Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aamir’s first reaction to Ghajini!

Hindi Ghajini, with Aamir and Asin in the lead roles, is ready for release except for two song sequences.
To celebrate the completion of the film, the crew had recently organized a party where many of the leading glitterati participated. Hero and heroine Aamir and Asin made heads turn with their excellent style of dressing. Director Murugadoss was beaming and had acted like a perfect host. Salman Khan had also graced the occasion with his brother Sohail Khan.

Ghajini is touted to be released in October and when the song sequences are filmed, post-production works are likely to begin. According to Murugadoss, Aamir is besotted with the outcome of the movie after viewing the rushes. The director also expressed his satisfaction over the result and assured that Ghajini would become as big a hit in Hindi akin to its Tamil version.


Kajol talks tough

Kajol, who denied the offer when Kamal Haasan approached her for 'Mumbai Express' earlier, has reportedly agreed to act in 'Marmayogi'. She however has come up with certain terms and conditions.

The first thing Kajol has demanded is that she would not come to any location outside of India as she has to take care of her daughter. Another important condition the actress has voiced is that she should be allowed to go home daily.

Following this, sources say Kamal is in a dilemma whether to hire Kajol for the project or not. According to them some of the scenes of 'Marmayogi' are to be shot at Switzerland.


Amitabh to play Abhishek's grandad in Dilli 6

Amitabh Bachchan is known to sign on unusual roles and the latest is that the superstar will play his son Abhishek's grandad in Rakeysh Mehra's forthcoming Dilli 6.

Mehra's semi-autobiographical film has Abhishek playing the lead and also stars Sonam Kapoor, who made her debut in Saawariya. He also roped in Amitabh to play a specially written cameo.

Confirming the news, Amitabh said: "I play Abhishek's grandfather in Dilli 6."

Interestingly, the film already has veteran actress Waheeda Rehman. And one of the Big B's incentives for stepping into the picture so late is to share screen space with his favourite actress.

Amitabh has earlier worked with Mehra in Aks. And with Dilli 6 almost complete, Mehra already has plans of casting Amitabh in his next film unusually titled Paanch Kaurav.

"It's too early to talk about Paanch Kaurav. But it's in the caper-adventure genre. And it would be my third film with the Big B. I couldn't get luckier. I've also done three films with Abhishek," revealed Mehra, whose last film was Rang De Basanti.

"I was supposed to do Abhishek's launch film Samjhauta Express and then we were to do Bhairavi (with all the three Bachchans including Jaya). We had gone so deep into the discussions that we both feel we've already worked in those two films together. So our comfort level in Dilli 6 is as high as it would be for any director-actor team that has done three films together," the director said.


Oscar Ravi plans film with SRK and Jackie Chan

Oscar Ravichandran, who had produced great blockbusters like ‘Tagore, Aparichitudu and Dasavataram’ planned another sensational film. The film has Bollywood Badshah Sharukh Khan and Hollywood Star Jackie Chan in the lead roles and it would be directed by none other than KS Ravikumar, who had brought out a great film like ‘Dasavataram’. The film had almost completed the story sittings and is likely to go to sets on August 8. The producer is planning to release the film across the globe by dubbing in almost all languages in the world. AR Rahman is being convinced to score music for the movie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rahman puts print on Dubai's 'Wall of Fame'

Dubai Lifestyle City, the luxuryresidential project in Dubailand, has added yet another maestro to the list of celebrities on its Wall of Fame.

The Wall of Fame will be built within Dubai Lifestyle City to honour highly successful persons in their respective fields by eternalising their hand impressions on the structure.

Internationally acclaimed musical legend A.R. Rahman, single handedly known for re-energising the popularity of Indian film music, is the latest to leave his hand impressions on the Wall. Dubai Lifestyle City’s Wall of Fame is the UAE’s only initiative similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and New York University’s Hall of Fame.

Expressing his gratification on this occasion, Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director, Dubai Lifestyle City, said: “Over the years A.R. Rahman’s music has attained a special place in the hearts of people with his unique quality and style. The recent popularity of his music score in the latest film ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ and the innumerable accolades he received at the recent 53rd Filmfare, Zee Cine Awards and IIFA awards have reinforced his number one position in the music industry.”

In 2002, A.R. Rahman composed his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams (2002) following a commission from famous musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Furthermore, Rahman, along with the Finnish folk music band Värttinä, composed the music for The Lord of the Rings theatre production.

He added, “We are honoured to have his hand impressions on our Wall of Fame. This is a memorable moment for Dubai Lifestyle City, since it also signifies a strong support to our multi-functional theatre of performing arts we are planning to build at our lifestyle project in Dubailand.

Celebrities who have already left their hand impressions on the Wall of Fame include international tennis star Maria Sharapova, noted Bollywood director Karan Johar, Ghazal Maestro Jagjit Singh, Globally acclaimed Indian Film Star Shah Rukh Khan, Chief Executive of JW Marriott Bill Marriott and Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur.

Apart from becoming one of the unique features of Dubai Lifestyle City, the Wall of Fame will ensure the ultra-premium and subliminal nature of the development. The Wall of Fame is set to become a major cultural and historical attraction to the residents and visitors at Dubai Lifestyle City.


It's a 'Jaane Tu…' wave right now: Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan is going through the best phase in his career. "No one can predict which way the pendulum will swing, before a film releases. But 'Jaane Tu…' has fared well beyond my expectations. It's a 'Jaane Tu…' wave right now, like it was when 'Bobby' had released. The euphoria was also witnessed during 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, 'Maine Pyar Kiya' and 'Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai'. I only wish Chachajaan [late Nasir Husain] was alive to share the happiness. He was very close to Imran," Aamir tells me as we meet again for a heart-to-heart conversation.

With Imran's debut vehicle proving a major hit, is Aamir guiding his nephew how to go about in his career? "I would never do that. It's important to take your own decisions. You must learn to walk without crutches. Right from the start of my career, I took my own decisions… I made mistakes, but those were my mistakes. I think, I've learnt more from my failures than hits and I would advice Imran the same," Aamir states.

But a number of people feel that if one wants to sign Imran, it has to be via Aamir. True? "Yeah, that's what everyone feels. In fact, a number of people do call up, enquiring about Imran, but I tell them, 'Yeh lo number, Imran ko khud phone karo'," he laughs.

While on 'Jaane Tu…', Aamir has incorporated a song that was deleted from the final version. "It's my favorite number, but Mansoor, Abbas and I took a call jointly. We felt the song was only making the film lengthier. But since the results are out, the song has been added in its third week. Initially, we thought of retaining it for just one week. But looking at the feedback, we may stretch it to three weeks. However, let me add, the song will not be a part of the final cut in the DVD. It will be featured in the unseen portions," Aamir divulges.

With 'Ghajini' complete and slated for release in November, Aamir will begin shooting for Rajkumar Hirani's film from August onwards. "It's called '3 Idiots'. I am looking forward to working with Madhavan and Sharman Joshi [the 'Rang De Basanti' team]. Kareena is now doing the film," the soft-spoken actor states.

The topic moves on to his next project. Has he thought of his next directorial venture? "Not yet! I haven't started looking for stories either. Earlier, I was busy with Ghajini', then the release of 'Jaane Tu…' took most of my time," Aamir confesses. But the buzz is, Aamir intends casting Bachchan Sr. in his film. "I was at a loss of words when Mr. Bachchan said that he would love to work in a film directed by me. He's my favorite actor. It would be a privilege to direct him, but like I said, I haven't zeroed on a subject yet," Aamir says.

What about 'Delhi Belly'? Reportedly, the film will be made in English, not Hindi. "That's true! We are targeting at the global audience. I don't want it to be a bilingual [Hindi, English]. We tried that earlier ['Mangal Pandey'], but it didn't work," he says. With Ranbir Kapoor not part of the project anymore, will Imran step in? "Ranbir couldn't do the film due to date hassles. As for Imran, let's see. We haven't taken a call yet," Aamir states.


Karthik: Rahman's blue-eyed-boy

He is one of the most popular of AR Rahaman's discoveries and this playback singer, who has just bagged the Filmfare award recently sang for Rajinikanth in Baba.

Karthik of late has become the blue-eyed-boy of every composer. He says AR Rahman has his own style to push him to do better each time.

"If there is a particular tune and I sing it a couple of times, he will say you are 80 per cent there, go again. Now 95 per cent. He'll ask me to add more feeling to the song, " Karthik said about Rahman.

Karthik who is trained in both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, sings in six languages, and writes his lyrics in Hindi.


