Category Archives: South Indian Movies News

Director Rathna Kumar on Aadai: Want to bridge the gap between mainstream films, original web series

In 2017, Rathna Kumar’s feel-good romantic comedy Meyaadha Maan clashed against Tamil superstar Vijay’s commercial biggie Mersal during the Diwali weekend. Despite the massive competition, Meyaadha Maan performed well at the box-office and also earned critical acclaim.

Rathna Kumar has now started shooting for his sophomore directorial Aadai, featuring Amala Paul in the lead. The first look poster was a cynosure of all eyes mainly because of the bold and daring look of Amala, who was covered in nothing byt tissue paper. The poster also conveyed that the actress is struggling to come out of a life-threatening situation.

Aadai first look featuring Amala Paul. Image via Twitter

Designing the first look poster of Aadai was like walking on a tightrope. We were aware of the fact that even a minor slip would spoil our intention. My only aim is that the first look should not end up as a wine shop poster and I also want to subtly convey the storyline. Now, audiences only see the gory mood in the poster and the struggle of Amala, it doesn’t look vulgar. Today, a lot of film posters are designed only to grab the attention of viewers and often it misleads them but after watching the film, you will get to know the minute details in first look,” says Rathna Kumar.

“Even during the photo shoot, neither Amala nor my crew felt awkward because we all know that the script demands the bold look. Everyone in the team was happy with the way audiences received the first look on the social media,” he adds.

“After the success of Meyadhaa Maan, producers and directors approached me to come up with comedy entertainers. Though I’m penning another script for a big hero which is a coming-of-age love story with action elements, the shoot will only commence next year. In the meantime, I developed the rough draft of Aadai, the recent happenings in the social media and society are my co-writers,” laughs the director who conceived the basic idea of Aadai even before Meyadhaa Maan.

“Although the script was ready, I made up my mind that the film should go on floors only after getting a sensible producer and an understanding female lead. I actually sent the synopsis of Aadai without revealing my name to Amala through the producer. Excited, Amala invited me to her Delhi residence and only then, I narrated the full story to her. Throughout the session, Amala didn’t express much so I wasn’t sure whether she liked the script or not. Later, she asked a few questions and all those were sensible inhibitions including the psychological behavior of her character. Once I cleared her doubts and enlightened the intention of the script, she came on board,” adds Rathna who asked Amala to watch Meyaadha Maan and only after the special screening, she acknowledged the technical skills of the director.

Rathna Kumar also says that he is anticipating an ‘A’ certificate from the censor board. “I’m sure that our censor board would only give ‘A’ certificate to Aadai because the content justifies the adults-only certificate in their rulebook. But, for me, the maturity can’t be determined by age. I know twelve-year kids are highly matured now but there are a few 60-year-old people whose maturity level is very low. Despite having another big film, I chose to make Aadai because there is a need to tell this story now to the audiences. I’m sure if I delay making this film, someone would execute it as a web series,” says Rathna.

“I’m not confident about the satellite rights revenue of Aadai but will take the necessary steps to stream the film on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. I want to bridge the gap between mainstream cinema and bold web series with Aadai,” exclaims the director.

Besides Amala Paul, Vivek Prasanna who played as Vaibhav’s friend in Meyadhaa Maan will also play a pivotal role in Aadai along with a bunch of newcomers. The first schedule of the film has been progressing at a brisk pace in Chennai and surrounding locales.

“I’m planning to deliver the first copy of Aadai in December. The film will have a theatrical release in 2019. Thanks to the tremendous reach of our first look poster, Hindi and other language distribution rights will be locked very soon. Interestingly, I started writing the script of Aadai as a Tamil-Hindi bilingual and also searched for a pan-Indian face to play the lead role. But later, I thought that the script’s backdrop is rooted in Tamil Nadu so why spoil the core essence for the sake of bilingual?,” asks Rathna.

Talking about Amala’s character in the film, the director says, “Every actor has a flamboyant and freestyle performance inside them which they showcase only in real life and not on the big screen. I asked Amala to be herself for the film and react according to the situation. Though a debatable issue is being handled in the film, Aadai will also be an engaging entertainer,” concludes the director.

Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor to shoot last schedule of Sujeeth’s trilingual Saaho; film to release in 2019

Baahubali actor Prabhas, who is officially marking his debut in Bollywood with Saaho, is headed to Romania with the team to shoot the final schedule of the trilingual action drama. As reported by Mumbai Mirror, the film’s shooting will be concluded in December. Saaho went on the floors last year in September.

A source close to the film revealed that they have previously shot in Abu Dhabi and an extensive third schedule is currently in works in Hyderabad with the leads. “The shoot is expected to wrap up in a month and the film will be ready in time for New Year celebrations,” the source added.

Shraddha Kapoor and Prabhas in Saaho. Facebook

Saaho is Prabhas’ first outing since the mega-blockbuster, SS Rajamouli’s war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion earlier this year. Saaho also stars Shraddha Kapoor (marking her south cinema debut) opposite Prabhas. Neil Nitin Mukesh will play the chief antagonist and will be seen leading a brigade of villains that include his fellow Bollywood actors Jackie Shroff, Chunky Pandey, Tinnu Anand, Mahesh Manjrekar and Mandira Bedi.

According to telugucinema.com, Saaho is going to be the second-most expensive film ever made in India, with a budget of Rs 250 Crore. The film is being shot simultaneously in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam languages.

The film also stars Tamil actor and playback singer Arun Vijay and Malayalam actor Lal. It is co-produced by UV Creations and Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. It will be simultaneously released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and is slated to release sometime in 2018.

Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru is one of my most extensive action films, says Karthi

We’ve made a very honest film,” says a confident Karthi, straight off the bat, as we start talking about his forthcoming Tamil release Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru.

In the film, he has donned khaki to play an upright police officer. Based on some true events that took place between 1995 and 2005, Karthi opens up about the film and working with director Vinoth in this exclusive chat with Firstpost.

This is not the first time Karthi has played a cop. In Siruthai, the Tamil remake of S.S Rajamouli’s Vikramarkudu, he was seen as a fierce police officer. He says Theeran is very different in its tone and presentation.

“What you saw in Siruthai was a much commercialised version of a cop. Even as a film, Siruthai is more commercial but Theeran is very realistic. In Theeran, you see a police officer’s life from close quarters. The ordeal police undergo to crack the case will make us realise how much they sacrifice to do their jobs. When I heard the story, it immediately struck a chord within. I found it to be very realistic and the way we’ve executed it will leave a strong impact,” he says, adding that he had heard about the case discussed in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru while researching and preparing for his role in Siruthai.

“I remember hearing about the case in one of my discussions with a police officer. Later, I heard about this same real-life incident from Vinoth, and I felt strongly that I shouldn’t miss this project. Moreover, I loved Vinoth’s first film and I saw this as a great opportunity to work with him,” he adds.

Recalling the experience of working with Vinoth, Karthi says he has brought a new definition to the portrayal of cops on screen in Tamil cinema: “He’s very clear about what he wants. He even knows how much time is needed to shoot a particular scene. He was very well prepared and I was amazed by his clarity and balance. Even before I could come on board, he had done most of the research required to play my character. We have had several cop stories over the years but every time a new director comes along we get a new viewpoint about cops. Vinoth has given the cop story a new definition. Since the film is based on true events, it has a new flavor and nuances which I believe audiences will love.”

Was Theeran a challenging project to shoot, given its grueling outdoor schedule? Key portions of the film were shot across extremely hot places such as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Madhya Pradesh.

“The challenging part was to pack in all the elements to make the film work, and at the same time keep everything engaging. Right from the beginning Vinoth was clear that the film has to be entertaining, engaging and educative. It’s not easy to balance all these elements. As an actor, I found Kaashmora and Kaatru Veliyidai to be more demanding and challenging. Theeran, on the other hand, was physically taxing because it’s one of the most extensive action films for me. It wasn’t easy to execute the action sequences,” says Karthi.   

With the film slated for release on Friday, Karthi is looking forward to the reception from audiences.

