Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ash’s glam look in Endhiran & Delay in Sultan’s release

1) ‘Ash’s tribal look in Enthiran is very glamorous’

Make-up artists have a gift — they can make everyone look good!

And while Bollywood boasts of some gorgeous looking women, these artists can up the glam look even more.

Ask Ojas Rajani. He’s done the make-up for many actresses, and done a very good job at that. While his favourites remain Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Urmila Matondkar and Malaika Arora Khan, he loves the younger actresses as well.

He tells Nithya Ramani how he makes heroines look hot.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

I am working with Aishwarya on Action Replay and Enthiran. Even though Enthiran is my first film with Ash, I have known her for about eight years. I have done her make-up for her ads.

She has a fantastic face. She’s very professional and allows you to do anything with her face. She’s very open. She is one of the few actresses who has an international as well as an Indian look. She’s like a princess — she looks stunning even in minimum make-up. She knows how to carry herself well.

She is blessed with beautiful coloured eyes, eyebrows and a great pout — they look simple yet glamourous.

We have tried 57 costumes and different looks for her in Enthiran. Her tribal look is very glamourous. She has to look like a Mexican tribal. Manish Malhotra has styled the film and done an awesome job.

2) Sultan - Only by 2010?

Rajnikanth’s Sultan not ready yet

May 19, 2009 13:10 IST

It was in 2007 when Sultan the Warrior, India’s first 3D animation film on Tamil super star Rajnikanth [Images] was revealed.

The animation film is a joint production of Adlabs [Get Quote] and Ocher Studios, the Managing Director of whom is Rajnikanth’s daughter, Soundarya Rajnikanth.

When the idea to make a 3 D animation film came to her mind, Soundarya could only think of her father and his inimitable style. “You need someone stylish to get animated. I am such a fan of my father that I felt he deserved to be animated first. Appa is God to me. He is known for his style, mannerisms and gimmicks. If he could do so much in live action, imagine what he could do with animation? The sky is the limit. In Sultan too he does a lot of gimmicks. I would say this film is a daughter’s dedication to her father,” she told

It is 2009 now and the film which was supposed to release by 2008 end has not yet reached the theatres. Only a new still from the film has been released. It is said that the film will release only by early 2010. Let us hope the film is worth the wait.

Thalapathy... a Mani Ratnam Masterpiece

By Visitor S.Mahesh

The views expressed in this column is that of the visitor. We don't hold responsible for its content.

Though I have seen Thalapathy a number of times I failed to realize its amazing technical brilliance hidden under its shell. All these years I have just enjoyed the movie as an entertainer without much stressing on its technical details. But I was totally blown away when I watched it in a DVD few months back. In technical aspects I would say Thalapathy is Mani’s masterstroke among all his films and is very special, thanks to Santhosh Sivan’s breathtaking cinematography, Ilayaraja’s scintillating BGM and songs and above all Mani’s execution of scenes and characterization makes it one of the best in the industry. Since Thalapathy has its adaptation from the epic Mahabharata, both the scenes and characters have shades of Mahabharata.

To start with

Titles: Mani’s movies never had titles in maroon color (they are usually in white fonts in black background) but in Thalapathy titles come in maroon or brick red color since Rajini’s character is compared to Karna in Mahabharata who is the son of Sun, which is maroon or brick red color. Needless to say Rajini’s name in Thalapathy is Surya. This is the reason, you would find Rajini in maroon colored shirts in most scenes. Also, you will find Sun’s rays joining Rajini in many scenes. When Srividya and Rajini unite you can see the Sun rising. Also the whole movie would have a maroonish tone.

Characterization: See how beautifully Mani portrays Shobana’s character. She would always start from ‘Yamunai aatrile eera kaatrile kannanodu thaan aada’ but once her love is broken she starts from ‘Aayarpaadiyil kannan illayo’. Also during the break-up scene of Shobana–Rajini you can see the Sun trying to set.

Songs: Now we shall look into Mani’s magic in the songs. Picturizing songs is an art which does not come to all directors easily. But for Mani just a room is enough, he will do wonders, (eg.Ninnukori Varnam). Since Rajini’s characterization is similar to a warrior who goes for frequent fights, Mani had picturised the song in the same fashion. Another important factor he had considered is war coming to a close around six in the evening basically to nurse the injured soldiers. Here, Shobana lights the lamps and Rajini will be seen with his horses resting.

