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Sharmila Mandre does it again Rana & Richa’s racy rendezvous Jaya Prada’s Amar katha
South stars should stay away from Twitter. We tell you why
Gummadi’s swan song Formula VV Vinayak
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Centre Stage Trishaâ€™s doing what she has never done
VOL 01 ISSUE 06 On the cover: Trisha Photographer: G Venket Ram Assessories: Uniq Make up: Vikram Mittal Hair: Rachael Stylist: Chaitanya Rao Cordinated by: Sridevi Sreedhar Clothes: Chaitanya Rao
12 Reader Speak
Exclusives 28 VV Vinayak is in pursuit of perfection 42 Gummadi’s exit performance – A tribute 44 The invincible Jaya Prada 46 Ramesh Aravind’s having fun all the way
48 Sharmila Mandre is taking one step at a time
Galleria 22 Rana and Richa, oh so into each other!
Features 31 What went wrong with the Telugu Sankranthi releases? 51 Mayabazar goes colour 54 Allu Sirish weighs the pros and cons of
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56 1940 Lo Oka Gramam - Story behind the award 58 Kannada filmmakers go west
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ANTICLIMAX: Yatra is Dhanush’s son, not daughter as mentioned in ‘Why are Dhanush and Suriya smiling?’ on page 18. In Love Actually on page 79, Bhagyaraj’s picture with his daughter was carried instead of wife Poornima. The writer of Just for gags that appeared on page 98 is Pavithra Srinivasan.
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We regret the errors.
You’ve seen them, you love them, you can’t imagine growing up without them… Now here’s what you didn’t know about them!
They say you never know when lady luck can turn up on your side and veteran actor/filmmaker/politician Mohan Babu’s tryst with the silver screen illustrates just that. Born as Manchu Bhaktavatsalam Naidu, he worked as a physical instructor in a school in Chennai. Passionate about cinema, he would roam the streets around film studios, in search of opportunities. While he was one day walking down the street near Pondy Bazaar, a car stopped by and someone inside asked him to go and meet Dasari Narayan Rao, who was looking for a new face to cast in his film. Incidentally, Mohan Babu had worked as an apprentice in the direction department of a film in which Dasari was the co-director. Around 15 people were auditioned for the role in the film, Swargam Narakam. Dasari’s wife, Padma Dasari felt that Mohan Babu suited the role best and recommended him to her husband. Dasari renamed him as Mohan Babu. Swargam Narakam went on to become a huge hit and there was no looking back from there. Many actors played the folk hero in Telugu cinema but the most enduring among them was Kantha Rao. The swaggering prince of folk drama ruled Telugu cinema for close to two decades. He even became popular with Tamil audiences, thanks to his dubbed films. They hailed him as the Andhra MGR. He was considered second only to NTR when it came to playing mythological roles. However, here’s a bizarre episode: He played lord Shiva in the film, Gowri Mahatyam. A live snake dangling around his neck made him nervous as it would just not flare up its hood all through the day’s shoot in a scene in which he had to throw a trident towards Brighu Maharashi, played by Mukkamala. He was supposed to hand it over to Kantha Rao, but he was even more scared of snakes. He decided never to play Lord Shiva after he found out about his son’s death on reaching home from the shoot. Kantha Rao gradually got over the fear of snakes and would get at least a couple of them home from snake charmers every Subrahmanya Shashti to pay obeisance to them.
Not many know that acclaimed filmmaker, Girish Kasaravalli directed his first film Ghatashraddha when he was just 27! The path breaking film released in 1978 was a trendsetter. It won the President’s Gold Medal for the best film. At the Chennai film festival, acclaimed Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray summoned Girish after watching Ghatashraddha. But in walked a young man who Ray couldn’t recognise, since he was convinced that Girish would certainly be advanced in years!
Thespian Rajkumar featured in 206 films in his four-decade long career. But only seven out of these were remakes. He acted in remake films initially but later took a bold stand of not working in any remade films. This however, did not go down well with the filmmakers at that time. But Rajkumar proved them wrong with all his films that were based on original stories, becoming hugely successful!
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RAM PLUGS IN
We hear Ram Gopal Varma had to actually upgrade his website after being flooded with 30,000 hits a month. Now actor Ram seems to be riding the cyber wave after his website touched 75,000 hits in two months! He seems to be busy upgrading his site, heroram.com after seeing the number of hits. Too many people hitting on him, haa? Wink wink!
Guess what Sharwanand is superstitious about. He doesn’t attend the audio launches of his own films! Wonder why? Apparently, he did not attend the audio launch of Gamyam, which turned out to be the biggest hit of his career. Ever since, he’s done the same with his subsequent films. Superstition sure seems to be the ‘super’ hit formula for the actor!
Looks like wedding bells are ringing for many stars in the industry. We heard all about Jr NTR’s engagement and all the drama that followed. It’s Gopichand’s turn to get hitched now. There were rumours about proposals flying in for the star, but a little birdie tells us that he is apparently in a relationship with Anushka! Not many agree to this, since Anushka is at the peak of her career and is unlikely to get into the commitment trap. But let’s leave things the way they are for now, eh?
Gopichand: doing it or knot?
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A MASSIVE ISSUE!
The tipping end of the weighing scale has been a major problem with the babes in the Telugu industry these days. Shweta Basu Prasad and Aksha, seen together in Ride seem to work in tandem, even when it comes to gaining weight! Now, it seems they have both been cooped up with weight issues. Now get this: when the designers of Kalavara King delivered Shweta’s costumes, even after having taken measurements; she just couldn’t fit into them! Cut to Aksha and we see that she has apparently been spotted in a lot of parties. The effects surely are for all to see!
Aavakaya Biriyani came and went without much ado. While many had nice things to say about it, it didn’t do exceptionally well at the BO. But hear this: the movie seems to have found new patrons, who are not, ahem, Telugu in any way. Apparently, someone in Russia saw the film and liked it so much that he uploaded it on Youtube, complete with Russian subtitles! Kamal Kamaraju, who played the lead in the film, has been flooded with fan mail from audiences in Russia. Whoever said piracy was a bad thing, eh?
AAVAKAYA BIRYANI TURNS RUSSIAN SALAD?
A TALE OF TWO COUSINS
Ever since Paa hit the screens, Vidya Balan has been hogging all the limelight. And with Ishqiya, her popularity has indeed reached manic heights. Guess what, you happen to know a cousin of hers. For those who couldn’t figure, it’s Priyamani we are talking about. Turns out though, they are not the best of friends. But before you start getting ideas, what we mean is that they haven’t been in touch from, let’s just say, a very long time. They happen to be distant second cousins. Guess that explains a lot. Does it? Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 15
POOJA STUCK IN SRI HARIKATHE
Pooja Gandhi and director Dayal Padmanabhan recently got into a tussle over their film Sri Harikathe (Harikathe in Kannada refers to a traditional form of storytelling. In modern slang though, the word means, a troublesome episode). It all began when Padmanabhan accused Pooja and her younger sister, Radhika Gandhi - who are acting together in Sri Harikathe of staying away from its promotion. Pooja contended that she was not given sufficient notice. Only after senior actor Ambareesh intervened and restored peace, it was revealed that Padmanabhan owed dues to Pooja. What a Harikathe!
RAMYA’S FACEBOOKING AWAY TO GLORY!
Ramya is a compulsive Facebooker these days but it might be just a matter of days before she may have to open a second account. Her first one already has close to 5,000 friends! Invariably, she had to leave a message for her friends, which read: “Hey, I cannot accept any more friends here. Please join the fan page. I promise I will keep in touch with you all there. The rest of the profiles are fake!” But this one’s for reel. Real!
PUNEET’S DANCING TO A DIFFERENT TUNE Absolutely no doubt that Puneet Rajkumar is a star dancer. However, we don’t have two such. Perhaps realising the need for good dancers in the industry, Puneet has agreed to become the brand ambassador for the Kannada version of Dhee, a popular dance series on a Telugu channel. Very cool.
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SAX AND THE CITY!
For the uninitiated, up and coming actor, Chetan is also a music maker. He plays the saxophone like a dream! The US born Chetan hit made headlines for his performance in the critically acclaimed, Aa Dinagulu, directed by Chaitanya Karehalli. And now Surayakanthi, his second film also happened to be made by Chaitanya. For the film’s promotion, Chetan had the audience dancing to his saxophone performance at Mysore University. He is known to pick any tune at ease. In Bangalore, he is usually seen at performing college fests, the works. Chetan’s sure on a high note these days.
IT IS ADVANTAGE
With her debut Kannada film, Raam with Puneet Rajkumar turning out to be a huge hit, National Award winning actor, Priyamani is the most sought after star in the Kannada film industry these days. She is currently busy shooting with Ganesh for her second Kannada film, Eno Onethara. But Priya, mind you, is not lapping up all offers coming her way. But, we hear, her third Kannada film is not too far away either…
THE GRITTY PRIYA HASSAN Upcoming woman filmmaker, Priya Hassan is gradually getting popularity in the Kannada film industry. Her first film, Jambada Hudugi was a huge success. Though it was running quite well, exhibitors threatened to pull the movie out of the theatres since she is a relatively new filmmaker. An undeterred Priya took the exhibitors to court. Post Jamabada Hudugi, the 22-year-old is back with her second movie, Bindaas Hudugi for which she’s written her own script. Priya also plays superwoman kind of roles in her movies. Is she doing a Malashree, folks? Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 17
Cast Director Music The Kamal Haasan starrer runaway hit is being remade after a gap of three decades. The basic premise of the original Maro Charitra is kept alive, with love in the lives of youngsters in the present context. Most of the film is shot in Dubai and Canada, apart from locations in Hyderabad and Vizag.
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Varun Sandesh, Anita, Shraddha Das Ravi Yadav Mickey J Meyer
Speculations are thick about Arjunâ€™s spanking new look in the film. The younger crowd sure seems cued into his style in the film. Allu Arjun also seems to have worked on his body, and it shows! Tamil hero Arya plays the villain in this film. We hear that the shooting of the film involved over a hundred families. Given half a chance, the film can become quite the visual spectacle for the audience.
Allu Arjun, Arya, Shraddha Das, Suhasini, Brahmanandam, Asish Vidyarthi
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CHELUVEYE NINNA NODALU
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Shivarajkumar, Sonal Chauhan
Shot extensively at all the Seven Wonders of the World, Cheluveye Ninna Nodalu is one of the most expensive movies produced in recent times. Shivarajkumar plays a tourist guide who falls in love with a globe trotter. Bollywood cinematographer Kabir Lal adds his touch to this unique project. The high point of the movie is the remix version of the track, Huttidare Kannadanadalli Huttabeku made popular by Dr Rajkumar. Sonal Chauhan makes her debut in Kannada films and this one happens to be Shivarajkumarâ€™s 99th film.
Definitely not a remake of the Hollywood Superman, the title of this film signifies the sacrifices made by the protagonist for love. Prajwal Devaraj and Radhika Pandit have teamed up for this romantic film, directed by debutante Prabhakar. Superman is expected to provide the much expected break for Prajwal. Upcoming music director Raghu Dixit has scored the music with a few catchy numbers.