“I’m waiting to watch how people will react. I think the result of any film is based on the response we get from the audience. A film has to be completed within stipulated time and budget and we believe we’ve given our best within these constraints. Since it’s based on true events, there are things which you can show and some you can’t. We also had to take all these factors to put together a product which is finally entertaining. It was not an easy call to take because you to have make certain compromises. Nevertheless, Vinoth has put together an entertainer that’s equally realistic,” concludes Karthi.

Also starring Rakul Preet Singh and Abhimanyu Singh in important roles, the film is produced by Dream Warrior Pictures and music by Ghibran. The film also releases in Telugu as Khakee.

Rajinikanth’s ‘2.0’ release postponed; new dates for teaser, trailer launch to be announced

In a two-week span, a lot of changes have come about in the camp of Rajinikanth-Shankar’s magnum-opus 2.0. On 29 October, when Akshay Kumar — who plays the antagonist in 2.0 — took to his Twitter page to confirm the release date of his R Balki-directed Padman as 26 January 2018, the makers of 2.0 maintained that the sci-fi thriller was on course for a 25 January 2018 release. However, after pondering about the exhaustive post-production work that’s lying ahead, the makers have decided to change the date.

“The movie has been postponed since the visual effects work is consuming more time than expected. Currently, the team is deliberating various options regarding the new release date, and an official poster will be released soon. The makers have already informed the event management team involved in the teaser and trailer launch to hold back,” a source privy to the development informed Firstpost.

Poster for 2.0

Initially, the teaser of the film was slated to be launched in a grand event in Hyderabad on 22 November at the Shilpakala Vedika auditorium, and the trailer launch was planned in December. Now, the makers have decided to push both the events since the release date is getting postponed.

“Although 13 April 2018 is said to be the favourite choice of Tamil Nadu distributors since it marks the occasion of Tamil New Year festival, the makers are contemplating other options as well since North India is too huge a market to neglect because of the presence of Akshay Kumar in the film,” the source added.

Marvel’s The New Mutants, the 11th installment in the X-Men series, has also been scheduled to hit screens on 13 April and it will be a major threat to 2.0 in the US since the former has already earmarked a significant number of 3D screens there.

Made at a whopping budget of Rs 400 crores by Lyca Productions, 2.0 is directed by Shankar and is touted to be Asia’s costliest “natively acquired” 3D film. Editor Anthony too confirmed at the audio launch a few weeks back that the run-time of the film will be around two hours and twenty minutes, making it the shortest movie of Shankar.

Various organisations, from more than 10 countries, are working round the clock with Legacy Effects, Tau Films, Quantum FX, Double Negative and national award-winning VFX-supervisor Srinivas Mohan on the film’s visual effects.

The film fraternity is waiting with bated breath since 2.0‘s release date will lead to a ripple effect in reshuffling the other release dates of films from Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi industries. In Telugu, Mahesh Babu-Koratala Siva’s Bharat Ane Nenu, and Allu Arjun-Vakkantham Vamsi’s Naa Peru Surya have already confirmed 27 April as the release date, two weeks after the speculated release of 2.0.

Tiger Zinda Hai: Hindi remake of Malayalam film Take Off shelved due to Salman, Katrina starrer

Ali Abbas Zafar’s upcoming film, Tiger Zinda Hai, starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif is among this year’s most awaited releases. While Bollywood cinephiles are going gaga over the trailer of the film, many are waiting with bated breath to see Khan and Kaif together doing some ground-breaking action (again). But there are a few people not to happy with the film and its trailer.

According to a manoramaonline.com report, the new Yash Raj film is based on the same premise as that of the 2017 Malayalam film Take Off. The makers of the film were reportedly all set to make a Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit. Leading airline company Jet Airways was expected to back the project financially and mark their debut into the showbiz industry.

Poster of Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif's upcoming Tiger Zinda Hai (left); poster of Take Off. Images via Facebook

But with Tiger Zinda Hai and the hype around it, the makers feel that filming a Hindi remake doesn’t make any point.

