Editor’s Note In Loving Memory of my Grandmother Ms Radhabhai.
My first experience of cinematic glory was my times spent with my grandma. As a child I used to stay up all night, watching movies on the couch with her. She was an actress, so I was lucky to witness some behind the scenes action. Rather, she was forced to take me on the sets every single day of the shoot schedule except if I had my exams. Slowly age caught with both of us, as she couldn’t do as many shoots as she used to and I couldn’t take oﬀ from school and hang out on the sets all the time. But my relationship with my grandma was purely living the movie magic - the struggles, the passion and finally the Friday release. Our country is so rich with culture/family values/romance, and that’s probably why they still have such a large market for magical cinema. The transition from classics to contemporary is probably at its best stage now. We - as you would call the current generation, have had the opportunity to enjoy the silent to audio stage of cinema, the black & white to color cinema, and had the opportunity to share first hand information about experiences. Speculating that we’re at the stage of - new ideas, diﬀerent scripts being approached, and experiments gaining popularity and where current
cinema has grossed the classics. So, it’s a great time in our lives to chronicle these memories, discuss current strategies and sit back making predictions only to debate our knowledge for cinema. It is self-perpetuating. Vidya Singh walks through one of the landmarks of cinema making - The AVM Studios along with Suhasini Maniratnam, who catered to the transition of classics to contemporary. Sudhish Kamath then discusses the Sivaji-MGR and the Rajini-Kamal, who literally ruled the actor/star council. Are the actors and directors the only intellectual property in cinema today? Rana Daggubati pens a story for us. Ashanti Omkar explores the Plan B or expansion plans for film personalities. And read on for many more expert opinions and analysis into the world of cinema.
A film special without any Galatta? Of course not!! My dear friend Shakthi spearheaded our content and we enjoyed her humour, wit, style, warmth and expertise. We love you Miss Frappe’s Consulting Editor. Special thanks to the Galatta cinema team, for all your magic and red carpet assistance.
Happy Diwali and Stay Blessed!
Editor: Hema Sethuraman Published & Owned by: Hema Sethuraman Consultant Editor: Shri Shakthi Girish Editorial: Preeti Arasu PR: Anupriya D Creative Head: Amit Naik Graphic Designer: Simran Nichani Operational Address: #14 Gems Court, Basement 24, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai- 600006. Copywriters: Anupriya D, Preeti Arasu, Harshini D, Vinita Nayar and Dhiya Susan Kuriakose
Special Feature Contributors: Vidya Singh, Ashanti Omkar, Manav Fatnuni, Gibran, Swarupa Pillaai, Sudhish Kamath, Rana
Daggubatti, Shri Shakthi Girish, Uma Vangal, Harish Samtani and Krithika Satish. Feature Photography: Eshita Prasanna, Joseph Asir Event Photography: Dwarakesh Iyengar Cover Photography: Sunder Ramu On the Cover: Trisha Krishnan Stylist: Sonali Subbaiah Styling Assitant : Simran Nichani Clothes: Evolv Make-up: Sunita Rao Hair: Toni & Guy Furniture : Souk & Good Earth Printed at NPT Oﬀset Press Pvt Ltd, Chennai - 14 Frappe Publications All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or represented without the written permission of the publisher.
Contributors Arvind Ranganathan Chief Executive OďŹƒcer Arvind joined Real Image in 2005 to head Strategy and Business Implementation across divisions. Arvind brings deep insight of the cinema industry, across the business value chain. A Chemical Engineer and a Post Graduate in Management, Arvind has the ability to quickly grasp the key business drivers across industry sectors. Driving the management imperatives and actions required to deliver on strategic goals are his forte.
Ashanti Omkar Freelance media persona within the UK industry since 2003; named one of Anokhi Magazine's Successful People in 2011, alongside the likes of comedian Russell Peters and boxer Amir Khan. She left behind a flourishing IT career, having worked for the likes of Oracle, Business Objects and Pepsi Cola, for the exciting world of entertainment. She has interviewed many personalities, from AR Rahman and Akon to Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Mani Ratnam. You may spot her on B4U TV, her writing/editing in Cineworld Unlimited Magazine (UK), Anokhi Magazine (Canada/US/UK), Galatta Magazine (India), Desi Hits (Worldwide).
Harish Samtani: Harish Samtani is the Chairman of Stereovision group companies. Established in 1975, the company is headquartered in Chennai and has oďŹƒces in Mumbai and USA. Stereovision deals with high-end pre-lens technology products such as high speed cameras, deep sea underwater camera housings and lighting, aerial lighting to name a few. Harish has been part of the Film and TV industry for 13 yrs now.
He is the Production Head at Radaan Mediaworks, one of the leading media entertainment houses in Tamilnadu, promoted by Radikaa Sarathkumar. In the industry for the past 22 years, he has worked with Kavithalaya Productions for 10 years before joining Radaan Mediaworks in 2006, and is actively involved with a number of projects in TV serials and movies.
Rana Daggubati: A thinking actor of today, Rana started his film career in 2010 and is currently doing his 5th film. He made his debut with Telugu film “Leader”, and was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut – South. He had previously produced the documentary film A Belly Full of Dreams for which he received the National Award for Best Film.
S. Sivaraman He is the General Manager – Operations, Prasad Film Laboratories, Chennai. Sivaraman has done his graduation in film technology and has an experience of over 40 years in the industry. He has served as faculty in FTII, Pune (Film & Television Institute of India) for 2 years before moving to Prasad Film Laboratories. He is part of the team at the labs that has won 18 National Awards for excellence in film processing. He was also instrumental in introducing 70MM release printing/ Dolby Digital/ DTS printing / Polyester Film processing and several other new technologies with the active support of the management.
Shri Shakthi Girish Editor at Galatta Cinema & CIO - Galatta.com/Galatta Media, she is amongst one of the most successful media personalities in South India. A graduate from SIET College and CLRI in Chennai, Shakthi was a footwear & accessories designer, travelling widely to Europe & USA, before she joined the Galatta team in 2005. Shakthi along with her husband and his partner went on to launch Galatta Cinema - a vibrant, classy, stylish English-language magazine for South Indian cinema; and in 2010, the cinema-lifestyle weekly publication Galatta Express. Also in Shakthi's purview are Galatta Media's other brands; G! Studios and Galatta Global Events.
Sudhish Kamath Part-time writer, Full-time bum. Small-time filmmaker, all-time scum. Seriously, Film critic for The Hindu, two film old director & reluctant superhero
Dr. Uma Vangal:
A Filmmaker, HOD - Media & Entertainment department at LV Prasad Film & TV Academy.
Contents 10 e World inside 75mm Wizardry, Enchantment, Cinema
14 Behind the scenes – foodie times On any day there are over 40 serials and 30 movies under production in the city. With over 75 crew members who work per set, to provide them with sumptuous food is no reel life. It’s all about what matters to the stomach!
18 Vidya Singh’s Fitness Mantra Walkabout in Chennai – AVM Studios, with Suhasini Maniratnam
e Newsmakers 26 Breaking the rules. As Tamil Cinema continue to constantly transform, a look at some ‘generation next’ personalities from our Film Industry.
e Making 22 Choosing a Storyteller & the Story! Rana Daggubati shares his take on how he chooses his scripts.
24 India to the World Two of India’s crowning jewels, Prasad Labs & Real Images are in Chennai and are thriving with the amazing projects that they create not only for the Indian ﬁlm industry, but projects that comes from far and beyond the borders
Trisha unplugged We discover the many faceted Trisha – the star, the lady with the golden heart, the naughtiest girl in school….her passions and her secrets…
e Analysis 42
Time for the twain to meet e essence of being a star and an actor are two different roles. Can the present generation of stars ever ﬁnd a way to take that mantle that has been strongly and successfully held by MGR-Sivaji and Rajini-Kamal?
46 Films & Politics in TN – e Eternal Bond e combination of ﬁlms and politics continue to attract Tamil audience’s beliefs, hopes, aspirations and more. 48 Successful after stardom Our Indian stars show us the way on how to lead a life, with modesty and grace, being actively involved and pursue all that matters to the heart, in the prime of their ﬁlm career or later.
Notes from a Traveler 58 A Swiss Rhapsody One must visit Switzerland - the land made famous by Bollywood, not just for the snow peaked mountains, but to soak in their culture, food, sights and so much more than ever captured on silver screen.
Gibran’s Column 60 Of ﬁlms & festivals
Kiss n Make up
Events 62 Cupcakes & cravings! 64 e advanced basics! 65 Your hotel & movie experience – reinvented! 66 When the GO:ing gets mad!
Book Review October 2011
52 Focus on Cameras and Technology e South Indian ﬁlm industry not only boasts of the best technicians, but also the best equipment used by them. High end technology is the gamechanger and this is being understood not only by the technicians, but by the rest of the crew too.
mouth-watering festive spread of specialties at Beyond Indus.
Celebrate the festive spirit of Diwali with special Diwali hampers from Vivanta by Taj Connemara, Taj Club House and Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove! Hampers include delicious Indian sweets, scented candles, diyas, sparklers, wine and much more.
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TAJ HOTELS Diwali hampers
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TAJ CLUB HOUSE Beyond Indus 21st Oct – 30th Oct Celebrate the festival of lights by treating your taste buds to the
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VIVANTA BY TAJ – CONNEMARA Verandah 21st Oct – 30th Oct Choose from an array of fresh seafood comprising of fish, lobsters, squid, crabs, prawns and more from Verandah to suit your appetite. For reservations, call 044 6600 0000
Platinum Jewellery Season’s Collection 2011-12 takes in designs that echo the newest international trends and are adapted to suit to contemporary Indian style!
APPARAO GALLERIES 14th Oct – 3rd Nov COLLAGE From 18th Oct
On displays would be the mesmerizing solo artworks of Pravin Sawarkar and S.Natraj that incorporates youthful and urban fantasies.
On the racks of Collage would be the splendid Daak and Taant collections of Paromita Banerjee. Experience absolute opulence from the simple yet elegant label of Paromita!
Visit www.apparaogalleries.com for details
Call 044 2829 1443
AMETHYST 6th Oct – 15th Oct On racks would be the exquisite designs of Anuradha Vakil. Call 044 4599 1630
ART VINNYASA PREMIER ART GALERY 11th Oct – 20th Oct On displays would be the fine paintings of K.N.Ramachandran.
21st Oct – 30th Oct On displays would be an exhibition of paintings by Munuswamy. Visit www.vinnyasapremierartgalery.co m
Indulge in the comfort of the all new format in the bag styles of Terra – Peek, Poke, Bespoke. Visit www.theterraworld.com for details
e World Inside 75mm Wizardry, Enchantment, Cinema Picture courtesy: Galatta.com
“Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars!" - Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale in Now, Voyager
Shri Shakthi Girish
In 1878, when Eadweard Muybridge demonstrated the power of photography to capture motion, by simply setting up a series of still cameras to capture the movement of horses, which he then presented as a series of pictures (almost like a flip book!), America hadn’t yet realized that they were on the verge of unleashing one of the most powerful forces across to the world - Cinema. What followed was simply the stuﬀ of Hollywood flicks – Eadweard’s pictures got the Americans running in a tizzy to try and develop a device that could capture motion, Thomas Edison obliged most splendidly in 1894 with his “kinetoscope”. The quest that started oﬀ in California spread to New York City. The era of silent films opened up (the Wars came in handy, proving to be worthy content to dole out to the awed masses whispering, Dear Lord, is it magic?) and the ball just became bigger and rolled faster and unstoppably. The USA continued to spearhead the audio-visual revolution. Stories
became bolder, grander, sometimes more real and sometimes fantastic. Technology was developed. Strategies were formed. Movie studios were kings and actors were a piece of heaven. America reached out to the world and left a piece of itself in every place that it touched. …Even as far as India. Dadasaheb Phalke’s movie Raja Harishchandra (1913), is said to be the first silent feature film made in India. Bombay wasn’t doing too badly, even by Hollywood standards, because by the 1930s, they were producing almost 200 films every year! With sync-sound came Alam Ara in 1931, by Ardeshir Irani and its success simply showed that there was a huge market for this kind of film – Talkies, they called it. But India’s Golden Age for Hindi cinema was after independence, between the ‘40s and the ‘60s. Even today filmmakers say that’ some of the most acclaimed films were produced at this time. Pyaasa, Mughal-e-Azam, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Madhumati… Parallel cinema soon sprang up, especially in the Bengal region and together, these commercial and “real” filmmakers became and are the pioneers of great Indian cinema.
So where does that bring in South India? That region of the country that is so diﬀerent from the North?