Prajwal Devaraj, Radhika Pandit
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Photographer: Ranganath Stylist: Maya Raj Rana’s makeup and hair: Sachin for MANEA Richa’s makeup and hair: MIRRORS Coordinated by: Vrinda Prasad
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 23 Rana: Vest-Fashion X’press Pants-SAGAR TENALI Shoes-WILD WEST Richa: Dress-JOURNEY
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At the very first glance anything and everything you assume of this hot hunk may end up being wrong. If you think he is just another tall, lanky, P3 personality, the assumption is just not right. He does like to let loose after a long week but doesn’t like being tagged as a party animal. When you’re the scion of the most prestigious film family, there is very little you can ask for. With Shekhar’s Leader, Rana Daggubati emerges as an actor to watch out for in the Telugu industry. With his Bollywood debut alongside Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu in Rohan Sippy’s next film, Rana surely is in the most eventful phase of his career. No one who knew him earlier could have imagined him as this sensational looker. Rana grew up as an overweight boy with the scales touching 150 kgs until he realised he wanted to be an actor. He worked out for almost five hours a day with a strict diet for almost nine months and lost 35 kgs. Rana did everything from martial arts, gymnastics, dance and workout at the gym to shape up. And now he is most sought after for his looks and physique in the industry. Rana works out at the gym and practices martial arts even now. In his early 20s, Rana is a decade younger than the ruling actors, which means he has time on his side. Whether in his acting style or his positioning in the hierarchy, Rana sees himself ‘competing only with himself’ and the endeavour is to constantly strive to do better work. “Good box office performance is gratifying of course, but good work is equally exciting,’’ he says. At 17, he dabbled in fashion photography and produced advertising films. Then he moved on to making ad jingles too. Very soon, after a year’s course in still and movie photography, he turned technocrat, and started Spirit Media. Having seen enough, this 6’3” tall hunk set his eyes on an acting career, for, after all his whole life has revolved around cinema and more cinema.
Rana: Vest, tie and pants-Designer: Sampath/ CON’TRADITIONS Shirt-JOURNEY Shoes:WILD WEST Richa: Dress and shoes-JOURNEY
Richa Gangopadhya who also makes her debut in Telugu with Leader, won the Miss India US 2007 title and Miss Photogenic at Miss India worldwide in 2008 before landing this role. This pretty chica did quite a few commercials as well. She loves acting and is a great dancer. With Sekhar Kammula wielding the director’s baton, seems like this debut duo has it all charted out. -Vrinda Prasad
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He may be just 10 films old, but VV Vinayak has become a household name in Andhra Pradesh. Karthik Pasupulate catches up with the maverick director and traces his journey from a small village to becoming one of the leading directors in the business.
s a kid the only thing he loved about films were the action episodes. Everything else was just too boring. He still loves action sequences and they are an integral part of his films – the bomb blasts, high adrenaline car chases, Tata Sumos flying high in the air, moustache twirling and thigh thumping machismo et al – make a VV Vinayak film, an experience all by itself. No wonder he is one of the most sought after filmmakers in Telugu cinema today. His latest film Adurs has emerged as a hit in spite of having earned the wrath of the Telangana activists. “A lot of times when my friends discuss stories I advise them to incorporate a couple of fight scenes even in a soft romantic film, so that the kids will have their piece of fun,” he jokes. “It’s something that has stayed with me from my movie experience as a kid. But the stunts 28 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
must be integrated with the script and not used just for the sake of having some action episodes,” clarifies Vinayak. Vinayak attributes his phenomenal success rate to the fear of failure. “I have not had great stories to work with of late. My earlier films like Tagore, Aadi, Dil and Lakshmi were all based on great stories. Even Adurs is based on a wafer thin storyline. So I have to be extremely careful about the presentation. We worked on it for two years and are glad the film has been appreciated by the audiences. I guess it boils down to the fear of having to get it right that eggs me on,” he explains, with a quiet grin. “I was fascinated by the Chari character. I did not want to let it go and weaved the story around it. Thankfully the film has gone on to be a huge hit,” he adds.
A Special friendship VV Vinayak goes back a long time with junior NTR. It was in Aadi that the duo first worked together. The film turned out to be a huge hit catapulting NTR to superstardom and established VV Vinayak as one of the most promising young directors in the business. “I share a great friendship with NTR. It is a lot more than a happy professional equation. He is more like a brother to me. We discuss everything from work to personal life with each other,” he shares. And why not when it is such a winning combination? Aadi was his first film as a director. Soon after the tremendous success of the film, Vinayak immediately found himself working with the biggest stars in the industry like Balakrishna, Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh and Prabhas earning him the tag of being a big ticket director.
“It is just a happy coincidence,” says Vinayak. “I got to work with a huge star like Balakrishna in just my second film. It was not something that I consciously planned. It just turned out that way,” explains Vinayak. Vinayak admits he loves the challenge of working with new comers as well. “When I signed up Nitin for Dil, Jayam had not yet released. But Jayam turned out to be a huge hit and Dil followed suit. I love working with newcomers but somehow I have ended up working with the top bracket stars,” he contends. Well, come to think of it why try fixing something that isn’t broken yet. Mass director? Perhaps that’s why Vinayak is often addressed a “Mass director” in the press. That tag is not exactly flattering but is not free of some unspoken connotations. However such tags do not seem to bother
him in the least. “The media looks at me as somebody who makes mass films. I understand where that is coming from. Being well read and having been exposed to different types of films, the journalists deride the fact that my films are too escapist in nature. But I have nothing to prove to my detractors,” he reasons. Entertainment is the key We could not let him go without asking some sticky questions. For all his virtues, his films are known to be very formula centric. Perhaps that is the case with most Telugu films but for an established director like him it must be bothersome, right? “Yes, I agree most of our films are formulaic, so to speak. But I do not see anything wrong with that. Films are essentially meant to entertain, so, as long as we are making hit films it should be fine. I will continue to make films the way I know best. I cannot change my style just to please a few.”
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But there is another side to the argument. “Whenever I am travelling by train and buy something to eat or drink, the hawkers refuse to take any money. So many people come up to say nice things about my films. I find that really humbling,” he says. “Most new comers be it filmmakers or actors dream about being accepted by the masses. At the same time most mass directors crave to be a Mani Ratnam. Now isn’t that asking for too much?” he breaks into a guffaw.
Veteran director EVV Satyanarayana hails from his village and no conversation is complete without a mandatory mention of the director. “I wanted people to talk about me in the same breath and that is what attracted me to a career in cinema,” he explains. Watching movies was an all consuming passion for him. “My college was in Kovvuru. But all I did when in intermediate was religiously watch every film that released and go back
“We rented a small penthouse. I used to hang out with the likes of Nallamalapu Bujji, Vasu Varma (Josh), Dolly, Surender Reddy all the time. Sometimes there would be almost 25 people lying around in the room. It was quite a journey.” Then he worked as an assistant director with Sagar for a lot films. After nine years of apprenticeship he finally got a break with Aadi. “My stint with Sagar was a huge learning experience. I was assigned to coordinate with writers like Vinay (Amma
I was the president of Chiranjeevi fans association in my village.
Talking about appreciation, VV Vinayak is one of the very few directors who get a standing ovation at public gatherings that is on par with the stars in his films. Vinayak, though, refuses to bask in the glory. “Eighty per cent of the applause comes from the fans of the stars who are pleased with how I presented their favourite star in my films,” he shrugs it off. “That is why I believe I am extremely lucky. I sometimes wonder what I have done to deserve such love and affection. I have just made some good films. Everything seems like a dream to me at times. I am not highly educated and come from a small village. It is quite flattering to receive such adulation. If being called a mass director has negative connotations, so be it,” he argues. Guess you cannot please everybody, can you? Modest beginnings For somebody who was born in a small village like Chagalla, Vinayak has travelled a long way and perhaps that has something to do with the way people relate to his success. It is quite an inspirational story. Vinayak is very attached to his village. His parents and brothers still live there. “When a film of mine does well it’s almost like a carnival in my village,” he shares. It was quite a childhood he had in Chagalla. His father was an exhibitor and distributor. He owned a movie theatre called Veera Venkata Vinayaka Talkies. “My dad, Krishna Rao owned 12-13 theatres in east and west Godavari. So I always had a special inclination towards films. I was crazy about them. I handled the projector and sold tickets for shows. After the last show I would gather with friends in a tent and watch my favourite scenes over and over again,” shares Vinayak.
home.” No wonder he had an attendance shortfall! Family crisis He had to give up his studies as his father suffered a huge financial loss. It was quite an ordeal, he recollects. “There was a time when we were the only family in village who owned a car. But my father suffered huge losses in the business and we lost everything. It was a very tough time. I pray nobody faces such hardships in their lives.” Vinayak was forced to discontinue his studies. But he had discovered his calling and it was going to be films. But he had to convince his father who did not like the idea. The reason? “Well, my dad felt I would not find good marriage proposals as people had a lot of misgivings about the film industry,” he laughs. Eventually his father gave in and Vinayak embarked on his tryst with destiny. Those days the film industry was mostly based in Chennai and Vinayak, all of 20, headed to Chennai with dreams in his eyes. It was quite an experience for him. “I had never been to a major city in my life until then and honestly, was blown away. We all have seen films in which the hero finds himself dumbfounded by the city life and Madras had the same effect on me,” he shares in a lighter vein. Hyderabad He reached Film Nagar, Hyderabad in 1993 and worked as an apprentice under EVV Satyanarayana. That was when he was doing Abbayigaru. “Filmnagar had a totally different vibe about it then. There were very few houses and the beautiful rock formations gave it a special character,” he says recalling his first impression of the city. “The first biryani I ate was in Bawarchi,” adds.
donga), LB Sriram etc. This is where I developed a script sense,” reminisces Vinayak. Meeting the megastar Ask him about the happiest moment in his film career, “Meeting Chiranjeevi for the first time,” pat comes the reply. “I was the president of Chiranjeevi fans association in my village. All through my years as an assistant director I never got to meet him. So when he invited me over to his house to discuss Tagore it gave me goose bumps. I still remember for the first 15 minutes I was in a trance and had gone mute,” he explains. He did more than meet him. VV Vinayak directed Chiranjeevi in Tagore, in 2003. The film was a record breaking success and established him as a big ticket director. “It was quite overwhelming to see the response from the audience and the congratulatory calls just kept pouring in.” Badrinath Vinayak has just signed up to make a film with Geetha Arts, starring Allu Arjun. The film���s already creating quite a buzz in tinsel town. “The film is called Badrinath. It is too early to talk about it. All I can say is that it is a gripping love story. I have high hopes on the film,” he signs off.
SO THE KITE FLEW It wasn’t exactly a Happy Sankranthi for the Telugu film industry this year with big starrers like Adurs, Namo Venkatesa and Shambo Siva Shambo having to compete for eyeballs. A Southscope report.
They say a film is as good as the money it makes, for any other yardstick becomes a matter of taste and subjective by default. After a lackluster 2009, the industry was pinning big hopes on the slew of big ticket Sankranthi releases. Well it was quite literally a deluge of star power as some of the most bankable Telugu stars including NTR, Venky and Ravi Teja’s films released at the same time. Here’s how they fared:
NTR’s first film in well over a year, and one of the most awaited one boasted of a killer star cast – NTR, Nayanathara, Brahmanadam, Sheela, Mahesh Manjrekar, Nasser and others. With the film turning an object of misdirected political angst, many hailed the release to be a victory in itself. It was also the most expensive and the most hyped of the lot. In spite of all the scepticism, the film managed to recover over Rs 23 crores in theatrical revenues. That makes Adurs, the highest grosser of the lot by some distance. Bulk of the revenues came in from the Andhra region. but the film also set the cash registers ringing in Nizam and Ceded regions.
