Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bruce Springsteen and A.R. Rahman take on the tweens for Best Song From a Movie on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

There's quite an epic battle brewing for Best Song From a Movie at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. There's not a genre left unturned, and every type of movie is represented by the nominated songs.

The category is split between Oscar-nominated songs like A.R. Rahman's "Jai Ho" from"Slumdog Millionaire" and Bruce Springsteen's title track for "The Wrestler." But don't count out the teen-girl power: Paramore's"Twilight" theme "Decode" is competing against Miley Cyrus' empowerment ballad "The Climb"from "Hannah Montana."

The clear front-runners seem to be Paramore and Cyrus, since they each hail from tween-favorite soundtracks. Paramore also gets a push from the Twilighter community, which is very, very loyal to all things "Twilight."

No disrespect to Springsteen and Rahman, but when two older dudes are trying to compete with the forces of Cyrus and Paramore, well, let's just say the Academy isn't voting for this one.

Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams is a Twilighter herself, so when she was asked to do a song for the movie, she jumped at the chance. "I chose the title 'Decode,' because the song is about the building tension, awkwardness, anger and confusion between Bella and Edward," she said. "Bella is the only mind Edward can't read, and I feel like that's a big part of the first book and one of the obstacles for them to overcome. It's one added tension that makes the story even better."

Will the vampires grab more trophies than the slumdog? What was the year's ultimate onscreen WTF moment? It's up to you to decide the winners of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Vote now, and tune in on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, when the big show airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.


The world is Rahman's oyster

Inundated with offers from all over the world, AR Rahman now has four headquarters; in Chennai, Mumbai, London and Los 
AR Rahman
AR Rahman More Pics

It's official now. AR Rahman will soon be establishing his base in Los Angeles. He is currently in the process of buying a place where he can set up a full-fledged office in the mecca of movies and music. 

Thanks to his ever-growing popularity, Rahman now lives his life in suitcases. He confirmed this and said, "I now have four separate teams in four cities Chennai, LA, London and Mumbai." 

Strangely Rahman's scores back home have slowed down on their own. Commenting on what happens to his work at home, the busy composer said, "Kamal Haasan's Marmayogi got postponed after I did four songs with him. So, I got some reprieve . Then recently I was in Mumbai and Mani Ratnam flew down to record a song. That's the way he likes to work. Even during Bombay he would fly down to Mumbai for the music as he likes the city's energy. Almost all of the background score of Bombay was done in Mumbai. Even the songs of Rang De Basanti were recorded in Mumbai." 

Rahman doesn't buy the theory that he has done far better work than Slumdog Millionaire. 
"Who is to decide this For the West, it is a change of sound and pace. In India I hear people saying, 'Rahman has done much better work than Slumdog.' But beauty lies in the ears of the beholder . And the West loves the film's soundtrack," he said. 

Coming back to composing music for Hollywood , Rahman added, "The actor Vince Vaughn met me recently and asked me to do the score in one of his films. That was a touching moment. I start work on this project in July. I didn't set out to redefine myself with Slumdog Millionaire. It just happened . For me it's important for my whole team to be happy with my music."


Asin and Asano in Chennai

asin-26-05-09.jpgAfter almost shifting her base to Mumbai, Asin will be in town this week briefly. Not that she is back for good, but she is in town to attend the photo shoot session of her upcoming venture 19 steps, produced by Bharath Bala and Walt Disney Productions. The movie also stars the Japanese heartthrob Tadanobu Asano who plays the warrior who learns Kalaripayattu from Kamal. Earlier, Asano was also in Chennai for the same reason before flying down to Calicut for further discussions with the film's writer M T Vasudevan Nair.

19 Steps, directed by Bharath Bala, will go on floors in Kerala starting September 2009. Set in the backdrop of the 9th century, the movie supposedly attempts to find the roots of Kerala's martial art Kalaripayattu. Asin's photo shoot will be held in Alwarpet.


Rhythm and Blue: That's Rahman for you!

