**** Tamil Movie News ****
- by Sandya -
***Jaanakiraman-naa? Who is he?.. or that's probably what Nagma is saying by now. She is tired of being Sarat's salvaging mechanism/excuse everytime he ends up goofing up something. News is that Nag and Sarat have called it 'quits' with their nice jolly love affair, as it appears that Nagma is tired of feeling vulnerable and taken advantage of, whenever Sarat wants to move up the status ladder in Chennai. Then again, none of this has really been confirmed yet. On the other hand, Saratkumar has his hands full with the divorce proceedings with his wife Chaya, the elections and the big hospital that he is currently building. To add spice to matters at hand, Nagma has given up several plum chances in Tamil movies recently, which she thoroughly regrets now. Some were given up in the name of Sarat, while others were in the name of Rambha and call sheet troubles. She was offered Devayani's role in Suryavamsam, but she feared that they would stereotype her as Sarat's pair permanently and rejected the offer. The woes continued, as she was asked to sign on to Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar, for which she cited commitments in Kannada at the exact time when NINI shootings were to resume Meena gobbled the chance. Then came the excellent opportunity to star with Kamalahassan in Kaadhala Kaadhala, which Nagma rejected, as she felt starring in the film would rejuvenate the continued jagadaas she had had with Rambha during Jaanakiraman. Finally, Nagma blew her last good chance in acting with Arjun in K.S.Ravikumar's Kondaattam. Chance kidaiththa udan, Simran 'labak' yendru koththi kondu pOi vittaar!.. With her sister Roshni smiling over starring in Balasekaran's Thulli Thirindha Kaalam and other younger sis Jothika, majorly grinning over bagging the heroine role in Vasanth's Poovellaam Kaettupaar, Paavam Nagma, has nothing much to smile about, as of this moment, despite signing three new films including Simmaraasi with Saratkumar, under the Super Good Films' banner with direction by Erode Soundhar (Naattaamai dialogue writer!)
***While Manivannan is making a cool 6 lakhs a day per shooting, Goundamani-yin nilamai adho gadhi dhaan! In an effort to get more chances, Goundar brought down his total 45 lakh salary to a mere 15 lakhs. Doesn't seem to matter much, as Goundar's market has been completely washed out, thanks to Manivannan. Proof of that is Goundar not starring in a single Pongal release in 1998. Meanwhile, Vadivelu has joined the 'elite' gumbal of comedians in tamil cinema, as he smartly grabbed a role in Kaadhala Kaadhala alongside Cho, M.S.Vishwanathan, Crazy Mohan, Manivannan, Mouli and a big pattaalam of 'sirippu' nadigargal.
***On the wrong side of the coin are quite a few heroines these days. One of them is Saakshi, who always came tardy or never showed up at all for shootings of R.B.Choudhri's Jaali. Bored with her dimmikkis, Choudhri signed Keerthi Reddy instead. Rajshri also joins the list, as she was dumped from Arichandra for some unknown reason as Priya Raman replaced her. And then, there is the very lucky Suvalakshmi, who was signed to star in R.B.Choudhri's Sollaamale, as things soon changed when she had to back out because of call sheet troubles. Enter Kausalya to balance everything. Funny how dumping and backing out has become a tradition in tamil cinema, there's more!.. IniyavaLe, which stars Prabhu in the lead role was initially projected to be a three heroine subject, with Suvalakshmi, Keerthi Reddy and Madhubala playing the key roles. Soon, the heroine count came down to two, as Keerthi and Gouthami were in! Then, Gouth had call sheet problems and said 'tata.' Enter Madhubala, who left just as quickly for the same reasons as Gouth. Now, besides Keerthi, the director is running around to find a new heroine. Amongst the many who have said "See you later, alligator" (not literally, of course:-) to Keerthi, director Bala, currently on the sets of Sethu, is definitely one. Appears that Keerthi is out and Rajshri is in.
