***Ellorukkum Engal Manamaarndha Deepavali Nal Vaazhththukkal***

Usually, we all sit together and guess over what Kamal's and Rajini's next film will be, who will be the heroine, the director and the music director.  For a change this year, all of us gather together and guess what films will release for Deepavali.. Thanks to the strike at hand, we have a shortage of films actually releasing on October 30th, 1997!.. Luckily, latest news from India indicates that we had a grand release of a handful of films for this Deepavali.  The following contains films which have been positively released and a few films which are part of Tamil Thirai Valai's 'guess' list as possible entries into the Deepavali box office rat race!


Deepavali Releases



Production: (Gentleman Film International) K.T.Kunjumon

Story: K.T.Kunjumon Dialogues: 'Crazy' Mohan

Screenplay & Direction: Praveen Gandhi

Editing: B. Lenin & V. T. Vijayan

Cinematography: Ajay Vincent Art Direction: 'Thotta' Tharani

Dance Choreography: Raju Sundaram, Farah Khan & L. L. Cool Jayanth

Stunts: Vikram Dharma

Music: A.R.Rahman Lyrics: Vaali & Vairamuthu

Starring: Nagaarjuna, Sushmita Sen, S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, Raghuvaran, Girish Karnad, Vadivelu, Sugumari, Kavitha, Vinodhini & Ajay Ratnam..

If you are looking for grandeur in tamil films this Deepavali, after starving for decent films during the strike, Rakshakan might just be your ticket to good ol' masala fun!.. With Gentleman, Kaadhalan, and Kaadhal Desam becoming three major feathers in Kunjumon's cap, he has quite a lot invested in the success of Rakshakan this year.. As his losses pile up as a result of the strike, you can definitely be sure that K.T.K. is counting on striking gold at the box office again!..

A Still from Rakshagan (Courtesy: Anandha VikatanAs Kunjumon himself says, "Rakshakan padam kaadhal, action, sentiment pozhudhu pokku amsangal niraindha tharamaana oru entertainment padam-aaga irukkum."  Of course, Nag and Sush made things a lot easier as they walked hand in hand all over Chennai (and during the cassette release function of Kaadhal Desam last year).. With rumours of their love affair spreading like wild fire, Rakshakan earned itself a few popularity points along the way.  Interestingly, Rakshakan pada poojai was held in January '96 and no shooting seems to have taken place till the beginning of '97!.. So, how have they managed to keep mum for such a long time!..

In the midst of such silence, Art Director 'Thotta' Tharani seriously got down to build a huge set in Mahabalipuram (probably in the same place that KTK bought a plot from Producer G.Venkateswaran for sets for "Kaadhal Desam.") TT built an elaborate bungalow, swimming pool etc. as a part of the heroine's (Sushmita) andha puram, as well as a huge five star hotel where the villains lived (Raghuvaran) and a landing area for helicopters.  Besides this, Tharani also created 8 sets for the song
"Love Attack" with Nagaarjuna and Sushmita dancing alongside 50 other dancers.

Furthermore, the song "Mercury Pookkal Model Nilakkal" was picturized in the midst of many small airplanes, in Bangalore.  "Rakshakan" has been shot all over India including locations in Kulu Manali, Mumbai, Goa, Ooty, Rajasthan and Delhi.  Kunjumon claims "Rakshakan" to be the most expensive film ever to be taken in Indian history so far!.. In addition to taking a big step of dubbing a Tamil movie in English (KTK claims this would be the first time!), he plans to dub the film in Telegu and Hindi.

The latest news from the Kunjumon camp indicates that KTK is a bit puzzled (angry?) and disappointed that Shankar had built a much bigger set for Jeans in the same place he had created a set for Rakshakan..

Rakshakan comes soon to a theater near you in Cinemascope and in DTS Sound!



Production: R. K. Selvamani

Dialogues: Liyakath Alikhan Editing: Udhaya Shankar
Cinematography: M.V. Paneerselvam Art Direction: Aarumugam
Dance Choreography: Krishna Reddy Stunts: 'Raaki' Rajesh
Music: Vidyasagar Lyrics: Vairamuthu & Arunmozhi
Story, Screenplay & Direction: R. K. Selvamani

Starring: Mamooty, Shilpa Shirodhkar, Roja, Jeeva, Sumithra, Jayaganesh, Anandaraj, Charanraj & Mansoor Alikhan..

The RKS - Liyakath Alikhan koottani have joined hands once again, after the rip roaring success of Makkal Aatchi two years ago!.. Since a series of Selvamani's films mannai kavvu-fied at the box office, RKS decided to bank on the formula Arasiyal film for this Deepavali.. Luckily, Selvamani's efforts might just pay off, as Mamooty also returns, this time as an "Amalaakka Pirivu" officer who stands for "nermai, nyaaygam, ozhungu" etc. etc.

Still from Arasiyal (Courtesy: Anandha VikatanR.K.S. vehemently claims that Arasiyal is not about politics, but about one's man contact with politics, leading to affect his family and professional life.  Arasiyal promises to be the 'drama oriented' film with 'kaara shaara' scenes involving "Hawala Moshadis" and "Marma Gumbal entering Mamooty's home to steal a secret file".. Shilpa Shirodhkar adds spice to the drama as Mamooty's pair, while Roja and Jeeva play Mam's sisters..