521200952646PMRahman3.jpgThe man who helped make Slumdog Millionaire a spectacular hit by scoring the sound track is India's poster boy. He has been working on films from a very young age; composing music for ads and short films was his life before he began compsoing for films. When Rojahappened, he was paid Rs. 25,000 for his score, but after that, there was no looking back.

After the death of his father R.K. Shekhar, he was his family's sole breadwinner. Now every one remembers his Oscar speech, and Rahman is flooded with offers like never before.

His fans await his next release, and expectations are running high as people expect nothing short of extraordinary, especially after the Oscars! The world is on his feet, but Rahman does not find it difficult to stay humble.

He has given some very diverse music and people may not have to wait too long before they get to hear another new album from this musical genius. His next release will probably be the Hindi film Blue, produced by Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision and directed by Anthony D'Souza.

Blue stars Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta, Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif. Rahman feels even more responsible now, and says that he cannot cheat his listeners. His studio in Chennai is a world unto itself with all the latest gadgets and can transport you completely with the sounds and melodies that emanate.

Other films for which he will compose music are Sultan The Warrior, Endhiran, 19th Step, Couples Retreat and 1-800-LOVE.


Santosh Sivan joins team ‘Raavan’

The Raavan team has been into a lot lately. First it was the director Mani Rathnam becoming ill to the point of getting hospitalized. Now it is his camera man for the film Manikandan walking out on him.

The reason for Manikandan quitting is because he seems to committed himself to a Farah Khan project that is about to begin in June. With Mani getting ill and the project stalling a getting delayed Manikandan seems to have not fulfilled his commitment to Mani Rathnam.

So what happens now? Mani Rathnam has called his old friend and ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan to complete his project 'Raavan' successfully. With more than 60 percent of the film complete and his cinematographer walking out on him Mani Rathnam is confident that Santosh will do justice to the film.

A friend in need is a friend indeed!

The Mani Rathnam – Santosh Sivan duo have churned out blockbuster films like 'Roja', 'Thalapathi', 'Iruvar' and 'Uyire' in tamil and in Hindi the superhit film 'Dilse'.


Prithvi in Mani Ratnam's next

Four in hand, six more to go... that seems to be the case with 

The actor has four films in Malayalam ready for release and has signed six more films! Meanwhile, in Tamil, he is doing Mani Ratnam's Raavan and Ninaithale Inikkum. 

Here's more — The actor has signed yet another Tamil film with Priya V, where Bhavana will be his leading lady. We hear that he's also a part of Bharath Bala's 19 Steps! 

The buzz in Mollywood is that he needs a big hit to regain his position, as his last two releases were total washouts. Says a leading Malayalam director, "Raju (his pet name) wants to have his cake and eat it too. He should concentrate on Malayalam films or do other language films. He cannot sail in two boats at the same time."


Friday, May 29, 2009

Rahman summons Rekha

Rekha Bhardwaj, known for the depth in her voice in songs like Namak ishq ka (Omkara) and Genda phool (Delhi 6), was recently called to Chennai 
Rekha Bhardwaj
Rekha Bhardwaj
to do a rescue act for AR Rahman. 

Initially, another singer was asked to sing the song Ranjhna ranjha written by Gulzar and composed by Rahman for Mani Ratnams Raavana. But when she failed to rise to the occasion, Rekha was asked to do the needful. She said, Yes, I had to leave for Chennai at short notice. I was called along with Gulzar saab and Shaad Ali (whos assisting Mani in Raavana). 

Rekha said that she enjoyed singing for someone other than husband Vishal. But I wish I was given more time to prepare and absorb the song, she said. 
Gulzar said, We recorded a thumri composed by Rahman . The good thing about this semi-classical number is that it is sung by Rekha, who is like my daughter. I think its her first song for Mani. 

Rekha has been trained by the renowned classical vocalist Pandit Amarnathji . She really knows her job. Rahmans score in the film is unique, said Gulzar.



