-speaking Palghat Iyer. Now comes the reversal -- the Tamil film Malabar Police has hero Satyaraj playing a Malayali cop, while Khushboo, who shares the lead, also plays a Keralite.

Not that Tamil movies have a problem attracting audiences in Kerala, mind -- topping the box office charts down in Kerala are the likes of Padayappa and Thullatha Manamum Thullum.

Handsome is...

Nasser. Click for bigger pic!
Meanwhile, Gnana Rajashekharan is making a film called Mukham about an man who is despised for his ugliness despite his many talents.

Rajashekharan got Trotsky Marudu to make his friend in real life, Nasser, ugly on screen with the aid of computers.

Trotsky, for those unacquainted with the Madras scene, is an artist and sculptor.

Meanwhile, P S Dharan, who you will recall was cinematographer for Nasser's recent semi-experimental movies, Avadharam and Devadhai, has done the story, screenplay, camera and direction for a film being made by Vasant -- as an aside, another direction moving to the small screen.

The film, a thriller, is titled Perai Sollavaa.

All wet

Before signing off, a quick look again at the silver screen, which appears to be attracting a lot of big names these days. K Balachander, of course, was one of the first of the big name directors to move telly-wards.

Now Bharatiraja, the man credited with taking the Tamil movie out of the sets and into the outdoors, will, under the banner of Manoj Creations, start making small screen serials -- the first of which is titled Mazhai.

True to its name, it has a storyline that takes place entirely in the rains.

-- Rajitha

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