Chennai Spy

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Jerry - No Violence! Full of Fun!

Jerry is the hilarious comedy movie being made by L Ve Creators, directed by S.P. Gandhan, story screenplay and direction by Gracie Mohan, starring Ramesh, Mumtaj, Shruthi and Meera Vasudevan. Music is by Ramesh Vinayagam.

The movie is reported running house packed from the date of release, with bunch of movies making their shows with the same theme "Violence", Jerry has taken a different step to pull audience, specially targetting the Family Audience.

Publicity Stills of "Jerry"

Kokki reels seized by police

The city police seized reels of the new Tamil film Kokki on Monday night. The movie has actors Karan and Sanjana in the lead, and is directed by Prabhu Solomon.

The police arrested the projector operator of a cinema hall for allegedly screening a sequence from a song in the movie, which was banned by the censor board. A team from the Central Crime Branch of the city police conducted a raid at Roopam theatre, located on Poonamalee high road.

The raid was conducted based on a complaint from the authorities about a screening of the censored portion of the film in the theatre. The police said that three producers, the theatre owner, manager and the operator were named in the complaint.

The Censor Board had reportedly asked the producers of Kokki, Sethu, Vinith Kokeya and Balasubramanian, to remove a sequence from the song Aa Sonna Ayanavaram, because it was considered vulgar. The police reported on Tuesday that they have the operator in custody, but the others who were named in the complaint are absconding.

They said that action will be taken against other theatre owners as well, if they continue to screen the censored portion of the film.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ash also has a porn star look-alike

First it was Mallika Sherawat, whose Spanish porn star lookalike Lolly, made headlines when one of her adult movie clips made to the MMS circuit. Now it’s actress Aishwarya Rai who is making waves, not just all over the world, but also on the World Wide Web.

The actress has become the most sought after face on the voyeur circuit with a record breaking number of websites dedicated to her ‘nude’ pictures.

While most of the pictures are badly morphed images using the actress’s film stills, one site has many thrill seekers fooled. The site called has been getting a record number of hits, ever since Aishwarya became popular on the international circuit.

The link to this website did the rounds on email recently with a message that says: ‘Want to know what India’s top actress Aishwarya Rai is working on in Hollywood?’ The link takes the viewer to the site showing pictures and clips of a south American looking porn star who bears a striking resemblance to the actress, but the site claims that it is the actress herself.

Mohit Hirwani, an assistant director who received the link says, “At first you get a shock, because the girl who is seen engaged in hard-core pornography looks a lot like Aishwarya Rai. But most of the clips show her with her eyes closed. There’s one where her eyes are open and it’s clearly not the actress.” Another set of pictures doing the rounds claims that they are ‘authentic’ shots of Aishwarya’s audition for a Hollywood production, and they show the light-eyed beauty engaged in a sexual act with a very Indian looking man.

But Ash fans don’t take any of this seriously. “There are morphed pic tures of all Bollywood actresses available online. Why single out Aishwarya Rai? People are always looking for ways to cash in on anyone who’s in the news” says Aditya Prasad, a business executive.

Chennai film unit survives Indonesia earthquake

A Tamil film unit which was shooting a documentary film in Indonesia on the illfated day the powerful earthquake struck and took more than 3000 lives, survived and returned to the city safe and sound.

The Chennai based serial and documentary producer Dr. Krishnaswamy of Krishnaswamy Associates who has produced award winning documentaries like Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi along with his crew was shooting for a new documentary Indian Imprints at Bantul in Java Island, one of the worst affected areas. The unit was staying at a hotel in that area three days before the earthquake hit the place.

Narrating the entire incident a spokesperson from Krishnaswami Associates said, “Dr Krishnaswamy along with his wife and producer Dr Mohana, daughter Lata and cinematographer Madhu Ambat with three other technicians were on a shooting assignment for the documentary Indian Imprints which showcases ancient monuments of Indian heritage in the far east, including the well known Angkor Wat and Bayon in Cambodia, Borabudur and Prambanan in Indonesia.

They were staying in Hotel Melia Purosani at Yogyakarta at Java Island. After three days of shooting, they left for a nearby town for the fourth day. The shooting continued till late night and hence the unit could not return to their hotel and stayed 40 km away from Yogyakarta in another hotel. The next day early morning at about 6.10 am. they could feel a tremor and every one came out of the hotel at once.

Later they realised that it was an earthquake which struck the Java Island. It was then that they heard that Melia Purosani Hotel where they were staying earlier was badly damaged by the quake and they were not allowed to enter Yogyakarta.” According to Krishnaswamy, it was by God’s grace the entire unit had survived and it was a nightmarish incident that has left a deep scar in his mind. Now they are in the process of rescheduling their shooting locales.

Dr.Krishnaswamy is the brother of famous classical dancer Padama Subramanian.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kiran, Vishal team up

In a bid to make a comeback in Kollywood, actress Kiran who was once in demand, is accept ing whatever role that comes her way. First it was a bold character in director Kathooriraja’s Idhu Kaadhal Varum Paruvam. Now she has been roped in to perform a raunchy number in the VishalReema starrer Thimiru.

Former SS music veejay, Shreya Reddy will be the second heroine. Recently, a slimmer Kiran was in Karaikudi to shoot the number with Vishal. In the meantime, the actress is happy that her Bollywood comeback vehicle Souten is creating waves in the south.

Dubbed version of Ash’s film Choker Bali being released ‘for adults only’

Poor Ash. Nothing she does seems to turn out right. First she faced the flack for her lack of dress sense in Cannes, and now she is being projected as a sex starved widow in a Tamil film.

Her much talked about film Choker Bali has been dubbed in Tamil and is being released under the title Aishwarya Oru Perazhahi.