With Venky, Trisha and Brahmanadam at the helm, Namo Venkatesa sure had an impressive cast. Director Seenu Vytla’s latest offering was targeted at the family audiences. This 14 Reels Entertainment venture turned out to be a sleeper hit at the BO much to the chargin of it’s detractors. Namo Venkatesa!
Shambo Siva Shambo
This Ravi Teja, Allari Naresh, Shivabalaji starrer has been the most disappointing of the lot. It took around 16 crores to make. A remake of the Tamil blockbuster Nadodigal , the film failed to recreate the magic at the BO.
Om Shanthi was the underdog in the pack, having been made on a shoe string budget. With Nikhil, Kajal Agarwal, Bindu Madhavi and Adithi Sharma in the lead, the film just could not stand the competition from the big starrers. It would be fair to say the film came and went without much ado. Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 31
Stylist: Chaitanya Rao Make up: Vikram Mittal Hair: Rachael Assessories: Uniq Cordinated by: Sridevi Sreedhar Clothes: Chaitanya Rao (light green and yellow ensemble), Anand Bushan (black sequined), Rimzim Dadu (metal dress) and Anand Kabra (blouse and duppatta)
THEREâ€™S SOMETHING ABOUT TRISHA
Underneath the innocent-miss-on-screen lurks the seductress waiting to be unleashed. Sridevi Sreedhar gets Trisha to drop her inhibitions and give it back as good as she gets, in a never before rendezvous!
Photographer: G Venket Ram
For Trisha, this is the first-time-ever. She has a hundred reservations and as many or more preoccupations with her clothes, makeup, looks et al. Understandably so. She has never done a photo shoot for a magazine in her entire film career. Yes, you heard it right. It was a combination of our persuasion and her confidence in Southscope that made it happen. And you know what? The result, as you can see, is bound to make every male wish he were the camera while every eve would fall prey to the green eyed monster. She has been around for a decade, has worked with some of the best filmmakers in the business, costarred with every conceivable superstar in Telugu and Tamil, and yet retains the freshness of a new face on the block. Check out the undisputed queen of southern cinema transform into a passionate diva as she does her number for the camera and fields 50 questions like only she can. Over to Trishaâ€Ś Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 33
1. How would you describe your current state of mind? I feel very blessed, grateful for everything that is happening and excited about the future. 2. Once you were doing films simultaneously with all top heroes. Now you have few films. Is everything alright? At the risk of sounding immodest, I must tell you that I still have films with top heroes (winks). But yes, I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to filter my work and not to shoot round the clock. Now I have time for other things and at the same time I enjoy work to the fullest. 3. What was your nickname in school/college? Trisha, the terror. Apparently, I was quite a handful and terrorised everybody including my teachers. 4. Tell us three unknown facts about yourself. I have a slight OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I am addicted to TV. I am a thrill seeker. I have tried scuba diving, bungee jumping, sky diving and still counting. 5. If you had to apologise, what would it be and to whom? I have a tendency to say unpleasant things to people I love when I lose my temper. I would like to apologise to all the people who have been at the receiving end. 6. Is God inside us or outside us? I think God is outside us. He is near me constantly watching over me and guiding me. 7. Where is the best place to be? That would have to be Singara Chennai. I love the city, my home, family and friends. They are irreplaceable. 8. Fave holiday destination? Las Vegas, New York 9. What’s the worst aspect of being an actor? People tend to get judgemental and brand you. 10. A song that truly means something to you I believe I can fly by R Kelly inspires and encourages me every time I am down and low. 11. Do you have nightmares? I dream almost every night but nightmares are very very rare. Guess I am too peaceful a person to have scary dreams. 12. What’s the wackiest rumour you’ve heard about yourself? That I built a hotel for my father in Hyderabad. 13. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve put in your mouth? That would have to be an eraser I chewed and swallowed when I was a kid. 14. If you could change one thing about yourself, what will it be? My temper. I need to control what I say and do when I am angry. 15. The most memorable moment in your life? There have been so many but in recent times the London Audio release of Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya because I got to share the stage with my favourite, AR Rahman. 16. Are you a good liar? Ha Ha. Oh yes, when I want to be and a very convincing one too! (wink) 17. What’s the cutest thing about you? Hehe. I just asked a friend sitting with me and she said my smile. Guess that’s it. 18. What’s the first thing that attracts you to a man? Unconventionally good-looking men in formals or a suit really does it for me. Sigh! 19. What keeps you sailing during a crisis? My faith in god and my mom. 20. Do you have it in you to kill someone? (Smiles) Never. Nobody is worth that kind of a strong reaction and the aftermath of ending up in prison (not appealing).
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21. Are you moody? Oh yes. I like my space and want to be left alone at times. 22. Do you get time to chill out with your friends? I make sure I take time off for friends because they are my stress busters. 23. You are the biggest survivor among your contemporaries. What say? Firstly thanks. I take that as a compliment and yes, it feels great to have lasted for so long especially when a heroine’s time span is so short. I attribute it to my choice of films. The credit goes to some of my directors like Radha Mohan and Gautam Menon who cast me in great roles in their films and more importantly for putting up with me. I don’t have a problem taking a few months off, but I will never sign a film just for the sake of it or only because I am tempted by the money. I believe quality pays. 24. What if Mani Ratnam were to offer you another movie? My reply would be – ‘Just tell me when you need my dates, Sir’. I have a high regard for him. 25. Any regrets? None. Everything happens for a reason. And I have always learnt something from a bad experience. I am too positive a person to regret things. 26. What’s it about you that riles other actresses like Nayanthara and Shriya? Ha Ha. That’s a question best answered by them. But I honestly don’t think anything about me riles them. They seem content in their space. 27. How have all these years in the industry changed you? Not much but I think I have become more of a people’s person. I used to be very reserved but now my friends tell me I can’t shut up. And after meeting and dealing with so many people, my patience levels have, for sure, gone up. 28. How is your equation with money? I love spending on myself and people I love. What’s the point in saving up? Life’s too short. 29. You are straightforward and honest. Do you think you are cut out for showbiz? Why ever not? I think showbiz needs more people like me (Ha ha). And the people I like and respect here like me just the way I am. I believe I have survived for this long, because of my honesty and forthrightness. 30. Did you ever feel your height was a disadvantage considering most of our heroes are short? Never. I have worked with a lot of heroes who are taller than me and for shorter ones, there are dozens of ways to cheat. (wink) 31. Who is the closest to you? My mom. There’s nothing about me she doesn’t know 32. Do you have friends who will stand by you during a crisis? I say this with a lot a pride that when I am asked this question, at least ten people come to mind. 33. How does your family react to gossip about you in the media? I am blessed to be in a family like mine because we laugh about it together, forget about it and move on in a minute. 34. Are you seeing someone? Nope. 35. When love really happens will you be honest about it? Of course, I will but I have to be sure it’s love. I also believe love is a very private emotion so I don’t have to scream from the rooftops.
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36. What if he wants you to give up your career? I would never fall for someone who is stuck in such a mindset. It’s a different thing if I want to give it up but it’s entirely my prerogative to decide. 37. How would you deal with a possessive boyfriend? Call me mad but I think a little bit of possessiveness in a relationship works. Makes me feel very loved and special. 38. Were you ever hit on by a lesbian? Ha ha. Quite a few times and it’s never freaked me out though. Just amused. 39. If you ever became a filmmaker, which man would you want on your couch? Ooooo. Controversial, but it would be quite insulting for me to use the filmmaker card to get a man on the casting couch. Don’t you think? 40. Three words to describe you best? Genuine, impulsive, forgiving. 41. What was your biggest fear as a child? That I will always remain short! 42. The best eating place in Chennai? Too many in Chennai, my favourites are Dakshin, Golden Dragon, Kebab factory etc... 43. When you are in Hyderabad, where do you prefer eating out? Fusion 9, Ohris and Chutneys. 44. Tell us something that you are pretty embarssed about? Have a bad habit of forgetting people’s names. 45. What is it that you’ll never do in life? Hurt an animal. 46. When were you last happy enough to chicken dance? Happens at least once a day. 47. Something you love gifting? On my birthdays, I gift toys to cancer stuck children. 48. If you were to change one physical thing about yourself, what would it be? My nose. 49. What do you think you must have been in your previous life? Think I was an owl. 50. If you were locked in your house for one full week what would you do? Blessing in disguise. I will read, watch all the movies, play with my dog, and chat on the phone.
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 39
THE PERFORMER EXITSâ€Ś What remains behind is his impressive legacy. Karthik Pasupulate pays a tribute to Gummadi whose contribution to Telugu cinema makes him one of the greatest actors of all time.
