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November 16, 1998


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Like father...

Nagarjuna. Click for bigger pic!
Thirteen years back in time, in what was then a casting coup, Akineni Nageswara Rao and N T Rama Rao were brought together in Gundamma Katha.

Thirteen years along in time, their offspring -- Akineni Nagarjuna and Nandamuri Harikrishna -- will co-star in an as yet untitled film, which sees the former playing a city slicker while Harikrishna plays his countrified elder brother.

A joint production of Nagurjuna's home banner Great India Entertainment in tandem with Kamakshi Films, the film will also star Saakshi Sivanand and Sanghavi as the romantic interests of the two male stars.

Was it the heart or the head?

Rajnikant. Click for bigger pic!
It's all a matter of perspective, really.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu's chief minister, was a bit miffed at Cheran's Diwali release, Desiya Geetham, for its negative portrayal of modern day politicians.

So what does Sivaji Rao Gaikwad aka Rajnikant -- the man credited with putting MK in the CM's seat, do? He goes out of his way to present the director, Cheran, with a hand-written certificate of excellence. And states in so many words that the film is thought-provoking, and a must-see for all politicians.

Given how analysts down south are apt to read political meanings into every single utterance from Rajni, wonder what they make of this one.

Then again, they might remember that earlier, Rajni during a felicitation ceremony for his superhitArunachalam, had gone out of his way to bring up Cheran's name as an outstanding director (Cheran's Porkalam was making waves at the time) and presented him with a gold chain as a sign of appreciation.

So hey, maybe there ain't any political motives in here -- just a star's appreciation for a director he admires?

Back. At long last

Rajiv Menon. Click for bigger pic!
Ad film-maker and award-winning cinematographer Rajiv Menon seemed to be in hibernation after his Arvind Swamy-Prabhu Deva-Kajol starrer Minsara Kanuvagal( Sapnay in Hindi) came out to mixed reviews.

Now he's back, and yes, so is Prabhu Deva, who will star in Menon's next directorial outing, Theekkul Viralai Vaithal. Alongside Deva is -- in all likelihood --Ajith. For the time being, though, it is not quite clear whether Menon will look towards Bollywood for the female lead, or remain content with a local lass.

Meanwhile, Prabhu Deva is also appearing in a K Balachander production. With this, KB's Kavithalaya banner is into its 48th film, and 13 of them have been directed by Balachander himself. This latest one, in case you are wondering, won't be.

Patriot games

Sorry, there is no gentle way of breaking this news, so you'll just have to swallow this one straight -- we are due yet another patriotic film. And it is called -- hold your breath -- Hats Off India!

And here we thought flag waving went out of style with Manoj Kumar -- but no, there is Jai Hind, Thaayin Manikodi, Desiya Geetam, Independence Day and Pardes, to name a few recent films with the tricolour motif.

This latest offering, to be made in Telugu and Kannada, is being made by Nandakumar, whose last offering, America America, helmed by Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar, ran 365 days on the trot. Associated with him in production is B Jaganath, while the film will be directed by Raghunath, who thus far has been associate director with famed Andhra director Upendra.

Khushboo puts it off again

Khushboo. Click for bigger pic!
For Khushboo, nuptials still seem a long way away. This time last year, word was that she would finish pending projects, and then settle down to play housewife for famed director C Sundar, last in the news for Rajnikant's last film, Arunachalam. However, her portrayal of a karagam dancer, and her Otha rooba thaaren dance number in Nattupurapaadal, won her such raves that she has been signed on to do a reprise of sorts.

This time, the folk art form involved is Villupattu. And Khusbhoo is busily studying the life and working style of real life Villapattu artiste Veeralakshmi to infuse verisimilitude into her performance.

Sundar, meanwhile, has announced the pairing of Roja and Satyaraj for Azhagharsami -- which, given the director's penchant, should turn out to be another rip-roaring comedy.

Roja, who has also got into production, had in fact cast Satyaraj in her maiden home production Amaithipadai.

Seeing double

Sharat Kumar. Click for bigger pic!
And while on Khushboo... There must be something about Sharat Kumar that his fans can't get enough of. I mean, it is uncanny the way the guy goes over big each time he appears in a double role.

First there was Natammai, then Sooryavamsam, followed by Natpukkaga. And now his latest, Simharaasi, released on Diwali day, has been declared a smash hit -- and predictably enough, it has the supreme star (the Tamilian sobriquet for the former Mr Madras) in a double role.

Chalk up, too, another smash for Khusbhoo, Sharat Kumar's heroine in the film.

Meanwhile, Kumar should be looking at this film, and at the about to be released Vakkapatta Bhoomi, to fill a space reserved on his mantelpiece for a national award. Smart money was for him to win it for Sooryavamsam, but he didn't get lucky on that one. Critical word is that either Simharaasi, or Vakappata Bhoomi, might do the trick for the star.

A new guise

Rajat Kapur. Click for bigger pic!
Rajat Kapur -- remember the man who played Gandhi in Making of a Mahatma (not to mention a more commercial appearance as Aamir Khan's elder brother in Ghulam) will now appear in a Malayalam film.

Opposite him in Agni Saakshi, helmed by Shyamprasad is national award winning actress Shobhana.

And in passing, Gandhi-- the Attenborough epic -- is being dubbed in Tamil, with dialogues by Valampuri Somanathan. Voicing for the Mahatma is Vasant -- known to Tamil film buffs as the man who directed Rhythm and Poo Ellam Kettu Paar.

-- Rajitha

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