In the film, Aishwarya plays the character of Binodini, a widow who refused to lead a life of deprivation and it deals with the ills of the then Bangla society, besides widow remarriage and inhuman practice of Sati. But cashing in on a few aesthetically shot intimate scenes, distributors of the Tamil version have reduced it to an adult film.

The release talks about Aishwarya’s sex-starved emotions, topless scenes and how the film is going to make the audience go berserk but has no mention about the social problems it deals with. They even sent a series of stills from the film that supported their statements about the film. Wonder how the actress, whose currently shooting in Chennai, is going to deal with this one.

Shivani, Suresh in Dhandayudhapani

Malayalam actress Shivani has bagged yet another Tamil film titled Dhandayudhapani . Newcomer Suresh Raja is the hero and the film is directed by Shravana Shakthi. “Though it has a hero-villain subject, the treatment of the film is different, which gives a new feel. The hero battles the villains using his brains not brawn. A romantic-action film, it has all ingredients required for a commercial entertainer and is sure to grab the audiences attention,” claims the director.

A fight sequence, which is the turning point in the film was picturised on the hero and villian, Yanai Kumar recently at Chennai. The cost of the sets erected for this scene was a whopping Rs 60 lakh.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Karthik returns to Kollywood

After his attempt in politics, romantic hero Karthik has returned to films and will be donning a new avatar. He will be directing a film titled Kural 1331. Apart from direction, he is also penning the story, screenplay and dialogues of the film.

The film will have newcomers in the lead roles and the actor has not yet decided whether to appear in a cameo in the film or not.

Ranjith makes a comeback in Kollywood with Don Chera

After an impressive stint in Malayalam films actor/director Ranjith has made a comeback in Tamil with Don Chera, a powerful script written by Ram Gopal Verma’s assistant, Salim. The film is about the life of a don played by Ranjith who turns a new leaf after he meets a sex worker played by Suji Bala. “It’s an unusual thriller and my character is not like the regular dons you come across in other films. Chera is totally different,” claims the actor.

Vikraman’s associate, K.S. Saravana will direct the film. The actor is not deterred by the box office disaster of his debut directorial venture Bheeshmar and will be directing another film soon. “Bheeshmar received critical acclaim from the media for its subject value and that has given me confidence to start my next project,” he reveals.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Dream girl’s daring to bare

Looks like the ‘dream girl’ Hema Malini has been getting a few style tips from daughter Esha.

At a recent musical soiree in Mumbai, the actress was spotted wearing a pretty floral printed chiffon saree with a sexy black halter.

A daring move for some one who wore a short-sleeved skin coloured vest with all her sleeveless outfits throughout her filmy career. Her smart outfit was complete with a stylish Chanel bag. Watch out Esha, your mother might turn out to be your biggest competition.

Director held following actor Nasser’s complaint

The city police took director Kovai Ramanathan into custody on Friday in connection with a fraud to the tune of Rs 50 lakh. The police said that the director was detained following a complaint from actor Nasser and his wife Kameela Nasser last year.

According to the complaint, the director borrowed Rs 50 lakh from cinema financier Prakash Bokhadia through actor Nasser and failed to return the money. As Nasser facilitated the deal between the director and the financier, he approached the city police for a legal solution.

A person who accompanied Nasser to the police station said, “A few members from the Producers’ Council requested Nasser to resolve the issue internally and not approach the police, but he was adamant about involving the law.” The amount was given to produce a film titled Hindi Number One. But even after a year the project has failed to take off, the person added.

The actor remained in the car to avoid being photographed and refused to comment on the issue. He stayed in the car with his wife for more than two hours. A number of Ramanathan’s friends from the media gathered at the police commissioner’s office as well.

We are looking into the issue and there are possibilities of a compromise. In case there is no compromise, we will arrest the director,” the police added. Director Ramanathan, who was also actor Sathyaraj’s manger some time ago, has directed nine Tamil films including Nadigan, Villathi Villan, Vallal and Brahmma.

Ajith puts end to rumours

Kollywood was abuzz with rumours that actor Ajith had opted out of Naan Kadavul, as he and director Bala had difference of opinion. Even 45 days after the release of Thirupathy, the actor had not commenced his next project. In fact, the actor was very eager to work with Bala and even grew his hair for the film.

Ajith spoke to this newspaper to put an end the rumours. “Yes, I chose to leave the project as it did not commence as planned. The shooting was supposed to start from May1, but there has been no move from Bala’s side and I cannot wait anymore. But there was no difference of opinion as claimed by some of the newspapers. We parted ways smoothly and talks are going on for a film with producer Mohan Natrajan. Soon the official announcement will be made.”

Friday, May 26, 2006

Uday Kiran and Sathyaraj team up

Even as his debut film Poi in veteran Balachandar’s direction is yet to be released, actor Uday Kiran has bagged a second Tamil film. He is one of the heroes in the Sathyaraj starrer Vambhu Sanda.

Sathyaraj plays a strict election officer in this film. Two new faces from Mumbai are debuting as the heroines. The film will be directed by Raj Kapoor who has given many successful films with Sathyaraj. Uday Kiran said that he accepted the film because even though he plays the second hero, his is a vital role.

Simran is out of Telugu film

With the elections coming to an end, everyone thought actress Simran would go back to Delhi. But Telugu actor Dr. Rajshekar selected her as the heroine for his next venture Evadaithe Nakenti. The mahurat of the film took place in Hyderabad recently and bigwigs of the Telugu industry attending the function.

The film is a remake of the Malayalam blockbuster Lion which had Dileep and Kavya Madhavan in the lead. But now, sources reveal that Simran has been removed from the film as Rajshekar felt she was too fat to play the heroine’s role. He is looking out for a replacement.

Good times for Bharath

After receiving rave reviews for his deaf and dumb character in Pattiyal, Bharath’s stakes in Kollywood have gone up. He has been getting versatile roles and has over half-a dozen films in his kitty.