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e was called the Ashok Kumar of the South. But to three generations of Telugu movie enthusiasts, he was quite simply, Gummadi! Clearly, there can only be one Gummadi. As an actor he was in a league of his own making. He slipped easily into familiar roles we loved and longed to watch again. Be it a doting father, elder brother, the all important uncle, grandfather, loving well wisher, the respectable village head, grandfather, the idealistic school master or the righteous politician, Gummadi had always been the grand old man of Telugu cinema. To say that his passing away leaves a void in Telugu cinema is more than an understatement. That he departed a week within the release of the all-new coloured version of Mayabazar adds a touch of irony. After all, he played the affable Balarama in the timeless classic. In a career spanning over six decades, Gummadi acted in over 500 films. He may never have played the archetypal hero; yet Gummadi remained an integral part of all his films, all the while being able to hold his own, while pitted against the likes of NTR and ANR in their heyday. When playing the father of the superstars, he was regarded second only to the legendary SV Ranga Rao. Surprisingly enough, though Gummadi was actually younger to NTR and ANR in both age and experience, he always found himself playing elderly roles. Perhaps that had something to do with his upbringing. Thanks to his grandmother, he started wearing the traditional panchakattu from the time he was just nine, which is supposed to have been worn by boys aged 13 and above. A native of Ravikampadu of Vemuru mandal in Guntur district, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao was the eldest of five siblings. He was everybody’s favourite child and he carried
himself with a poise and dignity that was rare among children his age. Growing up, he somehow never had friends of his age in his village. They were all at least a decade older to him. Interestingly, the first time he ever acted on stage was when he was still in class eight. He played an elderly farmer in a play titled, Peda Rythu (Poor farmer). It was his Telugu teacher, Jasthi Sriramula Chowdary, who lead him to his life’s calling. Gummadi was even adjudged the best actor. His traditional leanings notwithstanding, there was always a streak of youthful rebellion in him. When he was 13, he attended a public gathering addressed by the legendary Puchalapalli Sundaraiah, the iconic founder of the Communist Party of India. At that time, Sundaraiah was touring the countryside to garner support for the peasant revolution in the state. He was drawn to the communist ideology and even took part in some small scale agitations initiated by the Communist Party. He was called the Khadder kattina Communist (A communist who wears Khadi) by his friends. Of course, that was a big cause for worry with his family. They even got him married when Gummadi was just seventeen, in a bid to sober him down. Well, sober down he did, eventually. Gummadi discovered his love for acting much later, while in class eleven, at the Hindu college in Guntur. His benchmate was Mallikarjuna Rao, who would later go on to be a director. The two of them spent a lot of time either watching films or discussing them. Unfortunately, studies took a backseat and he went back to farming in his village when he failed in the exams. Back in his village, Gummadi spent most of his free time in the library. Inspired by the mythological play Veerabhimanyu, Gummadi organised a performance in the village. He played Duryodhana in the play. The play was well appreciated and the news of his performance reached Madhavapeddi Venkataramiah, a celebrated theatre artist and the owner of a drama company. It was Venkataramiah who brought out the actor in Gummadi and advised him to make a career out of his acting talent. Gummadi beagn his career in 1950 with the film Adrushtadeepudu. His role in the 1954 Thodu Dongalu, alongside NTR won him critical acclaim. He even won a National Award for Best Supporting Actor for that role. But the film was a disaster, at least in terms of box office revenue. It was Ardhangi, in which he played the father of ANR that really established him as a name to reckon with in the industry. There was no looking back from there. Gummadi won several awards as Best Supporting Actor in his career. He was conferred the President's Silver Medal and Telugu University's honorary doctorate for essaying the title role in Maha Manthri Thimmarusu (1963). His roles in films like Mayabazar, Maa Inti Mahalakshmi, Kula Daivam, Kula Gothralu, Jyothy, Nelavanka, Maro Malupu, Ekalavya, Ee Charitra Ye Siraatho, Gaaju Bommalu, Pelli Pusthakam remain etched in the collective memory of Telugu movie buffs. He is a colossus in his own right. An actor extraordinaire, Gummadi was a gentleman who embodied the best of our culture. No less. Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 43
JAYA PRADA’S HIGH… ON AN UNBREAKABLE SPIRIT! If there is ever a woman who can turn an adverse situation in her favour it has to be Jaya Prada. Anil Merani attempts to unravel the actor-turnedpolitician who has decided to return to her first love after being expelled from the Samajwadi party. 44 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
“Who says politicians shouldn’t look beautiful? In fact, people expect me to look glamorous because of my film career.” She looks ethereal. She always did. Add to that power packed performances and a political career that took her across the length and breadth of the country, you have a perfect formula of the new age woman who has mastered the art of straddling different worlds with consummate ease. And guess what? She is far from throwing the towel. Not even after her expulsion from the political party that gave her the power, the position. Anybody in her place would have crumbled like an over baked cookie. But not Jaya Prada. She has risen above every circumstance that tried to crush her indomitable spirit. On the public’s response to her comeback Aptly, she is all set to perform in a classical Odissi dance movie entitled The Desire - Journey of a Woman with Shilpa Shetty. “It’s based on the guru-shisya relationship. I have a very strong character like Protima Bedi’s. It’s good to play such strong characters. The audiences may not accept me in weak roles after watching my fiery side in the parliament. In politics and on screen, I want to raise relevant people specific issues,” she says. So what has the public response been to her comeback? “It’s very heartwarming to see my people welcoming me back with open arms. Earlier, when I was in politics, producers weren’t sure if I will be able to devote enough time to films! Now I will make sure that I divide my attention equally to both,” she responds. On beauty and glamour She has always been associated with glamour and beauty. Has that come in way of her political career? “Who says politicians shouldn’t look beautiful? In fact, people expect me to look glamorous because of my film career,” she explains. On the current lot of film actors “There is a dearth of talent in the industry after Sridevi, Madhuri and I eased out from the scene. I was nicknamed goongi gudiya (mute doll) because of my role in Sargam. It was quite tough as I did not know Hindi
then but over a period of time I learnt the national language quite well,” she says. She considers herself lucky as she had a long innings in films, “Most of my contemporaries have almost retired but not me. I am looking at a number of other scripts as well. I want to essay strong roles like Amitabh Bachchan does.” Any plans to return to Telugu films? “Not at the moment,” she says. On her political career being a tough road “I didn’t get a fair deal at the beginning of my political career in Andhra Pradesh. That’s when I moved up north and joined Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi party. Women are far more educated and emancipated in the south. Hence, as the Lok Sabha MP from Rampur, I am trying to address basic issues such as women’s education and grass root employment. I have even set up a nursing college.” On being ousted from the Samajwadi party “I was thrown out for no rhyme or reason. I was only rooting for my seat, as people love me there. They started resenting my increasing popularity amongst party workers and my political closeness to Amar Singh.” On retaining an indomitable spirit One issue which is close to her heart is the women’s reservation bill which has been at a loose end for many years. “I guess there is no political will to clear this piece of historic legislation which will give 33 per cent reservation to the fairer sex in both houses of parliament. Had that been the case, the UPA would have ensured political consensus and got the law implemented as they have done with other serious issues. I guess politicians need some attractive promises to offer voters during elections.” What has been her contribution to support the bill? “I am just a small party worker. My dismissal for no fault shows my position but yes I did feel embarrassed by my party’s stand. I was unhappy with the party dikat not only on this but even when
they opposed computer education. Despite my political opposition to Chandrababdu Naidu, I must congratulate him on his commitment to gender equality.” On challenges faced by today’s Indian woman “Security, acceptance and education. Even today, women face rape, eve teasing and other social malaises. They also find it tough to return home alone at night from work. This situation is worsened by the courts that take too long to deliver a verdict. We need a fast track judicial system where the women are not humiliated. There should be a fund which will help rehabilitate the victims of abuse,” she says passionately, “Even now when it comes to choosing higher education, it’s the son who scores vis-à-vis the daughter. Most parents in smaller towns look at getting their daughters married off. This must change.” On role models Among the politicians past and present, Jaya regards former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as her role model. “Not only was she an iron lady when it came to defending the national interest, she was also a graceful person when it came to her sense of dressing. I would always admire her saris and the embroidery work done on them.” She also thinks highly of Rahul Gandhi and believes he is the right leader for the nation. So does this signify a possible entry into the Congress? “I never say never. It’s just that I want to be careful. I have been dumped twice, so I will take my time. Any decision I take will be in collaboration with Amar Singhji. He has been my mentor.” On other things Where does she find the energy to go on, the way she does? “I practice dance for six hours and yoga for two hours every day,” she reveals flaunting that perfect smile. What else captures her fancy? “I would love to host a reality show on television,” she shares. Is any show producer getting the hint?
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Known for long as the romantic icon in Kannada cinema, his brilliant acting is unsurpassable, especially when it comes to emoting on screen. But he does equal justice to comedy as well. If you ask us, or for that matter any Kannada film regular, Ramesh Aravind is a neat wholesome package for good Kannada family entertainers. Quite the charmer, Ramesh is one of the most popular actors in the Kannada film industry today. But he is also a known name in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Acting was deep-rooted in Ramesh since his student days. While he was studying mechanical engineering, Ramesh acted in a number of plays. As luck would have it, he made his debut in Kannada cinema in 1987 with veteran filmmaker K Balachander’s Sundara Swapnagalu. With each movie that followed, Ramesh went on to show just how much potential he had and cemented his position in the industry. Ramesh made a mark for himself as one of the most versatile actors in Kannada with films like Panchamaveda, Madhumasa, Sambhrama, Hoomale, Anuraga Sangama, America America, Amrithavarshini, Ulta Pulta, Chandramukhi, Pranasakhi, Nammoora Mandara Hoove, Apthamitra and many others. Ramesh’s remarkable performances fetched him a number of awards, all in the Best Actor category, including a National Award for Hoomale for the best film. Ramesh had himself written the screenplay for this film.
ONE STOP SHOP FOR GOOD ENTERTAINMENT Popular Kannada star, Ramesh Aravind talks at length with Aravind G Shivkamal about being a K Balachander find, having all time access to Kamal Haasan’s personal library and lots of other stuff
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He has also acted in about twelve Telugu movies and several Tamil films, in which his impressive acting prowess was well appreciated. His role as a mentally challenged boy in the Malayalam film, Avan Anantapadmanabhan received much acclaim. “At one point of time, I was in great demand in the Tamil industry. I did about 45 films starting with Keladi Kanmani. Simultaneously, there were eight consecutive hits in Kannada. And I forced myself back to Bangaluru. Of late, I have not had a chance to act in Tamil films,” Ramesh lets us know. On being a K Balachander prodigy, Ramesh says, “I have worked in several films of K Balachander. I was introduced to new roles and characters by him. Like me, a number of south Indian actors made their career with Balachander’s movies. Recently, we had a get together of all such stars where I and Prakash Raj compeered the show. It was a rare gathering,” he revals. For Ramesh, K Balachander and Kamal Haasan have been immensely inspiring. “I have learnt a lot from these two icons of southern cinema.
Their passion and commitment for cinema has definitely inspired me. I emulate them all the time, in my acting and filmmaking,” he admits. With more than 100 movies to his credit, Ramesh has also proved his directorial skills with comedy flicks like Rama Shaama Bhaama that featured Kamal Haasan and Sathyavaan Savithri, which was a hit at the box office. His third directorial venture, Accident, was a critically acclaimed thriller. This was followed by Venkata in Sankata in 2009, which turned out to be a successful comedy. “Direction came naturally to me after having worked with some great filmmakers. I watch a lot of international cinema, especially European films. I have access to Kamal Haasan’s personal movie library! I might direct my next film during the second half of the year. The script is not yet ready,” shares Ramesh.
also young at heart. I still work with the zeal of a newcomer. Somehow, the spirit inside me never dies.” Talking of youth and newcomers then, Ramesh has introduced several new actors, directors, choreographers and music directors in the industry. “It gives me immense satisfaction when I see them climb the success ladder. That should be the way in the entertainment industry. Success is not instant. Everybody has to strive hard to make it.” And Ramesh strived real hard to come up to the position he holds now. “My family has been a great support for me. Though my wife, Archana is not involved in filmmaking, she has played an integral role in shaping my career,” says Ramesh in conclusion.
