Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rajnikanth admitted to top Singapore hospital

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has been admitted to Singapore's top hospital, the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, according to medical sources.

The 61-year-old actor arrived in Singapore on Saturday with his wife and two daughters after he was discharged from a Chennai hospital where he spent two weeks being treated for respiratory problems.

He is now at the Mount Elizabeth centre which is considered one of the best hospitals in Asia.

However the hospital has refused to comment on Rajinikanth's health saying that it was not obliged to disclose the identity of its patients when they request complete privacy.

After the 'Endhiran' star was discharged from the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai on Friday, the hospital had released a bulletin saying that the actor was "cheerful" and doing well.

"He is cheerful, taking his food himself, spending time with family. He has scheduled his trip abroad for a change and relaxation and incidentally to go in for selective checkups," said the bulletin.

The actor suffered from exhaustion on April 29, the first day of the shoot of his latest venture 'Raana' and was admitted to the Isabel Hospital in Chennai.

He was discharged the same day only to be readmitted on May 4 for allergic bronchitis and viral fever. He was then admitted to the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre on May 13 for respiratory infection and other problems.

He was shifted to a private ward last Sunday after being in the intensive care unit.

Meet A R Rahman's Canadian-Italian Bollywood singer

Natalie Di LuccioCanadian-Italian singer Natalie Di Lucciocaught India's eye when she posted a video of her singing Tu Jaane Na from Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani on YouTube. It got over million hits in a day.

Then the 21-year-old caught A R Rahman's eye when she posted her rendition of Kahin Toh Hogi Woh from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, an ARR composition, on YouTube again.

She is now touring with the Oscar-winning music composer's troupe, and will be next seen performing in Bengaluru on May 29.

Natalie talks to Patcy N about her fascination for Bollywood songs and her big break.

How did you get into singing?

I have been singing all my life; I was singing ever since I was six. I have trained in Western classical. By the time I was 18, I decided to go to university to study opera. After that I had a hard time, as now I wanted to be a main stream artist and not necessarily an opera singer. I was getting lots of singing opportunities, but I couldn't take them because I was in the school.

Why did you decide to come to India?

One day I was in my school library and got a message on MySpace from some Tusshar Pandey in India. He messaged me about coming to India. I wasn't even going to respond because you get random messages on MySpace, but I did, saying, 'Thanks so much, may be one day'.

A few months later he messaged again and said he was working on a project and wanted me to sing from Canada. So I recorded and send him what he wanted. After a few months I got a CD. My voice was on Sonu Nigam's Maha Ganesha album. That time I did not know who Sonu was.

I have an Indian aunt [married to her uncle]. She saw the album and told me how big Sonu is in India. I started looking for Sonu and his music and I loved his work. Then I also started researching more on Indian music.

During this time I decided that I wanted to leave my school. I messaged Tusshar with whom I had stayed in touch, and asked him what I should be doing. His wife is a singer and he wanted to do a fusion album. That's when I thought of coming to India, not for a career or anything, just for fun. I was 18. My parents thought I was crazy to I want to come to India, so my brother accompanied me.

Where did you live when you first came to India?

I came to India in January 2009. I lived in Mumbai and Pune most of the time and I fell in love with the place. I felt like I had been here in a past life. Other than my aunt I had never been exposed to anything about Indian culture. I roamed here for few weeks and went back to Canada. But I started missing this place.

I was in touch with Sonu on Facebook. After Michael Jackson passed away, Sonu was doing a Jackson tribute and he asked me to be a part of it. He asked me to record my version on video and send it to him. That was my second job in India. I posted that on Facebook. I guess lots of music composers saw me and my work. One day I was talking to Sonu and I told him I wanted to come to India. He asked me to come. This was in October 2009. The next day I booked my tickets. I didn't even know where I would stay. Every one thought I was crazy, as I had some stuff going in the West as well as, but something kept pulling me back to India.

When was your next trip to India?

I came back last year to meet a few music directors for a month, but I kept extending my stay, and my poor mom kept worrying. I ended up living here for three to four months.

Bollywood just sucks you in, I love Bollywood films and I love Hindi. I got a tutor to learn Hindi, as all my friends were speaking Hindi, and I was frustrated because I could not understand anything. I started getting shows and singing projects. I did ads and some acting stuff (Jaane Kahin Se Aayi Hai). I did all this for fun and some experience in Bollywood.