Baadshah scared of Superstar!

Rajinikanth starrer Kuselan is all set for release world over on August 15th. Looking at the unexpectedly crazy response Rajini's last film Shivaji got at the box office all over India even from non-Tamil speaking audience, the makers of Kuselan had decided upon releasing it in its Hindi dubbed version simultaneously. But now it seems like the Baadshah is afraid of the Emperor!

Both Kuselan and Shahrukh Khan produced and starring Billoo Barber directed by Priyadarshan are remakes of Malayalam hit film Katha Parayumbol which had Mammootty in the lead. The story lines of both are exactly the same to that of the original. Both the Hindi and Tamil remakes feature a song where in the lead stars (Ranjii and Shahrukh) appear in 20 various looks. If Kuselan releases in Hindi first, there will be no novelty left for Billoo Barber at all amongst the audiences.

A source tells us, "While Shahrukh was confident that he would be able to wrap up his film before Rajinikanth's Tamil version, he was in for a not so pleasant surprise when he came to know that the Rajini film is not only over but is due for a release in August and that too with its Hindi dubbed version. Shahrukh had already planned a grand Diwali release for his film. But now with the Rajini film coming up much before Diwali he was in for a shock. He then used all his good relations with Rajini (they had met last in Delhi for a news channel's award show) and called him up requesting him to postpone the release of his Hindi version. Rajini obliged and now the film shall only release in Tamil and Telugu all over the world. The Hindi dubbed version will definitely release too but post Diwali."

Rajini's Shivaji (2007) is being dubbed in Hindi and is all set for a September end release. The makers of Shivaji have even shot a song with Rajini where he will imitate Bollywood legendary yesteryears heroes.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Celebration time on Ghajini sets

Aamir Khan generally does one thing at a time but this time around he’s juggling two things simultaneously. On one hand, he’s been promoting nephew Imran Khan's film Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. And he’s hard at work completing the shoot for Ghajini. And there was a massive celebration, which happened on the sets the other day.

So obviously, outsiders presumed the shooting was coming to an end. But the reason was different. The cast and crew were busy celebrating the death of the negative character or villain as we call him in Bollywood.

Pradeep Rawat is the person who played the villain in the original film as well as the remake.

According to Mid-Day the director AR Murugadoss said, "Yes, we did have a bit of celebrations at the end of the schedule. We ordered a cake, as that was the last scene of the villain. So in true filmi fashion we cheered the death of the bad guy!" Incidentally, Rawat also played the bad guy in the original.

Apparently, Ghajini has been inspired by Memento a film by Christopher Nolan.


'Sakkarakatti' to storm theaters soon

Debutant director Kalaprabhu is busy with the post-production works for ‘Sakkarakatti’, a movie which marks the debut of director-actor Bhagyaraj's son Shanthanoo on the silver screen as hero.

Kalaprabhu, son of producer Kalaipuli S Thanu, says, “It is a stylish film”.

'Romance plays a major part of the film involving three prominent characters – Shanthanoo, Ishitha and Vedika. It would be a different film in Tamil cinema'.

On his experience working with A R Rahman for the film, Kalaprbahu says, 'I narrated the story to him for over an hour. He listened to it patiently and finally agreed to do the film. Rahman is a soft natured human being, but then he becomes tough when it comes to work. He agrees for a tune only after several attempts.'

'Shanthanoo is good friend of mine. He has performed with ease and so have my lead heroines. Post-production would be completed soon and the movie would be released as soon as possible', he adds.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kamal gets Padmapriya

Kamal's period project Marmayogi will feature Padmapriya in the lead, according to the latest industry grapevine. Unconfirmed news sources aver that Kamal has zeroed in on Padmapriya after her impressive performance in offbeat movies in both Tamil as well as Malayalam. It is also speculated that 10 months of Padma's dates have been asked for Marmayogi.

Padmapriya is currently shooting the Cheran starrer Pokkisham and is likely to be available for Marmayogi shoots after that. Marmayogi's script and casting are being finalized and an official announcement regarding Padmapriya's inclusion is expected anytime soon.


Rahman to westernize Thirukkural?

In a recent interview to a tabloid, A R Rahman expressed his desire to release the Tamil verse collection Thirukkural in rap format. He replied so when asked what would be his contribution to the younger generation.

Rahman further mentioned that the project would involve desi Rapper Blazee, who is already on the job of preparing the format and would be a novel attempt to popularize Tamil literature. As per Rahman, Blazee would sing Thirukkural in rap version and Carnatic music would be used to mix in the background. Rahman was also quoted as saying by the tabloid that he would only produce the album and music would be rendered by Blazee himself.


Friday, July 25, 2008

YUVRAAJ to release next year!

Just last week we had brought you the news about the postponement of Subhash Ghai's YUVRAAJ, starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif. We had also stated that the new release date is yet to be announced. Here is more on the subject. Well, news from a reliable trade source is that the film is now expected to release early next year, January 2009 to be precise.

While on the reasons of postponement, there is not much to read between the lines. It's simply that the movie is incomplete and is still being shot. Just recently a two day schedule of the film was held in Bombay's Filmistan Studios, in which most of the major stars of YUVRAAJ participated. Once the shooting portion is over, expectedly by next month, ex-showman, Subhash Ghai, will get into his usual detailed post production activities. Only then will the film have an exact January release date.


Another Dream of Kamal Haasan

'Marmayogi' one more ambitious dream of Kamal Haasan is said to be launched with a classic and high-profile opening in Mumbai in August.

With an estimated budget of over INR one billion, this celluloid dream is based on evidences from history with a story framed in the setting of 7th Century AD. AR Rehman started to work on the tunes to match the contemporary ambience and theme.

According to the sources Kamal is hopeful that this new venture will be a mile mark in his career. He adds that Dasavataram though had little mishaps in accuracy; the experience will help him to eliminate such chances in this new project. He thanked every one for their fair critics.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Aamir unplugged: The star on Imran and upcoming projects

Aamir Khan is going through the best phase, professionally. "No one can predict which way the pendulum will swing, before a film releases. But Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na has fared beyond my expectations. I only wish Chachajaan [the late Nasir Husain] was alive to share the happiness. He was very close to Imran," says Aamir in a heart-to-heart conversation.

With Imran's debut vehicle proving a major hit, is Aamir guiding his nephew how to go about in his career?

I would never do that. It's important to take your own decisions. You must learn to walk without crutches. Right from the start of my career, I took my own decisions. I made mistakes, but those were my mistakes. I think, I've learnt more from my failures than hits and I would advice Imran the same.

But a number of people feel that if one wants to sign Imran, it has to be via Aamir. True?

Yeah, that's what everyone feels. In fact, a number of people do call up, enquiring about Imran, but I tell them, Yeh lo number, Imran ko khud phone karo," he laughs.

You have incorporated a song that was deleted from the final version of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. Why?

It's my favourite number, but Mansoor, Abbas and I took a call jointly. We felt the song was only making the film lengthier. But since the results are out, the song has been added in its third week. Initially, we thought of retaining it for just one week. But looking at the feedback, we may stretch it to three weeks. However, let me add, the song will not be a part of the final cut in the DVD. It will be featured in the unseen portions.

What’s up next as Ghajini is almost complete and slated for release in November?

I will begin shooting for Rajkumar Hirani's film from August onwards. It's called 3 Idiots. I am looking forward to working with Madhavan and Sharman Joshi [the Rang De Basanti team]. Kareena is also doing the film.

The topic moves on to his next project. Has he thought of his next directorial venture?

Not yet! I haven't started looking for stories either. Earlier, I was busy with Ghajini, then the release of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na took most of my time.

But the buzz is, Aamir intends casting Bachchan Sr in his next film.

I was at a loss of words when Mr Bachchan said that he would love to work in a film directed by me. He's my favourite actor. It would be a privilege to direct him, but like I said, I haven't zeroed in on a subject yet.

What about Delhi Belly? Reportedly, the film will be made in English and not Hindi.

That's true! We are targeting the global audience. I don't want it to be a bilingual. We tried that earlier with Mangal Pandey but it didn't work.

With Ranbir Kapoor not part of the project anymore, will Imran step in?

Ranbir couldn't do the film due to date hassles. As for Imran, let's see. We haven't taken a call yet.


Finalizing Rajini's looks for Robo

Director Shankar and costume designer Manish Malhotra are busy men these days. They have the rather pleasant task of stylizing superstar Rajinikanth in such a way that he jells with the character he plays in the film. Initial reports indicate that Rajinikanth would play a young scientist in the film and would be seen in a rather eccentric getup.