But back to acting, apart from being a popular romantic hero, Ramesh has proved himself in comedy as well with hit films like Ulta Pulta, Kurigalu Sir Kurigalu, Sathyavan Savithri and others. “My name had become synonymous with romance and I wanted to change that image. Now, the entertainment industry is moving towards fun and comedy as a general trend. Such movies have been a hit in the times of recession and the economic downturn. I am told that Charlie Chaplin produced some of his best films during the Great Depression in the US. I am sure comedy films will always be in demand all over the world,” says Ramesh. But more than pure comedy, Ramesh is inclined towards wholesome entertainers. “For instance, I turned director with Rama Shama Bhama, an out and out comedy. With this film, Kamal Haasan returned to Kannada after 18 years. Then I tried a thriller with Accident. But somehow, it was not accepted among non-urban centres. And, I returned to entertainment,” he adds. The recent release, Crazy Kutumba, remade from the hit Marathi film, Deva Bhakta extensively features North Karnataka Kannada. “Basically, I enjoy doing such films,” Ramesh finds. This year, Ramesh has six films lined up, out of which two are fun movies – Krishna Nee Lateagi Baro and Hendteera Durbar. He has also played a guest role in Prakash Raj’s Naanu Nanna Kanasu. Ramesh admits that surviving in this industry, which is highly volatile, had been a huge challenge. “Even established stars can be filtered out in a short span of time. There are many examples. Fortunately, I am still around doing well. I consider myself fortunate,” he adds. “I am happy with the response I get whenever I visit small towns and villages. Sometimes I am surprised with the adulation I’m showered with. What else can an actor ask for?” When asked which has been his best role so far, Ramesh says, “I don’t think my best is out yet. But people liked my role in Amrithavarshini in which I played a negative character. I don’t have any dream characters. I simply endeavour to excel in every role assigned to me.” One question many have asked Ramesh is how he manages to look so young all the time. He smiles that ever charming smile at this. “I don’t work out hard or go to the gym regularly. But I do maintain my physique. I probably look young because of my excitement and dedication to work. I never take any problem seriously. I always keep smiling and this is my biggest asset, and that’s the reason, I guess, people think that I am still young. I am
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She was destined to become a star. No less! The Kannada film industry sure seems to think so. She was after all born into a family that has actively contributed to Indian cinema for the last 60 years. Sharmila happens to be the first one from the family to turn to acting, despite initial misgivings. But in the last three years, she not only proved her credentials as an established actor, but is looking forward to making her debut in other south Indian language films besides Kannada. The latest sensation in the Kannada film industry, Sharmila Mandre is also among the most fashionable style icons in the circuit. Now, she is content being known as an actor who plays every role, with a distinctive sense of style that is her very own. At 21, Sharmila is at the doorstep to stardom, but the actor is not yet ready to accept it. “I made my acting debut when I was 17. I still have a very long way to go. But I am being very careful in selecting my project,” she says. She has acted in six Kannada films so far, three out of which have been hits. Now, she has two more films on hand. So, was it an easy beginning? “Never, but I decided to chart my own destiny. I wanted to become a film star. The start was very difficult,” she concedes. 48 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Blowing haute, blowing cool! Call it a stroke of fate or a well calculated series of events, there’s no arguing that homebrewn actor Sharmila Mandre has the red carpet figured out pretty well. Aravind G Shivkamal scrambles for a notepad... Her family, which runs the Mandre Pictures group, has been in film distribution, exhibition and production in south India. They brought most of Jackie Chan’s movies to India. Their production ventures include Tamil blockbusters like Jeans, Minnale, Rajinikanth’s Hollywood debut film Bloodstone and acclaimed films like Provoked and Ramji Londonwaley. Her grandfather R N Mandre is a big name in the Kannada film industry. But none from the Mandres took to acting. Sharmila grew up watching Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajinikanth and a whole lot of southern stars who featured in her home productions. Spending time with them became a favourite hobby. Before she turned 15, Sharmila decided that she wanted to become an actor. But it took at least two years of preparation before she actually made an entry into films. “I had to completely transform myself before launching my career. Though my parents were initially reluctant to let me act, they later agreed after seeing how interested I was. I am happy that I have proven myself,” she smiles. When Sharmila was still in college, she started modelling. She became a regular on the ramps and print advertisements in Bengaluru. She borrowed money from her mother for her modelling portfolio. “That’s when one of my relatives convinced my parents that I should be allowed to act in films. Then the preparation began.” The young girl was packed off to London where she underwent training in acting at the Pineapple Film Academy. During her
training, she received news that she had scored 97 per cent in her class twelve. “I was in a quandary. But I decided quickly. There were no two ways. I decided to pursue my acting career rather than a more academic profession,” she states. After the Mandre family ascertained that Sharmila was ready to take the plunge, they roped in director Murugesh who had an interesting script, titled Sajni for her first film. “I could have made a grand debut in Tamil. But my family was keen that I start with Kannada films. Even I wanted it that way. Besides, having been born and brought up here, I was fluent in Kannada. Everything just fell into place,” she points out. Sameer Dattani, who had already made a name in Kannada films by then, was selected as the male lead for Sajni. “I was not nervous when I faced the camera for the first time. But I sure was on the day the film released. It could make or break my career.” Besides, the stakes were very high as Mandre Pictures was launching the first artiste from their family. As it turned out, Sajni was a blockbuster, with its music becoming very popular. It made for a dramatic entry into Kannada cinema for Sharmila. To an extent, her name was established right from the first film. No mean feat that, since there are very few native female stars in Kannada films. The shoot for Sajni, though was not without its share of nervous moments. “My mom would attend the shooting. It made me uncomfortable on a few occasions and my performance slacked. Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 49
That’s when the director advised my mother to stay away from the shooting spots. Even today, none from my family comes to shooting locations. It has helped me in a great way.” Her second film was Krishna, in which she was paired with Ganesh, who had become quite the hot property of the Kannada film industry. “I was scared to act with him as he had already become a big name in the industry. But acting with Ganesh was one of my most enriching experiences,” Sharmila recalls. Krishna saw a completely different Sharmila. If Sajni was all about a young fashionable girl, Krishna was quite the opposite, showcasing Sharmila as a simple village girl. “Not many people initially recognised me in that film. I was myself surprised with my appearance in this one. But it earned me much acclaim.” This was followed by films like Ee Bandhana and Navagraha, in which she acted with stars including Vishnuvardhan and Darshan. In her latest film, Swayamwara, she plays the role of a fashion designer. “These are roles which I find very comfortable. But I look for challenging roles. I am however, satisfied with my performance so far,” she notes. Sharmila is acting in another film titled, Kari Chirathe, with Duniya Vijay in the male lead. “In this film, I play the role of a very poor girl. I wear only cotton saris. We are shooting in realistic locations like slums in Bengaluru. This is a very challenging role,” she states and adds that her best is yet to come. With such a well set start in Kannada films, will she also consider acting in other language films? “My family has produced films in a number of languages. My first Tamil film may be out this year. But we are looking for a good script. It may happen in a few months. But as of now, Kannada films are my top priority.” Talking of other things, Sharmila has so far stayed away from controversies. Boyfriends? She is yet to find one. “I am 21. My priority is my work at the moment. Boyfriends can wait.” And with a smile, she lets the matter rest. Sharmila is also a yoga enthusiast, which is the secret of her fitness and also her balanced ways. “I might sound calm and composed, but I can be ill-tempered at times. But my work has taught me many valuable lessons. I certainly know how to control emotions,” Sharmila smiles. Besides acting and fitness, she’s quite a party freak too. But these days, she is finding it increasingly difficult to spare any time for personal life. The perils of being a star! Does that mean she sometimes regrets being an actor? “Never,” she states rather emphatically. “I won’t give up acting for anything. That’s it. Just wait and watch…” We sure will!
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MAYABAZAR IN COLOUR Mona Ramavat revisits the 1957 classic to find that the divine magic of Mayabazar only turns more magical in the coloured version
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You couldn’t have missed watching Mayabazar at least once in your life if you are either a Telugu, a south cinema enthusiast or simply grew up in Hyderabad. Mayabazar is the first name that springs to mind when you think of the most iconic films of Telugu cinema. The classic has been an integral aspect of childhood in a Telugu household for five decades now. Eight out of ten children will agree that they have been initiated into watching Telugu films with Mayabazar. The famous NT Rama Rao, Akinneni Nageshwar Rao, Savitri, Gummadi starrer made with limited resources and basic technology is as entertaining today in the age of Avatar, as it was then. Much has changed since 1957. Telugu cinema has made many valuable strides forward. Most of the cast and crew of Mayabazar – with the exception of ANR, Mikkilineni Radhakrishna who played the part of Karna and an associate director, Sangeetam Srinivasa Rao – are no more. What’s alive is their legacy, that we had the chance of seeing all over again in this coloured version. Sharing the details on all that went into the whole process of restoring and colouring Mayabazar is C Jagan Mohan, media head of Goldstone Media Division, Goldstone Technologies Ltd, the company that took up the colourisation project.
What was the biggest challenge that your team had to face during the colourisation of Mayabazar? Before the process of colouring the film, we had to restore it. More than 45 per cent of the prints were damaged. Besides we had to look for the prints from various sources and put them together. It was a tedious and long process of manually eliminating all scratches and dust particles and other dirt. That I think was pretty challenging. But despite our best efforts we couldn’t restore about five to six per cent of the print that was irreparably damaged. This included the popular song, Bhali bhali deva. What kind of effort went into the whole process? Before we actually set about the restoration and colouring process, a team of 15 artists and researchers actually researched on the colour palettes and aesthetics of the 50s when the film was produced. The story of Mayabazar is a fictional account of Abhimanyu’s marriage, taken off the Mahabharat. We also had to keep in mind the possible aesthetics of those times. Once the look and feel of the entire film was decided, we worked according to the master plan. Every one of the two lakhs 45 thousand frames were individually addressed and coloured! It took us about nine months and a team of 165 technicians to do it. Plus the audio work. We had to convert it from mono to DTS. Sound effects were also added to enhance the visual special effects. How does the coloured version of Mayabazar stand apart from some of the other classics that have been restored and coloured? It is the first ever film to be converted from 35 mm to cinemascope. Apart from that, a very advanced colouring technology was used. To colour Mughal-EAzam, 65,000 shades were used, but for Mayabazar, an array of 16.7 million shades was used. So it doesn’t look like it’s an old film that’s coloured from black and white. It looks brand new!
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Mayabazar happens to be the first Telugu film to be restored and coloured. We spent something like Rs 7.5 crores on the whole project.
How has the response to the coloured version of Mayabazar been? Initially when the project was discussed with various seniors in the Telugu film industry, they weren’t sure if it’s such a good idea. But the response has been overwhelming. It just goes to show just how timeless Mayabazar really is. We first showed it to Akinneni Nageshwar Rao (who played Abhimanyu), and we were pretty tensed for the first ten minutes, since he didn’t say anything. When he smiled we all relaxed. It was pure nostalgia that made him go silent. He couldn’t remember what colours they wore for the shoot, but found the colours in the restored version quite soothing and pleasant, especially the moonlit night boat ride scenes. He even shared in jest how they would be made to wear deep bright colours that “nobody would otherwise wear” when colour in cinema was being experimented with. What was the vision behind taking up this project? It was the vision of the chairman of the company, Dr Prasad. Mayabazar happens to be the first Telugu film to be restored and coloured. We spent something like Rs 7.5 crores on the whole project. Many people wondered why we were putting in so much money into this project, while we could have invested the same money in making a new film! But we actually wanted to revive this classic and preserve it for posterity. Unlike internationally and in Bollywood, in the south, there is a very careless attitude towards our cinema which is a treasure trove of classics. Prints are hard to find. Original prints are abused beyond their recommended life. It’s disheartening. Forget old films. Sometimes even a film as old as just five years is in need of restoration! What other films is Goldstone working on? Goldstone restored and coloured the first ever southern film, the Kannada Sathya Harishchandra. The Hindi film, Hum Dono that we also coloured will be ready for release soon. In the pipeline we have at least three Telugu films – Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Missamma and Patala Bhairavi. We must share this with you. We were approached to restore and colour a Russian film and a Japanese TV series, based on the quality of Mayabazar!
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Allu Sirish argues that Twitter might not be the best social-media platform for southern stars, so what if the whole world is going gaga over it
Why Twitter isn’t the best platform for SOUTH INDIAN MOVIE STARS nlike radio, TV, print media & outdoor, the internet is the only mass medium in the world that offers two-way communication. In the others, the sender (media) broadcasts a message and the receiver (viewer/listener/reader) receives it. In traditional media such as print and television, the media channel that’s broadcasting a celebrity’s interview or statement acts as a ‘gate keeper.’ They decide which statement of a particular actor goes on air and what doesn’t. This gives them control over how they want to project the celebrity. Many times, celebrities have complained that they were misquoted in press or that their words have been twisted out of context by the journalist. With the advent of internet, especially web 2.0 – celebrities don’t need the media to do the gate keeping anymore. They can directly interact with the end-user using social media platforms like blogs, Facebook fan pages or Twitter accounts. In many controversies, people involved complain of ‘trial by media’ – a phrase to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt regardless of any verdict in a court of law. In the times of crisis, social media genuinely gives the celebrity a chance to defend himself and clarify.