In Emttan Mahan he plays the son of a strict father played by Nazar and the both are always at logger heads with each other. Talking about his role he says, “The story revolves around the emotional war between a father and son from a middle class family. It’s a challenging role.” After 4 Students, he is teaming up with Gopika in this film.

His next release is Veyyil under director Shankar’s banner with Bhavana. In Koodal Nagar, he is playing a double role with Sandhya and Bhavana playing the leading ladies.

I do not believe in number games says 'Bhavana'

Did you think that you will become a hit in your first film itself? Chitthiram Pesudhadi had a great script and my role was exceptionally good. Good team work and sincerity has rewarded us all. You are considered a threat to other top heroines inspite of doing just one movie in Tamil. Comment.

I do not believe in number games. I am here to do good roles and I have done twelve Malayalam films. Every one has got a place in the industry.

What’s your parameter for glamour?

I am comfortable in modern outfits. I do not mind wearing anything that suits the role and me. But revealing outfits are not my cup of tea. ¦ How do you feel being selected by director Bala to play the lead opposite Ajith in Naan Kadavul? I am really happy I’m getting to work with a director like him. Bala sir watched my film at a theatre in Madurai. When one of his assistants called me and said that the director wants to meet me, I could not believe it. I had watched Sethu and Pithamagan and was thrilled when he offered me the role. I accepted the offer without any questions. With a great director like Bala you can be rest assured.

What is the difference between Malayalam and Tamil industry, and what are your future projects?

These days, even Malayalam films have become hero-oriented. But work wise both are same. I am doing Aarya with Madhavan, Veyyil and Koodal Nagar with Bharath, Bala’s film, Kizhakku Kadar Karai Salai with Srikanth, etc. Talks are going on for a Telugu film as well.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Release of Imsai Arasan 23... stalled

Director Shankar’s much awaited historical film Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi which was to be released on May 19 has not been cleared by the Regional Censor Board.

The reason cited is that the producer has used several horses and other animals in the film without obtaining prior permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

The film directed by debutant Simbhudevan has war scenes with hero Vadivelu where horses have been used. According to the 2001 guidelines and its subsequent amendment in 2002 set by the AWBI, the use of certain animals and birds are prohibited in films.

The producers of any film which uses such animals and birds should apply for permission with the board one month before shooting starts. A veterinary doctor should also be present on the sets while shooting with animals to make sure they are not ill-treated.

Now the Censor Board wants Shankar to get the NOC from the AWBI to release the film. But the AWBI have not taken any steps inspite of a court order to release the certificate and has passed the issue over to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under whom the AWBI functions. Speaking to this newspaper Dr. Balasubramanian, Secretary to the AWBI, Chennai said, “Shankar as a producer, should have applied for permission with the details of animals being used in the film one month prior to the commencement of shooting. All the set rules are made available with the Producers Council in a printed format.

I am surprised a big director like Shankar was not aware of this. Now we have referred the film to Government of India and are awaiting a reply from them,” However, considering the amount of money invested in such productions, the board has given permission to such cases after obtaining a letter from the concerned producer stating they would not repeat such mistakes in future. “We also allow certain background shots and stock shots with animals without any questions being raised,” he added.

When it was pointed out that close to 63 films with big investments have been blocked all over India because this particular problem, Dr Balasubramanian pointed out that it was not the money involved, but the producers’ attitude that mattered. “We expect them to be a little considerate towards animals,” he said.

He also suggested that there should be a few animal activists on the Censor Board panel with whom the producers can interact before the shooting commences as that would solve the problem to a certain extent.

With the existing conditions the release of Imsai Arasan…. has been postponed indefinitely.

Actress Simran's false eyelash comes loose

What happened to the woman who redefined glamour in Kollywood? While Simran wor shippers still haven’t given up on her, the actress herself does not seem to be planning a sizzling comeback.

At a recent product launch, for which she was the brand ambassador, Simran turned up in an old, baggy cotton salwar, with flat walking sandals, glasses and her hair pulled back in a messy bun!

And the fact that she had to wear a badge that said ‘No B.O’ didn’t help one bit. To make matters worse, just when we thought she was going in for a no make-up look, her false eyelashes started to come off mid event. C’mon Simran, we expect better grooming from one of the industry’s biggest stars.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Simbu, Reema fight on film sets

Controversy seems to dog actor Silambarasan. The rift between Simbhu and Reema Sen which started on the sets of the Vallavan, his directorial debut, reportedly took an ugly turn. At a recent shoot for a song sequence, sources revealed that harsh words were exchanged between the two stars and Reema stormed off the sets. She later flew to Mumbai without completing the shoot.

The film has two other heroines — Nayanthara and Sandhya — apart from Reema Sen. The title song was shot and huge sets were erected on two different floors for this purpose. The song featured Simbhu, Nayanthara and Reema. A source close to the producer, who was a witness to the whole drama, said it all started when Reema said she was unhappy with the costume that she had been given for that particular shot. “It was the title song and Simbhu and Nayan were ready with makeup.

Reema who came in a cheerful mood, was upset after she saw the costume. She refused to wear it, but Simbhu did not give her a another costume to change into because the outfit was made after getting her approval.

But Reema put her foot down, and told Simbhu to finish the shooting with Nayan, and said she would come back only after she got a change of costume. This angered the actor/director, and he shouted at her in front of the entire unit. She also lost her cool and yelled, after which she left the sets and drove straight back to her hotel room and went to Mumbai.”

This is the fourth time both actors have fought on the sets, said a unit hand. Now the buzz is that Simbhu wants Reema out of the film. When the producer of the film Thenappan was contacted, he said, “We are hoping that they will reach an amicable compromise and things will settle in a day or two. We hope to resume the shooting with Reema Sen only.” When Simbu was contacted, he said that he would wait for a few days for things to calm down. And if it did not, he would consider replacing her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Pudupettai" has many firsts to its credit

"Pudupettai," starring Dhanush, Sonia Aggarwal and Sneha, is the first Tamil film to be released in the Super 35 mm format.

