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|July 28, 2000||
Writing a wrong
We'll kick this instalment off with a little correction. Last time out, we had led with an item about Yukta Mookhey signing up to star opposite Madhavan in an upcoming film, to be directed by Gautam Vasudev Menon.
That proved to be a false alarm - it is Reema Sen (not to be confused with Raima Sen, daughter of Moon Moon Sen and sister of Rhea Sen, who made her film debut under Bharati Raja's banner in Taj Mahal), not Yukta, who will play the female lead in the film.
Sorry for the slip up, folks - we were alerted to the goof by a letter from the director's sister, telling us that Gautam's home phone was ringing itself to a standstill in the wake of the news - erroneous, as it turned out - that he would be directing Yukta in his next outing.
JUST the other day, I was reading in the newspapers the story of a little girl who was given in marriage to a dog, apparently in order to ward off the evil eye - yet another in an interminable list of bizarre customs to be found in this country.
Another such, meanwhile, forms the kernel of an upcoming film. Rajmarudu, erstwhile assistant to director Manivannan, makes his directorial debut with Penghal, starring Akash and Divyasri in the lead.
The tale is set in a village where girls, on attaining puberty, are forced into prostitution - and yes, incredible though it sounds, apparently such things do happen. The story revolves around a woman who leaves her baby daughter in an orphanage, in order to avoid this trap.
Years later, the daughter, with journalist and good friend (Akash) in tow, goes back to her native village searching for her roots, and her origins. Introduced into the plot, at this stage, is the real-life story of a journalist who was burnt to death for attempting to gather information about this practise. Nellai Sundarrajan, a leading film PRO, plays the role of the unfortunate journalist, in the film.
Divyasri is a debutant. Akash, meanwhile, made a very contemporary entry into films - by going to the home page of actress and director Suhasini Rathnam, and putting in an application. This led to a brief appearance in Rojavanam, produced by K Balachander's Kavithalaya banner.
Another interesting name in the credits is that of the cinematographer, Harinath - industry folks will recognise him as the erstwhile assistant of ace cameraman Madhu Ambat.
Remember Krodham, which had Prem directing, and playing the lead role?
Apparently the director-actor's was not appeased by that one film - so now he's coming up with a sequel. In which he plays an architect, who completes a jail sentence and, on coming out of jail, finds himself having to rescue his sister who is trapped in a hostage situation in course of a bank robbery. A hallmark of the film is its use of contemporary idiom - such as the hero relying extensively on the Internet to glean information about, and trace, the bad men.
Starring opposite Prem is Radhika Choudhary. Khusbhoo, whose recent marriage to director C Sundar has now resulted in pregnancy, plays a cop, and even does a few rather daring stunts. Prem, meanwhile, adds another string to his bow, playbacking under the baton of Deva, and alongside Vijay Yesudas, son of the legendary K J Yesudas.
Kamala Das (I would have used her newly acquired Muslim name, if I could remember what it was) translates small type to the big screen.
Which, I admit, is a rather involved way of saying that one of her stories - Nashtappatta Neelambari - is to be made into a film by Harikumar.
The story revolves around a young girl, played by Samyukta Verma, who falls in love with her Carnatic music teacher (played by Biju Menon). Only to leave town, learn medicine, and marry a computer engineer.
The marriage falls apart, she returns to the home of her parents and on reflection, decides that she wants to return to Madurai to meet her erstwhile tutor and lover.
Lal, of the directorial duo Siddique-Lal, plays the husband - Malayalam cinema buffs will recall that Lal was seen relatively recently, playing the character of Iago in Kaliyattam, the Jayaraj-directed movie that adapted the Shakespearian play Othello, with Suresh Gopi in the lead and Manju Warrier playing the desi version of Desdemona.
Ever met a film-maker who didn't tell you that his film was 'different'? Even when making the same old same-old, he would tell you that his 'treatment' is different, the underlying conflicts are different....
Now here's a film-maker who not only says he is making a different movie, but is actually prepared to put his money where his mouth is.
The film is Vaanavil, to be directed by Manoj Kumar (whose previous films include Guru Parvai). Arjun and Abhirami head the star cast.
And now for the catch - the makers of the film are challenging the audience to point out any similarity between this film and any other film ever made, be it in storyline, or even in individual scenes. Anyone who can point out a resemblance to some movie already made, will get an award of Rs 10 lakh.
We'll have to wait for the film to get released to figure out how different it is, because at this point in time the makers are not giving out too much detail about the story, subject, treatment et al. But one thing is sure, the 10 lakh prize money should serve as a powerful inducement for movie buffs to flock to the theatres.
Manisha Koirala's career seems to be more alive down south, than it is in Bollywood. She is now slated to star opposite Upendra in Hollywood, a Kannada film that promises to raise the bar in terms of technical excellence.
The storyline is pretty stereotypical, it is in special effects, cinematography etc that the film hopes to score.
The movie is being produced by Ramu, husband of actress Malashree. And another major talking point is Anupam Kher, who debuts on the Kannada screen for the first time.
For music industry insiders, Aslam is no stranger. For others, here is a brief recap - Aslam started out as part of A R Rehman's team, and even joined his mentor in singing the Kalloori Salai number in Kadhal Desam, the Tabu-Vineet-Abbas starrer.
He has also composed and put out a pop album which, for its lead video, had model Nakul and model-singer Shibani cavoring against the lush backdrop of Alleppey's backwaters. The evocative video was superbly shot by ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan, and Aslam for his part comprised the music for Sivan's own offbeat movie, Malli. The music went on to win Aslam an award in a film festival in Poland.
With that impressive pedigree, Aslam now debuts as composer for a full-fledged feature film, wielding the baton for Mitta Mirasu. About which, more in a forthcoming instalment.
One was Vikram, who turned in a power-packed performance in Sethu. And the other was Kalabhavan Mani, who was outstanding as the blind folk-singer in Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Nhaanum.
As it turned out, Sethu won the best Tamil film award at the national level. And Kalabhavan Mani walked away with the special jury award for his acting.
Now, in artistic cross-pollination, Vikram will reprise Mani's role, in the Tamil remake of Vaasanthiyum...
The actor who, after years of hanging around the industry fringes, doing itsy-bitsy roles, gave a wake-up call to the industry with his outstanding performance in Sethu, is in fact being flooded with good offers now. Others in the works include Vinnukkum Manukkum and Vikatan, the latter to be directed by Prabhu, who earlier came up with Kannodu Kaanpathellaam.
Rajithawith inputs from Sreeram Selvaraj
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