Then I went back to Canada. This time in Canada was the toughest time. My whole life I had wanted to be an Italian classical singer, but once I came to India I completely lost touch with it. I did not feel like I was Italian any more, because I was talking about India, going to Indian restaurants, watching Bollywood films.

During the same time I got a chance to work with Universal Records on an album. If this had happened two years back, I would have been on cloud nine, but when this happened I was not passionate anymore. I was asked to practice Italian songs and I would be listening to Bollywood songs. The album was taking lots of time to happen and it had been a while since I had returned from India. I was really missing it.

Why did you think of singing Tu Jaane Na?

My brother is a guitarist. He told me to do something on YouTube. He suggested an English cover. On YouTube I heard Tu Jaane Na and loved it. I found an instrumental piano [of the song] uploaded by a 14-year-old boy from Chennai [Sanjay Das].

I called my brother and told him I know this song and can sing it. The next day I sang the song on video. I was scared to post it, as I didn't know whether my pronunciation and my accent were right. I also posted it on Facebook, but when I went to remove it, as I did not wanted it to become a laughing stock, within four days it was the most watched video in India. I wanted to comeback to India, but I did not know how. After this video I got lots of opportunity to do shows in India and small acting offers. I figured that if I come back, I have seamless opportunities. After I came here, my life really changed. I am in India since last December.

How did you get a chance to join Rahman's tour?

His manager saw my YouTube video Kahin Toh and showed it to him. Apparently every body liked that, so they called me to join the tour.

What are the other assignments that you did?

I have worked with composers like Salim Sulaimain, Amar Mohile, Pritam, Vishal Shekhar. Hopefully I will sing a song for Rahman. My parents are happy with my achievement, though they think there is so much more still to do.

I got a chance to sing in Chalo Dilli [Moments In Life]. I have recorded a Hindi song, too. I am still taking Hindi classes. My Hindi is good now; I mean I can understand it. I am forcing myself to speak it now. I have told my friends to speak to me only in Hindi. When I sing a song I translate each word to understand it better. So far I have sung three Hindi songs and uploaded them on YouTube: Tu Jaane Na, Kahin Toh and Pehla Nasha [Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander].

Why Pehla Nasha?

One of my goals is to decrease the gap between the East and the West. Lots of people have this vision of Slumdog Millionaire in America because that's what they have been fed. They don't know how amazing India is. It is one of my goals to show what India is. It is not just poverty and slums; India is about spreading love to all types of people. I thought of Pehla Nasha, because to me it is just not about first love, but about love for India and love between different kinds of people.

Which places in India have you seen?

I have been to Shimla, Agra, Delhi, Goa, Pune and Kutch. I will be going to Chennai, Nagpur, Bengaluru with my tours with Rahman. I loved Goa and Pune, Lonavala, Amby Valley. Every place is so different; it has different language and different cultures. I like something about every place.

What are the things that you like about India?

I like the family values in India. Now when I go home, I love my parents so much more. I realised that for Indians parents are very important, but there everyone is so busy that we don't appreciate our family. [I also like] The value people here have for friendship. I have better friends here than I have had in my entire life. There we are in bigger houses, so we are different from one another. Also since it is very cold, we stay indoors most of the time, and there is no social life. In Mumbai everyone is in close proximity.

The food here is too good. I love spicy food; my favourite food is Sabudana Khichdi, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Mutton Rogan Josh. There is so much good food here that it is a problem to stay slim.

Do you miss home?

I do miss home. I speak to my parents every day. My brother came and stayed with me for a month

What next?

I haven't planned anything, but I am sure I will be here for some more time. I don't see myself soon in Canada. [But] I don't know where I will be in my old age. I am talking to directors for a few film roles. I am also working on a Hollywood documentary about my journey to India. [Filmmaker] Shekhar Kapur is associated with it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ar Rahman, Srk And Yash Chopra

AR Rahman has said that he is happy to work with the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra. The musician said that he is humbled by the faith that the director has in him. Speaking about the offer he had bagged, AR Rahman had said, “I am very excited to work with Yashji and I am humbled by his faith in me for his film. I have seen that Yashji always portrays music as the inevitable essence of love and divinity in his movies. I hope, as a team, we can bring tremendous joy to all.”

Yash Chopra had also confirmed his association with AR Rahman and said that Shah Rukh Khan will play the lead role. He said the SRK is like a family member to him. The film will go on floors once Aditya Chopra finalizes the script. Yashji also confirmed that there will be two heroines in the film and they will be finalized shortly.