But then, what is a Rajini film without style and substance? Manish Malhotra is a big name when it comes to dressing up popular stars. His work in 'Sivaji' was 'to the point' and brilliant. The Shankar-Malhotra combine would most definitely want to recreate the stunning Rajini demeanor with Robo as well. To finalize his looks, photo-shoots were held at the AVM studios and a popular studio in Nungambakkam. Rajinikanth dressed up in Manish Malhotra's costumes and reportedly looked dazzling.

Rajinikanth is not all that young anymore and so requires wigs these days. Many of his fans still believe that no wig can actually live up to his original hair. But then his original hair is lost forever and so hairstylist Banu was roped in for 'Sivaji'. She has been restored with the responsibility for 'Robo' as well.

Shankar is known to experiment and so he is expected to organize many more photo-shoots before actually finalizing the star's looks. Aishwarya Rai who plays Rajinikanth's leading lady in 'Robo' is currently on a world tour with her husband and in-laws. As soon as she gets back to India, another round of photo-shoots are expected to take place.


It's Rahman versus Pritam once again!

The music industry, which was off late going through a slump, has reasons to smile. The first half of the year, which saw just JODHAA AKBAR, RACE and JANNAT generating good audio sales, already has three brisk sellers. And that just in the first month of the second half itself!

It may be called a coincidence of sorts that it was A.R.Rahman who gave the music industry an elixir with JODHAA AKBAR. He was later displaced by Pritam with RACE and finally JANNAT. Just like the beginning of the year, it's A.R.Rahman who has once again scorched the charts this time around too with his JAANE TU...YA JAANE NA, which is sitting comfortably at the top, and for a few weeks now. And once again it's Pritam (like with RACE and JANNAT) who is challenging Rahman for the pole position with his SINGH IS KINNG!

However, unlike the previous occasion, this time around a third player has come into the fray, in the form of iconoclastic composers, Vishal and Shekhar, whose BACHNA AE HASEENO is giving hot pursuit to the above two albums.

Well, it will be interesting to see who emerges the winner, this time around.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Animated Rajinikanth starts work

Superstar Rajinikanth is starting work in his daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth's film 'Sultan – The Warrior' today. Shooting is happening in a 3D Motion Capture studio in Hyderabad.

It has been confirmed that Vijayalakshmi would be playing the leading lady in the film and not Ileana as reported earlier.

Motion Capture technology entails actors to be wired up with infrared lights and as the actor moves, the movements are recorded onto a computer. These movements would then be applied to 3D models that are designed after the actors.

This is the very first time that a 3D animation movie is being made based on an Indian actor. Rajinikanth's unique body language and mannerisms would be reflected completely on the 3D model that's going to play Sultan – the warrior.

The movie is being produced by Ocher Studios owned by Soundarya Rajinikanth and is expected to be released in 2009.


My role required a lot of nudity: Sonam

After Ranbir, Abhishek Bachchan is Sonam's second co-star. And she's enjoying every bit of his company in Dilli 6.

"Abhishek and I are very well -matched, height-wise. And though he's very mischievous I find him very mature.

While Ranbir is someone I've grown up with, Abhishek is a someone I can look up to as a co-star. He's really cool. In fact, " she adds. "I'm learning so much from all my co-stars in Dilli 6. Abhishek and I, and our director Rakeysh Mehra are so much in awe of Waheeda Rehmanji.

During rehearsals every time she reads a scene there's pindrop silence for a few minutes. We're all busy staring at her. When people, including Waheedaji herself, said I look like her I feel I'll just faint with pride."

Sonam Kapoor is exhausted in Jaipur. She has been getting just about five hours of sleep per day to make up for lost time and for the absence of her co-star Abhishek.

Growing sad she sighs, "Abhishek lost his grandmom and I lost my grandfather. I was very very close to him. And my one regret is I couldn't meet him before he passed away. The last I saw him was about a fortnight before his death. My Nanaji was loads of fun."

The word's out. Sonam Kapoor has said no to a very big project with one of the industry's biggest stars for a topnotch banner.

"The role was extremely sensuous. That's fine, " opines the young eager and talented actress. "But it also required a lot of nudity and there was one major love-making scene.

It was a smashing opportunity for me to go beyond what I've done in Saawariya and my second film Dilli 6. But I can't do anything that I'm not comfortable with. "

Interestingly, both of Sonam's directors so far have been extremely protective of her. "Sanjay Sir would cover me up even when I walked from the set to my van. And now Rakeysh is worse! He wants to see me in nothing but salwar-kameez in Dilli 6." For a sequence Sonam had to get into chic attire. "When I came on the set Rakeysh looked at me, and said I should quickly revert to my salwar-kameez look.

Because of my dad everyone treats me like a child. I can't be doing any role which would make my father, mother and the rest of my family cringe at the premiere.

Call me a prude, but that's that way I am. My father has a 40-year reputation in the industry. And I'm not going to tarnish it."

Thought it's freezing cold in Jaipur, Sonam is swamped in the warmth of Rakeysh Mehra's unit of Dilli 6.

"Working on Saawariya was like being part of an extended family. I'll always look on Sanjay Bhansali as a parent beyond my parents.

Whatever I know about acting and cinema is because I was associated with him as an assistant and then an actress. Here with Rakeysh Mehra it's different, though equally enjoyable. I've been pampered silly during Saawariya. Now I'm learning to be much more professional."


Aishwarya Rai in Robot photo session

Rajinikanth and director Shankar have been very busy over the past few weeks with the groundwork for Robot set rolling. The duo have completed about three photo sessions thus far – one in Mumbai and two in Chennai. It seems that Shankar is quite satisfied with the outcome but the final decision on Rajini's get-up in Robot is yet to be decided. Meanwhile,

Rajini and Shankar will fly down to Mumbai in a few days time for the fourth photo session. Interestingly, this photo shoot session will have Aishwarya Rai also participating in it. Sources say that Shankar is taking extra care about Rajini's looks in Robot as his role happens to be that of a young scientist.


Aamir Khan's 'Ghajini' on track for year end release

After having made a complete recovery from his hamstring injury, Aamir Khan has been busy filming for A.R. Murugadoss directed 'Ghajini', which is now on track for a year end release.

"The movie will release this year end as planned, and will not release along side Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi as reported in the media. The exact date will be announced soon," Sirish Allu of Geetha Arts told Sawf News.

Aditya Chopra directed Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, featuring Shah Rukh Khan and newcomer Anushka Sharma is slotted for release on December 12.

Asin. Photo Credit: Sawf News

"[Amir's] last day of shooting for the film is on the 27th of July. After that just two solo songs featuring Asin and Jiah Khan are to be shot," Sirish adds.

What that means for a lot of Aamir fans is that he will not be supporting his buzz cut for much longer now!

The eagerly awaited film is a remake of the similarly named Tamil film, also directed by Murugadoss. Aamir plays a distraught boyfriend suffering from short-term amnesia who is called upon to avenge his girlfriend's murder.

Jiah Khan. Photo Credit: IANS

Aamir is romantically paired in the film with south actress Asin and Jiah Khan plays his college going sister.

The film is reported to have already been sold for a whopping Rs 93 crore - Rs 53 crore for the domestic screening and Rs 40 crore for satellite, overseas and home video rights. In comparison Om Shanti Om had fetched a record Rs 73 crore.


Film music sales rising

Until a few days ago, the Tamil film audio market was dull and all fingers pointed to piracy as the reason for dipping sales. Most audio companies started cribbing but their fortune has taken a new turn.

The audio shops are back to making brisk business and audio CDs are sold like hot cakes now.

Due thanks should be given to corporate who entered the field and also the catchy albums which were released in the past few days.

Rajinikanth's 'Kuselan' set to tunes by G V Prakash, Harris Jayaraj's 'Dhaam Dhoom' and 'Sathyam', A R Rahman's 'Sakkarakatti' and Yuvan Shankar Raja's brisk tunes in 'Saroja' are sold like hot cakes.

The songs in these five albums are already topping the charts. Music-lovers are keen to buy them as they feel the songs are worth listening to.

The audio shop owners say there are very good turnouts in their shops. Hopefully the trend would continue.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ghajini - First look


Sakkarakatti -Trailer


'Marmayogi' goes to Sweden

Kollywood is abuzz with rumors that Kamal Haasan would commence shooting for his next film 'Marmayogi' in exotic locales in Sweden.

According to reports, the movie is set in the sixth century BC and so has taken precise care in fixing up appropriate locations. A few locations in Sweden appear to be on the mind of Kamal Haasan.