Unlike conventional film, the Super 35 mm format allows for a larger image area, as the space for the soundtrack is also used. This helps in packing in more details in the frame, and hence for a better viewing experience.

The movie, directed by Selvaraghavan for Lakshmi Movie Makers, also has some amazing special effects, done here by Prasad EFX. Scenes worth looking out for are the fight sequence in the mist and the fire extensions.

Director of photography Aravind Krishna said that movie will be a very different experience as great attention had been paid to detail. "It has some intensive matt-based colour correction, and also altered colour tones for different scenes and moods." The movie has been mastered in the digital format. Hence, it is easy to reproduce it into either the digital or negative format required for exhibiting in different theatres. The whole soundtrack and the music for the movie was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja in Bangkok.

This is the first time the Chapraya Symphony Orchestra of Bangkok features in a Tamil movie. The music director was composing the tunes in Bangkok, they could be heard live in Chennai. This was made possible by Nag Ravi of 3G Digital Solutions Inc, who provided the solution to broadcast the same over the Internet from Bangkok to Chennai.

Swaminathan, one of the producers, said, "I am happy that the movie has embraced new technologies as they heighten viewing experience." Mohan Krishnan, Head of the Corporate Communication says that Prasad EFX has all the new technical know-how under one roof in Chennai. "Pudupettai" is the first film to be digitally projected by directly scanning the negative at 2K resolutions and converting them to digital projection format.

Srikanth in a fight?

The students of St. Patricks school thronged the school ground on Thursday afternoon inspite of the scorching heat to witness the shooting of the Srikanth–Bhavana starrer Kizhakku Kadarkarai Salai produced by journalist turned producer Anthanan.

A huge crowd of curious onlookers gathered outside the school gate to watch the shoot and the air was filled with excitement. There was a round of applause as actor Srikanth came out of his caravan to act out his part. Hordes of girls surrounded him and asked him for autographs.

The shoot began with director Stanley giving instructions to the junior artistes telling them to take their position to act as college students. The scene was typical of a love story. Srikanth pounced on another actor, beat him and dragged him from an auto rickshaw towards the heroine as a present. “In this particular scene I try to impress Bhavana, who plays a college student. I go to her college and beat up one of the staff who had misbehaved with her earlier,” said Srikanth.

Even after four takes Srikanth could not get the part of ‘beating’ up the actor right, and as they were getting ready for the fifth take, an argument broke out between the actor and the director. Srikanth could not get the part right as he had a soft corner for the new actor and did not want to hit him very hard.

The new actor turned out to be the Srikanth’s manager, Muthuramalingam, who looks after his call sheet. He had been asked to do the role as he replaced a junior actor who had not turned up for the shoot. Finally, to everyone’s relief, the part came out right in the seventh take.

In between shots, many boys surrounded the pretty actress, Bhavana as she sat down to rest. They were all trying to talk to her. The scene was a lead to a romantic song. After almost half a day, the location was shifted to a canteen set that was installed on the other side of the school.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A.R.Rahman’s assistant releases debut album "Fluid"

Rockbottom at Juhu, Mumbai saw the launch of artiste Naveen’s solo album Fluid on Thursday night. The album which consists of seven original compositions marking the sheer genius of the musician was unveiled by none other than A.R.Rahman himself. Also present at the album launch were the famous trio Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.

Naveen entertained the audience to a few numbers from his album. However, the jamming session with Shankar and Loy was an absolute treat for music lovers.

“Naveen has given the flute a new identity. It is rare to find an artists with the calibre and versatility of Naveen. His reputation preceeds him and he has fans all over the globe,” said A.R. Rahman while congratulating the artist on his maiden venture. Making an appearene at the event were the Fame Gurukul jodi, Ruprekha Banerjee and Qazi

New kid on the block

Kamala Deepika, a second year engineering student who was crowned the second runner-up in the Miss South India and Miss Tamil Nadu beauty pageants is making her debut in tinsel town with the film Mr and Mrs, directed by Badri.

With several ad campaigns like Kumaran Silks, Kodak, Vummudi Jewellers, Meera herbal products, to her credit, Deepika decided to enter a beauty pageant. Badri saw her at the contest and offered her the heroine’s role.

Talking about her role, she says, “I play a student who falls for a widow er played by the director himself. Though this is my first film, I have plenty of scope to perform.” Deepika has no qualms about wearing glamourous outfits so long as it suits her. “I do not mind even wearing a swimsuit if the script demands it,” she says. She also has a music video Mazhai to her credit.

Impressed by her portfolio, director P.Vasu has auditioned her for his next film where his son is debuting as the hero. Deepika is also thrilled about getting an offer from SJ.Suryah for his film Thirumagan.

When asked about her resemblance to actress Nayanthara, Deepika is in all smiles, “Many people say that I look and smile like Nayanthara. It’s a great compliment.”

Kashmir recreated in Kerala for Aran

The unit and cast of the bilingual Mohan Lal-Jeeva starrer Aran, directed by Major Ravi, had to can cel the shoot and return to Chennai after a 30 day stint because of heavy snowfall. A major portion of the film was shot in the borders of Kashmir and Ladakh as the story revolves around two commandos.

Speaking to this newspaper Ravi said, “We shot this sequence with the support of BSF, CRPF and Kashmir police. There were just six days left for the first schedule to get over, but because of the heavy snowfall, we could not continue shooting. We have selected a similar place in Kerala and have erected a set that cost Rs 15 lakh to shoot the scene.”

In the meantime, another mallu girl, Lakshmi Gopalsamy has been roped in to play the lead opposite Mohan Lal after Mamta Mohandas opted out in the last moment. Actress Gopika is paired opposite Jeeva.