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Social media presents the opportunity for celebrities to update with fans & moviegoers about their work and personal life, eliminating traditional media as a channel altogether. Karan Johar recently hit out at Priyadarshan on Twitter for calling the MNIK-Shivsena tussle a publicity stunt. He didn’t need to invite the media on a press conference specifically to let them know his reaction on this issue. He just posted it on Twitter and the media picked it up. Every time Aamir Khan or Amitabh Bachchan post something on their blog, it becomes national headlines. They cannot be misquoted, as everybody can see what they had to say on their blogs. Recently, when a reputed business newspaper approached me, enquiring about Magadheera’s Hindi remake – I said we’re considering (not approached) some A-list actors in Bollywood, as only big stars can do justice to it. I don’t know how and why, but the next day – I read a report where I was quoted as saying that Hrithik Roshan is going to play Charan’s role and Aamir Khan in Srihari’s role! I was misquoted, and this article spread far as it was reported by a credible newspaper and created so much confusion in the market about our movie. But thanks to social-media, though I am no celebrity, I was able to clarify about the issue using Twitter and my blog to some extent.
Initially I wanted to get my family members and others from the industry on Twitter. It’s the new ‘it-thing’. So many Hollywood and Hindi film celebrities are on it. But after being on Twitter for the last 10 months, I feel it’s not the only or best social-media platform for celebrities to interact with the public. My argument is more-so for celebrities in south India, whose situation is a little unique from the rest. While I am all in support of social-media, I feel an official website or blog might be a better platform. Here’s my take: Fan rivalries and hate mail: South India has one of the most intense fan rivalries in the world. It’s not unusual to see people coming to blows when defending their favourite actor. I myself am guilty of doing it in school. The fact that a certain celebrity is easily accessible will motivate fans of rival actors to post hate messages on Twitter. Irrespective of whether the star reacts to hate mail or not, the poster knows that his message will reach the star. Since real identities can be masked in Twitter, it becomes simpler to write offensive tweets. Most people don’t express dislike or hate in real life even if the celebrity is accessible to them. Also, on Twitter – the celebrity does not have the access/rights to delete defamatory tweets made on him, where as if it’s a blog – that certain comment will not be approved and visible for public to read. Recently, Chetan Bhagat – the author of Five Point Someone was annoyed that a cartoonist was poking fun at him on Twitter. He couldn’t do much – where as if it were his blog, he could simply make sure the comment doesn’t show up. Movie buffs like me use movie collections as a metric to show how popular or big a star is. A lot of people use the number of ‘followers’ on Twitter as a metric to measure popularity which isn’t the case. Priyanka Chopra has more followers than Shah Rukh Khan where as politician Shashi Tharoor has 500% more followers than SRK! But, it’s undeniable that Shah Rukh is more famous than the other two. Too much answerability to gossip: Traditional media like newspapers, TV stations are legal identities that are answerable to the celebrities and law. Recently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sued Britain’s News of the World newspaper for triggering off rumors of their alleged divorce. Preity Zinta sued Mumbai tabloid MidDay for printing transcripts of so-called leaked CBI tapes which had unpleasant things said about her. Traditional media can’t say anything about a star and get away with it. There are a lot of popular websites that exist only virtually, without legal real-life identities. They’re virtually untraceable. The identities of the owners and editors of traditional media have to be made public for them to operate. Blogs or websites can be started by anyone. They don’t require credentials or large capital. Most websites that publish gossip lack real-life legal identities and are virtually untraceable. That gives them courage to write anything, most times creating something out of thin air to get readers excited. When it comes to gossip many people have a ‘No fire, no smoke’ attitude, thinking it’s partly true. But trust me, most times gossip is far removed from reality.
The amount of gossip around a celebrity today is way more than what it was earlier and mostly far away from the truth. After reading, the anxious reader would immediately tweet to the star asking him to clarify about gossip/rumors. It’s impractical and unreasonable for an actor to keep defending and clarifying gossip about him all the time. Even if the celebrity chooses to be silent it’s hard, as they’re always pestered to clarify. The celebrity is expected to address every gossip, every time it’s asked – which is impractical – and again do it only in 140 characters! For e.g. I clarified on Twitter that Geetha Arts never considered remaking 3 Idiots in Telugu. But I keep getting asked the same question over and again. If the celeb has an official website or blog, they can just post the clarification, in detail with images or video if required and just once for everyone to see. If he chooses to remain silent, he wouldn’t just blog about it. Frequent updating and limitations: The very way in which Twitter operates is that, it’s expected to be updated frequently. Many celebrities update it multiple times a day. Good for those who are doing it, but the ones who don’t are expected to post something often. Most people who update regularly on Twitter, post trivial stuff about their personal life. Also, they have to post something only in 140 characters. On a blog, they can write more freely, update it less frequently – only when they have something useful to say, insert pictures or video. It is uncensored and as immediate as Twitter. Also it gives the celeb more control over what is being said by them and about them. Surprisingly, even Twitter is trying to move away from its celebrity culture and offer more value beyond following celebrities. Popular celebrities on Twitter post personal information like what they’re doing at present, where they are currently. And other celebrities too are expected to do the same. A lot of celebs value their privacy hence, have avoided this altogether. Some of them like Kanye West, Zac Efron, Beyonce Knowles and Drew Barrymore are vocal on why they are not on Twitter. They either feel it’s intrusive, limiting in expression or find it too demanding. Most of the top Hollywood names like Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie & Megan Fox are not on Twitter. A lot of celebs have official websites, blogs and Facebook presence, but have decided to give Twitter a miss. Also, due to the sheer volume of communication and time required to maintain it a lot of celebrities don’t handle their Twitter account themselves but have PR teams in place. It’s not ‘personal’ anymore. Most celebs who do this are even open about it. Due to the reasons cited above I feel Twitter may not be the best platforms for celebs, especially southern movie stars to interact with fans and audience. An official website or a blog is a better way to communicate.
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1940 lo Oka Graamam won the title of Best Regional Film in Telugu at the 56th National Awards this year. Accolades too were aplenty for filmmaker Narasimha Nandi, yet he canâ€™t find distributors! A Southscope report.
Film: 1940 lo Oka Graamam Director: Narasimha Nandi Award: Best Regional Film in Telugu Cast: Baladitya and Sree
AWARDED BUT NOT REWARDED? Narasimha Nandi is one filmmaker who has been working against the grain in Telugu, often without success; until now. Nandi surprised detractors and film buffs alike, by bagging a National Award this year for his film, 1940 lo Oka Graamam. Featuring Baladitya and Sree in the lead roles, the film is based on the literary gem Ghosha, penned by the Telugu poet and author extraordinaire, Gurajada Venkata Apparao. Produced by N Narasimha Reddy and J Sreeravamma, it charts the love between a village youth and a fisherwoman in a coastal village. The crux of the narrative is the point when the couple, belonging to different castes, is found in a passionate embrace by the sea shore. They are tonsured and declared outcastes in the village. 1940 lo Oka Graamam reveals itself as an examination of the caste conflicts in preindependent India and issues like identity and feminine suffering, which earned the filmmaker the National Award. This, coupled with a distinctively realistic acting style has gone down well with the jury.
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Interestingly, 1940 lo Oka Graamam happens to be Nandi’s first film in three years. With initial treads in the mainstream film industry, Nandi chose to stray from the beaten path and make his own films after having assisted commercial filmmaker B Gopal in blockbusters like Narasimhanaidu. The filmmaker claims to be inspired by the works of Balu Mahendra and Mani Rathnam, while constantly keeping an eye out for quality world cinema. As the story goes, before the announcement of the National Awards, Narasimha Nandi was struggling to find funds and distributors for his project. Then the announcement came that his film won the National Award for Best Regional Film in Telugu! Predictably enough, now it is said that producers are queuing up at his doorstep. All is not well though, for the filmmaker. Although the film has received considerable critical acclaim, it hasn’t had a theatre release yet. Nandi is said to have even approached film distributors, holding about 30-odd screenings in the process. The film may be screened at national festival circuits too. Unfazed by it all, Narasimha Nandi has now started on a commercial film, tentatively titled High School, based on the Italian film, Malena, starring Monica Bellucci. Guess, it’s offbeat versus commercial cinema in Telugu once again?
Thanks for the memories Popular Telugu film comedian of yesteryears, Padmanabham’s death marks an end of an era in Telugu cinema. Born in Simhadripuram village, in Cudappah district, Padmanabham, like many stalwarts of his generation first honed his acting skills on the stage before moving to cinema. He started his acting career doing fringe roles alongside thespians like Relangi Venkataramaiah, Ramana Reddy and the likes in the 50’s. He was only 12 years old when he acted in his first film, Maayalokam. Padmanabham gradually grew up to take on the mantle himself and ruled the roost till the late seventies. Padmanabham acted in 400 films and even directed films, one of which `Kathanayaki Molla’ (1970) won him accolades besides the Nandi award of the State Government. He introduced SP Balasubrahmanyam to the film industry in Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. He recently acted in Telugu movies Chakram and Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila.
AMERICA INDEED A new crop of Kannada filmmakers feel totally at home at far pavilions after they have aggressively begun exploring foreign markets. Aravind G Shivkamal goes trend spotting. In an attempt to shore up revenue on films, new generation Kannada filmmakers are slowly but surely exploring foreign markets, tapping a sizeable number of Kannadiga audiences. Screening of Kannada films at theatres in international cities was a rarity even a decade ago, but not anymore. Kannada filmmakers are increasingly eyeing foreign markets as Kannadigas continue to expand their global footprint. The returns may be less when compared to the earnings in Karnataka, but nevertheless filmmakers are now willing to expand their outreach. The US and Australia have been traditional markets for Kannada films since the last 30 years. Popular movies of thespian Rajkumar and the late Vishnuvardhana were being screened once or twice a year in these countries. The frequency of Kannada movies releasing on the international stage was poor. Eminent filmmaker, Nagathihalli Chandrashekar reversed that trend in the early 90s. His movie America America, based on the lifestyle of Kannadigas settled in the US was a hugely popular hit in North America a decade ago. The film also did well in Australia. He set the ball rolling for other Kannada filmmakers who saw the revenue potential from these geographies. Most of them enjoyed limited success. But since the last two years, filmmakers are revving up efforts to explore foreign markets other than the US and Australia since revenue generation in local markets has remained stagnant. In Karnataka, filmmakers are trying to squeeze the maximum out of their films, but have to face serious competition from Telugu and Tamil movies. At the same time, Telugu and 58 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Tamil movies are doing well in the international market owing to the patronage of the diaspora. “There is a lot of demand for Telugu and Tamil movies in the international market. We should follow their ways,” suggests Shantharaju, a leading film producer. “A large number of Kannadigas have settled all over the world. But Kannada filmmakers have not reached out to them appropriately. But now, efforts are on. We have made a good beginning,” he adds. Films of Puneeth Rajkumar and Ganesh in particular are doing well in international markets. Kannada filmmakers are increasingly tying up with international distributors. Puneeth Rajkumar’s first movie, Appu and second, Abhi were both well received by the Kannada audience in the US and Australia. Ganesh’s blockbuster, Mungaru Male also performed well in foreign markets. His latest film, Maleyali Jotheyali, released recently in the US, has received good reports. Puneeth’s film Raaj, The Showman, that was extensively shot in foreign locations did well in the US and Australia too. Similarly, films made by Yogaraj Bhat, Maadesh, Soori, A R Ramesh and Nagathihalli Chandrashekar have all done well in foreign markets. Says Joel Sumanth Raj, Director-Sales of Bevin Exports - the Bangalore-based leading distributors of Kannada films in the international market, “We have seen a steady increase in the number of films releasing in the international market. Also, the viewership is increasing in many countries. It is an encouraging sign.” The company has distributed more than 16 Kannada films in the last few years. However, it is very selective in releasing Kannada films in the international market. The company prefers hit films over others. Earlier, Kannada films were being screened only on Sundays in the US, the largest market for Kannada films. Now, the frequency of screening has increased to four shows on Saturdays and Sundays. “On a weekend, a hit Tamil film draws about 6000 people. In comparison, Kannada films attract about 2000 people. “Though the number (patrons for Kannada films) is less, we are trying to expand the market gradually depending on the demand,” Joel says. In the last one decade, the number of Kannadigas migrating oversees to countries including the US, owing to the IT boom, has gone up substantially. Kannada filmmakers are tapping such markets. “There is a great following for Kannada films among the young IT professionals. We have to give them an opportunity to watch Kannada films regularly,” finds Dr Kanagal Sathyanarayana, a US-based Kannada film distributor. International distributors have tied up with local Kannada organisations in multiple countries to enable easy screening of films. Bevin Exports have now extended their reach to 12 circles in the US, four in Australia, three in the UK, two in Germany and one each in New Zealand and Singapore. The company is also exploring opportunities in Switzerland, Netherlands and Hong Kong. Several recent films have done well in the last three years. International distributors, however, do not pick remade Kannada films for screening in foreign markets. “International release of Kannada films remade from other languages can be risky. Kannadigas, tend to watch hit Telugu and Tamil films screened in international markets. If such films are remade in Kannada, we stay away from their international release,” Joel points out.
