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

The following contains a few films which are part of Tamil Thirai Valai's 'guess' list as possible entries into the Deepavali box office rat race!

'Guess' List!!!



Production: Roja Combines (Kaja Moidheen)

Story, Screenplay, Dialogues & Direction: Cheran

Music: Deva

Starring: Murali, Meena & Sangavi


Porkkaalam is presented from a very different point of view by Director Cheran.  Definitely different from the somewhat highly publicized Bharathi Kannamma earlier in 1997!.  Cheran's new venture has been relatively very hush - hush, that many are still guessing what the film is all about.  Set in the background of village life, all we know so far is that Murali plays a young man who carries on the family tradition of making mann chatti, paannais and bommais for a living.  Sangavi and Meena vie for his love and consequently complications arise.

Still from Porkalam (Courtesy: Cinema Express)In what sounds like a run-of-the-mill film, enters the newly groomed (revised?) Sangavi.  Her role as a kuyavan's daughter in the film seems to have completely transformed her thinking about tamil cinema all together.  For a woman who had such trouble remaining fully clad during song sequences, it must have been a terrible shock for Sangavi to find herself in a dhaavani throughout the filming of Porkkaalam.   Sangavi admits that she feels like an actress reborn, waiting to try her hand at acting roles for a change.  After all, this was the same Sangavi who once said: 'kavarchi' illaamal Kodambakkaththil kuppai kotta mudiyaadhu, right? :-)

The rumour-o-bus has also begun its round on the Porkkaalam sets, as Cheran has been accussed of eeshi-fying too much with Meena while trying to teach her how to act during a scene.  Paavam Cheran, jagaah vaangi vittar.. "Yenn sir vambhu, naan pullai kutti kaaran!"  As all things come to an end with the shooting, we can maybe pray for a few things to happen in this film: Meena not commit suicide at the conclusion and Sangavi not go back to 'kavarchi udai' and 'mazhai nanaiyals' for paadal kaatchigal!  As always, nobody worries much about Murali :-)


Vettiya Madichchu Kattu

Story, Screenplay, Dialogues & Direction: K. Bhagyaraj

Stunts: 'Super' Subbaraayan

Cinematography: K.S. Prakash Rao Art Direction: 'Thotta' Tharani

Music: Deva

Starring: K. Bhagyaraj, Nagma, B.R.Shantanu (new), Sakthi Prakash, Saikumar & S.S.Chandran..


After creating so many box office disasters like Oru Oorla Oru Raajakumari and Gnaana Pazham, hopefully Bhagyaraj will get his act straight in Vettiya Madichchu Kattu.  Even though it seems highly unlikely that VMK will meet the full expectations placed on it, Bhagyaraj has a great belief that the film will resurrect his career.   Bhagya has a lot invested in the film with Nagma starring as the usual azhagu bommai, his son Shantanu debuting as his 'reel' son and Kannada superstar (at least now he is, especially after the success of Police Story) Saikumar agreeing to star in a key role.  

Bhagyaraj warns his fans not to fooled by the title.  According to him, it is not a full length action film.  Moreover, there are not any direct 'adi dhadi shandai' scenes with him involved.  As the film is being shot both in Hindi and Tamil simultaneously, the characters have been named aptly as Jayaprakash (K.B.), Pooja (Nagma), and Shantanu (B. R. Shantanu).  The greatest contribution for the film still continues to be from Art Director 'Thotta' Tharani.  He has built an extensive and intricate set of several important landmarks in Mumbai in an area of V.G.P. Golden Beach.   Certain important scenes for the story, which need the Mumbai city effects, have been shot on this set.  Tharani has additionally built a huge set in the Shishya School's stadium (Adayar, Chennai), where K.Bhagyaraj, Nagma, Saikumar, S.S.Chandran and B.R.Shantanu participated in a song picturization.  K.B. is absolutely thrilled that he got an opportunity to work with S.S.Chandran after a very long time.

All in all, as the strike in Kodambakkam dragged on for 2-3 months, Bhagya got tired and packed his bags to picturize two songs in Canada.  We will all have to wait and see what else Bhagya has (if at all anything) in store for us.



Production: I. V. Cine Arts (Ibrahim Rauthar)

Story & Dialogues: Liyakath Alikhan Screenplay & Direction: Ramesh Selvan
Cinematography: Raajaraajan Music: Shah (new)

Starring: Vijaykanth, Meena, Sangavi, Janakaraj, Delhi Ganesh, Vadivelu and Vijaya Krishnaraj..


It is truly unfortunate that Vijaykanth's 125th film will probably face release with such poor publicity.  Except for a large and impressive pada poojai, very little word has come out of Ulavuthurai producer Ibrahim Rauthar, either on the progress of the movie or its 'exciting' aspects!..

Even the newcomer music director Shah has not been boosted enough, so nobody knows what to expect overall from Ulavuthurai.  Currently, there is some kind of belief that if Meena dies during or at the end of a film, that film succeeds at the box office.  Though Meena may feel otherwise, she has been notified that her fate in Ulavuthurai will be the same!.. After becoming a mother of a child, Meena will die in an effort to earn sympathy in the film!. (Sorry to break this news so early to all the Meena fans out there!) 