Mumbai model Tania debuts in Kollywood

Following the footsteps of Yana Gupta, Brindha Parek and Rahasya, Mumbaibased model Tania is making her debut in Kollywood with an item-number in the film Auto. Tania shot to fame with the Sunsilk and Mazaa ads and went to become one of the most sought after faces in the fashion circuit.

Tania plays the role of a bar dancer in Auto. The model was in Chennai last week and a steamy number featuring her and Arya was shot at Mani Mahal. A special bar set was also erected for the song.

Vijay. Asin to team up for remake of Pokiri in Tamil

Sivakasi’s hit pair, Vijay and Asin are coming together once again in the remake of Pokiri in Tamil.

After looking out for a heroine in Bollywood (even Katrina Kaif was being considered), Vijay has finally opted for Asin, with whom he gave the huge hit Sivakasi, said a source.

The actress is being selective about signing films and is also doing a number of commercials. Prabhu Deva will be directing a Tamil film for the first time. Mani Sharma, who did the original film will be scoring the music for this film as well. An official announcement is expected soon.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Kollywood goes sunny side up

The audio of the bi-lingual Tamil–Telugu film Ilavattam was released in the city recently. The film stars Navdeep and child artiste-turned-heroine Sheela in the lead.

It seemed that almost everyone who had come for the audio release stars and the technicians have taken to bright and colourful summer wear to beat the heat.

While Navdeep was sporting a casual orange and white checked shirt, actor Ramesh settled for a bright orangish-red tee and beige chinos. Even director Vishnuvardhan was wearing a smart blue tee, jeans and Adidas flip flops. Sheela’s stark white trousers looked cool and comfortable enough to sleep in and French Connection United Kingdom (FCUK) seemed to be another popular brand.

Producer R.B. Choudary released the first sets of CDs and cassettes and the younger stars Navdeep, Sheela, Ramesh, Nandha, Vishnuvardhan and Raja Rajan received them.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Arya gets mobbed in Paris

Actor Arya seems to have become a hot favourite with Tamilians all over the world.

Recently the actor was invited to Paris by Chennai based VGP House to inaugurate a DVD store for films in all languages. Hundreds of his fans thronged the venue at Central Street to get a glimpse of the actor and capture him on their personal cameras.

Some of them were lucky and managed to get his autograph. Later Arya had to be escorted to his car by the local police who had to be called to control the crowd.

Good times ahead for Teja

Tejashree, the item-girl who shot to fame with the song Chinna Veeda Varattuma in the film Ottran, was elevated to a third heroine in the film Madure with Vijay. But she went back to item-songs and created a stir with the sexy number with Dhanush in Balu Mahendra’s Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam.

Now she has once again been cast as the heroine with Vadivelu in Shankar’s much hyped historical film Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi.

Talking about her role, Teja says, “I had a tough time learning and delivering dialogues in pure Tamil as it is a period film. I have a lot of scope to perform, and I owe it all to Shankar sir, who had faith in me.” When asked if she would continue doing item numbers, the actress said, “I have climbed the ladder slowly and I am also doing a film titled Solli Adipen opposite Vivek. So I have now decided not to go back to special songs and I have even rejected two films because of that.”

Talking about maintaining her hour-glass figure, the actress says, “I am a trained kathak dancer. I practice every day even if I get back home late after shooting.” Teja, who has no qualms about the glam tag attached to her name has also bagged a plum role in RaviTrisha starrer Something Something Unakkum Enakkum.

She is also thrilled about acting in a Hindi film as the heroine and a Telugu film Evaru Atthadu.

Vijay and Prabhu Deva team up for Pokiri remake

Vijay’s hunt for a director for his remake film Pokiri is over. According to sources, actor Prabhu Deva, has finally agreed to direct Vijay’s film after both Vishnuvardhan and Lawrence declined.

Financier Ramesh will be producing the film. Though there have been instances of actors directing films — like Kamal Haasan and Arjun — this is the first time a hero is directing another hero.

Katrina Kaif has been approached for the female lead, the source added. The film is expected to go on floors from June 1, after a formal pooja. Meanwhile, the buzz is that some of the distributors who had paid a big advance to producer Appachan (with whom Vijay was supposed to start his next project) have demanded their money back.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chandramukhi crosses 400 days and still running Strong

Sivaji Productions Ltd. created Chandramukhi which was released one year ago (400 Days). Starring Rajinikanth, Prabhu, Nayanatara, Jyotika and Malavika, Chandramukhi has become a really popular film.

Chandramukhi with Jyotika and the Ra-Raa song are true hits. It has been dubbed into other south Indian languages and has fared will in all the centres. As all of us know, the film is still runniing strong at the family theatre of Sivaji Ganesan, Shanthi at Anna Salai. It is likely to be made in Hindi with the Big B as hero. Today marks the 400th day for the movie.

At a time when some films are not running for even one week, we have a true stalwart, a true Chandramukhi, still running strong after one year! But will it break the earleir record of Sholay?

Another young actress "Sharadha" commits suicide

In yet another case of a television actress ending her life, an upcoming small screen star Shraddha committed suicide by hanging herself at her River Dale apartment in upmarket Kottur Gardens on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, her family members found the 21-year-old actress hanging from the ceiling fan of her bedroom. Shraddha is the third actress to commit suicide in the last one year, the other two being Shalini and Vaishnavi.

In her suicide note, she did not give reason for taking such an extreme step. “I have been giving lot of trouble to you people. Please forgive me. I do not want to live in this world any more,” was all she said in the note.

The eldest daughter of Vishwanathan and Subhadra, Shraddha was studying in a city college. She started her television career with K. Balachander’s serial Edhir Neechal on Jaya TV. She soon bagged the anchor’s slot of the popular film show Countdown Show on Jaya TV. She also acted with Khushboo in the serial Kalki on Jaya TV and Kolangal on Sun TV. She has a small role in the Tamil film Bose as one of Sneha’s four friends.

