Friday, January 8, 2010

Rajnikanth bids farewell to Vishnuvardhan

The sudden demise of Dr Vishnuvardhan has left many fans and those close to the Kannada actor shattered.

One such person is Tamil super star Rajnikanth [ Images ] who could visit the late actor's house only after his return from a long shooting schedule in Pune-Lonavla.

Rajnikanth's friends Mohan Babu, Sharath Kumar and wife Radhika, and Vijayakanth [ Images ] have already visited Dr Vishnu's [ Images ] house to console Bharathi and other family members.

Rajnikanth finally paid a visit to Dr Vishnu's house on Wednesday evening after coming straight from Mysore. Rajni was accompanied by his close friend Ambareesh, Kannada film producer Rockline Venkatesh and many others.

Rajni came to Vishnu's house around 6.30 in the evening and spent more than an hour with the family. He offered floral tributes to the star with whom he has acted in two Kannada and two Tamil films.

Rajni recalled how Vishnu's performance in Puttanna-directed Nagarahaavu impressed him. "I saw the film many times and my resolve to become an actor strengthened after I saw that film," he recalled.

He also remembered a meeting he had with Vishnu two months ago at a party arranged by Lizy Priyadharshan and Radhika Sharath Kumar where many artists of the seventies got an opportunity to interact with each other. "He was a tall man spiritually and had abundant knowledge about many things. He was an inspiration to many artists," said Rajnikanth.

When Rajnikanth started acting in films, Vishnu was already a big star. He acted with Vishnu in two films -- Sahodarara Savaal and Galaate Samsaara. Both were big hits. Later Vishnu acted with Rajnikanth in the super star's hundredth film Raghavendra. The other film they did together was Vidudalai.

Image: Rajnikanth and Bharathi

R G Vijayasarathy in Bangalore

Friday, January 1, 2010

Top Kannada Actresses of 2009

The year belonged to Kannada actress Aindrita because all her films did reasonably well at the box office.

Radhika Pandit was not so lucky but still she managed to make a big impact with her performances. The beautiful Raagini was lucky with her first film and she charmed fans with her glamorous looks.

But the year did not go as well for Pooja Gandhi and Ramya, the latter making news for all the wrong reasons.

We look at the Kannada actresses who impressed us this year.

Aindrita Ray
Films: Junglee, Manasaare and Vaayuputhra

Aindrita had two huge hits in Junglee and Manasaare and a semi hit in Vaayuputhra. With each film, she seems to be growing into a mature actress, her glamorous image intact.

Though she was brilliant in Yogaraj Bhat's Manasaare, she was not allowed to dub in her own voice. The actress has now promised to do her dubbing in all her future films from now on.

Image: A scene from Manasaare

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Karnataka pays tribute to Dr Vishnuvardhan

B S Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka [ Images ]

With the death of Dr Vishnuvardhan, Karnataka has lost one of its greatest sons.

He was an actor of excellence and a great human being. The state government has decided to grant Rs 10 crores to build a memorial for him. We will consult his family to see how this mission can be accomplished.

S V Rajendra Singh Babu, award-winning director

I have lost a friend with whom I had had a great association for more than four decades. He was one of the most talented actors in the country, who was not recognised for his brilliance and talent adequately by the central government.

I have directed several great films with him like Bandhana, Muththina Haara and Nagarahole and produced films like Krishna Nee Begane Baaro and Karna. They were superhits.

We have lost two legends now, Dr Raj Kumar and Dr Vishnuvardhan. I think an era has ended.

Rebel Star Ambareesh, actor and former member of Parliament

With the death of Vishnu [ Images ], I have lost one of my greatest friends. He was my guiding force for 35 years.

We shared many great moments and he has always cared for me.

If there was one person who could command over me, it would be Vishnuvardhan.

He was one of the greatest artists in the Kannada film industry.

Dwarakish, actor and producer

I would say my films were zero without Dr Vishnuvardhan. Success beckoned only when Dr Vishnuvardhan acted in them.