‘Rana’ progresses despite superstar’s ill health

We are all aware that the superstar took ill on the first day after shooting for the big-budget ‘Rana.’ Rajini, who was first admitted at St. Isabelle Hospital, Mylapore, allegedly for dehydration and breathlessness, was discharged on the same day only to return to the hospital with more complications a few days later. The medicos carried out a battery of tests on the superstar and concluded that he was suffering from allergic bronchitis.

After spending a few days in the hospital the superstar was discharged and advised complete rest for a few days. Now when all of us thought the superstar was getting back to normalcy comes this news that he has been admitted to Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre for suffering from pneumonia and gastro intestinal problems.

But the director of ‘Rana,’ K.S. Ravikumar is positive that the superstar will be back with a bang. The director who recently came back after finalizing locations for filming in Thailand has revealed that he will be flying to London soon for the same reason. Sources also indicate that a song has been filmed on Deepika Padukone, the lead lady of the period movie.

We had earlier mentioned that Rajini sports three avatars in ‘Rana,’ and the film will see three heroines belonging to three different generations.

There are rumors running wild that the superstar is seriously ill. There are also reports doing the rounds that the superstar might be flying to UK for treatment. But the family of the superstar has either been quashing rumors or remaining quiet about it all.

We truly hope the superstar gets on to his feet and regains his normal health…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

“rajini Won’t Act For The Next Six Months”

Rajinikanth’s brother Sathyanarayana Rao spoke to a private television channel about his health. He said that Rajini is responding to treatment and there is no cause of concern. Sathyanarayana said that Rajini will not get back to acting for at least six months as the doctors have advised him complete rest.

He added that he feels Rajini’s crash diet to tone down his body for Rana is the main cause for his health condition now.

On the other hand, Dhanush had said that the Superstar is fine and there is no reason to go abroad for treatment. Some of the prominent visitors that Rajiin had yesterday were Chandrababu Naidu, Narendra Modi and Cho Ramaswamy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mani Ratnam To Recreate ‘alaipayuthey’ Effect?

The news about Mani Ratnam’s ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ shelved has disappointed the fans of Vijay and Mahesh Babu. However, Mani Ratnam’s team members are reportedly happy that he didn’t involve in the project that is profitably not viable.

The latest we hear from the closer sources is Mani Ratnam is glimpsing through three different scripts that he had crafted before the completion of ‘Raavanan’. It looks like his next preference is a breezy rom-com starring newcomers in lead roles. The inside reports mention that audition for new faces is going on at initial levels. However, the technical team will have P.C. Sriram and A.R. Rahman, who are considered as the lucky factors of Mani Ratnam’s films.

Bolton Collaborates With Rahman For New Album

American singer-songwriter Michael Bolton has collaborated with Grammy award winning music composer AR Rahman for his latest album Gems - The Duets Collection.

The new album, to be released on June 21 on Sony music, will feature productions by acclaimed songwriters, producers and musicians including David Foster, Dann Huff, Rudy Perez, besides Rahman.

"The opportunity to work with legendary talent like David Foster, Dan Huff, A R Rahman and some of the absolute greatest singers and recording artists in the entire world was inspiring. I can't wait to share the special music we all created with the world," Bolton said in a statement.

Oscar winning Indian composer Rahman's song Sajna from Couples Retreat will be part of the album.

"When I first met Michael, we got to talking about music, philosophy, the universe and many things that we had in common," shares Rahman. "I wanted Michael to do a bit of singing that he's never done before, without compromising on his musicality."

Gems - The Duets Collection also includes musical collaborations with Grammy award-winning American band Rascal Flatts, international pop star Seal, Australian singing sensation Delta Goodrem, and famed late vocalist Eva Cassidy.

Peter Haynes nominated for international award

Popular South Indian film stunt master Peter Haynes has been nominated for 2011 Taurus World stunt awards for his work in the film 'Raavan'. Peter was nominated in the 'Best Action in a foreign film' category for his work in Maniratnam's film 'Raavan' which released as 'Villain' in Telugu. Taurus World Stunt academy in Los Angeles, California gives away these awards every year.

"2011 Taurus World Stunt Awards Foundation event will be held on Saturday evening, May 14, 2011 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California. Winners for the 2011 TWSA will be announced at the event. It promises to be an exciting evening and we hope to see you." said a message sent by the academy to Peter.

These awards are considered prestigious in the field of stunts men and the award ceremony is telecast on entertainment channels in USA every year.