However, the police has not ruled out other possibilities like a failed relationship and family pressure. The deceased was from an upper middle class family and her parents are in the textile business. “There was apparently a quarrel between her and her parents on Tuesday night. That incident seems to have caused her to end her life,” the police said.

Family sources, however, quoted her father saying that she was very cheerful on Tuesday evening. She has a younger sister who is studying in Class nine, and it was her birthday on Wednesday.

When contacted Mr Murali Raaman, vice president, programming, Jaya TV, expressed shock and said, “Shraddha was a brave girl and a good actor. She used to be very lively on the sets. In fact, last month, when actress Vaishnavi committed suicide, she was very sympathetic, and even asked why people resorted to such extreme mea sures.” Speaking to this newspaper, Thiru Selvam, director of serial Kolangal said, “I always thought of her as a bold girl.

She played a small role in this serial, but watching her spontaneity, I wanted to extend her role in future episodes. It is so unfortunate this terrible trend seems to be taking the lives of young actresses.”

"Da Vinci Code" decision today

Information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi on Wednesday tried to distance himself and his ministry from the controversy over The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard, by saying that a final decision “will be taken by the Censor Board of India.”

The decision on the film is expected to be taken by Thursday evening. As for his “personal opinion”, the minister, who attended the special screening at the Films Division auditorium at Mahadev Road here along with senior I&B officials on Wednesday afternoon, said: “As a work of fiction, it was okay.

At the same time, playing safe, with a section of Christians in the country up in arms over the film, Mr Das Munshi said the “ministry will not decide the issue.” On his decision to watch the film, the minister said, however, that “whenever there are issues sensitive to a particular community, the ministry can always be referred to.” Along with Mr Das Munshi, the film was also watched by members of the Catholic Bishops Association. The government had organised the special screening of the film, due to premiere at the Cannes film festival also on Wednesday, for Catholic groups which are demanding a ban on it.

The censor board had earlier approved the film, and without any cuts. It had just insisted that a disclaimer that it was a work of fiction — be at the beginning of the movie. The special review committee which had examined the film included a number of prominent Catholics. It was after this that Mr Das Munshi and his ministry had stepped in and put a brake on the movie’s release in India this Friday.

Based on Dan Brown’s novel that suggests that Jesus Christ had married Mary Magdalene and started a family, the $125-million production starring Tom Hanks had been set for release in India along with most of the world on May 19.

Stepping out of the screening, Father Donald D’Souza, deputy secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, said that he and other Catholic representatives would submit their response to the ministry on Thursday. Speaking to the media before the screening, however, he had wanted a “complete ban on the movie”. After the screening, he refused to elaborate further.

“We have seen the film with members of the community and they will submit their views to us by noon tomorrow, after which the Central Board of Film Certification will analyse them and come out with a decision by the evening,” the minister said. For Mr Das Munshi, the film’s release would be decided on the basis of the feedback from religious groups.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Selva and I share a Warm Relationship" says Sonia Agarwal

It’s almost like an epidemic. Following the footsteps of actor Simbhu, actress Sonia Agarwal has also decided to come out of the closet and talk about her relationship with director Selvaraghavan. In an exclusive interview, Sonia clears the air and puts an end to the gossip in Kollywood.

“We have known each other for the last four years. From the first moment on, we got along famously and have always shared a very warm, personal relationship,” she says. According to her, both families have always known about it and are comfortable with their relationship. “But if you ask me whether we are getting married soon, I honestly do not have a definite answer. I am in no hurry to tie the knot. Although we have discussed it, neither Selva nor I have actually planned it, so it may take a couple of years,” she says.

Reacting to rumours, about her quitting films, the actress says, “Obviously some people who have vested interests are spreading such gossip. As a rule, I always take a three-month break before signing my next film. I am eagerly waiting for the release of Pudhupettai, which is directed by Selva, and only then will accept my next film.

She also adds that no exciting scripts have come her way, which is why she hasn’t signed any new movies. “Quitting films at this stage is totally ruled out and I am still focussed on my career,” she says Rumour had it that Sonia had opted out of director Jeeva’s film July Katru after doing the initial promotional photo shoots because she was planning for her wedding? “I did the photo shoot, but there are hazaar reasons for an artiste to opt out a film. It had nothing to do with getting married and was a purely professional reason,” she says.

She also made it clear that since she has been in the film industry for such a long time, she knows her responsibilities and that she would definitely call for a press conference and announce when the wedding is fixed.

Tamil Film Producers Council Election on July 9th

Election to various posts of the Tamil Film Producers Council will be conducted on July 9.

This was decided at the executive committee meeting of the council held here on Tuesday under the chairmanship of A.M. Rathinam. The council's new president, two vice-presidents, two honorary secretaries and 21 executive committee members will be elected at the election.

Also noted is split among Tamil Producers Council which caused this new election to come into efftect.

As forecast, the Tamil Film Producers Council has split; a group of executive committee members of the council gathered on the evening of 27th February and passed a resolution dismissing its president Sathyajyothy Thyagarajan since he acted in favour af a popular TV channel; he is replaced by A.M. Rathnam.

Supporters of Thyagarajan, including producer Siva Shakthi Pandian, Henry and K. Rajan, raised slogans, claimed the decision as illegal and Thyagarajan still continues to be the president. They had wordy duels with supporters of Rathnam, including Kalaipuli S. Dhanu, A.L. Azhagappan, Anbalaya Prabhakaran, Muralidharan, S.A. Chandrasekhara, Kameela Nasser, Keyar and others.