Nagathihalli Chandrashekar reversed the trend in the early 90s. His movie America America, based on the lifestyle of Kannadigas settled in the US was a hugely popular hit in North America a decade ago. The film also did well in Australia.
Puneeth’s latest film Raam, remade from the Telugu film Ready, was not released in the international market though it was a super hit in Karnataka. Similarly, Ganesh’s film, Yeno Onethara also remade from Telugu, has not evinced much interest among international distributors. Film distributors face a number of challenges in expanding the market for Kannada films. Some filmmakers do not share prints of high quality, which can be a drawback. Besides, the screening centres have to be close to one another within a geographic region as the logistics costs are very high. Similarly, international distributors have not been able to tap the market in West Asia where there is a large population of Kannadigas. In the western Asian countries, the weekly holiday is on Friday, and weekend happens to be Thursday. But screens are usually not available on these two days. “Theatre owners demand that we book the theatre for the entire week. It can be an expensive investment,” points out Joel. “Presently, we are not aware of the returns. We are still working out the plan. We might enter the Western Asian market this year,” he lets us know. This year, many hopes are pinned on the big budget movies of Puneeth Rajkumar and Ganesh. International exhibitors are hoping that these will open another door for Kannada films in the foreign markets. Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 59
Wondering why your favourite star doesn’t have the perfect 10 he deserves? Just log on to www.southscope.in. You too can get a piece of the action and rate the stars that will be featured in next month’s Style Meter. TER
*Ratings below were derived from the online Southscope poll.
by Maya Raj
Now you know why he is the Telugu industry’s leading style icon? It is difficult to miss Manoj’s macho good looks but the beanie and shoes are doing him no favours
Bharath adds a very fashionable twist to this classic look. Very cool
10/10 Come on Madhavan, what happened?
Doesn’t Dhanush look absolutely smashing?!?
6/10 8/10 4/10
Hmm…are those meant to be skinny jeans?
Hello Varun Sandesh, what were you thinking? We love Navdeep’s simple yet exceptionally smart look
7/10 Maybe stripes are best left to zebras?
Tarakratna’s shoes are just so happening and so are the accessories 60 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
RAM Looks like jeans and button up shirts were Ramâ€™s thing not so long ago
Star of the month
In his latest movie Ram scored big time in the style segment
One look at this outfit and there is no doubt Ram leads the fashionistasâ€™ race Ram definitely has us eagerly waiting for his new movie and maybe a brand new look?
In true IT star style, Ram exudes effortless charm during this interview Yet another full sleeved button up shirt but we love this colour on Ram!
Only Ram could have pulled off this almost all white ensemble without looking like a wannabe politician
by Maya Raj Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 61
sty e sutra GET THIS LOOK
South cinema’s heartthrob Vishal is our chosen star for this month. He has been one of the few tall, dark and handsome stars in the industry, wowing us with his 6-pack abs and his trendy wardrobe. In his new movie Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai he looks exceptionally happening. Let’s check out how you too can get Vishal’s new look.
by Maya Raj
ENVY the styling lounge Near Cancer Hospital, Road No. 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. Rs.399
REFLECT colors U wear
1-8-215/7/B, Sindhi Colony, PG Road, Secunderabad.
Fashion X’press Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Opp. Vengal Rao Park, Hyderabad.
ENVY the styling lounge
Earth Quake 1-8-91/19/1, Sindhi Colony, PG Road, Secunderabad.
ENVY the styling lounge Rs.2800
Feb 2010 2010 62 SOUTHSCOPE Mar
REFLECT colors U wear
ENVY the styling lounge
In just about seven years, Nayanthara has transformed her image from that of a woman-next-door into that of a sizzling hot glamour girl. Gone are her deglamourised cotton saris and the no makeup look from her early career. Nayanthara now rules the entire southern industry with an impeccable body and a style to suit. She tightened and toned herself into a replica of Tomb Raidersâ€™ Angelina Jolie in the 2007 release Billa. From then on, there was no looking back as her outfits got classier and sexier. Her makeup too got a lot more interesting as she seems to have permanently adapted the colour coordinated panda eyes. Check her out in the latest release Adhurs and you can see that she straddles traditional cool and sensuous hot with adept ease.
MADE IN MADE OUT sty esutra
Pic: M N Bushan
The audio launch of the Sharwanand and Padmapriya-starrer Andari Bandhuvaya was attended by a galaxy of stars along with Allu Arvind, Rama Naidu and Sreenu Vytla in Hyderabad.
The logo for the film, Panchakshari was launched amidst the cast and crew in Hyderabad.
Reema Sen, Selva and Karthi were seen in Hyderabad, busy promoting their film Yuganiki Okadu.
Pic: M N Bushan
Shekhar Kammula showed off some of the promo goodies that would be sent out to fans for his film Leader. Mickey J Meyer was also present at the event.
Allu Arjun launched the February 2010 issue of Southscope at the book store, Landmark and gave away signed copies to fans. 64 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Pic: M N Bushan
The ANR Foundation felicitated singer Lata Mangeshkar with the Life Time Achievement Award. APâ€™s CM, Rosaiah, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, ANR, Nagarjuna and Amala were present at the event, in Hyderabad.
The opening night of Shakti, featuring Jr NTR and director Meher Ramesh saw all the biggies from the industry walk the red carpet. Spotted Ashwini Dutt, Dasari Narayan Rao, Allu Arvind, Kota Srinivas and Raghavendra Rao among others.
TELUGU Good It is a ‘star son launch’ minus the usual hoopla. No over the top histrionics, no breath taking action episodes, no punch dialogues, no gravity defying dance moves. . . et al. Yes there are two pretty ladies and an (un)item number. Otherwise Leader lives up to being a Sekhar Kammula film. Rana makes an underplayed but confident debut.
Hind sight can be a funny thing but the series of events in the film . . . the rather slimy political upmanship that follows the death of the Chief Minister - rings a few familiar bells in the head. We are sure it’s just one of those happy coincidences but it does raise a few familiar, yet pertinent questions as well.
The issues that the film raises about our polity and the system at large are laudable. Sekhar makes his point loud and clear with some inspirational moments. He does that without resorting to slam bang editing which is very refreshing. Especially the first half of the film, which manages to stand out.
Music by Mickey J Meyer is a huge asset to the film. The background score adds depth to film. The camera work and editing follow suit. Kota Srinivasa Rao and Suhasini deserve a special as the two were on top of their game.
Could have been better...
LEADER Cast: Rana Daggubati, Richa Gangopadhyay, Priya Anand, Suman, Suhasini, Kota Srinivas Rao, Subbaraj, Ahuti Prasad, and others Direction: Sekhar Kammula Music: Mickey J Meyer
The second half kind of dilutes the tone of the film especially the cute but long drawn romance between Rana and Richa. The Chief Minister’s date by the water front takes the cake. The romance between the two perhaps could have been handled better.
The motivation of the protagonist who is driven by the ambition to do what his father could not because his mother eggs him on to do so perhaps makes it a little too err! simplistic? For one he himself is a beneficiary of the flaws of the system he wants to correct being the son of a corrupt Chief Minister. May be it’s too subjective an argument?
The utopian ideals and the values it underlies are honorable. But the cynics might contest since it is yet another fictional tale of utopia with measured dashes of supposed realism. The naysayers might say it is in principle not too different from the escapist vigilantism of films like Indian, Tagore, Mallanna. . . et al. May be we are being too harsh, it looks like an honest and original piece of work.
- Karthik Pasupulate Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 65
Good Chic is the word. What do you expect? It’s a Nagarjuna film! If there is anything that stands out in Kedi, it is the emphasis on style. The movie is a style statement in itself. Nag is well dressed as usual and does a cool job of it, playing the smooth talking con man, Rummy.
The film opens with a reasonably engaging plot and makes for a breezy watch.
The editing is slick and the non linear narrative adds value.
The item number by Anushka comes as a pleasant surprise.
Could have been better... Kedi starts off on a promising note but it soon spirals out of control and ends up looking pretty average. Agreed it’s old wine in new bottle like most films but still considering it is Nag’s first film since 2008, you go expecting to be entertained. Unfortunately the film disappoints on that score.
The sense of humour lacked the chutzpah that one would expect from a con film. Brahmanadam has some funny lines but overall the comedy is pretty average.
From the looks of it Kedi is quite neatly packaged. It’s just that there is nothing more to it than what meets the eye. Except for a few moments, Kedi we are afraid is somewhat blah.
KEDI Cast: Nagarjuna, Mamta Mohandas, Arshavardhan, Sayaji Shinde, Brahmanandam, Ankur, Kelly Dorjee, Mahek, Linda, Anushka in a special appearance Direction: Kiran
Music: Sandeep Chowta
- Karthik Pasupulate
66 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Good A remake of the hit Marathi film De Dhakka, Crazy Kutumba is a comedy film that captures the ethos of North Karnataka, especially the Belgaum Kannada dialect.
Ramesh and Ananth Nag are at their hilarious best.
Each character is crazy about something and they travel all the way to Bengaluru to enable a little girl to participate in a reality show. The rickety autorickshaw, the fights and the comical scenes are fun to watch.
The highlight â€“ songs that are popular poems written by renowned Kannada poets. The music by Rickey Kej is a winner.
CRAZY KUTUMBA Cast: Ramesh Aravind, Ananth Nag, Sana Direction: B Ram Murthy Music: Rickey Kej
Could have been better... Film stories based on road and travel are not new. The element of drama in the film doesnâ€™t stand out.
Some sections of the movie appear like stage performances.
Ramesh Aravind and Ananth Nag steal the show but the rest of the cast does not live up to complement these two.
The climax is predictable. No twist in the tale.
- Aravind G Shivkamal
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 67
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MARCH 2010 PREDICTIONS
Astro Numerologist:- Bhavikk Sangghvi
E-mail :- email@example.com Website :- www.bhavikksangghvi.com
68 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
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Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 69
For a newcomer, Pranita Subhash seems composed, if you discounted sporadic moments of nervous excitement that comes with the first shot, first film and yes first media interview. After she debuted in the Kannada version of the super hit film, Porki, which was remade from the original Telugu, Pokiri and remade in Tamil by the same name and in Hindi as Wanted, Pranita has slowly but surely found a place. She did print ads and TV commercials before her big break with Porki came along. Although the film per se wasnâ€™t such a great hit in its Kannada version, Pranita earned rave reviews as a debutante actor. She has now signed up a yet untitled Telugu film and is truly geared up to make it big in the south, finds Vrinda Prasad.
