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|September 21, 2000||
Thenali: A Kisstory!
Just when you thought Jyotika was likely to spoil Kamal Haasan's perfect record of having kissed -- not the coy bee-and-flower stuff, this is the real McCoy we're talking about -- all his heroines almost since he was old enough to kiss a girl, we find out otherwise.
The shy miss had baulked at the kiss initially, and when initial reports had indicated that there would be no kissing scene for Kamal and his lady love in Thenali, now on the floors under K S Ravi Kumar's direction, Jyotika had reacted with an "I am relieved."
She needn't be: Kamal gets to kiss her after all. "It is all part of the profession," says Jyotika, resignedly.
That is not all. Kamal plays a Sri Lankan refugee in the film which is due for a Diwali release. And he will playback for himself, singing a ditty in Sri Lankan Tamil with a pronounced Sinhalese accent.
To get the accent right, Kamal is now taking lessons from Abdul Hameed, the announcer with the famous voice. Hameed will, in fact, also play a small role in the film.
As of now, it looks like things are on schedule. Only two songs remain to be shot, and A R Rahman took 20 days off from whatever he is doing in London with Shekhar Kapur and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, to record the two songs.
Which means that, for the first time, Kamal gets to sing under Rahman's baton. And no, it is not Vairamuthu with the lyrics -- Piraisudan, Arivumathi and Ilaiya Kamban have done the song-writing for Rahman's tunes.
K S Ravi Kumar will make a fleeting appearance in front of the camera for this film. In fact, he seems to have developed a fondness for doing a Hitchcock -- in his last directorial outing, he had appeared briefly in the Kick eruthey song alongside Rajnikanth in Padayappa.
Asked about the film, Ravi Kumar insists that it is neither a takeoff on Mousehunt, nor does Kamal play a mentally unstable gent -- which, if you recall, is what industry buzz has been suggesting all along.
The director believes that a shooting sequence involving live rats must have led the industry gossips to come to the wrong conclusion. "It is actually just a five-minute sequence, a comedy scene involving Kamal and a mouse," says Ravi Kumar. And the only other thing he will say about the film, is "It is a comedy-laced love story, centering around a guy who speaks Sri Lankan Tamil."
But what is it about? "You go see it when it's done and you will know," says the director.
By way of aside, Kamal has earlier done Punnagai Mannan under K Balachander's direction, wherein his love interest, after a failed suicide attempt, is Revathi playing a Lankan Tamil girl. Karate maestro Shihani Hussaini also played a Lankan Tamil in the film -- which, of course, cues you into the Singalathu Chinna Kuyile song.
This of course is neither here nor there, but we just thought we'd mention it in passing.
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