Police were deployed in large numbers and heated exchanges between the producers added to the tense moments. This comes in the wake of the Council threatening to file a case against a leading TV channel for Rs. 2000 crores for cheating producers and refusing to give any film clippings and songs of the newly released Tamil films to them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"I’m happy doing Guru" says Maddy

Actor Madhavan says he is very much starring in Mani Ratnam’s underproduction Hindi film Guru. “I don’t know why confusion is being created. I am very much on for Guru,” says Madhavan, speaking from London.

The inexplicable “is he in, is he out” speculation started when another actor Arya Babbar (Raj Babbar’s son) was signed for Guru. To set the record straight, Arya was apparently signed for the role of Aishwarya Rai’s brother.

When Arya was signed, people presumed it was for the role Madhavan was offered. In the film, Madhavan plays the parallel lead opposite Vidya Balan.

Laughing out aloud, he says, “Why is everyone so bothered about whether I am doing the film or not? As for me losing weight in London, yes, I am working on that. Isn’t it good to stay trim and healthy irrespective of whether a role requires it or not?” Besides Ratnam’s film, there are other interesting projects in Madhavan’s Bollywood kitty, including a film with Sanjay Gupta. And he does not think twice before attributing this newfound success to Rang De Basanti.

Actually, everyone associated with Rang De Basanti has gained tremendously and I am no exception. Thank God I did the film, though a lot of people warned me that the role was too small. It is my best career move in Hindi films. Here in London, I am congratulated wherever I go for my role in that film,” he says.

Namitha in Hollywood Film "Maya"

She is going where very few actresses from the south have gone before to Hollywood! Namitha has been signed on to play the title role in an English film, which is being produced by Hollywood producer Gregory Castante.
The film titled Maya has Namitha playing the role of a traditional Malayali girl. The story is about a young girl who comes to Kerala from London. Played by English actress Zaina, the girl meets Maya, soon after which she is drawn into a mystery, resulting in an unexpected sequence of events and climax.

The film is directed by Eric Manning who has a few suspense thrillers to his credit, which include films like Tales from Beyond and Inside Job.

Speaking about how they zeroed in on Namitha for the role, Ramesh of Global One Studio, who handles the studio’s India operations, said, “Basically the character is of a traditional looking Malayali girl, who comes from a highly cultured family. The director had briefed me about what he was looking for, and we wanted a heroine who was popular. Namitha fit the bill perfectly.

Her portions of the film will be shot in traditional old mansions and forests in Kerala.

An excited Namitha said, “I am really honoured that they picked me to act in an English film. I am the only actress from India. The rest of the cast is from Hollywood. I was told that they were looking out for an actress from the south with a combination of glamour and talent and they considered a number of actresses before I was selected.

I feel like all my hard work has finally paid off. The best part about my character is that it is very different. I am not being typecast, yet I suit the role perfectly.

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Sivaji is 50% complete" says Shankar

At a recent press conference, director Shankar, after a lot of persuasion, let out few details about his much hyped bilingual (Tamil –Telugu) Rajini starrer Sivaji. According to him Sivaji would definitely be a milestone film in superstar Rajini's career.

When asked about Rajini’s fresh and plump look he said, “I had asked him to put on some weight for the role and he is also on a special diet which gives him that glow on his face.” He also said there are five songs in the film — three have already been composed by A.R. Rahman, and two of them have been shot in Hyderabad and Chennai.

The unit will be leaving for Europe for the third song. Replying to a query on how Shriya and Rajini are as a pair, Shankar said, “They look very good as a couple, because I have projected a never-seen-before youthful and different Rajini.

Will the film be ready by Diwali? “About 50 per cent of the film is complete and I hope to release it this Diwali, but I want it to be perfect, even if it takes longer.”

Sources close to the film unit say that there is an introductory song in a typically Rajini style but this time instead of his lucky mascot S.P. Balasubramaniyam, Hariharan has sung the song.

Things look up for Dhanush

Things seem to be going in the right direction for Dhanush this year. His much awaited film Pudhupettai, directed by brother Selva is ready for release, and the first schedule of his next film Thiruvilayadal with director Bhoopathy Pandian is also complete.

A romantic film laced with humour, Dhanush plays a fun loving character, who resorts to all kind of tricks to woo heroine Shriya. Talking about the project, Bhoopathy says, “One day Dhanush asked me if I had a script for him. I told him the one-liner of Thiru…. He went and narrated it to his father-in-law Rajinikanth.

After hearing it Rajini sir said, ‘It is easy to reach the A class audience, but it takes a special kind of talent to reach the B and C centres. I think Bhoopathy has plenty of it in him’. I want to thank Rajini sir for giving me this chance.”

Well Good Luck to your Dhanush! Glad to see you seeking advice from your Father-in-Law (Super Stae Rajinikanth).

Adu Puli Aattam Launched

Adu Puli Aattam, a film based on four different individuals from different places who have a com mon mission was launched recently. Directed by Sanjay Sairam, the film has four newcomers making their debut. Mani Prakash and Vennila are the lead pair.

According to the director each character is distinct and hence newcomers without any image were chosen for the roles. Let's welcome such innovative scripts to Kollywood.

Sania is Deutsche Bank’s Ambassador

Teen sensation Sania Mirza, along with cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, has signed on as Deutsche Bank’s product ambassador to promote the bank’s recently launched retail banking products and services in India.

The tennis star, who was in the capital recently, said, “It’s a great pleasure to be part of the bank’s team as I can personally relate to its philosophy of performance with passion.

Man held for Credit Card fraud in City

The police on Sunday arrested a person, who was allegedly using fake foreign credit cards and withdrawing money from different ATMs in the city. According to the police, Guna Sekharan, a refugee from Burma now living in Saligramam, was arrested in Santhome when he was withdrawing over Rs.75,000 from an ATM of a private bank.

He was having 40 foreign credit cards, each with a credit limit of Rs.10 lakh each, Mr Balu, assistant commissioner of police, cyber crime, said. His associates operating in London had given these cards to him.