Touted to be a big-budget film, 'Marmayogi' features Hemamalini in a prominent role and efforts are on to cast Amitabh Bachchan in it. The crew would land in Sweden later next month to start shooting.

With 'Dasavatharam' proving to be a major hit for Kamal Haasan, he is all geared up to sustain the good run in the industry.

Directed and enacted by Kamal Haasan, the movie has musical score by A R Rahman.


Disney buys N American rights for TZP

In a first of its kind deal, Walt Disney has bought home video rights of Taare Zameen Par for the North American market. This is the first time an international studio has bought the video rights of an Indian film.

Disney, which inked the deal with UTV Motion Pictures that holds the overseas rights of the Aamir Khan-starrer, paid Rs 7 crore for the video rights.

"Disney as a brand has association with family and children. They have seen Taare Zameen Par as content that has a brand fit. Also, the film is being seen as one of the classics of recent times. Despite it not being a conventional NRI fare, the film has done very well in the overseas market, especially in North America," said Siddharth Roy Kapoor of UTV Motion Pictures.

Taare Zameen Par was released in December 2007 and became a critical as well as commercial success. The film, starring Darsheel Safary and Aamir Khan, was hailed for its sensitivity and it grossed in the range of Rs 100 crore worldwide.

Disney had earlier entered into a co-production tie-up with Yash Raj Films to produce the animation venture Roadside Romeo . Sony has entered into a three-film co-production deal with PNC. Indian films obtained official remake rights of Italian Job .

Warner Bros is producing Akshay Kumar-starrer Chandni Chowk To China . Each of these deals are only facilitating industry to industry contact at various levels.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Marmayogi To Woo Larger Audience

Kamal Haasan has moved ahead from his super hit movie Dasavatharam, which has created waves at the box office all over the world. Kamal is now concentrating on his next project Marmayogi, which will also be a biggie.

Though Dasavatharam has been a big hit among the masses, cutting across all barriers, Kamal wants Marmayogi to attract larger audience. Accorsing to sources, he is trying to make the script as simple as possible to make it more popular.

Kamal in a recent interview to a leading national daily, had said that Marmayogi would also be made in such a way that people from all walks of life would find it easy to understand. He also acknowledged that there were some mistakes in Dasavatharam, but it would not be repeated in Marmayogi.

Marmayogi, a period film set in 7the century AD, will start rolling from August in various locations around the world.


Script of 'Jaane Tu...' was rejected four times: Tyrewala

Scriptwriter-turned-director Abbas Tyrewala whose debut film 'Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na' hit the bull's eye at the Box Office, says writers are still given raw deal and suffer from an identity crisis in the film industry.

"Not many know that the script of the film was rejected four times by some of the big corporate producers," says Tyrewala.

Script writers often remain unnoticed in Mumbai's film industry, but the rejection which Tyrewala received seems a little unfair considering his reputation for penning scripts for some of the most successful and acclaimed films like 'Maqbool' and 'Munnabhai MBBS'.

"The problem is that the people who are supposed to evaluate the scripts at the corporate houses know very little about cinema and unless that changes, we are going to have bad films," he adds.

Talking about the film, he says, "The script appealed to Aamir so much that he decided to produce it. A R Rahman too liked it and decided to give music at a very nominal renumeration." So, what kind of challenges did the newly turned director face in his almost nine year long career as a script writer? "The biggest challenge is when a very good script is not made into a good film or get stuck at the pre-production stage due to financial problems.

"That happens too often in a scriptwriter's life and the film industry is not organised enough to compensate the writer for the loss. We don't even get back our scripts sometimes," says the writer.

However, he adds that the fault is not entirely of the film industry but some script writers are also responsible to some extent.


Soundarya all set to direct super daddy-Rajinikanth

After taking the nation by a storm in ‘Shivaji-The Boss’, superstar Rajinikanth is all set to woo millions across the globe once again as he begins shooting for ‘Sultan’, one of the most expensive animated flicks to be made in the history of Indian cinema.

The film that is a mythology based 3D animation flick will see daughter Soundarya directing papa, Rajinikanth. Speaking to a news daily about the flick, Soundarya said, "First of all, a film like Sultan has never been done before because it's realistic 3D and what India has seen as of now is more 2D. It's all mythology-based and this is a fictitious film."

So does directing papa make Soundarya nervous?

Well, for now the somber director is keeping her fingers crossed that all goes well. As for Rajinikanth, the director said, "The film stars superstar Rajinikanth, so yeah, I think that's the edge. My father's looking forward to it too. It's the first time he's going to be directed by his daughter so he's very excited about it as well".

The film that is a co-production between Soundarya’s Ocher studios and Adlabs will also see production inputs coming in from Hollywood’s Warner Bros that has signed a five action film deal with Ocher studios.


Rehman to compose for Ponnar Shankar

AR Rehman, the present numero uno in Indian Film Music, is going to compose for Kalaignar Karunanidhi's new project Ponnar Sankar, a historical film that was announced recently. Based on the famous historical novel written by the Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in the same title, this Prashanth starrer film is produced and directed by his father Thyagarajan.

A week ago Thiyagarajan told that he would be roped in with the country's best technicians to make the film as an unforgettable historical movie in Indian Cinema.

It may be recalled that a couple of days ago AR Rahman called on the CM and spent some 40 plus minutes and discussed various things including his dream project KM Music Conservatory which is going to be launched soon in the suburban of the City.

It is said that during this discussion the CM asked Rahman to compose for his dream project Ponnar Sankar. Some reliable sources confirmed that the composer also accepted the offer with a pleasing smile and confirmed his role as the Music Director for Ponnar Sankar.


Found in Transition

Abbas Tyrewala is in Delhi, basking in the success of Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Naa

It was the thought of a hero on a horse that got Abbas Tyrewala to make his directorial debut Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Na. “I wanted my lead actor on a horse, it’s been ages since there’s been one in a Bollywood film. This I knew was going to be the penultimate scene. So I began to trace the story backwards from that point,” says Tyrewala. The movie that has used every single filmi cliché has become the year’s peppy hit and the soundtrack by A R Rahman is ruling the airwaves. Accuse him of serving you old wine in a new bottle and Tyrewala laughs merrily. “That was the idea in the first place. To use every cliché there is and give it fresh treatment. What’s better, it seems to have worked,” smiles Tyrewala who candidly acknowledges that the success of the film is more than he ever imagined.

At Osians Cine Fan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, Tyrewala has provided many an entertaining afternoon as he has held discussions on scriptwriting and cinema. As one of Bollywood’s young and innovative scriptwriters, Tyrewala is now positively certain that he doesn’t want to write another film for anybody else. “It took me so long to make my first film and the transition has been important. The biggest transition was in terms of people. Scriptwriting is a lonely process, there’s nobody to deal with but yourself and the characters and situations that you create,” says Tyrewala who believes that making the film helped him trust people again. “It’s team work and as a director your vision of the film has to guide the entire cast and crew. It’s an attractive and powerful position to be in, it’s tough, but the money’s good,” chuckles Tyrewala.

But scriptwriting still remains his first love and Tyrewala is now happy to see the advent of more and more writer-directors in the industry. As a writer, he says, the biggest heartbreak is when the best scripts or stories don’t get made. “The industry is not organised enough for a script to make a comeback, after a producer backs out from the project. Writer-directors will have more control over their projects now,” he says.

As for sprinkling more magic from the 70s and 80s in his future films, Tyrewala admits that he’d love to remake films from the era. “I’d love to remake Waqt and Andaaz. Give it a twist, a whole new interpretation. There’s nothing wrong with that because some of our best movies came from the 70s,” says Tyrewala who’s currently working on scripting his next film, what he calls a naughty adult comedy. “I will be raising the age bracket of my audience to 28 and 30-year-olds. I want to tell people that when the heart breaks, it breaks seriously,” says Tyrewala. Well, we’ll take his word for it.

Rajini cartoon to feature live action

The Rs two billion cartoon extravaganza Sultan the Warrior will also feature superstar Rajinikanth in live action, publicists said.

“The superstar's live action will appeal to all sections of the audience and not just children,”sources said.Meanwhile, a number of actresses have been pipped to play a role opposite Rajini in the movie, but nothing has been finalised yet.

The movie with animated Rajinikanth playing the main protagonist is being produced jointly by the actor's daughter Soundarya Rajnikanth owned Ocher Studios and Warner Brothers.


Is 'Marmayogi' a musical?

Kamal Haasan's 'Marmayogi', is all set to hit the floors very soon. A. R. Rahman joins hands with Kamal Haasan after a long gap for the movie.

