The hype surrounding Tamil new year, Pongal and Deepavali releases is high, with winners and losers being closely monitored. The first verdict is out, and the big winner of the New Year is Susi Ganesan's Thiruttu Payale. All the attention was on Tirupathi, directed by Perarasu and starring Ajit, but the film has emerged a complete disaster. Why? It could have something to do with the fact that it can be called Thirupachi 3 -- there is absolutely no difference between Perarasu's Thirupachi, Sivakasi and Tirupathi.
While Tirupathi was torn to pieces by critics, they were unanimous about Thiruttu Payale. Word of mouth publicity has helped, and the film has been declared a hit. Its success only reinforces a fact seemingly forgotten by today's filmmakers: If the product is good, people will watch and enjoy it, no matter what.
Susi Ganesan seems extremely relaxed now that his film -- coming as it has after a long gap -- has succeeded. "I am a happy and relieved man," he says. He also assures us that he will start his next film soon, with a top hero.
Rasathantram, a superhit!
Mohanlal and Satyan Anthikad, who created so many unforgettable and commercially successful films together in the past, finally reunited after 12 long years.
Obviously, like it was a joyous collaboration for the actor and director, the audience in Kerala also accepted Rasathantram with open arms, nostalgically making it a superhit. In the summer months, families flock to theatres for a laugh, and this is what the film offers. Highlights include the hilarious scenes put together by Mohanlal and Meera Jasmine, and Meera's masquerade as a boy!
All the films released for Vishu were quite successful. Mammootty's Thuruppu Gulan had an excellent opening, Dileep's Pachakuthira is making kids laugh and Suresh Gopi's Chinthamani Kola Case is solving a murder mystery with good results.
Kamal Kamaraju paints Godavari
Last year, M F Hussain did a series of paintings inspired by Nagesh Kukunoor's Iqbal. On a very different scale, Kamal Kamaraju, a budding actor, is reliving the experience of shooting Sekhar Kammula's Godavari by painting a few canvases. "Everyone was moved by the movie so much that they were prepared to give in much more than was expected. I wanted to capture this spirit, as I too was moved. I penned a few lines, and did a few paintings," says Kamal, a trained architect.
Kamal has always been interested in art and often painted as a student. Acting, however, took over and he went from theatre to Telugu films. He plays the second lead in Godavari. He also assisted in the art direction of films like Anukokonda Oka Roju, where he had a cameo, and Chhatrapati, where he also played a friend of Prabhas'. And yes, it had been eight years since he last took up the brush.
Upendra, the multi-starrer man
It's possibly just a coincidence, but Kannada filmstar Upendra now finds himself only doing multi-starrers. His recently released Thandege Thakka Maga had Ambareesh in the lead.
Upendra has just finished the first schedule of Sadhu Kokila's Satya Harischandra, a remake of the Tamil film Pithamagan. He plays the role Vikram played in the original -- a role that got Vikram the National Award. Darshan gets the role originally played by Surya.
Lava Kusha, directed by Sai Prakash, is another Upendra multi-starrer, with Shivaraj Kumar starring alongside him. And that's not all. Upendra will be teaming up with superstar Vishnuvardhan in a film produced by Rockline Venkatesh. It is set in the background of the Bijjala-Basava empire during the tenth century, and will be directed by acclaimed director Nagabharana.
For the moment, Upendra is busy with Aishwarya, with Deepika Padukone and Daisy Bopanna as his heroines.