Ilayaraja aka BGM: I can’t even imagine any other music director for this classic. Whenever Srividya thinks of Rajini, BGM would be train’s siren. Amazing, isn’t it? In ‘Sundari kannal oru sedi’, when Rajini goes for war you can hear the police march fast BGM. Some other amazing BGM portions in Thalapathy are the Rajini–Shobana break up scene, Rajini–Mammootty first meeting and uniting scene and when Rajini stands in a small hill just before Amrish Puri enters the frame.

These are just few examples but each and every frame's execution speaks Mani's caliber and why he is the master. According to me, Thalapathy is truly an under rated classic.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This is the most descriptive article about Endhiran, its prospects, budget in recent times. Though there are some factual errors here and there in the article one can ignore them and have a sneak peek through the article since there are some valuable inputs from experts.

The National is one of the leading newspaper from Gulf serving many countries in middle east.

The Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was reportedly cast in Robot to boost the film’s appeal for Hindi speakers. David Heerde / Rex Features

The film Robot features a dancing android built by the special effects team behind Terminator and Predator and outfitted by a costumier to the stars. But the flick is not a product of Hollywood or even Bollywood, India’s mainstream Hindi film industry. Robot is being shot in Tamil, an Indian language spoken by just 77 million people worldwide.

Robot (or Endhiran in Tamil) is the first film in Indian cinema history to marry south Asian talent with Hollywood technical expertise. It’s a union that will cost an estimated $24 million (Dh88m), the biggest budget ever for an Indian film. To recoup costs, producers hope to break new ground. Most Tamil films have a limited audience, but Robot is pitching for a global market.

The sci-fi flick will include all the traditional elements of a Tamil film – singing, dancing, romance, comedy and improbable martial arts displays. It will star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Rajinikanth, two of India’s top actors, and a dancing, fighting android created by Stan Winston Studio, Hollywood’s leading special effects team.

Jack Rajasekar, a spokesman for Stan Winston Studio, confirms that the company has been working on the film for about 18 months and that it is the first Indian film to which the studio has contributed. He says the android will be a replica of Rajinikanth, who was in Hollywood recently to help programme it.

He says the *android will be a replica of Rajinikanth, who was in Hollywood recently to help programme it.

(* android = An automaton that resembles a human being)

“Rajinikanth was all wired up and working very hard on many things like stunts and dance movements,” Rajasekar says.

Other international names to appear in the credits include Mary E Vogt, a Hollywood costumier who outfitted out the caped crusader in Batman Returns as well as a troop of aliens in Men in Black. AR Rahman, the Chennai-based composer who won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, will compose the music. And Woo-Ping Yuen, who worked on Kill Bill and The Matrix, has reportedly signed on as the film’s fight scene choreographer.

It’s unheard of for an Indian film to rely so heavily on foreign input, but the producers of Robot are sparing little expense. A source at Sun TV Network, the Chennai-based production company behind the movie, says that even Rai Bachchan’s make-up artist is Hollywood-based and was flown to the set in Peru.

The film’s director, S Shankar, who has made a string of Tamil film hits, is famously extravagant. During the making of his last film, Shivaji the Boss, he sparred frequently with producers over the budget. SC Babu, the chief executive officer of AVM Productions, which produced Shivaji, says Shankar insisted that the company buy rights for the 1933 Hollywood film King Kong. AVM caved and paid $30,000 (Dh110,000) for a portion of the movie. In the final cut, King Kong appears on screen for a few seconds during a car chase scene at a cinema.

“We wanted to use another film to save costs, but the director insisted that we use King Kong so that the car could burst through King Kong’s mouth,” Babu says.

It’s taken Shankar years to get Robot off the ground. Initially he roped in Shahrukh Khan, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, to play the lead. But Khan pulled out and the role went to Rajinikanth.

Rajinikanth approached AVM to produce the film, but the studio knocked it back, leaving the way open for the UK-based Tamil film distribution company Ayngaran to buy the option. Ayngaran began working on the project in 2007, but last December it sold Robot to Sun TV Network, which owns a string of TV stations in south India. Vijay Kumar, an executive producer at Ayngaran, says that the company was hit by the recession and could no longer afford to fund the film.

“It was a dream project that we were into for a year and a half,” Kumar says. “But we had budget concerns in the recession and we ran out of money.”

He would not disclose how much Sun TV Network paid for the film, but says that Ayngaran didn’t make a profit from the sale and only covered what had already been spent on the production.