The Stan Winston special effects house is creating a robot that will be a "replica" of Indian film star Rajinikanth, one of India's leading stars, for a film budgeted at $24 million, the most expensive film ever shot on the Asian subcontinent, according to a Reuters report. The film, Robot , is not being shotd by producers in Mumbai, the site of India's Bollywood, but in Chennai, and it will use the Tamil language instead of Hindi. What makes the production particularly unique is that it amounts to a marriage between Indian film producers and Hollywood talent. Besides the Winston studios, the credits include Hollywood costume designer Mary E. Vogt, who created the costumes in Batman Returns and Men in Black , fight-scene designer Woo-Ping Yuen, whose credits include Kill Bill and The Matrix , and an unnamed Hollywood make-up artist assigned to co-star Rai Bachchan. The production is being backed by the Indian TV network Sun. Reuters said that the movie is currently in its fourth month of production and will take another year to complete.


Nikhil gives in to Mani's demands

You heard the adage right? To win a role in Mani Ratnam's film Raavana, Nikhil Dwivedi had to lose 
Nikhil Dwivedi

his hair! 

Well, the story goes that Mani saw the actor in My Name is Anthony Gonsalves and thought he might fit the role of Laxman in his prestigious venture. Nikhil was then asked to come down to Chennai for a test. His look was approved, only he had to cut his hair short. And, even though Nikhil was shooting for Shivam Nair's film, he agreed to cut his hair just for Mani's film. After all, how can one say no to Mani, right?


Rahman to use Farhan's voice

Farhan Akhtar to sing for AR Rahman in Blue; this will be his first song for another actor 
Farhan Akhtar

Farhan Akhtar cant stop smiling these days. Don't blame him. He received a call from Oscar winner AR Rahman, who asked him to sing for him for the film Blue. Caught completely off guard by the call, it took time for Farhan to realise that it was indeed Rahman who was talking to him on the phone. A source said, Rahman told Farhan that his voice suits a cool number that he wanted him to record for Blue. Farhan, of course, agreed immediately. It was too good an offer to resist. 

In fact, Farhan and Rahman met two days ago and spoke at length about the song. Farhan, who is currently shooting for Kartik Calling Kartik, is looking forward to the recording. Confirming the news, Farhan said, I am damn excited about singing for Rahman . I have been a great admirer of his work and have thoroughly enjoyed his music. Our meeting was wonderful. Rahman said that he decided to use my voice for his composition in Blue after he heard the Rock On!! album. He was extremely soft-spoken and humble and spoke about how the past few months have been a whirlwind ride for him. He also briefed me about the song but I dont know whether it will be right on my part to reveal anything about it. 


Fight breaks on the sets of Rajini-Ash’s Endhiran

Rajainikanth, Aishwarya and Shankar's magnum opus Robo ('Endhiran' in Tamil) is currently filming at Ramoji Film City. Although the makers are trying to keep the flick away from publicity, from the very beginning, the media always managed to get out with a little information. 

The latest news from the sets of Endhiran at RFC is, the unit is lavishly filming a crucial action sequence in the supervision of Peter Heins the action choreographer. The scenes feature Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Bachchan along with about 300 fighters. 

Sources say Peter Heins is chiseling the sequences, to give it a look of Hollywood action movie. 


Abhishek-Aishwarya to work for Mani Ratnam again!

Bollywood star couple Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan would be working with ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam once again. The couple have just finished the shooting for "Ravana" by Mani Ratnam.


Abhishek and Aishwarya share nice rapport with Mani Ratnam. As we know Ash got entry into the movie world with Tamil film Iruvar, directed by Mani at the same time Abhishek got huge recognition in Yuva.

Before this movie, Abhishek was a struggling actor only, though, he acted in 10 movies till then.

Since Mani's illness, Aishwarya and Abhishek have almost taken charge of Mani and his wellbeing.

Sources close to the star couple say that when Mani suffered from a health crisis recently, they left behind everything to attend to him and monitor his medical progress.

And now Mani Ratnam is already planning a third film with them after Raavana.

