Starting his career at the age of 23, director Anil Kumar has made 38 feature films in Malayalam, the last two being Maanthrikan starring Jayaram and Climax starring Sana Khan, both of which were dubbed into Tamil. Strangely, in his career spanning 26 years, Anil has not made a single straight Tamil film. “The intention was always there, but Malayalam films were happening one after the other and I needed time to venture into another language with a proper script. Now, I can say I have reached a saturation point in Malayalam and am ready to explore Tamil,” says Anil. Fortunately, Sasi Nambissan, a New Zealand-based producer, approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. A chemical engineer by profession, Sasi is a producer of many cultural programmes, primarily for Indians settled there. Therefore, producing a Tamil movie for them is just an extension of his efforts at preserving our culture. “Since it is a love story, we decided that NZ would be the best location with its scenic spots to shoot the film. We plan to complete shooting the film at one stretch from January. Vinay and Madhurima will play the lead in the yet-to-be-titled film,” says Anil Kumar.

Undeterred, Sai moves on to his second

His debut film Shivani is lying in the cans, but director Sai Gokul Ramnath has moved on to his second film. Spurred by the success of Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiya (KLTA), its producers have roped in Sai Gokul to helm their forthcoming Valiba Raja. Although the title is that of the character played by Santhanam, the actual hero of the film is Sethu (remember him from KLTA?). “This is a complete family entertainer with all the important elements in the right dose. You will see a totally different Santhanam in look and character. Santhanam’s role of a psychiatrist is very important to the film. Sethu is accompanied by Vishaka and Nishrath who did Pyar Ka Panchnama; this is her first Tamil film,” says Sai. With two heroines, Valiba Raja has a twist in its tale, but Sai does not wish to reveal anything now as only 50 per cent of the film is complete.

On a song

The top two superstars in Tamil cinema are content with doing one film each, every two years or so. The next rung comprising actors such as Ajith, Vijay, Suriya, Vikram and Dhanush does an average of one film a year. But it is in the third rung of mass heroes where all the action seems to be. Just check the roster of actors such as Jai, Vemal, Arya, Bharath, Jiiva and Karthi and you will find that many of them are in multiple productions, almost simultaneously. Vishnu Vishal is one such artiste who has several films in different stages of completion — Ram’s Mundasu Patti, Suseendran’s Veera Dheera Sooran, Suresh’s Kalakkara Maapulla, Seenu Ramasamy’s Idam Porul Eval and an untitled film of Chandran. Obviously, both the producers and the directors have faith in the saleability of Vishnu, hence the clamour to cast him in their films. Vishnu is clearly on a song!