Tamilians are a diﬀerent breed. It starts with the Tamil language itself - older than Sanskrit, steeped in the cultures of a land older than the Aryans. The homogenous combination of centuries of Sanskrit and Tamil together have created a language and a culture which is so unique, Tamilians know that no other region in India can be quite like it. Thus is the cinema here, too. Deeply rooted in realism, yet also drenched in local traditions, stories and immortal tales, Tamil cinema is at once a mix of the grandiose and
Tamil cinema hasn’t been far behind Hindi in pioneering eﬀorts. Silent movies have been around since 1917 and in October of 1931, the sound-picture Kalidas was born. Movie production had found its momentum. From shooting in make-shift locations in and around Chennai (with final product being sent for finishing to Pune or Calcutta), movie studios were spawned. AVM Productions was, without a doubt, the first biggest movie studio premises. Some fine actors have risen – M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, P.U. Chinnappa, K.B. Sundarambal, Vyjayanthimala Bali, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth… they are legends who live beyond their earthly life. This is the region that has given birth to unforgettable cinema, on par with anything the rest of the world has to oﬀer. Parasakthi, Chandralekha, Nadodi Mannan, Adimai Penn, Apoorva
Ragangal, Padhinaaru Vayadhinile, Sindhu Bhairavi, Nayagan, Apoorva Sagodarargal, Thalapathi, Indian, Kannathil Mutthamittaal, Sivaji, Dasavatharam… A powerful list of films that have, over nearly 80 years, entertained, informed or moved us to tears; or all of the above. Tamilnadu is home to some of the finest actors, filmmakers and technicians around the world, from Ellis Dungan to P.C. Sreeram to Kamal Haasan to A.R. Rahman. Award winners and visionaries in a world as colourful as a kaleidoscope – and as mixed too. This is a microcosm of dreams, success, failure, apathy, grit, power, romance, soul-searching, soul-selling, scandals, achievements, brilliance, mediocrity, ups and downs. Thanks to my parents – a hard-core movie lovin’ pair – I grew up on a staple diet of Fri-Sat-Sun cinema. My father is a die-hard MGR fan. My mother thinks Jackie Shroﬀ is a hunk. They both love Sridevi and as a child I was fed on a weekly dose of Big B hits (many of them remade into Tamil with Rajini in them – which I watched, as well), I have also seen a plethora of Hindi and Tamil classics. I grew to love movie magic as well. VHS was our God of the small screen and I was drawn into the world of Starwars, E.T., Rambo, Sherlock Holmes, Godfather, Jungle Book; or Billa, Thillu Mullu, Girafthaar, Tehzaab and so on… With each year and each eagerly coveted videotape later, I saw how Tamil cinema’s classics were woven around strong stories, scripts and a penchant to thumb its nose that glamour-seeking Bollywood. I saw how Hindi cinema was on a surge to match Hollywood’s “coolth” with larger-than-life stars, grand sets, costumes and gorgeous women in gorgeous clothes. Down South, Rajini and Kamal left pretty much
everyone else by the wayside and with K. Balachander, Balu Mahendra and Mani Ratnam, the quality of Tamil cinema with even obscure actors was phenomenal. Gloss became better with Hindi and technology and script became awesome with Tamil cinema. Hollywood, though, continued to rule, crossing technology and
ground-hard reality. Filmmaker K. Balachander has so aptly quoted in his note in the book Best of Tamil Cinema 1931-2010, that cinema is the progressive evolution of the performing arts. It is the amalgamated, new-age version of our age-old theatre, dance, song and performing art forms, which have been part of our folklore for centuries.
unforgettable tales with unbeatable performances.
…And today, we are still on the learning curve. In the last 10 years,
while Tamil cinema handed over the baton from one generation to the other, strange things have happened. Hindi cinema decided to take on the world, not limiting itself to just our borders; while we were happy with a little more than status quo. For “Bollywood”, storylines changed. Marketing and packaging changed. The approach to filmmaking changed. “Real” movies were thrown in along with the usual masala fare. Big stars decided to take a break from being larger-than-life to being a part of everyone’s lives. Portrayals became stronger, attention to detail became keener. Here, on the other hand, our steady stream of excellent cinema thinned to a trickle somewhere and suddenly, Tamil cinema started to look largely stagnant and mediocre. There was a futile sameness to stories, clichés, mindset, lack of detail and an obvious reluctance to
open up the boundaries of filmmaking and production.
Gloss became better with Hindi and technology and script became awesome with Tamil cinema. Such is life these days. The audience is as fickle as the movies themselves. There is much change – some for the better, much more for the worse. The politics of cinema is bigger than cinema itself. It is not raw, rich and passionate as it used to be. It’s now more like a game the players aren’t even playing well. And trapped between audiences that seem to embrace mediocrity and filmmakers who are
forced to give in, are the good guys who are struggling to continue making a diﬀerence.
When Hema asked me to be Consulting Editor and write the Foreword for this very special
edition of Frappe – The Movie Special; all I felt was inadequate. What, me?! My experience as I skim the fringes of this industry, sometimes taking a dip or two, has been richer for the people I have met and admired; and even several of the rotten eggs! Kiran and Swaroop Reddy who have humbled me with their conviction that there can be a grand vision of movie experiences for even the smallest customer. Suhasini Mani Ratnam, with her fingers in both Indian and world cinema. Radikaa Sarath Kumar, who’s one of the sharpest knives in the block. K. Balachander and Kamal Haasan: True artists. Superstar Rajinikanth who is humility personified. A.R. Rahman, who can draw your soul out with his music. AVM Saravanan and Ramkumar Sivaji Ganesan who still stand for their strong code of ethics. Nalini Sriram with her sartorial style or art directors Thotta Tharani and Rajeevan with their grand artists’ vision. Nirav Shah with his eye for colour and
thorough professionalism. Suriya and the intensity in his eyes and Vikram with his unflappable charm. The beauty of Simran, the dimpled mischief of Laila, the perfect diction of Sneha, the sensuality of Shriya or twinkling eyes like Trisha’s. I am like none of these. But I am the Eternal Hopeful. All I have is the great hope that my beloved Tamil cinema wakes up and takes the world by storm; and all I have to give is my heartfelt good wishes to little Hema who has taken it upon her slim shoulders to give you as interesting and varied information and reading pleasure as possible through this edition of Frappe, with her repertoire of celebrity guests, guest writers and tales of cinema from those who can truly tell them well. Enjoy reading. The best is yet to come.
Today we have unions for everything. We have regulations, subsidies and tax benefits for the movie industry. We have production giants and we have independent filmmakers. We have aspiring actors with passion, who’ve turned overnight into stars with ambition. We have a community that is at once moving in unison, looking out for each other; as well as like an angry swarm of people, each trying to make the quickest and biggest buck. In this quagmire of mediocrity, there are still some who shine – as individuals who believe in detail; or producers who stick to their code of ethics; or filmmakers who scorn the vapid cinema of today in search of something immortal; or even cinema hall owners who believe that a movie is not just some moving pictures but an entire experience for hours, of which they are an intrinsic part. These are the people that make us believe in the power of cinema. These are the people that get me to the theatres every Friday that their movie releases, despite all my cynical old-hag grumbling. These are the people I look forward to seeing their work of (and it doesn’t have to be deep, meaningful cinema; it can just be plain old simple well-made entertainment) with my buddies. And these are the people who will live in small or big ways, in the minds and hearts of people long after they’re gone, because whether you’re a multi-billionaire or a street hawker, the power of cinema evokes passion and starry eyes like no other medium.
Dinner For Two
-Foodie Times On any day there are over 40 serials and 30 movies under production in the city. With over 75 crew members who work per set, to provide them with sumptuous food is no reel life. It’s all about what matters to the stomach!
Our Tamil culture is indeed very special: to be a charming host and pamper our guests is an aura that is innate for most of us. Aﬀection not only at the comfort of our homes but the warmth and care spreads even on the sets of a movie or serial production. This is especially so in the case of food and the sumptuous spread made available to one and all. Production or media houses and managers go that extra mile to make sure all of them are well looked after and everybody on the set are happy and cheerful. Maybe this is the reason why production food or on-set saapadu is immensely popular, for its variety and taste and is well known
amongst people outside the industry too! “Food is an important aspect to be looked at while on a shoot and care is taken to ensure all tastebuds are satisfied.” says Mr. K Sukumaran, Production Head at Radaan Mediaworks (one of the leading media entertainment houses in Tamilnadu promoted by Radikaa Sarathkumar). “The film industry in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh has the most heartfelt gavanipu / hospitality on sets. Individual stalls are set up and a wide array of delicious food is served to the whole ‘family’ while on a break, with separate marked containers for the VIPs.” It is a
Menu “The food usually comes in these mighty towering carriers and counters are set up. During a normal working day, piping hot south indian coﬀee is served as the crew starts to arrive and quickly breakfast is served.” This meal usually consists of Idly, Upma, Poori or Dosa, Vadacurry and most certainly Pongal, which is a sentimental part of the menu and breakfast is usually incomplete without a Pongal! Accompaniments will include an array of chutneys and sambar. Lunch is another feast with our south indian saapadu served the whole nine yards. Non-vegetarian dishes like a Chicken or Egg Curry, Mutton fry and more is served everyday while on a movie production, especially so when an action sequence is being shot. The menu is cyclic but sticks to the staple diet of a true Tamilian. “Since almost everybody on the set are interested in this aspect, they all chip in with their skills – quite a few actors make an impromptu biryani for all during their breaks and we have had many occasions when we shoot in Neelankarai, some drivers, makeup artists and more support staﬀ go fishing and enthusiastically whip up something for the entire crew!” shares Sukumaran.
Stars and their preferences… In the age when all actors are fitness conscious, they all have prescribed diets to be followed. “Most actors have preferences for papaya for breakfast, green tea and fruit juice or warm water through the day and a subway sandwich as their main meal.” These instructions are passed on by the actor’s assistant to the Production Manager or if the shoot is within the city, food sometimes comes from their own home too. “Before the caravan concept caught on, everybody on the set got together to have their meal - it was truly a special sight. Whenever we shoot with Actor Prabhu in Chennai or in Pollachi, home food will arrive not only for him but for another 10-15 people! Home food has its own charm and is a special attraction for all.” If a movie is being shot outside Chennai, in another city or town, a lot of crew members venture with local food and specialties –“Director Shankar’s favourite is some local spicy Parota and Mutton Curry when shooting at Kariakudi” shares Sukumaran. Ready for ‘action’ A detailed plan to take care of everybody’s needs, wholesome meal for the crew and timely arrangements require a lot of planning. When shooting outside Chennai, a couple of cooks travel along, a marriage hall is hired and food is sorted. An exhaustive plan sheet that consists of the hotel room numbers of all crew members is shared along with their preferences, timing and much more. “A perfectly organized food plan is when a big chart is made on the floor with numerous boxes, mentioning the room number, number of people and food preferences. Individual meal carriers are made as per specifications and neatly arranged on top of this chart to the corresponding room and laid out.
known secret that the food that comes for the director, producers and artists are the yummiest! “Along with the common spread, a few extra special items are included –they are the head of the family isn’t it?” chuckles Sukumaran. To execute a successful food plan is no menial task and a lot of planning is required to also ensure that it no way hampers the day’s production schedule. The Production Manager on the set will be familiar with most stars’ and VIPs’ preferences and will communicate this to the mess from where the food is being catered from.
This is truly a form of art – to pack each container with specifications,the right orders, suﬃcient quantity with all its accompaniments easily available, to reach the set and the respective caravans on time, is indeed a skillful job.” Nalabaga Urimaiyalargal Sangham (Mess Owners/Caterers Union) Is part of the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) and consists of about 20 Food Mess and Caterers that are located around AVM Studios at KK Nagar & Vadapalani. The Production Manager interacts with the chosen mess and provides them a schedule and location of where the movie/serial will be shot. “These caterers are specifically designed and created to provide food only for serial & movie shooting requirements. With so much production activities being conducted, they collectively cater to about 7500 people per meal almost everyday. This excludes shoots outside Chennai, where a couple of cooks travel along with the rest of the crew.” The union is well organized and works with a great time sense. These owners also understand the quirky preferences (think low salt, less oil,
favourite dishes and the likes) of the VIPs of that team, that goes a long way too. Every Production or Media House in the Tamil industry consider provision for great food to crew members as one of its important responsibilities. “The kind of working conditions that technicians endure – rain or heat, tough locations, dust and more - it is very crucial to keep all floor staﬀ and technicians very happy with good food through the day, as the kind of publicity this can generate is valuable. To some staﬀ members, providing them with delicious food is a much more important pre-requisite than paying them their daily wage.” Whether the shoot is scheduled within the city or elsewhere, no excuses can be made to provide the crew with ample food that is rich in taste and quality – this responsibility lies mainly with the Production Chief who works closely with the VIPs, their assistants and the rest of the crew. “People on set while at work are looked after even better than when at home! We respect each and every crew member and the role they play in making the project successful at the box oﬃce.” wraps up Sukumaran on a “pack up” note.
• The food budget per person in a movie production is Rs. 130 and Rs. 65 for a serial production. • The workers at the food mess usually commence work at 3am to cater for breakfast by 8am. • The boxes that arrive specifically marked for the VIPs (director, cameraman, producers and artists) are most sought after! It usually consists of a couple of special dishes not part of the regular menu – could be a sweet or a non vegetarian dish. • The Nalabaga Urimaiyalargal Sangham (Mess Owners/Caterers Union) is one of the 24 crafts/unions that are a part of the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI)
Vidya Singhâ€™s Fitness Mantra
Walkabout in Chennai - AVM StudioWith Suhasini Maniratnam
Photography - Eshita P
Where : AVM Studios, Kodambakkam Distance : I Km Time : 30 min
The city of Chennai is always at its best early in the morning, before the hustle and bustle of the people, vehicles and others that occupy her streets get out there. Suhasini and I were out at AVM Studios, at half past six in the morning. A perfect time to be there as we had the place to ourselves, except for a few sleepy security guards and some birds! It was pure nostalgia for Suhasini, as we walked about in these sprawling grounds, it brought back memories of her times there, over the thirty years of her life, during all the shootings that had happened right there.