It's being said that before this, Mani was planning to make Lajjo with Aishwarya and Aamir Khan. But he was compelled for reasons beyond his control to take Kareena Kapoor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Murugadoss strikes deal with Fox Star Studios

Looks like there is no turning back for A.R. Murugadoss after the stupendous success of Ghajini. The director has now signed a deal worth Rs. 60 crores with Fox Star Studios (FSS), a production and distribution house set up as a joint venture between Twentieth Century Fox and Star Group.

According to the deal, Murugadoss will direct and execute Tamil films produced by them. Fox Star Studios will retain complete rights over the distribution and marketing of these films. It may be noted that it is the same company that marketed and distributed Danny Boyle-directed Slumdog Millionaire in India.

Director Murugadoss was not available for comment. It is also believed that this is Fox Star Studios' strategy for the year to enter into the Asian market, and the company wants to initially start producing only Tamil films and later move to other languages.

Many American production houses are increasingly showing interest in India, and are ready to produce big-budget films with the most bankable stars available today. Warner Bros has tied up with Ocher studios to produce films and are already working together for Sultan - The Warrior and Goa, directed by Venkat Prabhu.


Rahman dedicates tune to BSF warriors

A.R. Rahman is doing a great deal these days. No, it is not just about films and concerts. A couple of weeks back, he was in Calicut, performing live for the sake of AIDS affected children in a program organized by Keraleeyam. Now, he has composed and dedicated a tune exclusively for the soldiers of the Border Security Force. The song, along with a video which is now being shot will be shortly telecast on all leading TV channels. The song goes 'Hum Sena Suraksha Baal Veeron Ka Hai'. The BSF guards all international borders of our country and so this is a fitting tribute to them.

That's not all. There will be a Rahman signature at the IPL finals on Sunday. We are not talking about Sivamani's rhythms if the Chennai Superkings make it to the big day. There are reports of a grand closing ceremony being planned and Rahman's Oscar wionning composition Jay Ho will feature in the event with Bollywood 'Barbie doll' katrina Kaif performing to it.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

'Ash's tribal look in Enthiran is very glamorous'

21slid1.jpgMake-up artists have a gift -- they can make everyone look good!

And while Bollywood boasts of some gorgeous looking women, these artists can up the glam look even more.

Ask Ojas Rajani. He's done the make-up for many actresses, and done a very good job at that. While his favourites remainAishwarya Rai Bachchan, Urmila Matondkar and Malaika Arora Khan, he loves the younger actresses as well. 

I am working with Aishwarya on Action Replay and Enthiran. Even though Enthiran is my first film with Ash, I have known her for about eight years. I have done her make-up for her ads.

She has a fantastic face. She's very professional and allows you to do anything with her face. She's very open. She is one of the few actresses who has an international as well as an Indian look. She's like a princess -- she looks stunning even in minimum make-up. She knows how to carry herself well.

She is blessed with beautiful coloured eyes, eyebrows and a great pout -- they look simple yet glamourous.

We have tried 57 costumes and different looks for her in Enthiran. Her tribal look is very glamourous. She has to look like a Mexican tribal. Manish Malhotra has styled the film and done an awesome job.


Friday, May 22, 2009

AR Rahman’s Hollywood film!

rahman-21-05-09.jpgIt's official now! Universal Studios has signed up Oscar winner AR Rahman for their next venture Couples Retreat! Just a few days ago AR Rahman had disclosed that he was in talks with the Hollywood biggies to work in their films.

Couples Retreat will be directed by Peter Pelensky. The star cast includes Vince Vaughn, Christine Bell and Jason Bateman. The film, which is a romantic comedy, will have melodious tunes set by the Mozart of Madras; it was revealed by our sources. Couples Retreat is expected to be released at the end of this year.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gautham Menon’s film not dropped

Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam has not been dropped, reports sources from Kollywood. Apparently, the director of the film, Gautham Menon, is making a few changes to the script and is working on it. So far, we hear that, 60 per cent of the film has been shot. Music for Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam is being composed by Oscar winner AR Rahman. The ace music director is yet to compose music for two songs, which he is expected to do soon. 