The music maestro, who is making waves in the Tamil and Hindi film industries had recently stated in an interview that Kamal has demanded many songs for the film, as the script had ample scope for music.

To a question on Kamal's reported remarks that movies should be made without songs, Rahman said, 'I don't think so. If it is the case, then why would Kamal ask for more songs to be incorporated in 'Marmayogi'.

'Marmayogi' will have new and interesting music, says Rahman.

The ace music director is a happy man for his 'Sakkarakatti' audio is doing terrific business, while 'Sultan - The Warrior' and 'Robot' are getting ready.

Bollywood sees no age!

What’s common between Aamir Khan and Imran Khan besides their chacha-bhateeja bonding?

Both of them have big films this year and are even romancing heroines from the same age group. While Imran’s Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na with Genelia has been declared a hit, uncle Aamir Khan is preparing for his next big release, Ghajini, with Asin. Which just goes on to show that while Bollywood may have come of age, but the stars haven’t aged.

Earlier, as stars grew older, they made way for the younger generation and resigned themselves to doing character roles or those more suited to their age. That’s no longer the case in Bollywood — we have papas and betas, chachas and bhateejas and even baaps and betis, all in the fray at the same time.
Aamir Khan and Imran Khan

Imran has already wowed the crowd with his debut film, but audiences will get to see more action from his side with Kidnap (with Sanjay Dutt) and Luck, set to go on the floors this year.
It’s been reported that Aamir Khan’s Ghajini, starring Asin and Jiah Khan, which was set to release on October 2, has been delayed because uncle Aamir wanted to give Imran an open field for his second release Kidnap, also slated for the same day.

Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor

After her debut in Sawaariya, Sonam Kapoor is all set to light up the screen with Dilli 6, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, starring Abhishek Bachchan, Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni and Divya Dutta.
After Race and Tashan, dad Anil Kapoor is ready to impress with four big films — Main Yuvraaj, Yahan Ke Hum Sikandar, Slumdog Millionaire and Chandralekha — all set for release later this year.

Kamal Haasan and Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan, until now known for her star lineage and rock performances, will make her debut with Imran Khan in Luck, directed by Soham Shah. The movie is supposed to feature Sanjay Dutt, Danny Denzongpa, Mithun Chakraborthy and Rati Agnihotri.
Kamal Haasan’s much-delayed and much-hyped movie, Dasavathaaram, didn’t quite work wonders at the BO. His fans have a long wait ahead before seeing him back in action.


Atul Kulkarni plays Gobar in ‘Dilli 6′

After playing substantial roles in films like “Chandni Bar”, “Page” and “Rang De Basanti”, two time National Award winning actor Atul Kulkarni is to play a character named Gobar in Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s “Dilli 6″. Although Atul refused to divulge any further details about his character, he confirmed the news saying: “In ‘Dilli 6′, I am playing Gobar. The role is totally opposite to what I played in ‘Rang De…’.”

Atul spoke at the ongoing 10th Osian’s-Cinefan Film Festival of Asian and Arab cinema.

The actor shares screen space with Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and Om Puri in “Dilli 6″, which is based on the director’s growing up years in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi.

The actor informed that he will also be seen in “Yeh Mera India”, “Allah Ke Bande” and an English film titled “Chaurasta” with director Anjan Dutt.

At the moment, the actor is very content with the way his career has shaped up.

“Considering the age at which I started doing cinema, I have got good roles. I have worked with most top actors like Aamir Khan and even some of the best directors in Bollywood,” he said.

Atul is quite confident that he looks much younger than the three Khans of Bollywood - Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir - despite being born the same year.

“I was born in 1965 like the three Khans. But I look much younger than them. Isn’t it?” he remarked.


Dream debut?

Model-turned-actress Nikesha is gearing up for a dream debut. She has been chosen to play the love interest of Pawan Kalyan in the much-hyped Puli.

Besides modelling, the pretty debutant has also done a lot of commercials and theatre. Sources say that she’s popular mime artiste in London.

Nikesha has replaced the reluctant Hansika. It is learnt she has charged a bomb. Producer Sunku Ramesh has roped in ace music director A R Rahman, cameraman Binoo Pradhan to strengthen the hands of director Surya in dishing out an extravaganza.

Pawan-Surya duo delivered blockbuster Kushi a few years ago and their joining hands again has evoked enough interest amidst fans. Unit members hail her as the ‘find’ of the season. Let’s wait and see.


I suffered being an idealist: Kamal

Kamal Haasan bounces back in Telugu with a sensational hit Dasavatharam.

He claims to have consciously dished out an entertainer to reach out to a wider section of the audience rather than chasing critical acclaim. His ten roles reflect the varied shades of human mind unlike the mythological Dasavatharam. He quotes Emmanuel Kant for a peaceful life and describes his next Marmayogi as a periodic epic. Excerpts from an interview :

You succeeded in winning audience appreciation but you seem to have disappointed some critics? Unlike mythological Dasavatharam, it seems that your ten roles reflect varied shades of human mind?
From the outset we had resolved to reach out to wider section of the audience and our confidence stands vindicated. We consciously overlooked the views of so-called pundits to churn out an entertainer. Again my belief that the audience would definitely patronise anything unique has been strengthened and actually they have raised the bar of expectations. We intended to explore shades of complex human mind. Haven't we seen a baddy like Fletcher, idealist, activist and even a fun-making cop around us. Apparently even the audience related to the real-life characters making it a success. I would have made some mistakes in the film but I will keep committing them since we don't possess sure-fire formula for success. I wanted the film to be more like a 'cocktail discussion'.

You were cynical about tyrant rulers, nature's design to evaporate vial with tsunami and re-uniting soul-mates?
Instead of individuals, I was more cynical about the rulers' obsession to force their fanatic ideas upon their subjects. Because social revolution cannot happen overnight and sometimes it could take few generations to achieve it. So saint Mahavir's ‘Live and let live' idea remains the best approach. Coming to resolution, instead of being so cruel, nature could have chosen a wiser option to end the bio-menace. Re-uniting soul-mates after making them go through tough times and death of idealistic activist is part of its crude design.

Do you suggest that idealistic people cannot survive in the world? How can the world be peaceful then?
That’s true. It is very difficult for an idealist to survive in this selfish world until he develops a strong instinct to live. Personally, I suffered being an idealist but I am alive because of my daunting spirit. It is difficult but not impossible. Even Jesus was crucified before his thoughts were clearly understood. For a peaceful world, philosopher Emmanuel Kant’s thoughts can be remembered "Extract maximum pleasure from the earth with minimum pain to it and its inhabitants'. Even our epics had pragmatic thoughts but interpreters twisted it serving us 'bottled juice' and not a fresh one.

Can you elaborate on your next film Maramayogia?
It’s too early to divulge more details except for describing it as a '7th century periodic epic' in a nutshell. The big-budget entertainer will be a feast for all sections of the audience. It will go on floors from August.


Rajini’s third attempt for Robot

Rajinikanth is gearing up for his next venture Robot, which happens to be director Shankar’s brainchild. The film is slated to go on the floors in a short time. Recently, Rajinikanth was spotted donning the greasepaint and costumes to participate in Robot’s photo shoot held in Mumbai. The second and third photo shoot schedules were held a few days ago at the AVM Studios and a theatre in Nungambakkam. According to our sources, Rajini was seen trying out various costumes and wigs during the photo shoot and the one that suits him well will be used in the film. It seems that Shankar is bent down on showing a much younger-looking to the audience this time. He has roped in costume designer Manish Malhotra and make-up artist Bhanu for Robot. Incidentally, they were also associated with Sivaji that got rave reviews for Rajini’s costumes and make-up.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

“Mistakes in Dasavatharam will not be repeated in Marmayogi”

Kamal Haasan’s Dasavatharam has created waves in the tinsel town with the film proving to be a hit among the masses, cutting across all barriers. It is even more surprising that Dasavatharam is still a hot favorite among the critics though Kamal has moved on to his next project Marmayogi.Speaking about Marmayogi, Kamal had said that it would also be made in such a way that people from all walks of life would find it easy to understand. He also acknowledged that there were some mistakes in Dasavatharam, but it would not be repeated in Marmayogi. Tipped to be a period film, Marmayogi’s shooting will commence from August onwards in various locations around the world. According to the sources close Kamal Haasan, the actor is working hard to attract a large audience for Marmayogi. He also has plans to make the storyline as simple as possible.