The long driveway leads us right into the campus and we drive past the temple, which is not only used for shootings, but the first shot of every film at AVM is taken at this temple, even if it is never used in the film. As we walk through the grounds, we see sets that had been used as the central jail, a village scene, an old facade that is burnt, and beautiful old banyan trees â€“ all that may have been incorporated into many scenes! There are recording studios, and two make up rooms that were used by Sivaji Ganesan during his days, that are now reserved for Kamal Haasan and the legend Rajinikanth! The gardens of the beautiful bungalow, where party scenes used to be shot, are lush with tall palms and trees, manicured lawns with a gazebo! This could have been the house of the rich heroine and the poor hero
had to walk up the driveway to meet her father! It has been an enjoyable hour walking in the AVM Studio complex and we realise with some regret that we need to get back to reality and our more mundane lives, in real time! AVM Studios In the world of cinema, AVM is an established banner, renowned for its innovation, dedication and perseverance. It owes its reputation to the vision and eďŹ€orts of its founder, AV. Meiyappan. AV. Meiyappan was born in 1907 into a family of Nattukottai Chettiars. Money-lending was the predominant occupation within this community. He started a store called AV&Son, which sold
His first venture was ‘Alli Arjuna’ in 1935. In 1940 he established “Pragathi Studios” at Madras in partnership with two others. 14th November 1945 saw the birth of AVM Studios in a rented house located at Santhome in Chennai. AV. Meiyappan was scouting for land in Kodambakkam to build a studio complex but he was hampered by the shortage of electricity due to the Second World War being fought at that time. In 1948, once the world war was over and electricity was more freely available, AV. Meiyappan purchased several acres of land in Chennai to shift AVM Studios to its present location. The large 120 ft. x 60 ft. shooting shed in Karaikudi was dismantled and brought to Madras to be assembled again, to what is now the third floor of AVM Studios. To this day, this auspicious floor is where the poojas for all AVM movies are conducted. AV. Meiyappan had the unique distinction of having had five Chief Ministers work in his feature films. During the last seventy-five years this movie house has produced not only 175 feature films but nearly twelve thousand television
e large 120 ft. x 60 ft. shooting shed in Karaikudi was dismantled and brought to Madras to be assembled again, to what is now the third ﬂoor of AVM Studios. To this day, this auspicious ﬂoor is where the poojas for all AVM movies are conducted. episodes as well. It has not confined itself to Tamil, but has produced feature films in Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Sinhala and more languages. AVM is the only organization, which produced 175 films, from Alli Arjuna in 1935 to Muthal Idam. It is situated, on 20 acres of land, with 13 shooting floors, of which four floors are air-conditioned. There are two recording halls and two dubbing theatres with the latest machines. There is a department of Audio and Video for producing Videos. The facilities can be availed for shooting full-length feature films, TV Serials or TV shows. Suhasini Maniratnam A promoter and partner of Madras Talkies, Suhasini co-writes scripts with Mani Ratnam. She has written dialogues for his film Iruvar. She heads the Television division of Madras Talkies. Suhasini is a renowned actress and director. She has acted in 200 films in all 4 major South Indian languages. She won the Tamil Nadu State Award for her first film Nenjathai Killathae, the Andhra State Award for the films Nandini and Swati, the Kerala State Award for the film Theerthadinam, the Central Award for the Tamil film Sindhu Bhairavi.
Her feature film Indira has won her the Best Director Award at the International Film Festival at Belarus (Former Soviet Union). She was awarded The Crystal Mirror and Indira is the first Indian film to be released in 8 cities in Japan. Suhasini was invited to the International Film Festival at Cannes for her outstanding performance in Vanaprastham, a Malayalam feature film that won National & Kerala State awards. Suhasini has also directed an 8-part serial called Penn that was highly successful and won several awards in 1990. She has produced/co-directed with Priya V and starred in a weekly serial, Ganesh Vasanth, for Sun TV. She has also produced Punnagai, Panjavaranam, and Anbulla Snegidhiye. She has directed a telefilm, Kaicha Maram for Doordarshan and her programme Pesum Padam on Jaya TV is rated as one of the best programmes on films’ review. She has made a 45-minute public service film on empowerment of women for a U.K.-based N.G.O
gramophone records, which had to be purchased in Madras. During one of his buying trips, Meiyappan was struck with the idea of pressing his own records instead of having to buy them. This idea led to the creation of Saraswathi Stores in 1932. Devoted entirely to the music business, Saraswathi Stores became very popular with music lovers. Most of the records that it sold came from feature films, so AV. Meiyappan asked himself whether he could produce feature films instead of having to buy all his songs from other producers. This bold and daring thought was the seed of what was to become a nationally and internationally renowned enterprise.
called Action Aid. She has also founded The Duchess Film Club with the prime motive of enabling film lovers to watch films of international acclaim. She is now very actively involved in Naam Foundation, a public charitable trust for the relief of the poor, education, medical help that is irrespective of caste, creed, community, sex and religion. She is also a qualified cinematographer from the Madras Film Institute.
In Conversation with Suhasini Maniratnam
Vidya: AVM has been almost a second home to you over the years. What goes through your mind as you do a walkabout with us? Suhasini: I started my film career as a cinematographer when I was Camera Man Ashok Kumar’s assistant. We would reach AVM at 6am for a 9 AM shoot, to get the lights up at the cat walk in the studio. I remember all those hard working days and also the stars that I met after I became an actress - actors who were working for
other films, actors and technicians from all 4 southern states and many more. Today when I walk through AVM, I step back into every stage of my life and my career in the 80's!
Vidya: Do you feel that fitness helped you during the days that you were shooting at that pace? Suhasini: Not really! We were really lazy those days and our mothers fed us with too much food. Vidya: You have been an athlete Luckily the food was not fast food what are the sports that you and high in calorie as today’s food. participated in and competed in? Being a vegetarian helped. I wish I Suhasini: I was in the State Kho Kho had a fitness regime in my 20’s, But team when I was in school and also better late than never and I enjoy in the athletic team in school and fitness now. college. I have won prizes in high jump and long jump. Sports was as Vidya: What kind of fitness would or more important as studies! you recommend to the youngsters of today? Vidya: You look so lean and fit, Suhasini: 45 minutes of cardio what exercise do you do to keep jogging or in the gym and 3 days of yourself that way? weight and core training. Or just a Suhasini: I discovered real exercise simple sport like badminton, only in 2001. Before that I did follow tennis, football or hockey 3 days a Jane Fonda’s easy lazy aerobics!! week will do wonders to youngsters But it is after 2001 that I realized body, especially their skin the importance of a personal trainer. Nina Futnani was my first trainer and then Dr Vijay of Savera. Stay Fit Everyday of Your Life Now a young trainer called Surendar helps me. I don’t eat “Fit for life, “a lifetime of fitness”sugar anymore and rice only for are these mere clichés or can they lunch, an hour and 30 minutes at be a reality?! There can be the gym everyday, if possible. absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is no myth but can most definitely be a reality in any one of our lives. All one needs to do is to take control, to decide in your own mind, that this is the moment to take charge, to take stock and to make those necessary changes, to enhance the quality of your life. When you gain control over your body, you gain control over your life. There definitely will be positive changes in self-confidence, self-respect and empowerment as a result of this. It is an unfortunate fact that in the 21st century, one aspect of life are the changes that have occurred through inventions and globalisation that do make our lives so comfortable. But we cannot deny the fact that those very changes have also contributed to most of our lives becoming
Not so long ago, life expectancy was a mere 40 years. Any length of time that you lived beyond this was considered a bonus. This was the
reason that we celebrated that 60th birthday in such a big way. It was considered to be extremely fortunate that one actually lived that long!!! Today 50 and 60 seem to be the beginning of that second phase of your life, when you have so much to look forward to and all the time to enjoy the rest of your life. Keep in mind here that due to advances in the medical field, and greater awareness, most of us do live much longer than our ancestors did. We need to keep those years productive, active and healthy. This quality of life is what we are trying to focus on here and how to achieve just that.
The importance of “Fitness and Nutrition”, that go hand in hand with each other and their balance, are two core issues that every one of us needs to address. Eat right and Exercise – seems such a simple formula and I think we will be amazed by the benefits that can be gained by following it.
Exercise Physical fitness, again of primary importance to every single one of us needs to be focused on. • Create a program for yourself that is as simple as going for a walk everyday. Be more adventurous and begin to do aerobics, weight training, swimming, yoga or maybe
Nutrition Everything that you eat is intrinsic to the condition of your body and its well-being. • Consult your family physician for an eating plan that is right for you a balanced diet, that gives you something from every food group. • Cut back on quantities, as it is a proven medical fact that those who consume fewer calories do tend to live much longer. • Look at the kind of food that you would naturally eat in your own home and in your everyday life. Try to make those necessary changes within these parameters. Develop eating habits that you can live with for the rest of your life.
a combination of various forms of exercise. • Whatever form of physical activity you do, you need to be regular and consistent in order to see results. • Get involved with an activity that you will enjoy and can sustain for as long you live. This will keep you focused and coming back for more. • Age is not a bar in keeping you active, as there are so many options to choose from. It is time to make fitness a part of your lifestyle!
sedentary and almost too easy. The fall out of this, is the increase in heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases.
Choosing a Storyteller and the Story! Rana Daggubati
Choosing the right script is crucial for the success of any actor's film career. It is a task that requires one to think and visualize. I work with a close knit team, comprising of former screenplay specialists and writers, who understand the essence of the role and the movie as a whole. They are my mentors, and I also draw from their experiences before signing up for a new project. An exercise that has proven successful and something that will help me excel further in entertaining you.
My grandfather once said to me ‘I don’t know if you’ll be a good actor or a bad actor. But just do one thing – get to work on time’. I took his advice and it’s made a world of a diﬀerence. Here I am now, just two years later and doing my fifth film. It worked!
That films would go on to be an integral part of my life was pretty much pre-ordained. I grew up in a household where films were the staple. Was I going to be part of films? Absolutely. An Actor? Maybe, maybe not! It all started when I was acquiring IP rights of Indian films to design video games for our game studio FXLabs. I figured that an actor or a director is the real intellectual property in cinema today. When I said this to my acting coach he thought I was an MBA guy gone wrong. But, it’s the way I approach things.
Now that I’ve become an actor with more experience in a film laboratory than a theatre class, the entire understanding of the medium is something else altogether. There are many ways one can do this, but for most times I thought selecting a story idea is a decision taken by a combination of things like: uniqueness of the idea, the character, the director, the producer and other such things. Not until someone like Ram Gopal Varma mentioned it to me did I realize that, the one very important reason behind stories that I’ve been part of has been that the main line of action actually reminded me of films that I’ve grown up watching. While signing my first film, I wanted to do an alternative film that follows a hero’s journey; ‘Leader’ was just that. It had familiarities in essence of the Mani Ratnam classic “Nayagan”.
Although I had a few reservations on the second half and how the love story would eventually play out. As much as I loved the idea of the protagonist cheating a girl for the well being of the people, I just had a diﬀerent view on how it could develop, given the screen time of the film. I voiced it out, but being my first film, it didn’t matter to most. Not complaining at all, because I got all I wanted from the film, because Sekhar helped bring out my personality on screen in the most unique way possible. Then my second film ‘Dum Maro Dum’ came as a pleasant surprise to me, because after a Telugu film I was ideally looking for a bigger Telugu film or a bi-lingual (Telugu-Tamil) film. But, being a huge fan of screenplays told in a multiple story format i.e. “Amores Perros” and Steven Soderbergh’s
One of the most important things my father ever told me: ‘You don’t become an actor with your first hit. You become an actor with your first flop, because you have no choice but to bounce back from it’. The only real failure of mine at the box-oﬃce was “Nenu Naa Rakshasi”, a romantic thriller in genre. The first time I heard the story, it was a something that I’ve never heard or seen so far in my film viewing experience. Excited with being part of a Puri Janganadh film that’s edgy, I just leaped into it without addressing what had to be. Probably that’s why I didn’t fully understand the growth of my character and was therefore unable to play it with as much conviction as I would have liked. When I watched the first cut of the film, I knew something was wrong, unlike most times I couldn’t even find solutions for improvement. The reason I understand now, is that I’ve never had a connect with films of this nature. Nevertheless it’s done with but, with a clear understanding of my mistake, and I am really glad it happened at the beginning of my career as an actor. Two films I’m currently working on “Naa Ishtam” and “Department”. “Naa Ishtam” a romantic comedy, reminds me of “The Sound of Music” and “Rangeela”, not in terms of story but in terms of soul, as in these stories have no real antagonists but it’s the various situations and circumstances that make the characters behave the way they do. The character I play in “Naa Ishtam” is closest to my character in real life, that’s another reason why I wanted to be a part of it.
And as for “Department”, it is the idea of being part of something similar to the innumerous cop-dramas I’ve grown up watching, stories of the Mumbai Mafia and Police have always excited me. I grew up literally studying RGV’s films, as they have had a tremendous influence on my life, the experience of working with Ramu will continue to enrich that understanding. I’ve always understood or connected to a specific character with a hero’s journey, as opposed to just being a hero. Which is why in most films, I’m able to perform at my best when there is a visibly etched character i.e. politician, police, musician, etc.
I figured that an actor or a director is the real intellectual property in cinema today. When I said this to my acting coach he thought I was an MBA guy gone wrong. It's about identifying great stories that have some resemblance of reference to your life. After all this, something that I finally believe in is an old quote “It’s not storytellers who find the stories; it’s the stories that find us.”