Peter is a student of veteran stunt master Kanal Kannan.Peter worked for blockbuster films like 'Magadheera', 'Shivaji','Aparichitudu',et al.He even trained Allu Arjun for his upcoming film 'Badrinath'.

We are yet to see if Peter wins this award.

Mani plans a mass film

Now that it has been almost confirmed that Mani Ratnam has dropped his magnum opus project based on Kalki’s ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, we hear that the director would start a fresh film, that too at the earliest.

“This one would be a contemporary entertainer with mass elements, quite on the lines of the ace filmmaker’s earlier ventures Agni Natchathiram, Nayagan and Thalapathi,” say sources in the know.

A popular actor will play the lead role, they say and add: “As in the past, Mani Ratnam may not make an official announcement on this project too till he completes considerable part of the shoot.”

“Will the protagonist be Vijay, who has been roped in by Mani for Ponniyin Selvan?” To this question, the sources say: “Though there is a possibility for it, the director has to take the final call.”

AR Rahman Lends Track to New Michael Bolton Album

Michael Bolton is gearing up for the release of his new album, Gems. Bolton is using the album as a platform to work with artists from around the globe. So, it only seems natural that Mr. Bolton would want to recruit the help of Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman. Apparently, Rahman has given Bolton a reworked version of his track “Sanja” from the film Couples Retreat. Although Rahman was originally supposed to sing the chorus on the track, Bolton will now be recording the entire track himself, including the chorus which is sprinkled with Hindi.

The collaboration almost didn’t happen, as Rahman was committed to other projects before being contacted by Michael. Rahman was originally asked to produce a completely new single for Bolton, but wasn’t able to meet Michael’s proposed deadline. Intent on working with Rahman, Michael asked the Oscar-winner for a song he could reinterpret on his album. Rahman gave Michael the right to use “Sanja”, and the rest is history!

Do you guys think this is a good team-up? Or, do you think AR is wasting his talents?

Deepika Padukone can’t stop thanking her stars to have landed ‘Rana’

DP got the opportunity of her career by being offered to play superstar Rajnikanth’s leading lady in upcoming flick ‘Rana’. It is the first time the dusky actress will be working in a Tamil film.
She revealed her happiness at a press conference by saying, "I will not even call this a dream come true because it seemed so impossible that I did not even dream that this would happen one day.”

She is currently busy shooting a song sequence at a studio in Mumbai. She said to a daily, "Friday was my first day of shoot. We are shooting a song sequence to a number tuned by A R Rahman, the composer of the film."

Deepika has a lot of respect for Rajnikanth and considers him to be one of the legendary actors in the country. "It can`t get bigger and better than this. I`m south Indian myself and have long wanted to debut in Kollywood with a big film. Though I`ve been listening to scripts, it was when ‘Rana’ came along that I decided that this is the one for me. I think it`s destiny." Has she seen any of the Superstar`s films? "I`ve only seen ‘Robot’ till now."

So after green-eyed actress Aishwarya Rai played the leading lady to the epic star it’s now time for Deepika to get the limelight. Well we can’t agree less it is one of those big opportunities she has got in her career. And we wish the tall beauty all the very best for her dream venture.

Mani is likely to drop Ponniyin Selvan

Director Mani Ratnam was actively involved in the groundwork of 'Ponniyin Selvan' and was making all arrangements to get the film on floors .

He had in fact roped in Vijay, Mahesh Babu, Anushka, Priyanka Chopra and others for this movie. But, it now looks like, the film may be dropped. Sources close to Mani Ratnam say that the director is likely to drop the project but has not disclosed any reasons for it.

Several actors in the past have expressed their desire to make 'Ponniyin Selvan' and notable among them are MG Ramachandran and Kamal Haasan. Though, both of them announced the project they could not go further with it, it may be recalled.

It seems that a similar thing had happened with Mani too.

Deepika Padukone Will Essay 17th Century Glamor in Rana

Deepika Padukone.
Deepika Padukone , 25, will portray 17th century glamor in her trilingual - Tamil, Telugu and Hindi – film Rana with co-star Rajnikanth. Photo Credit: Sawf News

April 30, 2011, (Sawf News) - Deepika Padukone , 25, will portray 17th century glamor in her trilingual - Tamil, Telugu and Hindi – film Rana with co-star Rajnikanth.

She shot her first scene for the film Friday, April 29 in Chennai, a solo dance sequence scored by AR Rahman.

"It'll be a period look, as the film is set in the 17th century, my look and hair will be done in a very different way. Costume designer Neeta Lulla, who has handled films like Devdas, has worked hard on my look and come out with brilliant results. It's a 17th century look with a south Indian touch," Deepika told TOI.