The film will recommence its shooting after these issues have been sorted out, says sources close to the team.


Rajnikanth's Sultan not ready yet

It was in 2007 when Sultan the Warrior, India's first 3D animation film on Tamil super star Rajnikanth [Images]was revealed.

The animation film is a joint production of Adlabs [Get Quote] and Ocher Studios, the Managing Director of whom is Rajnikanth's daughter, Soundarya Rajnikanth.

When the idea to make a 3 D animation film came to her mind, Soundarya could only think of her father and his inimitable style. "You need someone stylish to get animated. I am such a fan of my father that I felt he deserved to be animated first. Appa is God to me. He is known for his style, mannerisms and gimmicks. If he could do so much in live action, imagine what he could do with animation? The sky is the limit. In Sultan too he does a lot of gimmicks. I would say this film is a daughter's dedication to her father," she told

It is 2009 now and the film which was supposed to release by 2008 end has not yet reached the theatres. Only a new still from the film has been released. It is said that the film will release only by early 2010. Let us hope the film is worth the wait.


Santosh Sivan joins team ‘Raavan’

The 'Raavan' team has been into a lot lately. First it was the director Mani Ratnam becoming ill to the point of getting hospitalized. Now it is his camera man for the film Manikandan walking out on him.

The reason for Manikandan quitting is because he seems to committed himself to a Farah Khan project that is about to begin in June. With Mani getting ill and the project stalling a getting delayed Manikandan seems to have not fulfilled his commitment to Mani Ratnam.

So what happens now? Mani Ratnam has called his old friend and ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan to complete his project 'Raavan' successfully. With more than 60 percent of the film complete and his cinematographer walking out on him Mani Ratnam is confident that Santosh will do justice to the film.

A friend in need is a friend indeed!

The Mani Ratnam – Santosh Sivan duo have churned out blockbuster films like 'Roja', 'Thalapathi', 'Iruvar' and 'Uyire' the Hindi version being 'Dilse'.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

A R Rahman for a Bond film?

Luck follows success and success follows hardwork. After the success of Slumdog millionaire and marathon of awards at Oscar Ceremony, AR Rahman has reached new heights of his career.

The latest talk is that Rahman is all set to compose his magical Tunes for the next Bond film. This would be 23rd James Bond film which will be produced by Barbara Broccoli and co producer is McDougal who earlier produced a successful movie 'Beach' jointly with Danny Boyle.

Danny Boyle is the key person who values the talent of AR Rahman and is said to have attached him into this opportunity. Good Luck Rahman we expect the same wonders in music again.


I will never leave India: AR Rahman

Music composer AR Rahman's words brought a wave of cheer to all those who had queued up to Kamarajar Arangam on Tuesday to get a glimpse of the Oscar Award winning music director. AR Rahman had agreed to be chief guest of the audio launch of Vignesh's 'Esa'.

"In case you are wondering why I have chosen to attend this function, this is the event. The father of the music director of 'Esa' was having a music troupe when I was a kid had a troupe too. It is his association that has brought me here," said the composer who was asked questions on stage.

One of the questions pointedly asked him if he were planning to settle abroad in search of a bigger music career. Responding with a firm No, Rahman said this was because his family lived here and he would not want to leave them. "Also, I have committed myself to four more projects now, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya, Endhiran, Sultan The Warrior and Raavana," said the ace musician.


Sultan the Warrior - More images



AR Rahman - the tour guide

a-r-rahman-14-05-09.jpgThe Mozart of Madras scaled new heights by winning the coveted Oscar award, making all Indians proud of his feat. The musician has been receiving some of the most enviable offers from various film industries in the country as well as abroad. In a recent interview, the music director also revealed that he would compose music for some of the prestigious Hollywood flicks in the near future. 

With his popularity in the international circles increasing with each passing day, noted television personality Oprah Winfrey has decided to feature him in her popular television talk show. She is slated to visit India in this regard. Speaking about the impeding interview, Rahman said he would personally show her around some of the best tourist attractions in the country.