“Traﬃc”, when Rohan Sippy chose me to play “Joki”, I was absolutely game for it, and it ended brilliantly well for me.
India To e World
Two of India’s crowning jewels, Prasad Labs & Real Images are in Chennai and are thriving with the amazing projects that they create not only for the Indian film industry, but projects that comes from far and beyond the borders. Anupriya D
The Tamil film industry today is one of the largest industries in the world. Big budgets and even bigger stars! The scale at which movies are produced down south is certainly unmatched to any regional language film in the country. Pioneers like Mani Ratnam, Rahman or the most recent Academy Award winner Resul Pookuty are highly skilled individuals, all from down south, have definitely etched their names in the pages of history. The immense talent and work culture in the Tamil film industry is something that is very well known and appreciated across the globe. As a result outsourcing has taken a complete new meaning in relation to the film industry and film technology. Technologically sound, this industry now has travelled shores
and made their presence felt in a global arena in media technology as well as media services. S. Sivaraman, General Manager – Operations, Prasad Film Laboratories- Chennai, tells us how everything today is locally available in the south. “Prasad is perhaps the biggest in India in post production services. It oﬀers various services all under one roof, right from processing lab services, recording studios, digital visual eﬀects services, tele cine services, editing, sound recording and mixing, etc. Our labs are certified by Kodak; therefore it oﬀers world class services and quality standards. Our fully air-conditioned shooting floors fully enable directors to erect huge sets. Director Shankar shoots most of his films here. ‘Enthiran’ being one of the most
legendary film being shot at our premises.” Not only the Tamil film industry reaps its benefits, but today film makers from all over the world look at outsourcing the media services to the various film labs in South India. Reasons could be many - It is definitely economically compared to many other countries and at the same time there isn’t compromise with quality. Sivaraman further explains, “At one point of time, Prasad was where most Bollywood films’ post production took place. But after Adlabs came into the picture, it took a back seat because sending film negatives to the South is a risky aﬀair, considering the films might get damaged in the process. From that point they prefer to work there. Even today the cream of the
Times have changed and so is the technology. Chennai based company Real Image, a leading technology provider in the Indian film and broadcast industries sure did change the worldwide digital cinema space. Arvind Ranganathan, Chief Executive Oﬃcer for Real Image tells us how it all happened. “In the early 1990s, Senthil Kumar, who had established one of the most respected sound post-production facilities in India, and Jayendra Panchapakesan, a pioneer of advertising film production in Southern India, together setup Real Image to promote technology in the Indian film and broadcast industries. They were acutely aware of how much behind the rest of the world India’s film industry was at that time. In 1993, they proposed to Avid
Technology (which had recently introduced its Media Composer computer-based, non-linear editing system to the world) that they could partner to introduce the technology in India. Avid agreed and the rest, as they say, is history. Real Image helped television commercials and feature films adopt non-linear editing and worked tirelessly to train editors and modify all of the workflows in the film industry to enable this revolution to succeed. This was a key change in the Indian film industry that helped catalyze and foster all of the creative and technical advances that eventually made Bollywood into the worldwide force in entertainment that it is today.”
Arvind further elaborates, “Qube Cinema’s innovative products and state-of-the-art technology has brought some of the biggest names in the movie business worldwide – including Odeon/UCI Cinemas, IMAX, ARRI, Technicolor, Sony and Dreamworks – into its fold. Closer home, Qube is a part of the digital strategy of almost all the multiplex chains and theatrical consolidators in India”
Not content with just this accomplishment, Real Image then approached DTS, a small US company that had dared to take on the mighty Dolby with a competing digital sound format. DTS had its hands full with promoting its technology in North America and Europe and agreed to completely hand over the Indian market to Real Image. The company later began work on its own digital cinema system in 2001 called Qube Cinema.
Prasad Film Laboratories with 6 labs is the Largest Integrated Network of Film Laboratories in India and over the years Prasad Film Labs have processed over 15,000 feature films and countless number of documentaries, short films and ad commercials.
Today, the west not only outsources their services to India but also technology. With the media services and technology from the city competing with the world leaders, it sure has put Chennai firmly on the world map.
Prasad’s IMAX theatre provided the world’s highest attendance for Avatar, Spiderman and Harry Potter in the IMAX format. Prasad won the National Award for best VFX in ‘Krrish’ and won the National Award, India, for Best Film Lab 18 times. The Digital Cinema business is represented in Hollywood and Europe by Real Image’s wholly owned subsidiary Qube Cinema, Inc. One of the key players in the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) standards compliant industry, Qube Cinema is the only Indian company in this space. Real Image is working to bring alternative content to digital cinemas worldwide, starting with the first ever Carnatic music concert film – Margazhi Raagam – conceived and directed by Jayendra. The idea is to give Indian classical music the evocative visual appeal and sound quality that this rich art form deserves.
industry be it from Bengal or Kerala or any other part of the country has a constant association with us. But one technology that is majorly outsourced by the west in recent times is films restoration, where older movies are preserved to restore it to its former glory, sometimes more pristine than the original. This restoration mainly done for archival purpose is catching up in a big way.”
As Tamil Cinema continue to constantly transform, a look at some ‘generation next’ personalities from our Film Industry. Swarupa Pillaai
Tamil Cinema has seen changes since 2005 with the new generation trying to break ‘old school of thought’; by breaking rules with not just subjects and protocol, but by convincing their seniors to work alongside their ‘new protocol’. This is making heads turn amongst the Film Industry as well as audiences. Such individuals are not just breaking rules with their work pattern and contribution to Cinema, but have managed to surprisingly create oﬃcial Fan Clubs for themselves based on their work and talent with followship. Some of the trendsetters…
frenzy for one whole week because of Ajith playing a negative role; and influences street gambling on the opening weekend. • Breaks an A list star’s call sheet from an established A list director (Gautham Menon) to make ‘Mankatha’. • Gives a massive opening across all three centers (A, B and C). • Reminds everyone who the next Superstar is. • Gambles with the screen presence of the actor; and still manages to score with the film being titled as one of the actor’s best (amongst fans). Fact file – • Son of Music Director Gangai Amaran, and nephew of legendary Ilayaraja. • First film – ‘Chennai 28’. • Best film – ‘Mankatha’ (Box oﬃce) / ‘Chennai 28’ (Critics).
• Remuneration – 2 crores INR • Passion – Singing Yuvan Shankar Raja (Music Director) • Has been grabbed by the biggest banners and directors over time, strictly based on hard work lasting over a decade. • Is the master of background scores in terms with directorial cues. • Is the best performer amongst musicians down South. • Has the largest fan following amongst the new generation for his ‘opening songs’, background scores and his own offbeat vocals. • First amongst his counterparts to recognize urban club trends which he often exploits in his upbeat modern cuts. Fact file – • Currently on a World Tour (Live in
Venkat Prabhu (Director) • Picks a brilliant subject on cricket betting, which sends fans into Photography: Karthik Srinivasan, Hungry Tiger Photography
• Has a directorial venture in the pipeline. • Is a philanthropist in various areas of service, including ‘Noon meals scheme’ for poor children.
Kiran Reddy (Cinema Exhibition) • Only theatre owner to educate himself with Theatre Management overseas. • Quality matters over numbers; which is why it’s the best Multiplex in India (Sathyam Cinemas) in terms of service. • Has designed the best sound Karthi Sivakumar (Actor) systems in the country for his • With first five films in four theatres with technology from diﬀerent genres, he pulled the rug overseas; and has the best from under his brother (Surya’s) projectors too. feet overnight. • Has the best Food and Beverages • The best actor of his generation in division, with the best chefs. the South in all genres – Drama, • No one can beat him with his Action, Romance, Comedy and choice of interior designing and Pathos themes for each theatre. • The only actor in his generation Fact file – who has potential to be a Superstar. • One of the heirs to the Balaji • Now has a huge opening in Telugu Group of companies. as well with his commercial films. • Has two daughters. • The only actor to become a star • Alma Mater - Lawrence School, overnight amongst all classes with Lovedale. ‘Paruthiveeran’; which made more • Was only 29 years old when he money than ‘Sivaji’ in all three created the revolution in Cinema centers (A, B and C) in 2007. Exhibition. Fact file – • Self drives a silver Mercedes. • Remuneration – 7 crores INR and above Madhan Karky (Lyricist) • Former assistant to Maniratnam. • Is breaking protocol with bold and • Made an entry in the Film Industry controversial lyrics. to be a director, then turned actor • Became a star overnight when he with ‘Paruthiveeran’. was signed up by Shankar for ‘Enthiran’. • Just began his career, and already has two biggies up his sleeve – Murugadoss’s ‘Ezham Arivu’ and Shankar’s ‘Nanban’. • Only lyricist to write in multiple languages – Tamil, Mandarin and Portugese • Co wrote the dialogues in Indian’s biggest film (Enthiran) when he was 29 years old. Fact file – • Son of legendary writer Vairamuthu. • Alma mater – University of Queensland Photography: Sunder Ramu, Copyright: Galatta Media
• Best song – ‘Irumbile Oru Idhayam’ from Enthiran • Is a philanthropist (Served the Red Cross and NCC) • Is also currently a professor of Computer Science at the College of Engineering, Chennai Karthik (Singer) • Began his professional career in his teens and hasn’t looked back ever since. • Has worked with all the key Music Directors of Tamil Cinema – A.R.Rahman, Harris Jeyaraj and Yuvan Shankar Raja, besides being a regular in their camps. • Whizzes through the most diﬃcult chords of A.R.Rahman’s. • Might have serious songs to his credit, but has a huge fan following amongst all generations. • A serious professional Carnatic vocalist who was A.R.Rahman’s fan and worked his way towards working with the music legend. Fact file – • Break – Chorus in Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘One 2 Ka Four’. • Best song – ‘Usure Poguthey’ (Raavanan) • Cousin to singer Srinivas. • Has five Filmfare Awards to his credit, and one Nandhi Award. • Met his wife Ambika (dancer) during a live concert.
concert) • Biggest banners – Sujatha Cine Arts (Billa, Billa 2), Cloud Nine Movies (Mankatha), GK Film Corporation (Sandakozhi, Thimiru, Theeratha Vilayattu Pilai) • Best Films – Paiyya (Album Critics and audiences in A, B and C centers), Mankatha (Album -Fan clubs), Billa and Paiyya (Background scores) • Remuneration – 2 crores INR • Cyprus International Film Festival for Best Score – ‘Raam’ (2006)
Manoj Paramahamsa (Cinematographer) • Was instantly picked by Gautham Menon soon after his launch. • Accepted an out of the box film (Nadunisi Naigal) when the biggest names of Tamil Cinema were waiting to sign him up. • Is most certainly the next best visualizer for Tamil Cinema. • Is open to ideas from directors even today, although he is bracketed in the big league; which is why directors want to sign him up. • Has no star tantrums after this meteoric rise. Fact file – • First film – ‘Eeram’ • Next release – Shankar’s ‘Nanban’ • Best film – Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya(Songs), Nadunisi Naigal (Lighting) • Refused an interview with a leading English daily at the peak of his career. • Alma mater – Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu.
Anu Vardhan (Costume Designer) • Introduced the sophisticated, classy Black and White colour coding for Tamil Cinema. • Revamped Ajith’s look for the silver screen. • Played a key role alongside cinematographer Nirav Shah in giving Ajith his James Bond look. • Is choosy about the films she works on but stays in demand. • Rare costume designer who understands the importance of colours for the visual medium with regard to complementing both actors and cinematography. Fact file – • Wife of director Vishnu Vardhan. • Studied Visual Communication in Loyola College. • Break in Cinema – ‘Asoka’ starring Shah Rukh Khan. • Grand daughter of legendary actor N.S.Krishnan. • Former assistant to Santhosh Sivan.
Dinesh Kumar (Dance Choreographer) • Can get the audiences to break into frenzy with his portrayal of actors. • Has a strong hold in the B and C centers across Tamil audiences. • Easy to work with actors, because of his simple yet impressive moves. • Has been noticed on the National scale for his work in ‘Aadukalam’ with a National Award for the same. • Picked by legendary Kamal Hassan for the individual credit of Dance Choreography for ‘Anbe Sivam’. Fact file – • Former assistant to noted Dance Choreographer Raju Sundaram. • Break in Cinema – ‘Aal Thotta Boopathy’ from ‘Youth’ starring Vijay • Worked with Vijay in ‘Pokkiri’. • Delivered the biggest hit of 2004 – ‘Sirichi’ from ‘Vassol raja MBBS’ • Has won two Filmfare Awards for ‘Ayan’ and ‘Aadukalam’. Peter Hein (Action Choreographer) • Made a mark in Bollywood with Aamir Khan’s ‘Ghajini’, and won a Filmfare Award for the same. • Works on all the big budget films alongside the biggest directors of Tamil Cinema on a consistent scale. • A key project in the pipeline is Superstar Rajnikanth’s ‘Hara’ (formerly ‘Sultan the Warrior’), directed by K.S.Ravikumar. • Has a very impressive filmography in both Tamil and Telugu cinema – Run, Kaakha Kaakha, Anniyan, Sivaji, Tashan (Hindi), Raavanan and Enthiran.