Rajini's daughter a 'behind the scenes superstar'

Superstar Rajnikanth is all set to begin shooting for Sultan, the much-awaited, most expensive Indian animated film. And Rajinikanth's daughter Soundarya is both directing and producing the film.

"First of all, a film like Sultan has never been done before because it's realistic 3D and what India has seen as of now is more 2D. It's all mythology-based and this is a fictitious film. It stars superstar Rajinikanth, so yeah, I think that's the edge," says Soundarya.

"Oh my father's looking forward to it too. It's the first time he's going to be directed by his daughter so he's very excited about it as well," she adds.

Soundarya is the head of Ocher studios which is co-producing Sultan along with Adlabs. And now Ocher studios has also tied up with Warner Bros for producing live action films.

"They're a great team, you know there's nothing more I can say about Warner Bros that people don't already know. We have tied up an exclusive agreement deal that we'll produce live action films for them. We're producing South Indian films to begin with, but soon we'll move on to the North Indian market as well. It's an exclusive agreement that we have happening," says she.

When asked if she ever wants to become an onscreen glamour queen, Soundarya says that she has done a guest appearance with her father in the yet to be released Kuselan, but that for the moment, she's happy playing the back screen boss.

"It may be too late for that because I've already stepped behind the camera. And Kuselan, well it's a wonderful movie and the song is called Cinema Cinema and it talks about how movies are made. The crew that participates in it from behind the camera and it's just a couple of shots, that's it," she explains.

If Rajnikanth is the undisputed superstar in front of the camera, his daughter wants to make her mark from behind the scenes.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ileana pairs up with Superstar

Ileana, aptly named after the mythical Greek beauty Helen of Troy, has been away from Kollywood for long. But recently, she made Tamil film-goers happy when she announced that she will act in K.S. Ravikumar’s film opposite Vikram. Now, the fans are in for a double treat. And boy, what a treat it is! Ileana will pair up with superstar Rajinikanth for Sultan, The Warrior.

Sultan, The Warrior, as you know, is an animation film produced by Soundarya’s Ocher Studios and Adlabs. This film’s hero is modelled after superstar Rajinikanth. Now, the heroine of this film will be modelled after Ileana. The Rajinikanth-Ileana pair will enact the screenplay in a special studio; these scenes will serve as models for animated scenes of the film. Filming starts next month. Ileana has agreed to give a 20-day schedule.

Ileana said that she is happy to be acting in a Rajinikanth film and is very excited about it even though it is an animation film. She added that after all, almost all the animated scenes will be modelled after the scenes that Rajni and she will enact in the studio.

Ileana in Rajini's Sultan

Tollywood glam doll Ileana has been roped in to act with 'Superstar' Rajinikanth in ‘Sultan The Warrior’, an animated film being directed by the top actor's daughter Soundarya.

Ileana, who entered Kollywood with ‘Kedi’ opposite Ravi Krishna, would begin her second innings in Tamil filmdom with Sultan.

Besides, she has also been asked to share the screen with Vikram in a movie to be directed by K S Ravikumar. Vikram would act in two different roles in this project.

The movie is produced by Soundarya Rajinikanth's Ocher Studios. A R Rahman is scoring the music.

“It is privilege to do a movie on my father, who is a mass hero and man admired by the masses”, says Soundarya.

‘Sultan The Warrior’ would hit the screens in April 2008.


Soundarya's Magical Graphics For 'Sakkarakatti'

Soundarya Rajnikanth, the pretty-looking younger daughter of superstar Rajnikanth, has got all the talents that match her stunning looks. She is already a making an animation film titled 'Sultan: The Warrior' with her father as the central character. Considering Rajni's millions of fans worldwide, this film would surely be a surprise for them, to see their favourite hero in an animation film.

Soundarya has also committed to direct Ajit in a film billed as a sequel to 'Billa'. The film would be produced jointly by Soundarya and Hollywood' sWarner Brothers. Not one to sit back and feel satisfied, Soundarya has associated herself with 'Sakkarakatti' the launch vehicle of K. Bhagyarja's son Chantanu as the hero. She has created many graphics-inspired sequences in the film.

Her work in making the lead pair 'float' in mid-air for a song sequence has come in for special praise from all those who have seen it. Soundarya has also successfully depicted many 'angels of love' accompanying the lead pair in the song sequence. Before getting down to doing all these graphics work, she was alert enough to have discussed the scenes she had in mind with music wizard A.R. Rahman, who has come out with matching songs.

Like father - like daughter: perfection personified!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sakkarakatti – Spectacular visuals

A noteworthy point worth mentioning is that 'Sakkarakatti' starring Santhanoo has song sequences that have tremendous visuals developed by Ocher Studios in Chennai owned by Soundarya Rajinikanth.

The song 'Chinnama' shows the hero fighting Egyptian Mummies as he walks through a deep mountain valley. This song reportedly jells with the attitude of the protagonist.

There are other sequences that depict fireballs being bombarded onto a meadow. All the 'graphics' part have come out in a spectacular manner making the entire unit of 'Sakkarakatti' very happy.

Two songs were screened at the recently held audio launch function. A. R. Rahman's music is indeed the highlight of the film and all the songs have come good.

There are also reports that suggest certain sets that have been erected resembling the 'Van Helsing' effect. Another special effect includes a twister in all its angry might.

A. R. Rahman and Ocher Studios might just be the right foil for some spectacular entertainment.

Watch 'Sakkarakatti' Audio Launch


Venkat Prabhu’s next with Soundarya Rajinikanth

With Venkat Prabhu’s 'Saroja' being wrapped up and ready for an August release, the director seems to have his next direcotrial plans chalked out.

It now sems confirmed that Venkat Prabhu, who has earlier directed 'Chennai 600028', will be directing his next movie which will be produced by Soundarya’s Rajinikanth’s Ocher Studios.

The project is expected to begin in October and the cast is yet ot be finalised. Venkat Prabhu’s name among the list of probables for an Ocher Studios production has been in the news ever since 'Billa II' was announced but it is learnt that this project has nothing to do with the sequel to Rajinikanth or Ajith’s 'Billa'.

Meanwhile, Ocher Studios is working on its first movie 'Sultan The Warrior', which is said to be an April 2009 release.


Rahman releases Yuvan's 'Saroja' music

In a rare gesture, ace music composer A R Rahman turned up at the audio launch of 'Saroja', which has musical score by Yuvan Shankar Raja, and heaped laurels on his contemporary.

The much awaited audio of 'Saroja' was released in a glittering function in Chennai in which the whole gamut of Tamil Cinema took part.

A grand stage resembling an awards nite was put up. The cast and crew of 'Saroja' and top honchos of Tamil film industry turned up for the mega event.

The whole of Chennai Trade Centre in Nandambakkam wore a festive look as festoons and banners of ‘Saroja’ were put up all through the locality.

The show began with tremendous cheers from the audience. An exclusive soundtrack from Yuvan Shankar Raja in English was screened to rapturous applause. It was followed by a couple of songs which were also well appreciated by the huge gathering.

The 'Making of Saroja' and the 'Behind The Scenes', were aired on huge screens erected at the venue and it was applauded all the way.

The clock struck 8.30 pm and it was the turn of Rahman, Yuvan Shankar, veteran director Bharathirajaa, directors Ameer, Dharani, actors Jayaram, Sundar C, Vishal, Jayam Ravi, Prasanna, actresses Sneha, Trisha, Kushboo, Sona, Nikitha, veteran singer S P Balasubramaniam among others to throng the stage. The audio was released amidst thunderous cheers from the audience.

Speaking on the occasion, Rahman said, ' I am a great fan of Yuvan Shankar Raja. I know him for the past two decades from the time I worked with Ilayaraja. Coming from the family of legends, he has established a place for himself with his unique style'.

Bharathirajaa, on his part, expressed his awe at seeing the trailer. ‘Saroja’ is on par with any Hollywood project. 'Director Venkat Prabhu has made an attempt to take our country to greater heights. The youngsters deserve a pat'.

Jayaram, Sundar C, Ameer, Dharani among others spoke on the occasion.

Venkat Prabhu spoke in detail about the hard work the crew had put in and the efforts taken to recreate the magic of 'Chennai 600028' in 'Saroja'. Producer T Siva of Amma creations also spoke on the occasion.

In conclusion, the 'Saroja' audio launch function was unique and refreshing and would surely go down as a memorable occasion in the history of Indian cinema.


Shriya not a part of Marmayogi

Shriya Saran, who was in Chennai for a brief period, denied that she was a part of Marmayogi, Kamal Haasan’s next project. She said, “I was very surprised to read in the papers that I was approached for a part of Marmayogi. It is not true but if any such opportunity arises, I will be the happiest person.”