I have produced many of his films and even acted with him. He is perhaps one of the greatest actors on the Indian screen, who had lakhs of fans.

The overwhelming reaction of his fans on his death was expected, as he had touched their hearts deeply through his magical performances.

Prema, actress

I was his great fan as a child. When I became an actress, I was lucky enough to act with him early in my career. I have acted with him in many films, including the big hit Yajamaana.

We got close while acting in the film, and he taught me the importance of yoga. I would seek advice from him many times too.

I respect him as a great human being.

S Narayan, actor and director

I have lost my big strength and support with the death of Dr Vishnu sir. I delivered my biggest hits with him in Suryavamsha, Simhadhriya Simha, Sirivantha and Veerappa Nayaka. He was terrific in front of the camera and would add a lot of strength to the characters he played.

Raghavendra, assistant director

He showed us what love and affection meant to us. Through his superb performances on screen, he will be eternally remembered. He was not only a great actor but also a great human being.

R G Vijayasarathy in Bangalore

Friday, August 28, 2009

Watch Iniya for Balaji

Balaji returns with a refined performance in the Kannada movie Iniya, an average presentation from a promising director like Mahesh whose first film, Mussanje Maathu was a finely knitted sentimental yarn backed by good performances from Sudeep and Ramya, and a scintillating music.

As for Iniya, the movie is handicapped by a faulty characterisation. Even the music does not match the brilliance of Mussanje Maathu. Iniya suffers mainly because of a weak script by Mahesh who has forced some sequences to give a sentimental angle to the film. The so called mother's sentiment falls flat as many sequences fail to strike a chord with the audience. Mahesh has tried to include some unrelated comedy sequences and fights too which do not gel with the story line. To make things worse, the film drags, testing your patience several times.

Mahesh should also be taken to task for propogating a regressive idea through this film which is totally anti-feministic. The male chuvanistic angle is given a platform through this film. There are lot of punch dialogues which question the integrity and commitment of a woman towards love and at the same time hailing the view point of a male who stands by his love.

The characterisation of the heroine suffers mainly because she has been presented as a woman who changes tracks through her whims and fancies. Even the portrayal of many woman characters in the film as gullible and submissive is questionable.

The story is about Balu, who belongs to a joint family headed by a patriarch. Janaki who is friend of Balu's cousin arrives in the house at the time of her friend's marriage. After some initial misunderstandings, Balu and Janaki start loving each other. Balu saves Janaki from a gang of rowdies during his visit to the city. On the day of marriage Balu is arrested because he had attacked a big business man's son. Once Balu is implicated in the crime, his mother is thrown out of the house by her scheming relatives. Whether Balu saves his love after his release forms the rest of the story.

To be fair to Mahesh there are some sequences in the film which create some interest. Especially the sequence after the death of Balu's mother and some comedy oriented sequences in the first half.

Balaji has really carried the film on his shoulders with a good performance. He comes out well in the action sequences. It is a pity that Pooja Gandhi was offered such a role with grey shades. Her characterisation too is weak. Sanketh Kashi is good in one sequence while nothing special can be said about the rest of the cast. Even seasoned performers like Oorvashi and Jai Jagadish have been wasted in the film.

Music by Sreedhar is above average. Compositions like Yaarannu, Mudhdhaadha I Naguvige shine. Sundaranatha Suvarna's camera work is good too.

Overall Iniya is worth a watch Balaji.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two Kannada biggies heading for a showdown

August seems to be a funny month as far as the release of Kannada films are concerned. The first and third week saw no release while the second week had one release -- the much awaited Raaj, the Showman starring Puneet Raj Kumar and Priyanka Kothari. But in the last week, two big films are competing with each other.

Cheluvina Chilipili by S Narayan is the remake of the Telugu film Koththa Bangaru Lokam produced by Dil Raju.

