April 11, 2002


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What the marquee looks like this New Year


The South is gearing up with a number of releases.

It's the New Year and a crop of new films on offer. Here's a look at the fare in Malayalam and Tamil cinema.

Tamil releases:

We have Vijaykanth in Rajjyam, Vijay in Thamizhan, Prashant in Thamizh, Surya in Shree and Vikram in Gemini.

A still from Gemini * Gemini: A high expectation film, it is produced by AVM Films, after Minsaara Kanavu, directed by Rajeev Menon.

Directed by Saran, the film stars Vikram and its audio has done brisk business. The song O podu is very popular. Vikram had a huge hit last year in Dhill and later on, Kaasi. Director Saran is also remembered for his Amarkkalam and Paarthein Rasithein and perhaps will be 'forgiven' for his recent flop Alli Arjuna.

It is a love story of 'evening college' students. The girl, a Marwari, hails from Broadway, the predominantly 'Settu' pocket in Chennai. Mumbai girl Kiran debuts opposite Vikram.

* Thamizhan: Vijay, recently nursing a flop in Shahjahan, will be looking forward to Thamizhan.

A still from Thamizan Produced by G Venkateswaran (G V Films), the movie has Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra.

Vijay plays a law graduate with unorthodox ideas. He comes up with a simple solution where a common man can help pay off the country's debt. A special postal stamp is also released in honour of the young man.

Obviously, there are miscreants. How Vijay triumphs is what Thamizhan is about.

Apparently, Vijay heard Priyanka humming on the sets and suggested that she could sing a song. And the two have sung a song in the movie.

The budget is rumoured to be Rs 50 million and sold out double the amount.

A still from Vijaykanth * Rajjyam: Vijaykanth is considered on par with Rajnikanth despite his previous average grosser Thavasi.

Vijaykanth plays a security officer who thinks life is more than just earning money. For him justice means everything.

The buzz is that the film was made on a budget of Rs 80 million, and has been sold for Rs 120 million.

* Thamizh: The film is directed by debutante Hari, who was the associate director of Nasser. A love story with a difference, Hari seems to be counting on his story to do the trick than hero Prashant, who is not exactly riding a crest. Simran also leads the cast.

A still from Thamizh The film has a small budget of Rs 20 million and is yet to be sold. It will be distributed by its producers.

* Shree: Surya plays an angry young rowdy with a heart of gold. It is all about one man's fight against evil. Shrutika, granddaughter of yesteryear Thengai Srinivasan makes her debut. The film also stars Gayatri Jayaram, Srividya, Vadivelu and others.

Directed by Pushpakavasan, its music is composed by debutant T S Murali.

Malayalam releases:

* Phantom: Mammootty plays a dupe stunt artiste Phantom Pylee. It is about a man who goes to Bollywood to become an actor, ends up a dupe artiste and, one day, is injured in an accident. When he realises that it is curtain time for his career as a stuntman, he goes to his hometown and learns some of life's other lessons.

Mammootty This action-packed movie is directed by Biju Varkey. And the music is by Deva, from the Tamil industry.

Mannivannan, also from Tamil films plays an important part in this film.

Also starring: Nedumudi Venu, Cochin Haneefa, Malavika, Aswathy and others.

* Onnaman: Directed by Thampi Kannamthanam, the film stars Mohanlal and Ramya Krishnan. Its music has been composed by S P Venkatesh.

Mohanlal's son Pranav makes his debut playing the little boy of Mohanlal's childhood days character. Mohanlal is a don who controlls the Cochin Port. Ramya Krishnan plays his Gujarati neighbour, who becomes an IAS officer and is posted where Mohanlal operates.

Also starring: Kavya Madhavan, Biju Menon.

* Oomapenninu Uriyaadapayyan: Vinayan's film deals with a handicap again like his Vaasanthiyum Leskhmiyum Pinnun Njaanum, which was a superhit.

Baby Ummen is deaf and dumb. A painter of hoardings, he falls in love with Gopika Verma, also deaf and dumb but a rich girl. The movie deals with how their world is not as silent as people think. Jayasurya makes his debut along with Inderjeet [son of late Malayalam actor Sukumaran], who is the fly in the ointment.

Apparently, actor-producer Aamir Khan liked the movie and wanted to produce the Hindi version and play the lead role of the blind vagabond singer, but got too busy with Lagaan and the Oscars.

Vinayan is now set to make the Hindi version, with or without Aamir. The film has recovered its production costs with distribution rights, and is therefore already being called a success.

With Jayasurya and Kavya Madhavan in the lead, this musical has been composed by Mohan Sitara.

Divya Unni * Zamindar / Kuberan: Suresh Gopi features in Zamindar with Divya Unni opposite him. 'Minimum guarantee' star Dileep stars in Kuberan, directed by Sunder Dass who directed Dileep's debut Salaapam.

* Nandanam: Ranjit, who debuted with the superhit Ravanprabhu is ready with his second directorial offering Nandanam with debutant Prithviraj [son of late Sukumaran] and Navya Nair.

A Bangalore student, the hero is scheduled to go to the United States. He visits his tharavadu [ancestral home] just before going away to foreign land. There he meets a girl whom he falls in love with.

* Pakalpooram: Anil-Babu duo, who are known for their comedies, go for a horror film here, starring Mukesh and Geetu Mohandass.

Haunted by a female ghost, the local temple is closed, after the ghost is chained by Brahmadattan, a man with magical powers.

He has two wives --- a Brahmin and a lower caste weaver. They deliver their babies at the same time, but the infants are swapped by mistake.

The Brahmin baby Gowridasan (played by Mukesh), grows up in a weavers' house, but later becomes the temple priest. The other son Manickan (played by Salim Kumar), is a wastrel.

Manickan sets the female ghost (chained by father Brahmadattan), free. The ensuing chaos and how the problem is solved forms the rest of the film.