Deepika's 60-year-old co-star Rajnikanth fell sick on day one of shoot and had to be rushed to the hospital. He has been advised complete rest for a few days.

According to director K. S. Ravikumar, Rajnikanth is anyways needed much later in the schedule; his role will be shot in London.

Rajnikanth in a warrior look from Rana.
A bearded Rajnikanth is seen in a warrior look in the first look poster of Rana. Photo Credit: Eros Entertainment

Deepika gushes about her pairing with the South superstar.

"Rajini sir wished me success at the pooja. I'm eagerly awaiting to start work on the scenes that feature both of us."

Rajni will be seen in three looks - young, middle aged and old in the film. Deepika has been paired with him in his young age role. She is the only confirmed female cast till now. Two more female leads will feature opposite Rajni.

The film additionally co-stars Sonu Sood. Amitabh Bachchan will play a cameo.

The film is scheduled for a summer 2012 release

AR Rahman to score for the Kannada ‘Varalaru’!

‘Varalaru’ by KS Ravikumar that featured Ajith, Asin and Kanika in the lead roles was released a few years back in Tamil with Ajith playing three roles, the father and twin sons.

Sources say that the movie is being remade in Kannada as ‘Godfather.’ In fact, 'Godfather' was the original title that was chosen for the Tamil version but wasn’t used so that the production house can experience tax exemption benefits from the Government if the movie is named in Tamil.

The Kannada version will be directed by PC Sriram, who was the cameraman for the original version. AR Rahman who had scored the music for the original movie will be composing fresh tunes for the Kannada version. While the original version consisted of nine tracks, the remake will have only six tracks. The original score music was used for a Kannada flick, ‘Sajani.’ Anand Audio has signed the contract for the audio rights.

AR Rahman’s career started in Karnataka, but this is said to be AR’s first official entry into Kannada film industry! Stay updated with latest film tidbits at IndiaGlitz!

Mahesh Babu and Mani Ratnam ‘Ponniyin Selvan called off

Gossip winery is abuzz that Mani Ratnam’s dream project Ponniyin Selvan that is to be made with Mahesh Babu, Vijay and Arya had been put on the backburner! This film is a historical movie set in period backdrop and needs crores of rupees.

A rough estimate says that Ponniyin Selvan needs at least Rs. 100 crores. That is a huge amount and many producers including few corporate groups are not ready to risk on this movie. Also this film lacks commercial elements says the buzz. Hence, no one is willing to spend so much money on it and Mani Ratnam’s previous film Raavan’s result is making them to think twice.

Hence, Mahesh Babu, Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan is called off for the moment. It will go to sets if any producer comes forward to invest 100 crores in it. Bad news indeed.

What Happened To Ponniyin Selvan?

Rumormongers in Kollywood say that Ponniyin Selvan may be dropped. Though the reason for this is not out, the rumors are getting strong day by day. At a stage when all the actors and actresses were said to be finalized, this comes as surprise to many. Also director Mani Ratnam went on a tour recently to scout for locations to shoot this trilingual.

Vijay and Mahesh Babu were roped in to play the male leads while Anushka and Priyanka Chopra were touted to be their onscreen pairs, it may be recalled.

Sources close to the director say that Ponniyin Selvan may be postponed and that the director has already conveyed this message to Mahesh Babu. Let’s wait for an official announcement on this project.

Monday, May 02, 2011

AR Rahman to score for the Kannada ‘Varalaru’!

‘Varalaru’ by KS Ravikumar that featured Ajith, Asin and Kanika in the lead roles was released a few years back in Tamil with Ajith playing three roles, the father and twin sons.

Sources say that the movie is being remade in Kannada as ‘Godfather.’ In fact, 'Godfather' was the original title that was chosen for the Tamil version but wasn’t used so that the production house can experience tax exemption benefits from the Government if the movie is named in Tamil.

The Kannada version will be directed by PC Sriram, who was the cameraman for the original version. AR Rahman who had scored the music for the original movie will be composing fresh tunes for the Kannada version. While the original version consisted of nine tracks, the remake will have only six tracks. The original score music was used for a Kannada flick, ‘Sajani.’ Anand Audio has signed the contract for the audio rights.

AR Rahman’s career started in Karnataka, but this is said to be AR’s first official entry into Kannada film industry! Stay updated with latest film tidbits at IndiaGlitz!