Cheluvina Chilipili starring Narayan's son Pankaaj and debutant actress Roopika is being released amidst big hype not normally associated with his films. Narayan has ensured huge publicity drive by putting up vinyl hoardings all over the major cities.

For Pankaaj this is the second film after his debut Chaithradha Chandrama opposite the sensational Amoolya.

"Pankaaj has improved a lot. He looks better and has done well in songs and emotional sequences," said Narayan, director and father.

He is also delighted to introduce 17-year-old Roopika, a child artist earlier, as the leading lady. "She is such a fast learner that I consider her as the most promising young actress of today. She is perhaps the only actress who I have not criticised on the sets," remarked Narayan.

Incidentally, the audio of the film has become a hit thanks to the music by Mickey J Meyers. Some of the tunes of the original film have been used in the Kannada film, which Narayan is not apologetic about. And for the first time in his film, he has shot two songs -- one abroad and another in Rajahmundry.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sudeep to direct Bollywood film

Sudeep is all set to work in his third Bollywood movie. This time, he will be directing a movie, a remake of his yet to be released 'Just Maath Maathalli'.
Sources say, he has already narrated the story to Shahid Kapur and Riteish Deshmukh and that both the actors were thrilled to be part of the project. The rest of the team is yet to be finalised and Sudeep will start on the project once the Kannada version is released.
Meanwhile, the actor is getting ready for a journey to Germany for the last schedule of 'Just Maath Mathalli'. The shooting would be concluded by this month end and Sudeep is planning to release the film in October.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Raaj, the Showman will be a top commercial entertainer'

Prem, the director of Raaj the Showman is the highest paid director in Kannada having struck gold with three of his four films made so far.

His first film Kariya ran for 500 days and made Darshan a very big star. His second film Excuse Me ran for nearly 35 weeks in Bangalore's Kapali theatre. The third film Jogi with Shivaraj Kumar was a blockbuster.

Despite the debacle he faced in his fourth film, he was selected by producer Suresh Gowda and Sreenivasa Murthy to direct Raaj, the Showman with Puneet Raj Kumar and Priyanka Kothari in the lead.

Prem, who has been shuttling between Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore for the past one month for the post production work of Raaj, speaks exclusively to R G Vijayasarathy about his film and reveals many things that were not disclosed till now.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vijith debuts with ‘Ragavan’

Paranthaman, a former assistant of Selvaraghavan makes his directorial debut with ‘Ragavan’. The film revolves around the quest for true love and the hardships one has to undergo to attain it.

The director himself writes the story and screenplay. Debutant Vijith, a software engineer, plays the male lead while Radhika Malhotra, a relative of Kollywood siren Namitha, is the heroine.

The story of the film is about how an innocent young man falls in love with a girl who loves somebody else.
Gangai Amaran returns to film music with a few melodies in this film. Manoj K. Jayan plays a very important role in the film.

Shruthi adopts blind girl

Child Welfare Development Board Shruthi has adopted a blind girl called Vinutha on the occasion of the 7th birthday of her daughter Gowri.

Yes, the actress adopted the blind Vinutha and signed papers at and agreed to take care of that child. Shruthi signed the necessary papers at Ramanashree Ashram in J P Nagar and also donated a sum of Rs. 10,800 to the ashram. Shruthi said she wants to raise Vinutha like her daughter.

Shruthi is all set to take charge as the chairperson of Women and Child Development Board. The first task she is planning to do on assuming the position is to construct 5000 houses to "devadasis". She also wants to start an ashram called ‘Madilu’ for children in distress.

Shivarajkumar in remake films again?

One actor who was firm and adamant in not acting in remake films has been Shivarajkumar. The actor, who was criticised for acting in too many remakes some years back, had later announced that he won't be acting in remake films any more. After 'Kodandarama' a remake of 'Thenkasipattanam' in Malayalam, Shivarajkumar never tried his hand at remakes.