All images from Galatta.com
• A constant in the Murugadoss, Gautham Menon and Shankar camps. Fact file – • Former assistant to seasoned Stunt Masters - FEFSI Vijayan and Kanal Kannan. • Born Vietnamese. • His hair is coloured white. • Has the reputation of being one of the kindest individuals in the Film Industry. • Reported to the sets of ‘Enthiran’ in a wheelchair, suﬀering from multiple fractures. Vikram Krishna (Producer) • Created a stamp with a commercial success ‘Sandakozhi’, with a commercial biggie Lingusamy. • Might not work with A list directors for all his films, but he promotes his films the right way. • Sold ‘Sathyam’ for a record price of 18 crores INR when it was in the making, with right marketing strategies. • Ensures he sells his films smartly to distributors so that he doesn’t make a loss on investment. • Made the banner GK Film Corporation a superstar in the market. Fact file – • Second generation producer, son of G.K.Reddy. • Was launched as an actor initially before turning to film production. • Has seven films to his credit as producer, and six of them star his brother Vishal. • Produces films only with his brother Vishal, and doesn’t sign any other actor. • Gives complete creative freedom to all the directors who work with him.
Trisha Unplugged We discover the many faceted Trisha – the star, the lady with the golden heart, the naughtiest girl in school….her passions and her secrets… Vinita Nayar
Most celeb interviews follow a fairly standard pattern – many stars are so puﬀed up with their fame that they are totally and tediously full of themselves. Then you have the politically correct ones who will simper their way through interviews with bland and boring answers, never giving you an insight into themselves – the answers are carefully crafted and one comes away wondering where the halo is!
So, it was a refreshing change to meet Trisha Krishnan. This lissom lass is considered one of the hottest stars in Kollywood – with her graceful height, her ‘hot figure’, her winning smile and her charm, she lights up the screen. So, I was pleasantly surprised to meet her in her lovely home where she greeted me warmly. Sans makeup, she was dressed causally and plonked herself cross-legged on her bed. A free-wheeling interview follows where Trisha opened up and gave
me glimpses of herself – the angelic side, her mischievous past and her flaws. Yes, it was meeting Trisha unplugged! The angel… As we were settling down, in walked her beagle. As I oohed and aahed over her, Trisha looked on like a proud parent and the conversation took oﬀ onto a common favourite topic – dogs! She is a Goodwill Ambassador for PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The ‘Be an Angel’ campaign in which she stars encourages people to adopt Indian dogs. “I am very clear – I would never buy a dog,” she declares firmly. “My point is – why buy when you can adopt. There are so many abandoned puppies.”
treatment for him with the help of ex actor Amala, who is deeply involved in animal welfare. She smiles prettily and says, “What happened was he stuck to me. I got attached to him too and decided to keep him, and flew him back to Chennai.” “I’ve always grown up with dogs; I’ve even had two cats,” she says. “I can’t imagine a household without animals. It will be like a funeral home - no noise, no love!”
Trisha loves kids too and sponsors two children at Udavam Karangal – an abandoned baby boy and an eight year old mentally challenged girl. She says, “All they want is a little of your time. It’s been two years now since I’ve been going there and it’s great. I spend their birthdays and my birthdays with Her Indian dog, Cadbury was them. Spend a couple of hours and adopted by her in Hyderabad. He it feels so good, so peaceful. The was in a bad shape when she found ambience over there is so happy, him and she decided to get medical the kids are so happy.”
Photography: Sunder Ramu Stylist: Sonali Furniture: Souk & Good Earth Clothes: Evolv and stylistâ€™s own Make up: Sunita Rao Hair: Toni & Guy
“It gives me such a kick – recognition! Every time I see myself on 70mm, I am thrilled.” And she loves the attention she gets from her fans. “I’m drowning in love,” she says dreamily. “It’s my drug!”
Trisha’s rather sensual dancing has its share of fans, especially of the male variety! She learnt ballet for seven years. “I never enjoyed dancing too much but I loved ballet,” she informs. “I used to learn at the Russian Cultural Centre and it was good fun. I dabbled in everything, even Bharatanatyam, but ballet was completely me. Today it has helped me with my dancing.”
with. After a point, it becomes a habit.”
Talking about dancing in films, she says with charming candour, “Initially I hated dancing; it was like a phobia. During my first film, I did 60 to 75 takes in the dance sequence. I wanted to quit; I was bawling. I was very self conscious and I just couldn’t do it. It was so alien to me - dancing in front of so many people. It took a lot of consoling and cajoling to get me to do it!”
One wonders, does she ever regret getting into the industry. With typical Trisha candour, she grins and says, “You know, I tend to get bored very fast.” She grins mischievously. “I’m a Taurean! I don’t like being stuck in a rut. I need to do something diﬀerent every day and in this industry, I feel I’m doing that – meeting diﬀerent people, doing diﬀerent things. I also get to travel a lot and that’s something that I love.” With firm conviction, she says, “I don’t think I would have been happier anywhere else.” Is there any downside? “Honestly no,” is her reply. “There are bad days when you don’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes it’s tedious – rain sequences or shooting when it is minus 10 degrees. Then I wonder ‘what am I doing here’! But otherwise, I love it. The whole package is fabulous!”
Does she feel self conscious when she is acting? She shakes her head and states, “No, I am not self conscious because I was into theatre and ad films. When we are shooting abroad, I feel a bit self conscious because people are gawking. But, you learn the art of blocking people out. I just feel there is nobody around and I don’t maintain eye contact with anyone.” What about enacting love scenes? Does that make her feel awkward? She replies, “Love scenes are okay. And I am very clear – I don’t do anything that I’m not comfortable
And here’s a girl who unabashedly embraces fame. She loves it! “It gives me such a kick – recognition! Every time I see myself on 70mm, I am thrilled.” And she loves the attention she gets from her fans. “I’m drowning in love,” she says dreamily. “It’s my drug!” And fortunately for her, fame hasn’t confined her or prevented her from enjoying life. “I do everything – I still go where I want – to malls, lunches, dinners…” She admits there is a flip side to fame. “People tend to get into your life when it’s none of their business. Now, I’ve
got used to the crap that’s written about me. But, when it involves my family, then it is a pain. It can get a little messy at times.” Also, in the politically correct film world, where hierarchy and saying the right things matter, Trisha has
to weigh her statements. “My background is not filmy and I tend not to be politically correct” she says with a grin. “There has been criticism – that I speak English, that I am too slim. But I have stuck by what I believe in. Sometimes my honesty has been a flaw. But this is me, if you can’t deal with it, well…”
she shrugs her slim shoulders. She admits, “The industry is tough but it is a lovely place too. I have a film group (friends from the industry) but they are not my ‘best friends’ and we catch up for coﬀee, a night out or a movie. I have met some wonderful people.”
“ere has been criticism – that I speak English, that I am too slim. But I have stuck by what I believe in. Sometimes my honesty has been a ﬂaw. But this is me, if you can’t deal with it, well…”
The loyal pal Surprisingly, all the fame and attention hasn’t transformed her. She remains down to earth, with an ability to laugh at herself. When I ask her whether being a celebrity has changed her, she looks surprised. “Changed? Not at all…ask my friends! My biggest asset is my friends. I don’t have too many new friends and my friends keep me grounded. Today, nobody cares if you are a film star – everything is just a job. There’s no point in throwing my weight around,” she says frankly. Considering the kind of adulation film stars get in India, especially in Tamil Nadu, I wouldn’t necessarily agree that ‘nobody cares if you are a film star’ but coming from a star of her stature, one appreciates her lack of airs and pretensions. She adds, “When I go out, I am myself. I enjoy life; I have a blast and have fun with my friends. We are a close group and we hang out in certain places. My best friends are from school and we took the same course in college so I’ve known them all for 15 to 20 years. They’ve seen me at my worst, seen it all and we have no inhibitions; that’s important.”
So, what are her hidden secrets? What are the flaws? She smiles widely and declares, “I am stubborn – irrespective of whether I am right or wrong! I am a very spoilt; I guess it’s because of the single child syndrome. And as an actor, people tend to spoil you more. It’s hard but
I am trying to change and now I have mellowed down.” Talking about her stubbornness, she muses, “I don’t know whether it is a flaw.” She adds with a naughty grin, “I tend to be selfish – again it’s the single child syndrome and I blame my parents!” Trisha was quite a devil in school, always up to tricks and mischief. She laughs and says, “I was more than naughty. I was a big bully! Most kids were scared of me. I had three-four friends and we were all bullies. I was called to the principal’s oﬃce at least once a week and my mom was called to school very often. I used to do horrible things – it had to be my way or the highway! The only reason I got away with it was because I used to get good grades.” She pauses and adds, “I was quite a mean kid. Over a period of time, I changed. I realized this was not the way to be. Thankfully I outgrew it!”
We hear that she can be quite obsessive and is very particular about her space. Another hearty chuckle from Trisha. “OCD? It’s still there!” she exclaims. “Things need to be in place. I check the door knob thrice a day before going to sleep.” Her bookshelves are spick and span with books arranged by the author’s names. Her clothes are arranged neatly, all colour coordinated. “I am very particular about where things are placed,” she states. “It’s good sometimes but I could drive people nuts! I do suﬀer from borderline OCD. I would know instantly if things are moved in my room.”
But, she adds, “Space is never an issue. In my home, we all do our own thing – there is no pressure. I’m alone half the time when I’m travelling so when I am back, I enjoy being with people I love. I get a lot of alone time which is very important to me.” Did you know her Blackberry contact is Diva? Why Diva? “You want to know the funda behind that?” she asks. “How about vanity?” And then laughing she says, “Just kidding! I wanted to be diﬀerent. Even on Facebook, my name is Trish-Trash.” And more… Did you know that the actress is an avid foodie? Her eyes light up and she laughs and says, “People get shocked when they see me eat. I love diﬀerent cuisines, I love to eat!” Nevertheless, her love for food hasn’t translated into consummate culinary skills! “I haven’t tried cooking. But my dream is to start a restaurant.”
The secret behind her sexy figure? Yoga! When she is in town, she has a trainer coming home. “I am not very fond of exercising so I need a trainer! I do work out but not regularly. I don’t put on weight easily,” she points out. “I eat very healthy. I do binge then I go oﬀ rice and carbs for a week. But I love food. What is life without food?”
And what is life without TV shows. “I am addicted to TV shows,”
declares the star. “I’ve sat on the couch for 48 hours. My mum thinks I’m depressed. I just trip on one TV show for a couple of months.” The imposingly large flat screen television in her room stands testimony to her love for TV! Chilling out for her is a lot of things. “I like hanging out with my friends. They mean a lot to me. One part of me wants to lounge at home and do nothing. Me, my dogs and home food…” She likes reading fiction but doesn’t do too much of reading these days because ‘TV and internet take a little less eﬀort’! “I’m a complete adrenaline junkie,” she says enthusiastically. “I have a to-do list and when I travel, I stay back for a couple of days (to do whatever she has set her mind on). On my 23rd birthday, I went bungee jumping. The next on my list is scuba diving – the professional course. Otherwise life can get so monotonous and boring. One needs to spice it up a bit!” As the conversation draws to a close, Trisha earnestly says, “I love life, I enjoy life. You work when you work, play when you play, It’s only fair that when I am working, I give my 100% because so many people are involved.” She is a star and she loves fame and attention but this feisty young celebrity is a loyal friend, an animal activist and reaches out to the less fortunate. Obstinate, obsessive, impish….but with a heart of gold!
“I am stubborn – irrespective of whether I am right or wrong! I am a very spoilt; I guess it’s because of the single child syndrome.”
Time for the twain to meet The essence of being a star and an actor are two diﬀerent roles. Can the present generation of stars ever find a way to take that mantle that has been strongly and successfully held by MGR-Sivaji and Rajini-Kamal? Sudhish Kamath | Picture Courtesy: Galatta.com
The era of MGR-Sivaji, Rajini-Kamal We’ve heard it so often that Rajini, like MGR, does not need to act or try so hard as Sivaji or Kamal who have pushed themselves to play nine and ten roles respectively in the same film. These actors stood the test of time for generations. If MGR and Sivaji ruled the box oﬃce from the fifties to the mid seventies, Rajini and Kamal, who stepped into their shoes around the seventies, still continue to hold fort with so many stars waiting to command that cult status.
Let’s talk about the wannabes later but first, what led to these twin-associations? Why has history never considered one greater than the other and why has any such debate always lead to a war of words? Maybe because, for long heroes in the Tamil cinema have either been played by a star or an actor. A star, like MGR or Rajini, a matinee idol, is often celebrated as the messiah of the masses - someone who through sheer presence and charisma can liberate the poor
from the bad guys. To put it simply, we pay to watch his image play out. And he plays the same guy in every film. An actor, like Sivaji or Kamal, a true artiste, is often cherished for the variety of roles he has essayed.
And he plays a diﬀerent guy in every film.
Someone who constantly experiments and can make you laugh and cry with the power of performance. Again, simply put, we pay to watch him break his image.
star, you need to strengthen your image and deliver the same style, mannerisms and larger than life persona. But to be an actor, you need to constantly break the
We will never reach a consensus on whether a star is greater or an actor is greater because of the inherent dichotomy in their roles. To be a
MGR-Rajini with the superstar status accorded to them, have never felt the pressure to prove themselves artistically just like Sivaji-Kamal with the accolades and awards won, have never felt that they were wrong to experiment with the box oﬃce. Interestingly, Rajini and Kamal started oﬀ as products of independent cinema in the hands of the auteur K. Balachander, who made films the way he wanted to
What better filmmaker to illustrate this than Mani Ratnam who got to work with Rajini and Kamal at the prime of their careers in Thalapathy and Nayakan. While Thalapathy piggy-backed on Rajinikanth’s charisma and delivered a gangster film about the good guy in the wrong camp, Nayakan rode on Kamal Haasan’s chameleon-esque abilities to play diﬀerent roles as the same guy – the young brash gangster, the middle-aged wise Godfather and the all-grey Grandfather who couldn’t answer the question if he’s good or bad. Both these films had a mix of the popular elements and the artistic elements, but it’s very clear which side of art and commerce they favoured more. These were two of those rare films that the twain met. It’s the burden of a star that he cannot play grey and it’s a curse of an actor that his films don’t always click at the box oﬃce because of constant experimentation. Stars and actors over the last decade have tussled with this dilemma and choice presented to them - to be the next MGR-Rajini as promised by the Perarasus’ or, to be the next Sivaji-Kamal and work on the merit of the script and the role, irrespective of what the market says.