Arasiyal has been shot in Punjab's Golden Temple (for the song Vaaraai En Thozhiye), Jaipur, Goa, Delhi and Chaalakkudi.. If indeed Arasiyal is as quick witted and smart in dialogues and screenplay as Makkal Aatchi, it might raise a few eyebrows in its direction this Deepavali!..



Production: Shogun Films (R.Mohan)

Story & Direction: Suresh Krishna Screenplay: Suresh Krishna & Anandhu
Dialogues: 'Crazy' Mohan Editing: Suresh Urs
Cinematography: M. Saravannan Art Direction: Magi
Music: Deva Lyrics: Vaasan
Dance Choreography: Brinda

Starring: (New) Rajeev Krishna & Sulekha, Vijaykumar, Srividya, Raghuvaran, Bhanupriya, Delhi Ganesh & Krishnan..

Don't let the title deceive you as this film proposes to be a lot more interesting than it appears!.. Forget the newcomers, Bhanupriya is the one who is thalai kaal puriyaamal happy about the film!  She feels that this will be the right comeback film in tamil for her, as she stars as Raji Mami, an Iyengar Mami clad in madishaar pudavai throughout the film!.. Bhanu's acting was appreciated so much that both Suresh Krishna and R.Mohan left her a bouquet of flowers as a surprise in her car at the end
of a day's shooting!.. Of course, Bhanu mel vechcha ice-il, mayangi vittaar!..

AAHA poster (Courtesy Cinema Express)While everybody else gloats about 'brammaandam' in their films, Suresh Krishna has tried his hand with a new type of 'brammaandam,' uniquely his own.. For an 8 minute song in the film, Suresh Krishna, Art Director Magi and Cinematographer Saravannan transformed the entire Nathella Sulochana Kalyaana Mandapam to look like there was a real wedding happening there that day!.. Hundreds of Mylapore Mamis came to the mandapam on their own accord to participate in the shooting, plus hundreds of supporting actors and actresses did their share to make the occassion special.  Saravannan pambaram poll suzhandu suzhandu, took shots on his steady cam and other special cameras for the scene.  The entire song was shot in two seperate shots, as Vijaykumar, Bhanupriya, Rajeev Krishna, Sulekha and Srividya acted in the elaborate nalangu scene, each person receiving a few lines to sing wishing the newly married couple (Ra.K. & S.) well!..

What made this wedding scene special was that a real gold thaali was made for Sulekha to wear for the scene.  But soon after the day's shooting, Suresh Krishna, the cast and crew of Aahaa conducted the wedding of a poor couple deeply in love (but could not afford an expensive ceremony!)  That gold thaali made for the shooting went around the newly married girl's neck!..

Aahaa could have its shares of "UUUHS" and "AAAAHS" after all!..



Production: Kavithaalaya (K.Balachandar)

Story, Screenplay, Dialogues & Direction: Agathiyan

Editing: Lancy Mohan

Cinematography: Suriyan

Art Direction: Yoga Magi

Music: Deva

Lyrics: Agathiyan & Vaasan

Starring: Prakashraj, Neena (new), Manivannan, Janakaraj & Balu Anand


An over-hyped drama directed by Agathiyan (who won a national award for his screenplay and direction of Kaadhal Kottai last year!)  The fact that K.Balachandar had excitedly signed Agathiyan to direct this film will probably continue to remain its biggest highlight!..

"Vidukadhai" delivers a story of a middle-aged man and his physical and mental agony while falling in love with a young woman, less than half his age!.. Neena, who was most famous for her role as a child artist in "Keladi Kanmani," plays the role of the beautiful young maiden for this film, while Prakashraj plays the lead!..

Still from Vidukadhai (Courtesy: Anandha Vikatan)The highlight of the film continues to be the heroine, Neena, who has grown taller from her Keladi Kanmani days, but her innoncent face has not changed much!   Indeed, the puppy fat and childish smile prevalent among teenagers like her, has become Neena's greatest asset!.. After KK, Neena was stuck in a rather ikkettaana nilai.   She was too old to act as a child and too young to transform into a heroine.   So, she mootai katti-fied acting and continued her education.  Having completed 10th grade, Neena suddenly received an invitation by Director Sharan (who is directing Kaadhal Mannan with Ajeethkumar) to star as the female lead in his film!.. But Agathiyan, who also had the opportunity to see the picture, almost immediately made up his mind that Neena would be his ideal heroine for Vidukadhai.   Lo and behold, Neena found herself in the lime light again!

What currently appears to be a very "Adults Only"-ish movie, Vidukadhai was supposed to have been released in June '97, at the peak of summer.  With the strike and K.B's excessive involvement, the film finally finds its way into theaters this Deepavali.. There were two songs picturized as early as June '97: One was a vidukadhai sollum paattu and the other, Meenakshi kaiyil-ulla kiliye, (written by Agathiyan) were the two notable ones!..