Both these films revolve around a group of nurses hailing from Kerala who had been held in captivity during the ISIS siege of Tikrit, in 2014. The city also happened to be the hometown of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The Malayalam film Take Off stars Parvathy Menon, Kunchacko Boban, Fahadh Faasil in pivotal roles. The film is written and directed by Mahesh Narayanan and produced by Anto Joseph and Shebin Backer.

Tiger Zinda Hai is a sequel to Yash Raj Films’ 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger, also starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. It was directed by Kabir Khan. Tiger Zinda Hai is slated to release on 22 December this year.

Saaho: Prabhas to shoot 20-minute long chase sequence in Abu Dhabi

Baahubali star Prabhas is on his way to Abu Dhabi in order to shoot an extensive never-seen-before chase sequence that will last for 20 minutes for his Bollywood debut Saaho.

saaho 1280

The Indian Express reports that the chase sequence with Prabhas is being shot on a grand scale and it will involve a lot of cars, trucks and other vehicles. It is an integral part of the narrative and has been in the planning for a while now.

The same report states that the film’s spokesperson also confirmed the news and says, “Saaho is a futuristic action entertainer and Abu Dhabi is the perfect location for shooting some key chase sequences. The city’s skyscrapers make it the perfect backdrop for our schedule, the first of which was wrapped up in Hyderabad recently.”

Action choreographer Kenny Bates, who has already amazed the audience with Hollywood hits like Transformers, Mission Impossible, Rush Hour and Armageddon, will be a key part of this team. The film is simultaneously being shot in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

The cast of Prabhas starrer Saaho has grabbed the headlines even since the first announcement. Shraddha Kapoor will be seen in the lead role opposite the south Indian actor. The star cast of this film got more interesting with names like Jackie Shroff, Chunky Panday, Mahesh Manjrekar and Tinnu Anand joining the team.

Shooting for this high-octane futuristic action-drama started in August in Hyderabad. The action thriller is directed by Telugu filmmaker Sujeeth Reddy. Apart from Hyderabad, the film will be shot in Romania, Abu Dhabi and Europe. Saaho is expected to release in 2018. The movie is being produced on a budget of Rs 150 crore.

Shatrughan Sinha says ‘overzealous BJP members are attacking valid point raised in film’

Former actor and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha has extended his support to actor Vijay’s Tamil film Mersal, which had some controversial dialogues about GST and the Digital India programme. He says people should support the movie and not remain defensive about the “perfectly legitimate issue”.

Vijay and Shatrughan Sinha. File images.

“Why are we so defensive about a perfectly legitimate issue that has been raised in the Tamil film regarding healthcare and the GST? As entertainers and actors with powerful voices we have a certain duty towards the public to make them aware of socio-political issues,” Sinha, who’s is a BJP member of Parliament from Patna, said.

He added, “Why is it such a crime if Vijay who is a very powerful Tamil actor, reminds us that the poor in our country desperately need healthcare?”

Mersal was embroiled in controversy after the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded the removal of certain dialogues which take a dig at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Digital India.

However, Sinha feels that the protestors of the movie don’t represent the BJP’s official view. “Has anyone heard the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) or any of the top leaders commenting on the issue? It is only some elements in our party who are eager to prove that they are more loyal than the others,” Sinha said.

“They are the ones jumping in to attack this perfectly harmless and very significant point raised in the film. Instead of attacking Vijay and questioning his credentials we should all take his words seriously and work towards improving healthcare in our country,” he added.

Sinha feels there is no harm in pulling up the government for mistakes. “We should gracefully accept that demonetisation was a mistake. I was one of the first to point it out that it was not right. So many have lost their jobs, all their savings. Likewise perhaps even the GST is not what it was meant to be,” he said.

“If so, let’s admit out mistake, let’s roll back. Let’s not be ashamed to say we are sorry. Instead of attacking actors and artistes for drawing attention to anomalies in the workings of our democracy, we should applaud them. Valid criticism must be equally welcome from Amar, Akbar and Anthony,” he added.

He believes that the film has received a lot of hype because of BJP. “Thanks to all the noise that was made over a few dialogues in the film by my overzealous party members, the film has attracted much more attention that it would have otherwise. The makers of Mersal must be thankful to the BJP,” he concluded.