With the advent of satellite television in the nineties, the idiot box weaned away a huge chunk of family audiences. Cinema halls became the refuge of a largely single male population as our cinema descended into full-blown brawl-celebrating beerfests. Films that celebrated the male ego, films where it was totally ok for the hero to wash his face with beer in the morning and have the audience cheer to that, films where the woman became the object of desire, the fantasy girl – the “Bombay girl” as industry insiders call the type. What happens in a street fight or a brawl? You mess with someone and there’s a score you have to settle. Like the Western, the Southern genre became based on the challenge - who can beat who. After a decade of THOSE settling-score-challenge films, we are today left with the following street fighters: Ajith, Vijay, Vikram and Suriya with Dhanush, Simbu
image, reinvent it every time and discover newer ways to portray characters, even if it means changing your look and appearance with every film.
make them, without any interference from stars on box oﬃce diktats. They even did similar roles for a bit on attaining star status and as Kamal Haasan has often revealed in interviews, they mutually decided not to eat into each other’s markets early on in their careers. It turned out to be the smartest thing they ever did. Because they proved that cinema has a twin purpose – to entertain and to provoke. There’s a bit of the whore and the mother in our cinema and it’s always a clever mix of selling out and raising it with love and care that result in good cinema.
and Jeeva among the younger generation of heroes. While Ajith, Vijay and Simbu have continued to do roles that celebrate their image (the Thala/Thalapathy type), Vikram, Suriya, Dhanush and Jeeva have at least tried to experiment with the odd offbeat role every once in a while. We find that it will be a really uphill task for any of these guys to take the mantle from MGR-Sivaji and Rajini-Kamal simply because of the consistency with which they delivered good cinema, not just hits.
Apart from Suriya and Dhanush now and Vikram a few years ago, none of the other guys have been able to score good films. Most of them are still obsess over their title-tag baggage. It is an encouraging sign that Ajith has dismantled his fan clubs and went all out to play a bad guy with Mankatha. But given the star baggage he brought to the role, it is still early to call him the next Kamal Haasan. And, he hasn’t provided the hits to make him the next Rajinikanth. Vijay continues doing what he does best with a hit or miss success-rate that skews towards failure more often than success. Suriya has chanced upon this solution of mixing it up – do diﬀerent films for diﬀerent audiences: a “mass-film” with Hari, a “class-film” with Gautham and a “mass-film” with Murugadoss and a “class-film” with K.V. Anand and has made sure that even his mass-based roles are devoid of any baggage or self-referencing. Vikram would do well to choose his scripts more wisely, and do more Raavanans than self-glorifying fiascos like Kanthaswamy.
is to bring back the balance between art and commerce that over the last two decades has titled towards commerce. Star-vehicles have constantly crashed after initial success. In film business, the only real formula to success is to understand that there is no formula for success. We have long list of flops from the big four to illustrate that. We need a focus shift towards directors once again. We need producers to understand that good cinema stems from storytelling rather than just one or two individuals.
Apart from Suriya and Dhanush now and Vikram a few years ago, none of the other guys have been able to score good films. Most of them are still obsess over their title-tag baggage.
We need more stars to do what Rajinikanth did with his last film – he broke his mould and embraced a grey character like he did in the seventies with Enthiran. We need more actors to do what Kamal Haasan did with his last film – he let another actor walk away with the best lines in Man Madan Ambu. It takes grace and confidence for an actor to step away from the limelight and share The younger guys - Dhanush, the stage with the other players. Simbu and Jeeva have a long way Cinema becomes richer only when to go to even be compared with the all characters are fleshed out. big four – Ajith,Vijay, Suriya and We need our filmmakers to be able Vikram – but the need of the hour
Photography : Sunder Ramu Copyright : Galatta Media
to tell their stories with flourish rather than blow up all the money to hero-worship one person’s ego. We need producers and actors to back the vision of a creator. We need more auteurs. We need to encourage original thought. We need women back in our cinema, not just as glam dolls, but as real women with real issues. We need the balance between man and woman restored in our films. We need the balance between art and commerce back. We need the next MGR-Sivaji or Rajini-Kamal to be the same person. We need the twain to meet. We need our actors to be stars and our stars to be actors. We need to let our filmmakers call the shots again, without the pressure of hero-worship or box oﬃce diktats. Let’s not forget that Rajini and Kamal are children of that film culture. We need to put that culture back into business. We need to put the cinema back into film.
Films & Politics In TN - e Eternal Bond
The combination of films and politics continue to attract Tamil audience’s beliefs, hopes, aspirations and more. -Dr. Uma Vangal HOD, Media & Entertainment LV Prasad Film & TV Academy.
In many writings by communication scholars and social sciences researchers, it is an accepted fact that Indian Cinema is a study in ideological discourse. Be it the so-called formula film or parallel cinema, every film propounds and propagates an ideology. Several scholars, both Indian and Western, in particular have mentioned Tamil Cinema in the context of political propaganda. Even to a casual observer of Tamil Nadu politics, the close link between Tamil cinema and politics is apparent. The very fact that, of the eleven chief ministers that Tamil Nadu has had, five are directly associated with Tamil Cinema in various capacities is indicative of this. The successful use of Tamil cinema for political
propaganda by the DK, DMK, AIADMK etc., is common knowledge. The techniques adopted by filmmakers over the years to propagate ideology through their films - extensive reliance on the codes and symbols that Tamil audiences can easily negotiate, harping on the Tamil language, Tamil culture and belief systems. This contextual placement of cultural symbols and codes in Tamil Cinema has created a tradition of ideological propaganda in Tamil Nadu. The success or otherwise of such political and ideological propaganda through films makes it an interesting subject of study. This study is an attempt to locate Tamil
Vijay at a Makkal Iyakkam meeting
film songs and their song sequences within the larger realms of political history and ideology of the state. At every juncture in Tamil/Dravidian political history, films have clearly played a role. There have been instances of films being made on specific events (the communal riots of 1993 in Mani Rathnam’s Bombay in 1995) or burning issues (corruption in Shankar’s Mudhalvan in 1999) in the public sphere and electoral alliances (MGR’s Indru Pol Endrum Vazhga in 1977) Though there are scattered instances the world over – Ronald Reagan in the US, Joseph Estrada in the Philippines and elsewhere in India too – NTR in AP, Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Babbar, Shatrugan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Shabana Azmi, Vyjayantimala Bali, Jayaprada to name a few from the Bombay film industry. And what is intriguing is that none of them made a conscious attempt at spreading ideology through their films. Political life was an afterthought for most of these stars. But not one of these film star-politicians achieved the cult status that MGR, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa Jayaram and Rajinikanth enjoy in TN. In Tamilnadu however, deliberate,
overt and sustained eﬀorts were made to make films in a conscious manner to project ideology/ideals/personalities for purposes of propaganda in the political/public arena and an unprecedented culture of film heroes turned politicians has developed in Tamil Nadu over the years.
As cinema spectatorship slowly gained in numbers, the medium began to be used for political propaganda. Many filmamkers also particpated in the non co-operation movements and began to find ways to use symbols to denote the British Empire and its oppressive measures. They infused contemporary issues and idioms early with the usage of metaphors and symbols that the audience could easily relate to. For instance, in Sri Valli sings asong on "vella kokke veliyeru", ostensibly driving away birds in the field but it was a clear reference to the white man being asked to Quit India.. Cinema being used for propaganda is not a new phenomenon. Taking a leaf out of the Soviet filmmakers, Tamil politicians decided to use cinema for propaganda purposes. In 1952, three years after the DMK party was formed, M. Karunanidhi’s Paraskthi (1952) with its critique of Brahminism and upper castes through the story of a family of Tamil refugees from Burma.
Incidentally this film also introduced Sivaji Ganesan, the thespian to the screen. The rationalist ideology was showcased in lengthy alliterative monologues delivered with panache by Sivaji. And the DMK made extensive use of films, films songs and actors to campaign for their electoral meetings. Later in a one and half decade period, several MGR's films were used to attack Congress policies and to popularize DMK's positions. Similar to the tactics employed in the elections of 1957 and 1962, film songs and dialogues from Kanchi Thalaivan (1963), Ayirathil Oruvan (1965), Enga veettu pillai (1965), Anbe Vaa (1966), Naan Aanaiyittal (1966), Vivasayee (1967) and Arasakattalai (1967) were used for political messaging. It is said that Annadurai, the founder of the DMK party, once said of MGR “Give me this face and I will win the elections” and win he did in the elections. DMK's long term association with the Tamil film industry was put to good use in the campaign. MGR, then a party member, was shot by political and screen rival M R Radha. The bullet missed and hit him in the neck. They put up posters of MGR recuperating in a hospital bed with
Padayappa Rajinikanth making a political statement
a neck cast (from his gunshot wounds) all over Tamil Nadu to garner public sympathy and support. And when the DMK won the elections, it was seen as a vindication of their political ideologies. MGR groomed himself with care and projected himself as the saviour who will fight the establishment to ensure a just and equal society. This tradition of politics and cinema continues till today with Rajinikanth making overt political statements couched in his punch dialogues, and Vijayakanth making films as a patriotic hero who will deliver the masses from oppressive leaders. Only two contemporary actors can be seen as truly carrying forward MR’s legacy - Vijayakanth, who founded the DMDK and is succesfully emerging as a serious political contender in the state and Vijay, who plans to play an active role soon with his Makkal Iyakkam. Filmmakers, writers, directors and actors continue to harness the attraction of Tamil audiences for cinema by reaﬃrming the Tamil audience’s beliefs, hopes, aspirations and their sense of pride.
Tamil cinema began with the silent Keechaka Vadham in 1917 and later began talking with Kalidas in 1931 and just as simply the relationship between cinema and politics in Tamilnadu was born. Early on in its existence itself, Tamil cinema emerged as a veritable entertainment industry by 1929. Most Tamil films were multilingual with versions in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, until centres were established in Bangalore/Mysore, Hyderbad and Trivandrum.
One of MGR's political speeches
Successful after stardom Ashanti Omkar | Photos : Akin Falope, Nelson Sivalingam, JP Images
Our Indian stars show us the way on how to lead a life, with modesty and grace, being actively involved and pursue all that matters to the heart, in the prime of their film career or later.
“Fame is fleeting”, said the lauded French political and military genius, Napoleon Bonaparte and how right he was. While the world’s stage and indeed its media wields the power to lift up those in the limelight, the dazzle can often fade into obscurity for many a celebrity. Their star power is something that needs constant work to ensure longevity, and those labeled legends are those who will forever live on for what they leave behind, be it humanitarian gestures, corporate legacies or within the arts. The Indian film fraternity is no diﬀerent and all those top names would have thought about what will transpire, once their star has shone bright. The burning question is about what will keep their hard work in the minds of the fans and how they can leave behind something meaningful for generations to come.
In the Tamil film sector, one could cite Radikaa, with authority - she is an actress extraordinaire, who has built an incredibly successful TV production company, where she is
magnate, with his worldwide magazine, Media Voice.
in control of her time, while also staying on people’s screens worldwide, on a daily basis with her drama serials. Her husband Sarath Kumar was also a top star in South India, who went onto a political career and is now a powerful media
Dancing queen and acting phenomenon Kushboo came from North India and has had temples built in her name at the peak of her stardom in Tamil cinema. She is now a proud mother, politician and TV star. Her husband Sundar C is an influential Director turned Actor. Both ladies inspire others to look beyond industries they have thrived in and to follow that all elusive dream of consistent success.
Half Parsi and Half Keralan, Bollywood beefcake John Abraham has a smart head on his shoulders. His MBA has ensured that he has made plans for his future. Rubbing shoulders with him in London last year, it was evident that he was always on the lookout
The next Khan with such a vision, is Shahrukh, who has produced many a hit film via his Red Chillies banner, the latest being India’s most expensive to date, Ra.One. While he has stood the test of time as an actor, who came from nowhere, to being one of India’s most well know, his aspirations
for good investments, in property and beyond. He has dabbled in entrepreneurship enterprises like his JA Clothes line, many endorsements and also takes part in several social causes like PETA, leaving behind more than his good looks to the world. The B Town power couple Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao are consistently working towards a better industry and showcasing India’s talents to the world. With Khan’s film career which has
show that he is more than an on screen presence. His work within TV has also been extensive, while he
One of the most famous South Indians is double Grammy and Oscar winner, AR Rahman, who has conquered the world with his music. His modus operandi has always been about sticking to his guns and delivering work that he deems perfect. For him, fame is a part of life that he embraces with humility and spirituality - this gets him through the many obstacles that the industry throws him. AR Rahman’s vision is beyond his own fame. It is about helping others realize their dreams and in the vein of his passion, which is music. His KM Music Conservatory in Chennai educates many and he thrives on his lesser known humanitarian work, a long term goal to empower people to eradicating poverty. While music is his bequeathal to the world, so is his philanthropy, which will live in those lives he changes, forever.
spanned over 40 years, he has taken it to a new level with his productions. His company AKP films works in tandem with Rao and their successful trilogy of Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat and Delhi Belly, all films that showcased a selection of newcomers, show a depth of thought in their future industry continuance.
endorses many a big brand and has properties in London and Dubai all ensuing that it is not just his children who will benefit from his hard work. The bad boy of Bollywood, Salman Khan, hails from a film family but has proven to be Bollywood’s most loved Khan of late, with his humanitarian charity mission, ‘Being Human’ and his love for
painting. On an occasion of meeting with him on the sets of a film of his in London, I could see the importance he placed in the arts world and his humility about expressing his ponderings on canvas. His massive box oﬃce success is not what drives him, as was evident from my time working with him, he lives for his fans. Whether a brain aneurism or punishing schedule between continents, he pushes himself between TV projects and endorsements.