Meanwhile, Vijaykanth plays Vasanth Periyasami, a Navel Officer, who recently danced with 500 Supporting actors (Thozhillaaligal in the film) in Ooty and Coonnoor for the song Niththam uzhainkindra thozhargale, endhan oru sollai kellungalen.

Ulavuthurai vandhaal varum.. or else, Vijaykanth will hopefully lead the 'cheer leading squad' for the film at least until Pongal!..


Thaayin Manikodi

Production: Sri Lakshmi Devi Associates (Sudhakar Raju)

Story, Screenplay & Direction: Arjun Dialogues: K. C. Thangam
Cinematography: K. S. Selvaraj Editing: Sai Suresh
Music: Vidyasagar Lyrics: Vairamuthu
Stunts: Shahul Dance Choreography: Rajasekar

Starring: Arjun, Tabu, Nivedhita (new), Goundamani, Chandrasekhar, Tharunkumar, Vadivelu, 'Venniraadai' Murthy, Charlie, Vijayakumar, Baby Jennifer, Baby Annie & Baby Shamli..

A highly touted Arjun film which has been in shooting since Nov.-Dec. 1996!  The fact that Vijayashanthi opted out of the film because of some difference of opinion with the producer, took away a lot of attention that was once on the film!.. The tame Tabu and pazhaiya actress Ranjani look-alike Nivedhita will just have to carry the extra burden!..

Still from Thayin Manikkodi (Courtesy: Cinema Express)Arjun's creative mind has overflowed this time by picturizing songs and viru viruppu kaatchigal at beautiful locations like Switzerland, Canada and Hong Kong.  He has additionally shot important climax scenes in a forest near Madhanapalli, Andhra.  But major thanks should go to 'Thotta Tharani' who has constructed sets for Arjun in all parts of the country, including a highly specialized 'torture room used to question suspects in crimes,' (modelling it after some of the rooms in foreign countries) just for the film!..

In the likes of KTK's Rakshakan, Arjun has also ventured to try a few helicopter stunt scenes in this film.  Arjun is in the same league as Saratkumar and Vijayashanthi, who perform most of their stunts themselves instead of relying on dupes.   And then.. there is room in this film for killu killuppu.. so to speak!.. The biggest news in all magazines this year: for the first time in 15 years since Arjun joined the film industry, he kisses a woman in a film (Paavam, Nivedhita maattinaanga!)..


Roja Malare

Still from Roja Malarae (Courtesy: Cinema Express)Reeva is one actress who definitely needs a hit film to survive in Kodambakkam today.  After her debut film, Selva, went bust at the box office last year, Reeva-vaal progress yedhum panna mudiyavillai!  Enter new director T. S. Jayamurugan, who has personally taken it upon himself to do yet another triangular love story in his own paanni, so to speak.  Reeva has luckily bagged this role and hopes to make it to bigger and better places soon.  Murali stars a singer, while Arun Pandian plays a business men, as both vie for Malar's (Reeva) love.  Jayamurugan has shot the film abroad at St. Mary's Island and many other visual stunning places within India.  Adithyan's music for the song Azhagoviyam adds a little flavor to the expectations at hand!..  Roja Malare is expected in theaters a little before or a little after Deepavali.



Still from Marumalarchi (Courtesy: Cinema Express)An excited Henry has proceeded to produce this next film with the same village background and focusing on the same caste and community as his previous film.   Hopefully, he will not face the anger, resistance and protest staged by the Thevar community over their portrayal in the highly controversial Bharathi Kannamma earlier this year.  But Henry is willing to take that risk as he believes that the main character, Raasu Padaiyaachi, in Marumalarchchi is shown as great and noble throughout the film.  On side issues, Marumalarchchi's budget is rather steep for a village background film by today's standards.  Art Director Muthuraj has built a set mirroring a real village near Thiruvannamalai for the film and Henry and debut director Bharathi have scheduled to burn two village sets down as part of a dramatic climax to the film.  Mamooty plays Raasu Padaiyaachi as Devayani stars a woman yearning to win his heart.  Ranjeeth, Mansoor Alikhan, R. Sundararajan and Manorama build the backbone for the story as S.A. Rajkumar composes the music.   It is highly unlikely that Marumalarchchi will release for Deepavali as it will have tough competition from another Mamooty starrer, Arasiyal, but then you never know!..


Still from Bhagavat Singh (Courtesy: Cinema Express)Bhagavath Singh and Rettai Jadai Vayasu are two films that might peek into theaters if they have the luck this Deepavali.  Bhagavath Singh stars Napolean, Sangavi, Rasika and Goundamani.  Rettai Jadai Vayasu stars Ajeethkumar, Manthra, Goundamani, Latha and many others.  Direction is by Sivakumar and Deva composes music for both films.



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


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