100 Rajinis in Endhiran

News from the Shankar-directed Endhiran camp is that Prabhu Deva is choreographing a dance sequence involving Rajinikanth. It is said that special plans have been made to make the song a unique one. 

The buzz we hear from the Endhiran team is that this song will be shot in the blue mat format. What is so special about the blue mat format is that it has the ability to show 100 Rajinis in a single shot. 

Endhiran is a mega budget film that has super star Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead. It is directed by Shankar and music is by the Oscar winner AR Rahman.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sultan The Warrior - First images

Sultan The Warrior


Rahman unhappy with use of 'Jai Ho' in poll campaign

Music maestro AR Rahman, whose compositions in "Slumdog Millionaire" made him the first Indian to win twin Oscars, is critical of

political parties using for a poll campaign the song "Jai Ho" that he composed for Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches drama.

"I was like in the bed, I was dehydrated, exhausted, and then all these things happened, somebody told me these people are using it. I hate politics. I just want people to serve the people. I want governments, whichever government comes in, to be unbiased and say there should be justice in the country and that's my purpose in life," Rahman said in an interview.

The Congress had bought exclusive rights to the song "Jai Ho" for its poll campaign but the jingle was later dropped as the party's theme song.

In the interview, the shy composer also explains how his accolades for "Slumdog Millionaire" are also a recognition for India.

"I got very emotional when saying this is for India, when you guys truly deserve it because there are so many different film industries in India, so many different markets, Hindi film industry, Tamil film industry, Malayalam, then Bengali, so in a way I think it culminates all their aspirations and so it's here," he said.

Before he shot to stardom with the film "Roja", Rahman used to create radio jingles. He has since collaborated with international music superstars like Michael Jackson and Kylie Minogue.

When asked about his next project post-Oscars, he said: "I have a couple of offers from Hollywood. Pure American movies which I thought for the heck of it let's do it and a couple of other surprises that you'll know very soon if it works out. Big surprises I think."


Monday, May 11, 2009

Mani Ratnam seeks permission

Mani Ratnam
Director Mani Ratnam is reportedly back to work after being hospitalized a couple of weeks earlier when he complained ofuneasiness and chest pain. A source from Kollywood says that Mani is eager to shoot some of the important scenes in Sri Lanka. 

Since his movie, Ravan, is based on Ramayana and a major portion of the story is set in Sri Lanka, the director is keen to shoot some scenes there. Some of the places that Mani is interested are Lankapura and Ashok Vatika where the real story is said to have taken place. 

The Ravan team is said to be working hard to obtain the necessary permission from the governments of India and Sri Lanka to shoot the film in that country.


Ravan to go to Kerala

Director Mani Ratnam is recovering fast and the shooting of the much hyped movie Ravan with Vikram, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyamani and others in the cast, is likely to start from the third week of May in the forests of Kerala, it is expected. 

Meanwhile, Mani who is resting on doctors' advice is making necessary corrections to the shots taken so far.


Spice Group Ventures into movie production

NRI industrialist B K Modi will invest Rs 400 crore through a new firm Spice Enfotainment which will get into the film,  television and music business.

Spice Enfotainment  announced two new film projects, Buddha (to be directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar of Lagaan fame) and No Problem (to be directed by Aness Bazmee), while the company is planning to produce movies with Asian themes and actors. 
The company will be investing Rs 200 crore for the launch of his much-awaited film Buddha. The production cost of the film is slated for  Rs 100 crore, and another Rs 100 crore is for  promotion and advertising.
The pre-production of  Buddha will start on January 15, 2010 and its production will start by April 2010. It will be shot at the foothills of the Himalayas.The film is expected to be completed by the end 2010.
No Problem will be jointly produced by Spice Enfotainment and the Singapore Government, with an equal investment of Rs 20 crore by both the parties.
Spice Group a business group with interests in telecom, techonlogy, financial services and media and entertainment.
"We are not only into making Hollywood movies,we are making a full commercial Bollywood movie titled No Problem which is  in association with Anil Kapoor Productions and to be directed by Anees Bazmee.This movie will be shot entirely in Singapore and Anil Kapoor is the actor,"says BK Modi promoter of the company. 
The strategy for  this movie will be that it will be dubbed in different languages and ICM wil look after the marketing of Buddha.
For the movie No problem the budget is nearly Rs 30 to Rs 40 Crore but the complete budget will be told after the scoting as been told by BK Modi.
But there will be a  50-50 per cent investment by Spice Enfotainment and by Singapore Government for this movie.The initial investment has been made by Spice Enfotainment which is nearly Rs 20 Crore and Singapore Government has invested almost Rs 20 crore