Big B, as he’s fondly known to fans, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, has shown the world how fame comes and goes, and he has taken every set back in his stride, coming back stronger than ever. From his latest Bachchan Bol ‘vog’ (vocal blogging) initiative, to his movie production company, which came back with a bang, with his home production Paa, starring the man himself. His
family is known as Bollywood’s royalty, that with his daughter-in-law being Aishwarya Rai and son-in-law being eminent industrialist Nikhil Nanda (husband of his daughter Shweta). He epitomizes the career graph of success, as he has embraced every technology available to him, to stay ahead of the curve, at every juncture. He lives a simple but
productive life, making the most of every minute, surrounding himself with family and taking on as many endorsements and TV projects as humanly possible to juggle. All these inspiring people I have met, have shown me that fame need never die, but can evolve constantly, with modesty and grace.
Cameras & Technology The South Indian film industry not only boasts of the best technicians, but also the best equipment used by them. High end technology is the gamechanger and this is being understood not only by the technicians, but by the rest of the crew too. -
Lights! Camera! Action! - These words first conjure images of a blockbuster Hollywood flick. Closer to home we have our tinsel towns inappropriately known as Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood and so on. The Indian film industry has been renowned to imitate not only the Hollywood but also its story lines. It will be however rather diﬃcult for the reverse to happen! Ever since Indian films started making their foray to international screens, the game began to change rapidly. Indian Film makers realized that there was an urgent need to raise the technical aspect of their movies due to the fact that they were now exhibiting to a knowledgeable audience - in the sense that this audience expects a high standard of visualization. The script and story line is a matter of personal taste. It used to take technology that was employed by Hollywood, decades to reach Indian studios. The globalization of the world due to the advancement of communications technology, international movies being available in every household has given the Indian audience a taste of what they were missing as well. The trend now is irreversible.
The South Indian film industry's technicians have been pioneers of embracing new technology however. They are in touch with the equipment and technology that has been utilized in Hollywood on a regular basis. While avidly watching these movies, they research as to how a particular shot was filmed. Moreover, they put aside their ego and are not shy to ask. I know many a DOP or technicians who are constantly on the net, researching in their spare time. Their questions or doubts are those of people in the
know. There are many DOPs’ nationwide who also are happy to embrace new technologies, but the diﬀerence is that the techies in South India are keen on understanding the actual working of the system itself and not just the final output. South Indian DOPs’ such as Ravi K Chandran, Santhosh Sivan, KV Anand, Rajiv Menon, Manigandan, Natarajan, Thiru, Balasubramanian, Rajsekhar and Nirav Shah to name a few, are much sought after in
ere are many DOPs’ nationwide who also are happy to embrace new technologies, but the difference is that the techies in South India are keen on understanding the actual working of the system itself and not just the ﬁnal output. Bollywood. They are known to be a professional bunch and go about their business in a no-nonsense way and that too backed by a lot of technical knowledge. This aspect
Cameraman turned Director KV Anand. This trend is encouraging because it now puts pressure on the rest to either get up to speed or perish.
Director Dharani and Actor Simbu
worldwide. This camera quickly bridged the gap between the film cameras and digital. Now even the purists seem to be happy with it. Then came in the high speed imaging cameras - the Phantom Flex and the HD Gold, which is a boon for ad film makers and also for the action packed climax scenes and song sequence requirements of the movie making industry.
does also save the producer a lot of cash. This saving lands up in the pockets of stars anyhow! Another Chennai based techie, 22 year old Anuj Samtani, is highly qualified as a DIT ( Digital Imaging Technician ) for high speed imaging and is a much sought after person by ad-film makers in Mumbai. This is another feather in Chennai's technology cap. Director Shankar is known for his penchant for using hi-tech gadgets in his movies. Actor/Director Kamalhaasan is another fanatic who is constantly thirsty for acquiring new products for the films that he acts or directs, as does
Film cameras have to start giving way to digital technology and their demise is around the corner. Purist DOPs’ did try to resist it for a while, but had to succumb to the arrival of the digital domain. The famous Red camera changed the way movies began to be made. With its low price, producers and rental houses began to smile. Although the new technology didn't arrive without flaws, there was no doubt that these will be overcome soon. Then arrived the Rolls Royce of digital cameras - the Arri Alexa. Although priced more than three times than that of its closest rival Red, it made an impact on movie making
Mr. Madhu Ambhat
At the lower end of technology and price, Canon with their 5D DSLR camera has given a fillip to the struggling independent film and documentary maker. With a reasonably high level of quality and portability, the writing is on the wall that the future looks small and cheap while oﬀering good image quality.
Santosh Sivan and Harish Samtani
Kiss & Make Up
Life in e Silver Screen
Starring: Osman Abdul Razak Wardrobe: Gabbana & Esprit Hair: Toni & Guy Location: e Raintree Hotel, Anna Salai
Notes From A Traveler
A Swiss Rhapsody
You must visit Switzerland - the land made famous by Bollywood - not just for the snow peaked mountains, but to soak in their culture, food, sights and so much more than ever captured on silver screen.
The average Indian's perception of Switzerland (typically comprising of multiple misconceptions) comes from the numerous Hindi movie scenes shot on the snow covered peaks of this country. Indeed, Bollywood's frequent use of this
scarf and gloves when I first visited, expecting to land in a snow covered picturesque rural town where everyone sits around eating cheese and chocolate. WRONG. It turned out that Basel, the city I was visiting, was warmer than London
on that particular weekend and was no more picturesque than the average European city. While my initial impression of the country was quite a let-down, I returned about a dozen times over the next year and slowly but surely fell in
country is probably the top reason why so many Indians elect to go to Switzerland for their honeymoon. Apparently, more Hindi movies than Swiss movies have been shot in the country.
Apparently, more Hindi movies than Swiss movies have been shot in the country.
love with the country - it is far from a Bollywood scene but an awesome country no less.
I am no exception to the rule and carried my heaviest coat, a thick
For someone looking for the sites where the movies were shot, I would advise taking a tour oďŹ€ered by an Indian company - Raj travels, or some other such organization, is
gives us things we consume daily like Maggi Noodles, Nescafe and Milkmaid, while pharmaceutical giants like Novartis and Roche develop and manufacture some of the most important drugs on the planet. As one gets richer, a Swiss made watch becomes a must-have and once a person gets seriously wealthy, they shift their savings to UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and smaller family controlled boutique private banks. The Swiss are rich, highly educated and have been exceptionally good at staying neutral during conflicts such as the World Wars - indeed, their economic success should come as no surprise at all.
If you look past the handful of Bollywood locations, you will see a totally diﬀerent country. Switzerland is well known for being amazingly wealthy - indeed, it has one of the highest concentrations of millionaires and amongst the highest per capita GDP levels in the
world. In addition to being wealthy, the country's inhabitants are exceptionally well educated (an alarmingly large number have doctoral degrees) and the average person normally speaks Standard German, French, English and often even Italian, in addition to Schweizerdeutsch (or Swiss German), the local dialect of German. The locals can initially come oﬀ as less-than-friendly but before you write this oﬀ as Xenophobia, this has (in my experience) more to do with their reserved nature. Indeed, it is very common to find expats and locals hanging out at diﬀerent bars and restaurants at night and in smaller cities, simply figuring out where the expats hang out is the only ticket you will need for a relatively vibrant social life. Getting friendly with the locals takes longer and is unlikely to be accomplished during a short holiday. Having practically lived there for a year, I have plenty of friends in Switzerland but cannot boast of having any close friends who are Swiss. Switzerland may be a small country but its influence is global - Nestle
Image Source: varshanagpal.blogspot.com
most likely to fulfil your wishes. These guys will take you to spots like Jungfrau and Mount Titlis where you can jump around in the snow and have your photos taken with a large cut-out of Shahrukh Khan and Kajol with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge written in bold. They will also likely give you some time to walk around the lake towns of Lucerne or Laussane and re-live lakeside scenes from other movies. You will notice that a disproportionate number of the tourists are from the subcontinent and that these locations are brilliantly prepared to receive them with Indian restaurants that serve plenty of vegetarian (even Jain) fare. Indeed, you hear so much Hindi being spoken that if not for the scenery and the criminally high prices, you'd scarcely believe that you've even left India.
For the non-Bollywood side of the country, Zurich, the commercial capital, is a good place to spend a few days. Window-shop along the Bahnoﬀstrasse stopping for brunch at Cafe Sprungli, where you must have a cup of the finest hot chocolate to be had anywhere on the planet. The chocolate on sale will be hard to resist but don’t fill up your bags just yet - they also have an outlet at the airport. You can also visit the factory, not far from the city center, if you have time to spare. If the sun is out, walk around the lake and take in the scenery. If the weather is not on your side, I would recommend a few hours at the Kunsthaus museum, if you like art, or the Le Corbusier Pavilion, if you prefer architecture. Shopping in Switzerland is furiously expensive but serious bargains can be had at Bally's factory outlet in Schönenwerd, a short train ride from Zurich – I have been visiting annually for the last 8 years and have never returned disappointed. I guess I could say the same about Switzerland in general!
Of Films & Festivals Bina Paul wins the National Award - Best Film Editor for Mithr – My Friend, in 2002. The same year she takes on the mantle of Festival Director at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). It will be her 10th year this December and boy has this woman done a remarkable job, making IFFK one of the most sought after International festivals in the country. Bina sits down for a little chat on what goes down in her little show town.
How does one go about entering a film to a festival? A festival usually announces an opening and puts out an entry form. Festivals also have scouts, programmers and Artistic Directors who identify particular films which they think are suitable for their festival. What are the criteria on the basis of which selection is made? Each festival looks at diﬀerent things. In Kerala the merits of the film itself is the first category, after which we look at country, previous work of filmmaker, subject suitability, etc
Any particular genres/ languages favoured? (from the perspective of an Indian filmmaker since we are multilingual) Kerala has a whole section on new Malayalam Cinema, so that we project our own language films. In the Indian cinema section we like to have representation from a maximum number of languages. I strongly believe in regional cinema.
Digital format - how do large festivals respond to this? Digital formats are very complicated. Most festivals now accept digital formats. In Trivandrum, the problem is lack of proper 2K projection, which
restricts one a bit. We discourage non professional screening formats. The cost involved - making a print, transportation, etc - do the festivals cover these costs? For Malayalam films in the Malayalam cinema, now section of the Academy bears the cost of the print and subtitling. But for other films we only bear transportation costs. We also try sharing with other festivals to reduce costs.
Are there any tie-ups between various festivals? Does being seen at one increase your chances of being invited to another? (of course with the exception of those who insist on a world or an international premiere) Usually tie-ups between festivals are in terms of logistics, etc. The advantage of being in a festival is that most programmers, etc come and scout at such events and so the likely hood of being picked up for another festival goes up hugely. Distribution deals - are there marketing opportunities made available to filmmakers at these festivals? Most festivals have markets – again, it's the presence of sales
persons and others by which films get noticed and picked up for distribution. But sales agents and distributors usually have their beats and know where they can make deals. Are there platforms for upcoming filmmakers to interact with the industry, to explore the possibility of a tie-up for future projects? Markets are now designed to include not only distribution, but also funding opportunities, post production grants, etc. Apart from being seen, what are the tangible benefits that an upcoming filmmaker can hope to derive from festival participation? Screening at a festival provides marketing, networking and opens up future project possibilities. The tangibles are there to see for many filmmakers. The festival also has to make an investment in this direction by inviting such persons. As far as Kerala is concerned, we are now planning to make some changes for this year to benefit the filmmaker and the business of cinema more. But as a government patronized festival, apart from the filmmaker, we have a huge commitment to the audience as well.
Nouvelle creates a platform that showcases new talent and creativity in all genres. If you are interested in featuring your work, please do email your profile and portfolio to email@example.com.
â€˜The Kuru Chroniclesâ€™ by Ari Jayaprakash Art & Photography firstname.lastname@example.org
Cupcakes and cravings! D.Harshini | Photography : Dwarakesh Iyengar
Bushed of celebrating every festive occasion with the same passé sweets from your sweetshop? When was the last time you celebrated your friend’s birthday without the austere and typically done to death chocolate cakes? Feel the city hasn’t got much to oﬀer? Well, then you haven’t tried The Cupcake Company. Its time to put all those clichéd tea time cravings behind and pamper your taste buds to the toothsome petite adaptation of your regular cakes.