Now under the control of Sun TV Network, Robot is in its forth month of shooting and is expected to take another year to complete, with shoots planned for Brazil, India and Hong Kong.

Shankar is an extremely private director and guards his sets heavily to prevent leaks. Even mobile phones are forbidden. When pictures of an Incan-themed dance sequence at Machu Picchu in Peru hit the internet, Shankar is believed to have ordered a full-scale investigation into the security breach.

R Madhesh, a director who has worked with Shankar, says he has long insisted on complete confidentiality, and only shows the script to about four people involved in the film, including the assistant director and the cinematographer. Even the lead actors aren’t privy to it and must make do with a brief plot outline to prepare for the role. “They only see their lines the evening before the shoot,” Madhesh says.

Even the lead actors aren’t privy to it and must make do with a brief plot outline to prepare for the role. “They only see their lines the evening before the shoot,” Madhesh says.

Many say it’s no surprise that India’s most extravagant film is a product of Tamil Nadu. The state’s passion for film is legendary. “Tamil people idolise actors. It’s a crazy addiction,” says Gayatri, a Chennai-based film writer. “Nowhere else in India do you see such an intense fan culture.”

Only 15 per cent of Indians speak the Tamil language, but the southern state is home to the country’s third largest film industry, valued at about $240m (Dh881m) a year. It’s a testament to Tamilians’ passion for cinema that most of the state’s chief ministers have hailed from the industry. The 2009 elections will be a race against Jayalalitha, a former screen actress and M Karunanidhi, a former script writer.

Robot is not the first mega production in Tamil. Shivaji the Boss, which AVM released in 2007, cost $12m (Dh44m) to make, according to the studio.

Shivaji and Robot have much in common. Both films star Rajinikanth, are directed by Shankar and will feature a soundtrack by Rahman.

The international success of Shivaji bodes well for Robot. AVM estimates that the film reaped $30m (Dh110m) internationally, making it one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. In Tamil Nadu the movie broke all box office records, and in the UK it became the first south Indian film to enter the mainstream top 10. The film was also screened in America, Canada, the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Mauritius and western Europe.

The international success of Shivaji bodes well for Robot. AVM estimates that the film reaped $30m (Dh110m) internationally, making it one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. In Tamil Nadu the movie broke all box office records, and in the UK it became the first south Indian film to enter the mainstream top 10.

But despite its geographical reach, Shivaji the Boss had a limited audience. The movie was released in only two languages: an original version in Tamil and a dubbed version in Telugu, the language of the southern state Andhra Pradesh. Babu says that of the 800 prints distributed globally, only two were subtitled in English.

Most of the people who paid to see Shivaji the Boss at the cinema were of south Indian origin, but the producers of Robot hope to entice audiences from across the subcontinent and Indian diaspora. It’s understood that the film will be dubbed into Hindi as well Telugu, and possibly even English.

Ramanujam, the chief editor of the trade journal Tamil Nadu Entertainment, says that producers are trying to broaden the film’s market. “Robot is not really a domestic Tamil film,” he says. “It will be an international film.”

Ramanujam, the chief editor of the trade journal Tamil Nadu Entertainment, says that producers are trying to broaden the film’s market. “Robot is not really a domestic Tamil film,” he says. “It will be an international film.”

He adds that Rai Bachchan was cast to increase the film’s appeal for Hindi speakers, of whom there are more than 700 million worldwide. The former Miss World is the reigning queen of Bollywood, and one of the few Indian actors with an international profile. She was paid an estimated $1m (Dh3.6m) to star in Robot.

Marketing for Robot is yet to begin, but there’s already a buzz in the film industry.

“It will rock,” says the Chennai-based film writer R Ravishankar. “With such a magical combination of talent it won’t fail.” He says Rajinikanth, who was paid an estimated $5m (Dh18m) to play the lead, will be the main draw for Tamil audiences. “No Tamil star this decade can match Rajinikanth’s presence on screen. He even has fans who are babies. He may not be the best actor but no one has his charisma,” Ravishankar says.

“No Tamil star this decade can match Rajinikanth’s presence on screen. He even has fans who are babies. He may not be the best actor but no one has his charisma,” Ravishankar says.

A former bus driver from Bangalore, Rajinikanth is part comedian, part action hero. On screen he woos women half his age and performs impossible feats of courage. “My favourite Rajinikanth moment is when he throws a knife at a bullet coming towards him. He cuts the bullet in half and the two halves kill the villains,” Gayatri says.