Mani ropes in Abhi-Ash for one more flick

Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan who have worked with director Mani Ratnam share more than a professional relationship with him. 

Aishwarya had debuted in his Tamil film Iruvar and Abhishek first worked with him in Yuva. However, their bond strengthened on the sets of Guru. Since then, Mani Ratnam has adopted both of them. The couple too has reciprocated in a similar manner. When Mani suffered from a health crisis recently, they left behind everything to attend to him and monitor his medical progress. This gesture from Abhi-Ash moved Mani so much that he has become incredibility possessive and emotional about them. He’s already planning a third film with them after Raavana. 

Commenting on the Abhi-Ash relationship with the maverick filmmaker, a source says, “Abhi and Ash are also very attached to his wife Suhasini. The day Aishwarya heard about Mani’s hospitalisation in Chennai, she immediately flew out of Hyderabad to see him and rushed back for her shoot the same evening. Abhishek too couldn’t focus on anything else till Mani was out of hospital. Somewhere Mani has formed a deep emotional bond with Abhi and Ash.” 

Since Mani’s illness, Aishwarya and Abhishek have almost taken charge of Mani and his wellbeing. “They won’t allow him to resume shooting until they’re sure. And they’ll allot dates as and when his health allows. Abhishek and Ash have also promised Suhasini they’ll make sure Mani doesn’t strain himself,” the source added. 

In fact Mani is so attached to the couple that he has begun to feel the presence of one or the other is lucky for his films. The source said, “Mani was planning to make Lajjo with Aishwarya and Aamir Khan. But he was compelled for reasons beyond his control to take Kareena Kapoor. Mani was not happy with this. When Lajjo got shelved, Mani turned around and said to Ash, ‘See it’s because it was an unfair thing to do to you that this happened.’” 


Ashutosh Gowariker to direct English film on Buddha

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian telecom conglomerate Spice Group plans to focus on Asian themes in entertainment, and will set the ball rolling with an English-language film on Buddha to be directed by Ashutosh Gowariker.
New entity Spice Enfotainment will have a presence in film and TV production, broadcasting, music and gaming with an initial investment of 4 billion rupees ($81 million), chairman BK Modi said on Saturday.
Its first projects will be 'Buddha', to be directed by Gowariker ('Lagaan', 'Swades' and 'Jodhaa Akbar') and a commercial potboiler titled 'No Problem' in association with Anil Kapoor Productions to be directed by Anees Bazmee ('No Entry' and 'Welcome').
"Inspite of being an intrinsically Indian venture at heart, Spice Enfotainment will present the best of the Israel-to-Indonesia "brown" belt to the global audiences," Modi said.
It is looking at several movies coming out of India with Asian themes and actors, global language and technology, he said.
"Buddha", with a diverse cast and crew, is expected to go on the floor in May 2010 and be completed by the end of the year.
Spice follows in the heels of local firms UTV Motion Pictures and Reliance Entertainment that are looking beyond Indian shores for content and audiences.
Reliance, which has deals with more than half a dozen Hollywood production houses, also has a $1.5 billion deal with Steven Spielberg for a new studio to make films.
Meanwhile, Hollywood studios including Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Fox, Viacom and Warner Brothers are looking for a bigger share of India's entertainment business, forecast to grow by more than 9 percent annually over the next five years.
The thumping success of Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" has increased Hollywood's appetite for Indian themes and for co-productions with India, the world's most prolific movie industry.