The Cupcake Company with its unique cakes & cupcakes is the brainchild of Shitija Nahata. “Themed cakes and cupcakes are our specialty. Be it a doll-house, a beer mug, comic characters or festive decors, we guarantee our customers just anything under the sun!” says Shitija. Now with the Festival of Lights coming up, The Cupcake Company is full on preparations for their Diwali Special Cupcakes, which come in a
multitude of colours and themes, starting right from lamps, crackers and devotional symbols like the Om and Swastik – all made out of rolled fondant and appetizing buttercream frosting. “The only key factor for themed cakes and cupcakes is time. We need to be notified well in advance for really creative themes, as lot of eﬀort goes into it”, adds Shitija. Apart from birthdays and special occasions, The Cupcake Company also specializes in corporate themes, where they design corporate logos with fondants. One of their other special features is the exquisite packing oﬀered along
with home delivery. Though home delivery is limited to Alwarpet and Nungambakkam, the cakes and cupcakes are neatly fitted in custom designed boxes and are festooned with dazzling decors! But that’s not all The Cupcake Company has to oﬀer. For all those caﬀeine freaks, Mocha Crazy is your cup of tea! The dense chocolate cupcakes with a hint of coﬀee, topped with chocolate ganache are fail-safe for you to catch a foretaste of heaven! Also, apart from the eggless and sugarfree cupcakes, their adult flavoured cupcakes are a novelty which is perfect for special
occasions. The singular champagne flavoured cupcakes and Rum ‘N’ Coke cupcakes are guaranteed to take your spirits to cloud nine. Be it the moist vanilla cupcakes with Oreo buttercream icing, the delicious choco-chip cupcakes topped with tantalizing chocolate ganache, the smooth red velvet
cupcakes with cream cheese icing, cupcakes filled with delicious toﬀeed bananas or the best being your own cupcake with your choice of frosting and icing, the whole array of cupcakes is sure to set you taste buds hankering for more and more!
e Advanced Basics! D.Harshini
Chennai based apparel brand, Hasbro Clothing Pvt. Ltd. has given an absolute face-lift to their collection of attire. Without compromising on its central fit, fabric eminence and novelty, today it lines up to three ideal fashion lines: be it your everyday wear, impressive formals perfect for oﬃcial occasions or the sporty youthful look – Hasbro Clothing has it all under one roof!
Basics Life which encompasses three new stylish brands; Basics 029, Genesis and Probase, provides a totally refreshing lifestyle experience for men. Being the first-of-it’s-kind in India, Hasbro Clothing recently flaunted its new-fangled collections in a spellbinding fashion show at the Le Royal Meridien. The spellbinding choreography by Prasad Bidappa unraveled all walks of the youthful existence of a man!
Cult of Basics Life – Fall/Winter Collections 2011 Basics Life is all about the man who wants to pander to the magnificence of bountiful variety. Basics 029 is the ultimate casual brand that reflects the attitude and moral fiber of those born in the trailing conurbation of Chennai and includes everything right from shirts, t-shirts, jeans, cargos, caps, belts, jackets, track pants, shorts, cotton slacks, muscle vests and so on. While Basics 029 is a kaleidoscope of everything that represents Chennai at its paramount, Genesis represents the prowess of man. Expressly designed for the unpretentious male, Genesis oﬀers archetypal formal shirts, trousers, accessories and suits with an Italian touch. With its sharp cuts and ceremonial couture, it is the most apposite attire to make way for stunning first impressions. Probase
is yet another laid-back and sporty brand that draws its flash from the flair of movement. This funky, urban style is the perfect cover for the new generation that bathes in myriad hues! T-shirts with strident prints spewed out individualistic messages, the typical choice of every youngster in the city! Additionally, the surprise factor turned out to be indeed unanticipated, when models marched onto the stage sporting innerwear under the label ‘Boxers, Briefs and Bags’. However, all said and done, nothing created ripples more than the special ‘Chennai Matter’ t-shirts. The range comes with a self edict that 'you ought to know Chennai to understand it, and, you ought to be cool to wear it'! Untried, mutinous, or simple futuristic: the extravagant retail concept store, Basics Life is sure to make eyeballs feast upon you.
Your hotel & movie experience – reinvented! Dhiya Susan Kuriakose | Photography : Joseph Asir
The idea behind it is that food and living is not all that the hospitality business is about, according to General Manager of GRT Grand, Mr. Sasikumar. He believes that the hotel has excelled and proven themselves in terms of food and accommodation and are now looking for ways to better the customers’ experience. As part of this endeavor, Box Oﬃce Collection was born. The main reception has a reel and a catalogue of all the movies available, this is where the Box Oﬃce experience begins. The reception also has hotel staﬀ walking you through what they claim is a one-of–a-kind experience. The film the guest chooses is then sent up and can be viewed from the comfort of their rooms.
Members of the staﬀ who work with the Box Oﬃce Collection benefit too, and it does come as a pleasant surprise when one of them recommends a movie you probably haven't heard of. According to Mr. Sasikumar, they're shown various films from the collection, as well as an opportunity to explore the films' backgrounds. Talking to them, they will tell you about Cate Blanchett playing the role of Bob Dylan in an award-winning performance and contemplating on the genius of Akiro Kurosawa directorial style. It is evident that Box Oﬃce Collection was not an idea that was conceptualized and implemented overnight. The team has taken trouble to hand-pick movies from around the world in various genres that cater to every kind of taste. As it is with any venture, the team has endearing stories of appreciation of the initiative, from the famous, the frequent and the well-travelled. My favourite account was that of a young girl who saw the Iranian film - Children of Heaven, and then wrote to the
hotel, telling them how she had learnt the value of her brother and family. When movies are touching lives like you imagine they are intended to, you feel something is going right. The passion with which the staﬀ describe the movies and their experiences with it might just make you want to check-in right away and settle in with a classic. What began as a regular hotel left me with film trivia, a list of movies to watch and an impeccable impression.
“May I oﬀer you a menu? We have menus for food, wine and movies.” It’s unlikely you’ll hear something like this at every hotel, but you will hear it at GRT Grand, Chennai. The hotel holds claim to a unique concept called the Box Oﬃce Collection that brings classic movies from over 16 directors across the world to their guests.
When e Go:ing Gets Mad! September brought madness to Chennai as we witnessed GO:MADras, India’s premier electronic dance music festival. It was all about sun, sand and the music. The elaborate set up by the beach at EC41, more than twenty artists from around the world and state of the art 3D mapping, audio visuals and lasers - this was more than a festival; it was a phenomenon that the city witnessed. Anupriya D Photography - Kota, Shuchi Kapoor, Ramya P, Rahim Roy
e Method to MAD:ness “GO:MADras was an initiative to break the preconceived notions that an electronic music festival is a rave party. The artists involved, the set up and the hi-end lifestyle brands associated are the three main aspects of our successful event. Creating a platform for national and local artists to showcase their talent by creating sounds from the world, supported by great visuals are the prerogatives”
- Hema Sethuraman Organiser/Editor Frappe Publications
“As an Organiser, The GO:MADras festival for me is a passion and fe dream for Chennai to experience d quality electronic music in the right q ssetting among the right people; which has now culminated into an w eextremely popular and successful music festival. GO:MADras has m definitely put Chennai on the map for d eelectronic music in India, and now we have people coming from all across h the country and some from outside th the country to experience the so th ccalled GO:MADness. Every edition of the festival raises the bar another th notch higher in terms of music n programming, production, decor, p vvisuals, entertainment zones, etc. Now after three extremely successful N eeditions, I can say that our standards aare on par with any other International music festival or Indian ti industry heavyweights like Sunburn, in NH7 etc.” N - Shiv Gupta DJ/Organiser GO:MADras
“The work started almost two and a half months ahead of the festival. The production work which was entirely co-ordinated by DJ Chubby, y, had its own shares of lows with thee occasional rains. But nevertheless,, the technology and the production n work for the festival was top notch. h. The LED walls stole the show! Though overridden by the LED wall, ll, the laser technology used was mind-blowing. This festival is catching up in a big way in the city. y. With the massive promo party and d then the main three day festival, it’s growing every year. And no better location than EC41; outdoor, by the beach, it was the perfect set up.” - Mohammed Zahir Manager EC41 “It was a brilliant idea to do the festival for three days. GO:MADras has grown massively in terms of scale and production from the first edition. The set up was completely enjoyable and very visually interesting for a photographer. I flew-in all the way from London for the festival. Though I missed the first day of the festival, I thoroughly enjoyed the last two days.” - Kota Shiva Photographer
“I had attended the first two ry editions of the festival. Eve n bee has me for GO:MADras oyenj and le rab mo me extremely re to able and this time I was the many so up d ene op has cover it. It of new avenues and has sort city. the in tus sta t cul a acquired lot more Chennai definitely needs a festivals like this.” - Melbin Anchor-NDTVHindu
e Support The festival paved way for some exciting brand associations. With brands like Kingfisher, Bacardi, Evolv, NDTV-Hindu and many more supporting this movement, the ent entire festival had nationwide pro projection. These young and vibrant bra brands found its association with GO GO:MADras and helped us create ‘the ‘the’ experience. "Ev "Evolv is a new retail concept store wit with curation and collaboration as its core. c Fashion, Design and Music are key to this concept. With GO GO:MADras , we found an appropria priate brand - fit and with great arti artists, such as Jalebee Cartel per performing amongst others, we fou found a great opportunity to col collaborate."
Anu Shyamsundar - An Vice President-Retail, Evolv 67
GO:MADras to you “This GO:MADras was the toughest one for me in terms of eﬀort and hard work put in, mainly because we were becoming a 3 day festival from a one day festival, something that only the mighty Sunburn had pulled oﬀ in this country before. Expectations were huge, apprehensions were enormous. Many around me felt that I was biting oﬀ more than I can chew. It took two and a half months of hard work on the ground, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears but it was completely worth it to be able to create something so special that was appreciated by all who attended.”
- Shiv Gupta DJ/Organiser GO:MADras
“GO:MADras to me always brings back fond memories of how the city was when we started partying. Organising the festival with friends only makes the experience that’s much more memorable. To think it all started with three of us reminiscing about the bygone days over a meal and today we have what is fondly referred to as GO:MADras!” - Tuhin Mehta DJ/Organiser GO:MADras
What ey Say!
- Sohail Arora Bay Beat Collective (BBC)
“In terms of the experience the festival oﬀers, I think it’s one of the best EDM festivals in the country, hands down! In the era of commercial mainstream music, this festival sure does give an opportunity to the Indian DJs. This festival is definitely not a commercial sell out. The production and the quality GO:MADras delivers is by far the better than a lot of festivals I have witnessed across the country” - Madhav Shorey / DJ Kohra
And like they say ‘all good things comes to an end’; the festival madness finally comes to an end for this year. This edition has definitely left us all in awe and amazement of what could be next. The festival sure has more to oﬀer, than what’s speculated. All we could do is await the madness on a whole new level in the coming year! October 2011
“It was the second year that I was a part of the festival. I must say that Shiv and the team are doing a great job in putting it all together. It is undoubtedly one of the best festivals in the country. Festivals of such scale are needed to encourage the talent at home. It opens up to so many genres of electronic dance music, also BBC being the only ones playing Dubstep, Drum & Bass etc. I’m surely looking forward to play in the next edition of GO:MADras”
The Three Musketeers
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Genre: Action and Romance
Consensus: A good-hearted film about a diďŹƒcult topic, 50/50 maneuvers between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Synopsis: The hot-headed young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) joins forces with three rogue Musketeers (Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson) in this reboot of Alexandre Dumas' story. They must stop the evil Richlieu (Christoph Waltz) and face oďŹ€ with Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and the treacherous Milady (Milla Jovovich). The action adventure is given a state of the art update in 3-D.
fice Box Of
Consensus: Silly premise notwithstanding, this is a well-made Hollywood movie: thrilling and exciting action with just enough characterization. Synopsis: A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech. Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie eventually hits rock bottom. He reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo), to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback. Rating: 63% 70
Synopsis: Inspired by a true story, 50/50 is an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humor in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Will Reiser. 50/50 is the story of a guy's transformative and yes, sometimes funny journey to health - drawing its emotional core from Will Reiser's own experience with cancer and reminding us that friendship and love, no matter what bizarre turns they take, are the greatest healers. Rating: 93%
Lethal By Sandra Brown Synopsis: When her 4 year old daughter informs her that a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations On Life With John F. Kennedy
Amulet: The Last Council, Vol. 4,
Synopsis: Shortly after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, with a nation deep in mourning and the world looking on in stunned disbelief, Jacqueline Kennedy found the strength to set aside her own personal grief for the sake of posterity and begin the task of documenting and preserving her husband’s legacy. In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s Inauguration, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are now releasing the beautifully restored historic interview recordings on CDs with accompanying transcripts. Introduced and annotated by renowned presidential historian Michael Beschloss, these interviews will add an exciting new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of President Kennedy and his time, and make the past come alive through the words and voice of an eloquent eyewitness to history.
Synopsis: Emily and her friends think they'll find the help they need in Cielis, but something isn't right. Streets that were once busy are deserted, and the townspeople who are left live in crippling fear. Emily is escorted to the Academy where she's expected to compete for a spot on the Guardian Council, the most powerful Stonekeepers. But as the number of competitors gets smaller and smaller, a terrible secret is slowly uncovered—a secret that, if left buried, means certain destruction of everything Emily fights for.
By Kazu Kibuishi
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