If Rajinikanth can work his magic beyond his Tamil fan-base, then the producers of Robot will have achieved their true objective: to make a Tamil film that trumps Bollywood.

Our thanks to : The National news paper

Monday, May 11, 2009

A six-pack Rajini in Sultan

Get set to whistle non-stop. Superstar Rajinikanth is all set to sport a six-pack. So what if it is in the animated film, Sultan the Warrior? The resemblance to Rajini is remarkable.

“We have been able to achieve a celluloid look because we motion captured him,” says Soundarya Rajinikanth, co-producer of Sultan the Warrior.

Soundarya checks the gray scale, then goes back to the original motion capture images. Forty eight cameras read only the glowing markers on a tight body suit that he wears. But Rajini does not merely go through the motions. His face, eyes, eyebrows, all come alive. “He is a director’s delight, and that is why we have been able to achieve a finish not attempted in India so far,” she adds.

Some of Hollywood’s best technicians have helped achieve the look. The facial animation (you have only around 200 muscles to replicate) has been done by Image Matrix, the company that did that fabulous work on Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. “We have outsourced nearly 30 per cent of our work and it all needs to gel together,” adds Soundarya.

The USD 5 million project has been in the making for a few years now. “Maybe I was a little too optimistic that the full length animation film (one hour and 45 minutes running time, as of now) could be finished in two years time,” she says and adds “Internationally, it is known that an animation film with VFX takes much longer.”
With a background in multimedia, how did she turn to direction and where did she get the story idea from? “Oh, it’s appa’s ‘knot’ actually,” she says. “We normally discuss stories and when he mentioned this one, I wanted to make an animated film at once. He said, ‘Come back to me with a screenplay and we will see’. I did and he gave the thumbs up,” says Soundarya.

Nearly 70 per cent of the film is done, says Ravikumar Anandaraj, chief technical officer and executive producer of the film.

It is a film set in the Chola period. With Rahul Dev having been motion captured as the villain who is also a classical dancer and a martial arts expert, will this be a kind of Sultan-meets-Bruce Wayne film? “No, he is not Superman, he cannot fly, but Sultan will connect with the warrior in every one of us. It is a commercial film with love, betrayal, revenge, action and humour,” she explains.

What about the trademark Rajni punch dialogues? “Adikkira kaathula parakkura Sultan elai illada, malai, asaikka mudiyadhu (Sultan is not a leaf to blow away in the wind, but a mountain. He is unshakable), ” Soundarya reels off one of the dialogues written by her.

“Shooting him was an awesome experience, we never had to go beyond one take, though when I said, ‘Retake’ he always obliged.”

Soundarya is also planning a glossy coffee-table book on the making of Sultan the Warrior. The mock up scenes will also be screened in theatres.

The film will be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi simultaneously. The Japanese and English versions will be released “according to theatrical release norms of that country,” she adds. “India is a happening place today, which was not the case three years ago, when I participated at Mipcom at Cannes (where international content is showcased). Now, international distributors are keen to discuss our films complete with song, dance and the climax fight,” says Soundarya.

Any confusion over the release date? “All I want is to gift a good, classy product to my dad, and such a gift can be given at Diwali,” she says.

A Diwali release? She laughs and responds with a question, “Or maybe an early new year gift?”
“What matters is that he is the first southeast Asian star to be animated, and it will be a classy work, something India will be proud of. Our animation work has never crossed the oceans. It’s time it did,” says Soundarya.

So how are things with Warner Bros, with whom her company had tied up for joint ventures? She opens a mail from Richard Fox of Warner Bros and reads it. “‘It’s going good and we have many projects in the pipeline. Warner Bros has been and will continue to work with you. Together, our companies have a number of south Indian language projects in various stages of production. We will announce these projects at the appropriate time. But, any rumour that suggests otherwise is simply not true’, said Richard Fox executive vice-president International, Warner Bros,” she says.

Courtesy :

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Superstar in YG Mahendran's 100th stage play

At the Kamarajar Arangam, it was a special performance for the stage legend Y.G. Mahendra who was staging his 100th play. To mark the achievement and to honor him two legends of the Tamil film industry; Rajinikanth and Kamal were present. Rajini was present along with his wife, daughters and son-in-law Dhanush while Kamal was present along with daughter Apsara, Gauthami and her daughter Subbulakshmi.