HI-5 WITH PRANITA SUBHASH
70 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
1 2 3 4 5
What made you want to become an actor? I’m a big movie buff but I’d never thought of becoming an actor. I have been a model before and that’s when the offers poured in. I was thrilled to get into the industry and Porki was too good an offer to decline. I think in this field you really get to explore your creative side. So that’s the driving factor! What’s your idea of stardom? Stardom to me is to be liked and accepted by the people.
What is your biggest strength that you think can help you in your acting career? I’m a south Indian and comfortable with Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. I’ve trained in classical dance and all of this, I think, will help shape my acting career.
The Kannada industry sees plenty of newcomers every year. Are you bothered by competition? I don’t think the number of newcomers matters much. Anybody who is hardworking and passionate will survive. Every film industry has hordes of newcomers. But if one proves their caliber, I think competition shouldn’t bother them so much. What do you think of the casting couch? I’ve heard about it but haven’t experienced anything first hand, thankfully. I’ve been lucky to work with very nice people here! And I’m told all the time just how careful I need to be.
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 71
BAC K Futuristic for its times, Seethakoka Chilaka set a trend of sorts with love stories that defied societal norms like never before in Telugu cinema. Karthik Pasupulate revels in the romance.
Movie: Seethakoka Chilaka Director: Bharathi Raja
Cast: Karthik, Aruna, Sarathbabu, Master Ali, Sakshi Rangarao, Rallapalli, Janaki, Smitha, Kongara Jaggaiah
Story: Manivannan Music: Illayaraja Year: 1981
Director: Bharathi Raja.
72 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Music Director: Ilayaraja
Romance and Telugu cinema have gone hand in hand ever since the early days. Never mind the genre in question, there is always the mandatory love story involved. While most on screen love affairs become jaded, some linger on, even years afterwards. Seethakoka Chilaka, with its breezy treatment happens to be a story of love that remains fresh, even today. Karthik and Aruna Mucherla play the love struck couple in Seethakoka Chilaka, which is regarded as one of the greatest love stories ever told in 70 mm. Set against a rural backdrop, the film is about the blossoming romance between a poor Hindu boy and a rich Christian girl. Remade from the Tamil film, Alaigal Oivathilai, Seethakoka Chilaka was one of the biggest hits of the year, earning kudos for ace director Bharathi Raja. Another trump card for the success of the film was the soundtrack, composed by maestro Ilayaraja. Small wonder then, that you will find the songs from the film in the most popular compilations of romantic songs till date. Director Bharathi Raja managed to blend humour, drama and adolescent romance in delectable proportions in this one. Karthik is a happy go lucky teenaged son of a poor brahmin woman (Janaki). She is a widow who makes a living out of teaching music to the children in the village. Aruna, on the other hand is the haughty city educated sister of a wealthy Christian played by Sharath Babu. Being a wealthy man, he is revered in the village as most people would have owed him money at some time or another. Aruna comes back to the village for her summer vacation, and having a flair for music, joins Janakiâ€™s classes. Sooner than you know it, love blooms between Karthik and Aruna. The rest of the story is about how the young lovers fight the ire of Sharath Babu and manage to melt his heart. Silk Smitha plays Sharath Babuâ€™s wife. She initially disapproves of their union but later helps unite them after seeing her marriage fail because of Sharath Babuâ€™s promiscuous ways. It was quite different from the roles she played later in her career. Cinematographer Balu Mahendra does a fantastic job of capturing the naivety of village life bordering the sea. He uses the natural settings for the mood of the film, effortlessly. It was no surprise that the film was a huge commercial hit and also earned much acclaim. It went on to win the Nandi Award and National Award as well. With good direction and a powerful script, the film lends itself as a breezy romance that can easily hog the top shelf of your essential DVD pile.
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 73
SCREENTEST Photographer: Sunil J Rupani Southscope invites aspiring actors to send in their portfolio pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
74 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
A pukka Hyderabadi, Praveen grew up on a staple diet of southern cinema! He has walked the ramp for the MTV Style Showdown. Praveen also faced the camera for a short film, My Father is not a Terrorist. Heâ€™s done some theatre as well and is a part of the Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts. He has shared the stage with pop group Asma. And thatâ€™s not all. Praveen is also an emcee and shall we say, born for the stage!
Mar 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 75
01 VINNAITHAANDI VARUVAAYA 02 ASAL 03 PAIYYA 04 THEERATHA VILAYATTU PILLAI 05 AAYIRATHIL ORUVAN 06 GOA 07 VETTAKARAN 08 NANAYAM 09 AADHAVAN 10 KANDHA KOTTAI
01 3 IDIOTS 02 KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK 03 MY NAME IS KHAN 04 ISHQIYA 05 STRIKER
01 JUST MAATH MAATHALLI 02 PORKHI 03 RAM 04 SURYAKANTHI 05 MALEYALI JOTHEYALI 06 MANASARE 07 PARICHAYA 08 MINUGU 09 CRAZY KUTUMBA 10 APTHA RAKSHAKA
01 2010 GRAMMY NOMINEES 02 A.R.RAHMANS LATEST INTERNATIONAL SOUNDTR 03 MICHAEL JACKSONKING OF POP 04 MICHAEL JACKSON-THIS IS IT 05 HIP HOP HUSTLE 06 THE # 1 COLLECTION-MICHAEL JACKSN 07 RHYTHM AND ROMANCE 08 THE BEST OF 2009 09 THE MAGIC OF BONEY M 10 BOB SINCLAIR-THE BEST
BOLLYWOOD 06 AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI 07 LOVE AAJ KAL 08 KURBAAN 09 VEER 10 PAA
MALAYALAM 06 PAZHASSI RAJA 07 MY BIG FATHER 08 ROBINHOOD 09 YUGAPURUSHAN 10 PUTHIYA MUGHAM
01 AAGATHAN 02 HAPPY HUSBANDS 03 BODYGUARD 04 CHATTAMBINADU 05 GULUMAAL
01 YE MAAYA CHESAVE 02 ADHURS 03 KEDI 04 ARYA-2 05 NAMO VENKATESA 06 LEADER 07 YUGAANIKI OKADU 08 MOUNARAAGAM 09 KHILLADI 10 BINDAS
Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. Prema Prema idhi Prema Prema idhi.. premane maate antunna.. evvaremanukunna... nee jathe kavalantunna..nijamayena.. O kshanam neetho lekunna Ontaraipothunna.. needala ninne naalona kalupukona.. Nidhuralo nuvvena.. nijamulo nuvvena.. ee vinthalanni premena.. I love you..I love you.. I love you..Oo... I love you.. I love you.. I love you..Oo... Premane maate antunna.. evvaremanukunna... nee jathe kavaalantunna..nijamayena.. O kshanam neetho lekunna Ontaraipothunna.. needala ninne naalona kalupukona.. Ninnu koluvunchesthunna kanti paapallona.. kanulake jo kottela kalalamaatuna Janmale kariginchela jantane kalipeyna.. vennele kuripinche aa prema deevena Baby.. You are my sweetheart Baby.. You are my sweet sweetheart...
Film : Maro Charitra Singer : Karthik Music : Mickey J Meyer Premane maate antunna.. evvaremanukunna... nee jathe kavalantunna..nijamayena.. O kshanam neetho lekunna Ontaraipothunna.. needala ninne naalona kalupukona.. Girl Want you by my side..O I wanna hold you tight Girl wanna kiss your lips.. I did feel your love.. Girl Want you by my side.. O I wanna hold u tight Girl wanna kiss your lips.. I did feel your love.. Prema prema idhi prema prema idhi.. Prema prema idhi prema prema idhi.. Ninnu na jathalo nilipe devude yeduraithe Vaadike O varamicchi saaganampana.. Jantaga naatho nadiche devathe nuvvantu.. Lokame vinipinchela chaati cheppana Nidhuralo nuvvena nijamulo nuvvena..Ee vinthalanni premena.. I love you.. I love you.. I love you.. Oo...Oo I love you.. I love you.. I love you.. Oo... Premane maate antunna.. evvaremanukunna... nee jathe kavalantunna..nijamayena.. O kshanam neetho lekunna Ontaraipothunna.. needala ninne naalona kalupukona..
76 SOUTHSCOPE Mar 2010
Vanisree I will hand over the reins of the whole state to you from my will, but never allow my daughter to become your daughter-in-law! If you do not find my daughter in half an hour, neither you nor your jobs will stay in this jungle. Look you just know the knack of playing with the wild animals in the forest. But I also know the knack of playing with people. Is this your victory or loss? You have only learnt the b c of ire but I have mastered the x y z of manipulation. . . Take care! By allowing 18 year olds to vote, we know how to take the juvenile kids for a ride and hold the reins of the entire state in our hands. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for saying those things? All you know is to complain about increasing your TA’s and DA’s. But you cannot solve a single case assigned to you. Arrey! If this is how you lax while working on a matter pertaining to a Minster, I can imagine how bad the plight of ordinary people is!
Film: Bobbili Raja
Feb 2010 SOUTHSCOPE 147
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
If you’re wondering why it’s raining women this issue, I have an explanation to offer. International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the achievements of women, falls in this month. 8th of March, to be precise. So we thought what better way to show our support than showcasing girls with guts and glory in the world of cinema. It would be preposterous to say that they are the best of the lot but it will be definitely not out of place to mention that the women actors we have featured in this issue have made it on their terms and lived by their rules. For instance, Jaya Prada, once a reigning star of south cinema who went on to be a regular feature in Bollywood before she decided to turn her attention to politics. Or Trisha, the current queen of Telugu & Tamil cinema who has conquered the marquee on her own terms. Then there is Sharmila Mandre, Southscope style award winner last year, who is creating waves in Kannada cinema. To offer a panoramic view, we have also roped in Priyanka Chopra, the national award winner. Relatively new comers are Reema Kallingal from Malayalam cinema, Piaa Bajpai …Various age groups, different industries, diverse experiences and yet one cord binds them all – the spirit of being a woman. Their stories are really amazing. And we have a unique Women’s Day gift exclusively for Southscope readers: actor - filmmaker Suhasini Maniratnam’s column, beginning this month. Obviously, in our celebration of universal womanhood, we couldn’t have risked missing out on our men. So we have an impressive line up of cool dudes – Arya, Karti, Dileep, VV Vinayak, Rana, Ramesh Aravind, Suresh to name a few. At the top is Allah Rakha Rahman. The one man who has risen above regions, boundaries, countries and limitations to catapult Indian music to unimaginable dizzying heights, hitherto unseen and unheard. With his double whammy at the Grammys this year, he has achieved what no other Indian performer ever has. We have made an earnest attempt to reconstruct the life and times of the Mozart of Madras. Needless to say, our words may sound feeble when it comes to doing justice to his divine compositions. Then of course we have interesting news and views from all four industries, the touching tale of VV Vinayak, the hit director who has clearly established the fact that the human spirit is indefatigable and stronger than circumstances. Before I sign off let me wish all of you, on behalf of Southscope, a very happy Holi and Ugadi. May the New Year ahead be filled with peace, prosperity and progress.
Vanaja Banagiri Editor-in-Chief