Gokulaththil Seethai-yin drama formula idhililum work aaguma?.. We'll have to wait and see!..


Thedinen Vandhadhu

Production: Sivashri Pictures (S. Vijayalakshmi & S. Kanchana)

Story & Direction: Ravi Verma

Screenplay & Dialogues: 'Crazy' Mohan

Cinematography: Shiva

Editing: Ganesh Kumar

Art Direction: Suresh Stunts: Shiva
Music: Sirpi  Lyrics: Pazhani Bharathi

Starring: Prabhu, Manthra, Goundamani, Crazy Mohan, Venniraadai Murthy, Anuradha & Prathap Pothen (special role)


Still from Thedinen Vandhadhu (Courtesy: nandha Vikatan)If you are not familiar with this recent 90s genre of film making, it is called Comedy, Comedy and More Comedy.  Aiming high to reach the ranks of its successful predecessors, Ullaththai Alliththaa, Pistha, Raaman Abdhulla & V.I.P., Thedinen Vandhadhu hopes to have read the audience pulse correctly with right measure of comedy, shandai and songs.  As far as movie makers go, no matter how critics accuse recent comedies to be 'mindless' and 'illogical,' they will continue their journey to make to cash in at the box office by making their audiences laugh..

The single major highlight for Thedinen Vandhadhu so far, has been Sirpi's claim to have made Bhavatharini sing with Hariharan in Alps mazhai kaatru vandhu nenjil veesudhe, for the first time outside of her father's and brothers' music direction, (even though Thudikkindra Kaadhal from Nerukku Ner arrived on CDs and at theaters first!)   Whether Thedinen Vandhadhu becomes the laughing stock of Kodambakkam or not will be left to the comedy crazy fans of Chennai to decide.


Periya Manushan

There has probably never been a Sathyaraj film with so little publicity in recent time.  Even comedy/masala flicks like Thaai Maaman and Maaman Magal under Gurudhanapal's direction have received more attention in the magazines than Periya Manushan.   Gurudhanapal takes the reins as director again in yet another film where Sathyaraj plays the lead role.  He acts as an older Sathyaraj caught between two wives and as a younger one with Ravali playing his pair.  Idharkku idai-yil a foreigner named Silky also acts in a side role.  The 'shakkalaththi shandai' between Kovai Sarala and Ambika might be the only interesting aspect expected to salvage this 'routine comedy/masala flick' by Gurudhanapal..



Velu Prabakaran's 15 year old dream comes true through this good vs. evil + romance story starring Roja, Arun Pandian, Manivannan, newcomers Nandhini and Ragul Kanth, Rupa Shree and Mansoor Alikhan.  The only question which often arises in Tamil movies, also makes an appearance in this film: Is there a God at all?  Furthermore, issues of jaadhi and bedham are also discussed with the masala elements needed to survive at the box office.  Roja stars as a kadavul-ai muzhumai-yaaga nambum bhakthai, dressed in a yellow saree and without any make-up.   Mansoor plays the baddie while Manivannan plays God (in human form!).   Ilaiyaraja's music could be the key element in sustaining Kadavul's significance in movie watchers' minds.



Anand Movie Land, which produced the very successful Poomani last year, has taken up the serious issue of the 'dowry' problem in their new production Vasuki.   One of the leading stars in Telegu, Rajendra Prasad plays the lead role, as Oorvasi, Radha Ravi, Latha, Ramji, Jayachitra, Janakaraj, Malaysia Vasudevan, Pandu, 'Thalaivaasal' Vijay, 'Bailvaan' Ranganathan and Visu (in a special role) all co-star.   Oorvasi plays her well versed comedy kalandhdha role, as Director Kasthuri Raja tries to show the dowry theme in a new light, especially since every facet of the theme appears to be have been covered by directors like Pandiyarajan (Jaadikkeththa Moodi).  A solid star cast and Ilaiyaraja's music might be the secret to Vasuki's box office success, or so we hope!..


Kaadhal Rojave

Oscar Movies' Bhaskar's new film being directed by K.R.  The film never generated enough interest or publicity amongst the fans or the press and continues to remain mellow even as it releases for Deepavali.  The most depressing aspect of the film still remains the selection of the hero (Vishnu, former actress Sheela's son) and heroine (Pooja Kumar, a supposed former resident of the U.S.).  Neither Vishnu nor Pooja create the necessary hype or attraction, desperately needed for films that star newcomers.  Saratbabu, Charlie, S. S. Chandran, Alex and Suryakanth co-star.   Even with Ilaiyaraja's music, K. R. will have to prepare himself to add Kaadhal Rojave to the flop list, which already includes Thaali Pudhusu earlier in 1997.


Idhu Dhaan Kaadhal

Still from Ini ellam sugame (Courtesy: Cinema Express)It was either meant to be Ini Ellam Sugame starring Abbas, Sangavi & Laksi and directed by A. R. Ramesh or Idhu Dhaan Kaadhal starring Abbas and Simran scheduled for release this Deepavali.   IDK mundhi kondu vittadhu!  More information on IDK will be available soon!..



My sources: Cinema Express, Anandha Vikatan & Kumudham..