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|April 29, 2000||
Kamal plays it safe
The debacle of Hey! Ram appears to have taught Kamal Haasan a few market realities. Having put all his eggs in the one basket and having come away with one on his face, Kamal has changed his mind. Till now Haasan preferred to concentrate on one big film a year -- but henceforth, he will aim for at least three films in the same period.
He has, in fact, already signed his quota for the year, with Tenali for K S Ravi Kumar, Aalavandar for Kalaipuli S Thanu and an untitled film for Pentafour.
Aalavandar will be directed by Suresh Krishna who, you will recall, got his break when Kamal himself handed him the directorial reins for Satya, a remake of the Sunny Deol-starrer Arjun. The film also has Santosh Shivan handling cinematography, while Shankar Mahadevan will make his debut in Tamil as music director.
The Pentafour project promises to be another big one, with Kamal taking responsibility for script and direction, besides playing the lead. And for this three-in-one avatar, Kamal is being paid a whopping Rs 6 crore -- which should help offset the losses he suffered with Hey! Ram, at least to some extent.
That Vairamuthu is Tamil filmdom's premier lyricist is a given. That he talks too often, too much and too loud, is also getting increasingly obvious. And as we reported earlier, this penchant of his -- quite naturally -- seems to have gotten him into deep trouble with ace music director A R Rahman.
It happened during the star-studded Kandukondain Kandukondain audio cassette release, when Vairamuthu, while talking of the lyrics he had penned for the Aishwarya-Tabu-Ajith-Abbas-Mammootty starrer, said it would be nice if Rahman could give his lines some weightage by cutting out the 'deafening beats' that accompanied them.
Rahman, sitting in the audience, smiled beatifically and nodded at the poet. But the very next day, he instructed his staff that Vairamuthu was not to be allowed to set foot in Rahman's own Panchatan Inn, the state-of-the-art recording studio where the composer does all his work.
Jolted by the reaction, Vairamuthu sent out a series of feelers, both in person and through intermediaries, but Rahman remained unmoved. Further, the music composer has instructed all his producers and directors to use the services of Ilayakamban, a rising young lyricist who had penned some songs for the Vijaykanth-Prabhu Deva starrer, Vanathai Pola.
So it is war. Which, come to think of it, is not exactly uncharted territory for the poet. Earlier, when music maestro Ilayaraja was at his peak, he too had a similar clash with Vairamuthu and had, at that time, vowed to finish off the poet -- metaphorically, that is.
For a while after that, Vairamuthu was, in fact, sidelined by the big producers and directors, at Ilayaraja's bidding. But in time, it was Raja himself who faded away, while the poet bounced back and how. Will history repeat itself here? That is the question the industry is asking.
One thing is for sure, Vairamuthu has no intention of sitting still and letting Rahman shoot at him. Thus, the poet fired his own first salvo, when he made a bid to lure away Jayaraj, the keyboard whiz who is reputed to be the brains behind Rahman, to score for a couple of films.
And this, industry sources say, is merely the beginning.
Oscar spurned, but not burned
Richa, the Simran lookalike who made waves with her role in Manoj Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, is one upset lady. Not because she isn't getting good offers, but because the Oscars eluded The Sixth Sense, which she thinks is unfair.
"You know, Manoj Shyamalan is very talented, very good, I thought he deserved at least the screenplay Oscar. These Americans are biased..." the lady rages.
Extreme reaction? Or just the normal angst expressed by someone who goes back a long way with Shyamalan?
Richa, for those of you who are out of the loop, used to be with the Bombay-based television software firm, Plus Channel, before deciding to take up acting as profession. She did a Tamil teleserial with K R Vijaya and Vijay Adiraj in the lead.
When Manoj was in Madras earlier scouting for talent, he spotted Richa and cast her in his first film, Praying with Anger. It was in fact Richa's debut as well, but it didn't have any legs at the international box office, and wasn't even released in India.
Later, Richa's mother produced and directed Uyirodu Uyiraga, starring her daughter opposite Ajith -- and that turned out to be another bomb.
Never one to let failure faze her, Richa headed off to France and got a role in Le Mystere De Parasuram. Once this French film is complete, Richa says, she intends to return to Madras and take up Tamil offers seriously.
And who knows, she could well persuade Shyamalan to make a Tamil movie.
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