Villains are also subject to goofs too. Mansoor Alikhan had signed to be the villain in Nilaave Vaa, the much publicized masala flick starring Vijay under the V.J. films banner to be distributed by K.T.Kunjumon and directed by Venkatesh (Mahaprabhu.) Nobody knows what prompted Mansoor to return the advance of Rs. 50,000 and take back his 40 days of call sheets. Anandraj currently substitutes Mansoor rather nicely. Final honors go to Simran and Rambha. The film initially titled Master, began production three years ago and was doomed as producers were in deep financial trouble. The film has resumed under the title Yedhirum Pudhirum. Rambha was the first to be offered the one song to dance in the film. But she rejected the chance, besides demanding a huge sum in return. Smart Simran cashed in instead for a fraction of Rambha's salary, by dancing with Raju Sundharam for Thottu thottu pesum sulthaana, thotta-vudan nenjil thillaana under Vidyasagar's music (No 'kavarchi' element in Ed.Pud. so far, considering both Sangita and Radhika are in the cast! No wonder the Simran factor). This time around, Sims happens to the V.I.P. who won out.
***Troubled times for most selai-ya izhuththu porththi koLLum women in Kodambakkam, including Sangita, Ranjitha, Sukanya, Revathi, Bhanupriya, Neena and others, while Gouthami and Vinitha (left) are worried about 'velai illaa thindaattam' after the completion of Shaasanam and Veera Thaalaattu respectively. Sang, Ranj, Suk, Bhanu and Neens are in bigger trouble as some of them are caught begging with producers and directors to give them a chance to regain market. Meanwhile, Revathi is playing Murali's mother in Ratna (if things had to get worse, now would be the time!) And yet, there are those like Nadhiya who has gone back once again, only to end up playing an amma role in Maniratnam's next movie. Sad but true! Aside from the soga stories, there are heroines like Maheswari (right, below), who has gained a few pounds in an effort to look better on screen (forget that she stole Rambha's part in Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar). Roja is pre-occupied with her real estate business in Bangalore, as she contemplates producing a tamil film soon (Adhiradipadai-la kai-yai suttundadhu poraadhaa?). She is inclined towards acting in Telegu movies today, as she is definitely tired of competing with the supposed kavarchi puyals in Chennai.
With Annan and Sundarapandian still under her belt, Swathi (image on the left) is in a dream world of her own, as she is rumoured to be involved with an already married still photographer. He presented her with a car recently. As actress Gita is set to tie the knot anytime soon, so is Chitra (the one who is extremely popular in television serials). Though she is currently kodi katti parandh-ing in the industry, Simran has other problems. Many of the popular politicians have been bugging her in her hotel room, either in person or on the phone. Nowadays, she tries to give call sheets for one-day shootings as much as possible, so that she can get out of Chennai as soon as possible. Soundarya (right ) happens to be the only one, who seems to be going about her business as if nothing is unusual in her life. Except that something is, she joins the elite group of heroines who got the lip-to-lip smooch by Kamal. (Courtesy: Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa :-)
***The Tamil Nadu Film Federation is the only big committee left in Chennai that still shows signs of the strike that happened last year. They decided to order producers to keep away the song and scene bits from their films from Doordarshan, Sun T.V. and other cable channels. But Marumalarchchi producer, Henry, along with a few others, went against the decision and gave song and scene bits to television stations. With the entire Producer's Council under the leadership of K.R.G. wanting to break into two, K.R.G. declared that severe action should be taken against Henry and the others. Henry has started gathering other producers on his side on a signature campaign against K.R.G. Interestingly, Henry's Marumalarchchi was the only film released for Pongal that showed a decent return, while all other films fell straight on their faces. On a side note, Kamalahassan's Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa's song bits have already aired on Sun T.V. against the orders of the Tamil Nadu Film Federation. Adding to the mess at hand, a proposal for a 40% cut in production costs has also been put into effect, without giving any guidelines as to how to effectively implement it. How producers like A.M.Ratnam and K.T.Kunjumon can be expected to stay under these kind of restrictions, only the lord knows!.