Now, if rumours are to be believed, the actor will be acting in two films. According to reports, Malayalam director Prasthanth Mambully is in talks with Shivarajkumar to remake his 'Bhagwan', starring Mohanlal, in Kannada. The Malayalam film went into record books as it was shot in a single day.

Meanwhile, the actor is all set to act in a film called 'Muttu Nammappa' to be directed by most controversial director Ravi Srivatsa. If the film's ads are to be believed, the film is a remake of Hollywood hit 'Pursuit of Happiness' starring Will Smith and his son in lead roles. But Ravi Srivatsa says that the rumours are baseless and the film is not at all a remake but the film is inspired from 'Pursuit of Happiness'.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kannada star Puneet Raj Kumar to dance with dad's heroines

Kannada actor Puneet Raj Kumar's forthcoming film 'Raaj - The Showman' is set to have an interesting dance sequence where he will shake a leg with yesteryears heroines who had worked with his father, the late Rajkumar.

According to sources close to the project, the dance sequence would feature actress-turned-MP Jayaprada, Jayamala, who is now president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, multilingual actress Ambika, Roopa Devi and Bharathi Vishnuvardhan.

The song is likely to be shot from Jan 4 in Bangalore, the sources added.

Director Prem, who is known for having delivered three superhits in a row, confirmed that a song featuring Puneet and the actresses who had acted opposite Kannada acting legend Rajkumar would indeed be shot.

He said Jayaprada would be part of the song in 'Raaj - The Showman', but refused to reveal the names of the other heroines.

'The song was to have been shot early. But because Jayaprada madam was busy canvassing for the Samajawadi Party in several northern states, we had to postpone the song shooting,' said Prem.

'Raaj - The Showman' is said to be one of the costliest Kannada films and Puneet would be seen in different get-ups in the movie. According to informed sources, the film's budget is estimated to be anywhere between Rs.80 million and Rs.100 million.

Bollywood actress Nisha Kothari is the lead actress of the film, which has been shot extensively in Mysore, Bangalore and Kodagu. Two songs of the film have been picturised in scenic locales in Europe.

The film's music has been composed by Hari Krishna and its audio release is set to be held in Dubai.

Kannada film to be shot in South Africa, Iceland

The much-awaited Kannada film 'Raaj, The Showman', which has popular actor Puneet Rajkumar in the lead, will now be shot in South Africa and Iceland as well.

The movie's 35-member team will move to South Africa June 7 to start shooting a song titled 'Hey Paro' in Durban and Johannesburg among other places.

The audio of the film, composed by Hari Krishna, has been released to a good response and only two songs are left to be canned. Made by hugely successful director Prem, 'Raaj, The Showman' is likely to be released July 31.

The film was launched April 24, 2008, but the shooting schedule saw many halts. First, heroine Priyanka Kothari, earlier known as Nisha Kothari, fractured her leg. Then she got busy with Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma's upcoming film 'Rann'.

The unit had planned to shoot two songs in Canada earlier in May but that got cancelled because of the swine flu outbreak.

'We are shooting for 12 days in South Africa for the 'Hey Paro' song. The song has become a huge hit in audio circles and the expectations among fans have skyrocketed,' said producer Sreenivasa Murthy, who has earlier produced the 2007 blockbuster 'Gaja'. He revealed that 20 South African dancers would be included for the song's shoot.

Murthy added that the unit would then proceed to Iceland for shooting one more song.

Director Prem said the film would be digitally graded and it would be technically at par with big budget Hindi flicks.

'We want to showcase the abundance of technical talent in the Kannada film industry through the film. The film has been made with rich production values, but I can assure you that the film's script possesses a lot of strength to attract all sections of audience,' Prem said.

The main highlight of 'Raaj, The Showman' is a song that features Puneet Rajkumar dancing with five leading ladies who had worked with his father, legendary Kannada actor Rajkumar.

The film has also been in the news because this is the first time director Prem and Puneet Rajkumar are working together.