At present the pretty actor is very busy with a handful of projects. Shriya is shooting for Kanthasamy with Vikram in Mexico. She is all set to act as Sharath Kumar’s daughter in Jagubhai, directed by KS Ravikumar. She is also pairing once again with Dhanush with the Polladhavan team. Vettri Maran is currently coming up with a story that is expected to have slick and compelling story. Besides this, she is also doing two projects in Hollywood and the Hindi film Mission Istaanbul that is expected to release by the month-end.
The two Hollywood projects that Shriya has been part of have reportedly shaped up very well. The Other End Of The Line, produced by Ashok Amritraj, has the actor playing a call-centre employee who falls in love with a customer just by listening to his voice. The other English film she is working on is Deepa Mehta’s What’s Cooking wherein she will share screen space with Seema Biswas and Lisa Ray.


YUVRAAJ postponed; BILLOO BARBER on 30th October

The second half of 2008 has started off with a bang and the trade as well as the industry is ecstatic with the big success of Aamir Khan's JAANE TU...YA JAANE NA, though one does feel sad for Harry Baweja's LOVE STORY 2050.

Moving on, just last week we had told you about the release plans of one of the most awaited projects of the second half, Aamir Khan's GHAJINI (November 28th). And here are the exclusive schedules of three other highly awaited and anticipated projects of the year's concluding half.

As per our trade and distribution sources, Subhash Ghai has postponed his Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer, YUVRAAJ from its earlier announced date of October 24th. The new release date will be announced later. Meanwhile Shah Rukh Khan's next release (in a substantial role), Priyadarshan's BILLOO BARBER, which features Irrfan Khan in the title role, has now been finalized for an October 30th (just after Diwali) worldwide release. And the third movie that sees a change in its plans is Nikhil Advani's Akshay Kumar-Deepika Padukone starrer, CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA TOWN, which has been preponed from its scheduled release date of October 29th and will instead hit the screens on October 24.

Before we leave, the usual disclaimer, release dates can change even at the eleventh hour!


As sweet as Sakkarakatti

When debutant director Kalaa Prabhu approached music composer AR Rahman to compose music for Sakkarakatti, the latter was sceptical.

“I’m busy with other projects,” he said and added, “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do full justice to it.” Kalaa Prabhu handed him a note with six Hindi songs and just asked Rahman to “Tamilise” them.

“That would be cheating my listeners,” said Rahman, and after listening to the script thoroughly, gave Kalaa some beautiful tunes.

The high-profile audio release of Sakkarakatti, held recently at a city multiplex, was well-attended by celebrities of the film fraternity.

Veteran directors like K Balachander and SP Muthuraman wished the debutant director, who is producer Kalaipuli Thanu’s son, the best of luck for the film. Sakkarakati also also marks the debut of Shanthnoo Bhagyaraj, son of renowned film personality Bhagyaraj.

Director Bharathiraja had the audience in splits when he said that he would make Rahman act in his next film. Realising that some members of the audience were laughing, he said, “It’s difficult to get tunes from him, but I will surely make him act in a movie soon!”


Sakkarakatti - Music review

Starring Shantanu Bhagyaraj, Ishita Sharma and Vedika, this is a youth-based story: of a rich girl falling for a middle-class boy. The movie and the album are both eagerly awaited by fans, because we have two giants (Rahman and Dhanu) coming together! Rahman has always been known for his bold experimentation and technical virtuosity. He has set tunes for 6 songs here. How has this album fared? Let’s have a look at what he has to offer, shall we?

Taxi, Taxi…

Vocals: Benny Dayal, Blaaze, Viviane, Javed Ali, Lyrics: Na.Muthukumar

The song itself has very strong rhythms and the bell-type tinkling sounds that make up the rhythms are truly new to the ears! Appears to follow Natabhairavi scale with notes like ‘saa-ri-ga-ma-ga-ri-saa’ tripping along. Plenty of extra sounds have been tucked in. You have to strain a little to catch the lyrics. Sings in praise of a’ simple uncomplicated’ friend. More of a ‘ rappy’ number. Even the interludes are heavy into rhythms. No particular mood is projected.

Vocals: Madhushree, A.R.Rahman, Henry, Lyrics: Vaali

Very nice opening bars we have here, that flit gently around our ears but the rhythms follow soon enough. Rahman seems to employ some kind of booming hollow rhythms that simply rattle your ribcage when you listen to them for sometime! Vaali’s lyrics seem to speak about true love but they don’t seem to rise above Rahman’s musical score! One is vaguely reminded of Maand raga. The last line is evocatively stretched and falls pleasantly on the ears.

I Miss You da…

Vocals: Chinmayee, Indai Haza, Lyrics: Na. Muthukumar

This is a well conceived song with a strong accent on melody, in spite of the rhythm accompaniment. The yearning and longing felt by the lady who is missing her lover are so effectively conveyed by Chinmayee singing in a husky soft voice. The chord’ saa dha, saa pa’ occur throughout the song which adds to the melodic appeal. Sindhubhairavi seems to have been used here. Listeners could warm to this song soon. According to Rahman’s website, this song seems to have been picturised in an expensively erected, futuristic setting!

Vocals: Benny Dayal, Chinmayee, Lyrics: P.Vijay

Lovely flute bars and a delightful folksy ‘mettu’ enliven this song

right away.Different tonal articulation by Chinmayee and Benny Dayal keeps pace! A tantalizing mix of Harikambodhi and Sankarabharanam seen in the song. Well assembled swaras like’ga ma gaa ri sa rii ga’on the flute add the right touch of folksy feel. The refrain’ Chinnamma, silakamma…’ the flute solos and the song itself, they all blend beautifully together. Thankfully the rhythm is subdued, for once. Will climb the charts soon.


Vocals: Krish, Naresh Iyer, Lyrics: Na. Muthukumar

This piece has a western feel to it—more like a pop number. A song which typifies youthful feelings and enthusiasm for life. Well integrated guitar and violin sounds keep the song light and easy on the ears. Plenty of English words too! Nice complex rhythms. Again the Natabhairavi scale seems to have been used.

Naan Epoudhu…
Vocals: Reena Bharadwaj, Lyrics: P.Vijay

A woman’s wonder at the inner transformation within herself. Sung softly by Reena. The sweet sounding interludes trip along with the girl’s heart! Like song no.4 this also shows traces of the same two ragas. Has an easy rhythm.


Rahman has this unique knack of grouping very different sounding instruments and blending them well to express his own musical idiom and mood. Here we have an adequate demonstration of it .Each song has a different feel to it. The D and F scale appear to have been very thoughtfully used. But one thing does seem to leave us feeling uneasy---frequent change of chords and relentless rhythms somehow rob the richness of the musical nuances that he wants to convey. We are sure Rahman is equally aware of this, too. Recently he announced that he wants to concentrate on melodies more. Let us wish this technical wizard all the very best in this ‘track’!


A.R. Rahman on Yuvan Shankar Raja's music

All of Kollywood was taken by surprise when A.R. Rahman made himself available to release an audio composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja. The event was the audio release function of Saroja that was held in the Chennai Trade Centre. The entire area in which the venue was located wore a festive look. Sharing the dais with Rahman and Yuvan Shankar


Raja were directors Bharathiraja, Ameer and Dharani; actors Jayaram, Sundar C, Vishal, Jayam Ravi, Prasanna; actresses Trisha, Kushboo, Sneha, Sona, Nikitha, veteran singer S P Balasubramaniam. The audience was taken aback when Rahman, during his speech, disclosed that he was a great fan of Yuvan Shankar Raja. It may be noted that Rahman, before venturing out on his own, worked with Illayaraja. Saroja was directed by Venkat Prabhu and produced by T Siva of Amma Creations.


Sakkarakkatti is worth a listen

"A musical treat from A R Rahman!" shouts out the message that comes with the Tamil movie Sakkarakkatti (Lump of Sugar), produced by Kalaippuli S Thaanu, and starring debutant Santhanu, the offspring of talented director K Bhagyaraj.

The story revolves around five friends who grow up together -- and then, at the right time, love blooms between the hero and heroine. What will win the final round: friendship or love? That's the question this movie (hopefully) seeks to answer.

In the meantime, the makers promise a feast of music for this romantic film. So let's see if the soundtracks deliver the promise.