Bottotmline - Who seeks what on Google?

Google lifted the veil last week on one of its best-kept secrets: which nations search for what. Who looks up democracy most avidly? Who seeks out Allah or Christ most faithfully? Who types in “drugs” or “sex” most frequently?

No country’s secrets are spared. Pakistanis look up “Danish cartoons” more avidly than anyone, according to Google. They also lead the rankings for “sex” — with India seldom far behind.

“In Pakistani society, sex is a taboo,” said Fatima Idrees, a project manager at the Pakistani affiliate of the Gallup International polling agency, adding that “curiosity and availability of the Internet may cause such behaviour.”

The site introduced on Thursday, Google Trends, measures how often particular phrases are searched for from computers in individual countries and cities. It shortlists the places with the highest absolute number of searches for, say, “cat food.”

Then it picks the top 10 or so based on which places look up “cat food” much more than they do other things — for instance, “dog food.” The Google Trends site is likely to generate a mix of consternation, embarrassment and laughter around the world.

While Google emphasises that its efforts to protect individuals’ privacy, the new site does nothing to protect the collective privacy of nations, if such a thing exists — the right of the British to conceal that they look up “handcuffs” most often, or the right of China’s leaders to hide that Mandarin ranks second only to English as the language used to look up “democracy,” or the right of other officials to hide that Arabic-speaking users rarely look up “democracy.”

“This is a fascinating project, effortlessly offering a glimpse into regional and cultural habits and differences that is otherwise nearly impossible to reproduce,” said Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University.

Vijay leads Ajith in Google Trends

Get a mix of Entertainment with Technology. Google unveiled Google Trends couple of days back. With Google Trends, you can compare the world's interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they've been searched for on Google over time.

Google Trends also displays how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and which geographic regions have searched for them most often.

I did make a search over Vijay vs. Ajith and seems Vijay has the mass effect in Google Trends, hey it’s not just because he is a strong celebrity, its something that Vijay is a common name and found almost everywhere, from politics to movies. I assume that’s the reason for Vijay leading the polls, but the real fact is yet unknown?

Check for yourself at Google Trends for the Trend History between Vijay vs. Ajith. You can also try various other keyword options to know a about the top trends in Google search.

Vishal's Sandakozhi goes 150

Sanda Kozhi, as predicted, has done very well, and hits a 150 today (15.04.06)! Made under G.K. Film Corporation, produced by Vikram Krishna, (brother of hero Vishal), directed by N. Lingusami, starring Vishal and Meera Jasmine, the freshness of the plot and the realistic stunts, coupled with fantastic performances from all the cast, peppy and rocking music have all contributed to the success.

G.K. Film Corporation is now making Thimuru, starring Rima Sen, Shreya opposite Vishal. After this, Vishal will act under director Karu Palaniappan and director Hari. Vishal's importance and popularity have boomed after Sanda Kozhi.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A.R Rahman on Saira Banu "She takes care of all of us"

Guess what out Maestro A.R.Rahman had to say about the occasion of Mother's Day?

My wife allows me to enjoy the best of both words. She takes care of my family when I am travelling and when I return, she takes care of me. And she never cribs or complains about managing the show when I am not here, and as far as my work is concerned, she is my main critic.

But whatever I am today, it’s because of the disciplined way in which my mother brought us up after I lost my father when I was just seven.

You knew the secret of A.R.Rahman! Now follow the words of your guru for a better future of tomorrow.

Amitabh and Ash to promote Kerala

This article might not be related with Chennai or Kollywood, but it’s got something for you to hear about.

Kerala Tourism is gearing up to launch a fresh marketing campaign to cash in on the upcoming monsoon season. The board is on the verge of signing up superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Bollywood heartthrob Aishwarya Rai for the campaigns.

The plan is to produce two ad films, targeting two separate market segments. While Big B will promote “God’s Own Country” in India, Rai will feature in an ayurveda tourism commercial targeted at the international audience.

Though the stars are yet to sign a formal contract, Kerala Tourism officials have reportedly confirmed reaching a “verbal agreement”. Bachchan is presently in the state, shooting for Ram Gopal Varma’s film Nishabd.

The Kerala government has earmarked Rs 11 crores annual ad budget for Kerala tourism. Stark Communications handles Kerala Tourism’s creative account. Last year, Kerala Tourism had roped in ace Indian film director Santosh Shivan to direct its ad campaign.

Trisha prefers Hyderabad to Chennai

This is not the first time we’re writing about how actress Trisha clearly prefers Hyderabad to Chennai, but this time the actress took her love for the Pearl City a step further. Even though she was in Hyderabad one day before her birthday, she had a big bash there for all her friends and co stars.

She returned to Chennai the next day, but didn’t have a celebration here even though she was shooting with her favourite co-star Vikram. Wonder what it is about Chennai that makes her such a homebody?

Is it a pub or a restaurant?

Poor TK. His lounge at Park Sheraton has been plagued with bad luck. They opened with great fanfare last year, but ran into license problems. After being shut for months they reopened, only to be hit by the Provogue drug scandal.

TK broke away from the Provogue franchise and reopened the nightclub as G2 Lounge. But insiders revealed that it had not been doing too well — apparently the place wasn’t breaking even. So TK has pulled out and is working on an independent venture.

Is it a pub or a restaurant? Watch this space for more.

Welcome to the world of Chennai Spy!

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Browse around to make your kill now! And be sure you check out the blog regularly for we got loads of Spy News (subscribe to RSS) coming up from our network to keep you served hot and fresh. So delve in for some for kick butt humor and cracking news tracked by your one and only Chennai Spy...

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It’s all about Kollywood & Chennai. Let’s start our Spy Journey from Today (May 14th 2006). Oh ya, how did I forget to wish your mom a “Happy Mother’s Day”!

Mr.Chennai Spy