On Sunday, fans from across Tamil Nadu felicitated Kamal Haasan on his 50th birthday with flowers, shawls and gifts. Many of his fans who made it to Alwarpet in Chennai lined up outside his office to wish him. The event started with Kamal lighting a lamp before his parents' photographs. As he has done for the last few years, the actor distributed notebooks and articles worth over a lakh of rupees to the needy.
But the biggest moment for many of his fans, as well as several Rajnikant followers, was his much awaited answer to the question of acting in Chandramukhi with Rajnikant. He announced, 'If my brother (Prabhu) asks me, why not? After all, it was the production house of a man (Prabhu's father, the late Sivaji Ganesan) whom I considered my father.' In all probability, he may do a guest role in Chandramukhi.
He also announced his next film Mumbai Express, a bilingual in Tamil and Hindi, for which shooting will start in ten days. The Tamil version will star Nasser, Pasupathi and Vaiyapuri, while the Hindi version will feature Mahesh Manjrekar, Om Puri and Sourabh Shukla. Shukla will write dialogues for the Hindi version.
Both versions of the breezy comedy will be directed by Singeetham Sreenivasa Rao, famed for the critically acclaimed silent movie Pushpak (1988). Ilayaraaja will compose the music. The other common factor in both versions is, of course, Kamal Haasan.
The film is expected to be out in April, coinciding with the release of Rajni's Chandramukhi.
Nayanthara, Rajni's heroine
It is old news that 19-year-old Nayanthara, an actress from Kerala, is Rajni's heroine in Chandramukhi. She made an impressive debut opposite Jayaram in Satyan Anthikad's Manassinakkare, which
Her role opposite Sarath Kumar in Ayya fetched her the most coveted role of her career, opposite Rajnikant. In Chandramukhi, she will play the role Shobhana essayed in Fazil's Manichitrathazhu (1993), which won her the National Urvasi award. It is to Nayanthara's credit that she is acting opposite veteran actors who have been in the business years before she was born.
The other heroine in Chandramukhi is Simran, who acts opposite Prabhu.
Writer goes to court
News about Chandramukhi never ends. Madhu Muttam, the writer of Manichitrathazhu, has arraigned Ram Kumar and Prabhu of Sivaji Productions, and P Vasu, director of Chandramukhi, at the Alleppey District Sessions Court, claiming the story is his. The Kannada version of Manichitrathazhu credits the story to P Vasu.
Madhu hopes this point onwards, filmmakers will give him credit where it is due.
Prithviraj in Tamil
While Malayalee actresses (like Meera Jasmine, Nayanthara, Navya Nair, Gopika, Asin) and character artists and villains (like Manoj K Jayan, Kalabhavan Mani, Rajan P Dev) are invading the Tamil film industry, Malayalee actors have not had much luck here. Even heavyweights like Mammootty or Jayaram have not made much of an impact.
One new face trying his luck in Chennai is Prithviraj. Though the topmost young actor in Malayalam, he will act in a negative role in a still-untitled film directed by noted cinematographer K V Anand, who making his directorial debut. The film stars Srikkant and Gopika, who had a dream run last year with huge successes like Jayaraj's 4 The People in Malayalam and Cheran's Autograph in Tamil.
"He is a very fine actor, a very nice gentleman too. He understood it is a fantastic role and had no qualms acting in a negative role," Srikkant said of Prithviraj.