Taxi ...Taxi... rendered by Benny Dayal, Blaaze, Viviane, and Javed Ali starts off with a Hindi hip-hop tune and a thumping beat that lets the singers extol the virtues of friendship. Apparently, as per the lyrics of Na Muthukumar, Blaaze and Viviane, a good friend is a lot like a taxi in your hour of need. With a bout of synthesised music interspersed with Viviane singing in some unknown language (French?) combined with weird sounds that make you giggle, the song proceeds at the same steady pace, but the tune makes you sway lazily, and when it ends, with a regulation mixture of rap, English verses and sounds, you're quite caught up in it.

Marudaani ...begins with a 80-esque music with Madhushree's melodious humming. This one is a lot like Rahman's previous romantic numbers, harking right back to the Pudhiya Mugam times, with piano music mingling with the tunes, and Vaali, with his extensive experience in romantic songs has fallen back on it. Henry and Rahman have produced a continuation of the humming from the first few moments, while Madhusri takes up from where she left off, ending with the sound of anklets jingling away. On the whole, a ho-hum number.

I Miss you up next. With what you can only assume is either the a) the name of the hero, b) an equally weird nickname -- both of which sound bizarre, this one kick-starts with Chinmayee's husky voice as she whispers romantic-nothings, penned by Na Muthukumar, about (presumably) her beloved. Indai Haza's strong voice echoes with the Miss You refrain as Chinmayee branches off into apparently unconnected phrases eulogising love. By the time she segues back into the first line, you sort of get used to it. You wish you were able to make more sense of the lyrics, though -- they're mince-meat, as it is. Still this one stands the best chance of becoming a youthful stand-by.

After all those synthesised blasts and strange languages, Chinnamma ...starts off refreshingly with a folklore-flute music piece, intermingling with a rousing beat. Benny Dayal's voice begins confidently in a rural tune, while Chinmayee, in a different manner from her previous number, takes on a deeper tone. Pa Vijay's lyrics bring out the folk flavour, while the chorus sounds sweeter than the lead singers at times. The flute interlude reminds of the ancient Sivaji-starrer Pazhani's song. In the second half, though, the song is a bit perplexing -- as though the music-director couldn't decide between turning it into a completely folksy song, and leaving traces of trendy modern stuff in.

Following this piece we have Elay. This combined effort of singers Krish and Naresh Iyer starts off with a striking guitar piece that reminds you of the title piece of McKenna's Gold and traces of Rang de Basanti [Images] -- but it loses none of its charm for all that. Na Muthukumar's lyrics are an exercise in a feel-good song about winning the world, in Thirunelveli slang. Violins provide an excellent background; the next few segments only reinforce the Wild West theme even more, as a harmonica adds its snappy tunes to the mix. There's a brief hint of 40's Broadway music that transports you for a few moments into Hollywood's past -- and then it's back to the guitar, snazzy violins and the harmonica. This piece is easily the star of the whole album; it's dance-worthy, magical, and brings a whiff of the Rahman of yore.

Naan Eppodhu sung by Reena Bharadwaj begins softly with a distinct North Indian flavour. Guitars accompany her voice with a serene beat. A little later, the rhythm changes to a softer, conversational piece, after which it segues back to music. Pa Vijay's lyrics seem to suggest a coming-of-age song, where the heroine probably has fallen head over heels in love. It's melodious -- but oft-heard.

Weighing it on your auditory scales, barring the romantic songs, the rest seem to be an interesting mixture of tunes; some strange, some familiar. The final verdict? Vintage Rahman peeps in only once or twice -- still, it's worth listening.

Rediff Rating:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rahman to act in a Bharathiraja movie?

Bharathiraja poured his heart out over the Sakarakatti audio launch and expressed his longing to cast A R Rahman in one of his movies. In his address during the audio launch held yesterday at the Sathyam theatres, Bharathiraja declared that it was a difficult task to meet Rahman, leave alone getting his tunes.


“He’s constantly flying between London, New York, and Paris. Getting his tunes is equivalent to extracting milk from a tigress,” Bharathiraja revealed to the invitees at the launch. “Besides, he is blessed with beautiful and expressive eyes which I would definitely put to use in one of my movies,” he added. Further, addressing Rahman he also reiterated that Rahman would be a part of one of his movies in the near future.

Rahman acknowledged these comments with an occasional smile..


“I wanted my son to debut in a Shankar movie”

The Sakarakatti audio launch held at the Sathyam theatres registered a near-full attendance of invitees; and significantly it brought 20 directors of Tamil cinema in one stage. While Vikram and Susi Ganesan took a leave of absence owing to their Kanthaswamy shoot schedules in Mexico, Radhika Sharathkumar made a few heads turn with her entry.

First copy of the CD was released by Rama Narayanan and received together by A R Rahman’s mother and Shanthanu’s mother and yesteryear actor Poornima Bhagyaraj. Two songs were screened and the launch was peppered with emotional speeches by a few directors.

After praising Shanthanu for his aerobics in the songs, Ameer wished him to fly high in his career after the release of the movie. He further expressed his longing to meet A R Rahman. “I have traveled far wide and met personalities; however, I haven’t got an opportunity to visit Rahman at his home in Chennai. It is my wish to visit him very soon,” he noted.

Jeyam Ravi revealed that he was earlier associated as an Assistant Director in many movies produced by Dhanu. He further stated that Shanthanu has tremendous networking skills and knows more people in the industry than him.

It was Bharathiraja who added zing to the event by expressing his longing and desire for Rahman and his music. He said that it is wonderful to witness the third generation in action and that Dhanu is a real crowd puller. After which, he concentrated mostly on pulling pranks at Rahman revealing how difficult it was to get tunes from him. “It is easier to extract milk from a tigress,” Bharathiraja said.

Bharathiraja also declared that he would make Rahman act in one of his movies. “His eyes are like Mono Lisa’s, beautiful and expressive. It would be such a waste if I didn’t employ them in one of my movies. He is acting in one of my movies,” Bharathiraja declared assertively.

A R Rahman, in his speech, mentioned that he was apprehensive to take up Sakarakatti since he had no free time for another year at that time. “However, director Prabhu already had five of my Hindi songs in mind and asked my consent to use the tunes. We only selected two of them and the rest four are fresh tunes,” Rahman said.

Bhagyaraj let a peek of fatherly anxiety by saying that he wanted his son to debut either with Shankar or Maniratnam. “I was amazed at Prabhu’s talent of story telling and didn’t have to think twice before sending Shantunu to the sets of Sakarakatti,” he reminisced. “I was quite lucky in terms of my career, maybe because my mother named me after luck. I wish the luck to continue in the case of my son too,” Bhagyaraj said. He also requested Shanthanu to consider new directors in his career unlike other established actors who think twice before signing in for debutant directors’ ventures.

The two songs, Chinamma Chilakamma and Marudaani Vizhiyil, which were screened, included extensive visual effects done by Soundarya Rajnikanth’s Ochar Studios.


Rajini to begin Sultan

SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth will finally begin work for his daughter’s production Sultan The Warrior.

Sultan The Warrior is a 3-D animation flick with Rajinikanth in the lead. This is being directed and produced by his younger daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth, MD, Ocher Studios.

The movie has been under production and a team of 30 people, including stunt master Peter Haynes, had left for Vietnam to shoot certain action portions of the film.

They have returned now and the team is all set to have Rajini begin his part of shooting for the movie. The actor, along with the movie’s crew, will fly to Hyderabad next week, where important scenes involving him, will be shot at a Motion Capture Studio. Rajini will act out his portion and that will later be animated.

Shooting for the movie is on at a brisk pace and Sultan the Warrior will be an April 2009 release.

The music has five songs, composed by AR Rahman and the audio is expected to be launched in February next year.


A. R. Rahman's REFRESHING 'Sakkarakatti' songs

Six songs feature in the 'Sakkarakatti' album and all of them have been composed in a refreshing manner by the highly talented 'Mozart of Madras' A. R. Rahman. Three songs in the form of 'Taxi', 'Maruthani' and 'I miss you da' have been composed in a new format not familiar to Indain music. Surely a treat for scores of Rahman fans.

The song 'Taxi' has been designed as a peppy westernized song with the voices of Benny, Blaze and Vion while 'Maruthani' features the voices of Madhushree and Rahman himself. Chinmayee has lent her voice for 'I Miss You Da' and has teamed up with Benny for the song 'Chinnama'.

Krish and Harish have sung the song 'Ale' which is expected to be youthful. Another song titled 'Naan Eppothu Penn Aaven' has been composed in a feminine format with the essence of youthful exuberance.

The audio launch for 'Sakkarakatti' is slated to happen today and the music CDs and cassettes will hit the market from tomorrow.