***Films scheduled to go into production or in production already***
***Big news from Cheran (left) land, as Paaraseega Roja will take off to a grand start soon. After a tremendously successful rout of Pongal and Deepavali films in 1997 with his Bharathi Kannamma and Porrkaalam, Director Cheran begins his much touted third directorial venture, Paaraseega Roja with Murali playing the lead. Dharamchand Lungat, who produced his first film in 1997 in Kaadhali, is back to produce this big bucks flick. Cheran is said to be running around looking for a heroine right now and is trying his hand at signing Aishwarya Rai or Kajol (Ayyo! Meena yenna aachchu?). He is hoping that if one of these heroines sign the film, he could also release it in Telegu and Hindi. Since the film's subject is city-based, Cheran is shooting most of it in Dubai and picturizing the songs in Switzerland. Another interesting bit is about Cheran signing Shammi Kapoor to do a small role in the film. 1998-il Porrkaalam thodarumaa? Only the year will tell..
***More Indhiyans in the picture for Producer A.M.Ratnam who is way over his head in producing films. Besides the mega budgeted Kaadhalar Dhinam directed by Kadhir, Ratnam is also busy working with Director K.S.Ravikumar on their next venture, Nattpukaaga with Saratkumar. He has also scheduled a film with Sundhar C. as director, which is predicted to be the costliest film compared to Ratnam's previous productions. And then, Ratnam pulls off a major surprise by signing V.Sekhar to direct his next film, Ellame Pondaatti Dhaan, which deals with the role of women in the success of men, with a few political angles. Radhika stars as a politician, Manivannan plays a important character role, while Ramki and Sanghavi are hired to sing and dance for the film :-) Producer 'Kalaipuli' Thaanu raked in so much cash with V.I.P, that he has decided to sign S.D.Sabhapadhy again to direct his next production. Thaanu is said to be trying very hard to sign one of the big name stars for this film. The biggest news today is probably that Sundhar & Kush are doing a film together. M.S.V.Murali was once excited that he would produce Naatarasan Kottai to star Jayaram and to be directed by Sundhar C. By the film got trapped and never recovered. So, M.S.V.M. is back producing a film titled Annie Besant, though a milder Anaamika might be what he would settle for as a title eventually. Sundhar C. assumes the director's role, while Parthiban plays the hero and Kushboo writes the story.
***Continuing on his 'raasa' series from Yettuppatti Raasa, Director Kasthuriraja is swamped with two projects. One is Veera Thaallaattu, which seems to have been in production for the last two years with significant cast changes, including the tossing of Napolean and the arrival of Rajkiran to play a guest role. Kushboo & Vinitha play Murali's love interests, as Radhika acts as Rajkiran's pair. The film is almost nearing completion, as Ilaiyaraja composes music and Vijayalakshmi Kasthuriraja produces this 'high-on-the-tears-and-handkerchiefs' flick. The other project is titled En Aasai Raasave (on the right) with a stellar cast that includes Sivaji Ganeshan, Murali, Suvalakshmi, Roja, Radhika, Vijaykumar, Manorama and many others (Paavam Napes, he was obviously told that he could not dance Karakaattam with an veech aruva :-). Pyramid V.Natarajan produces this film, which has expectations mounting by the minute. Murali, Suvalakshmi and almost everyone in the cast are busy taking lessons in Thevaraattam and Karakaattam (maybe Kush could give a few tips from her experience (she hurt her leg badly in the process) in Naattupura Paattu!) Manivannan is joyously playing a 'thavil vidhwaan' in the film, along with Vadivelu, Senthil, Charlie and Thyagu scheduled to provide comic relief.
***Birthdays in March (New Section!)***
A Very Happy Birthday to all the stars celebrating a birthday in March!..
More To Come Soon!..
Special Thanks to Tamizh Selvan, our Chennai Correspondent, who has sent us extensive tamil cinema information and news, which has been used in this article.
Special Thanks to Suresh Babu (U.K.) for sharing information on the Sarat-Nagma rumours.
My Sources: Cinema Express, Vanna Thirai, Thamizhan Express, Hero, New
Filmaalaya, Hindu, Anandha Vikatan, Kumudham and Variety Cinema Directory (1998, 6th
Original Photographs: Ananda
Vikatan & Kumudham