Actor Pandiarajan is all set to play the bad guy again; young director Arun Kumar scripts a police tale for his next feature; and Shruti Haasan sings for ‘Maan Karate’

After a brief gap, actor-producer R. Pandiarajan, known for his brand of slapstick comedy, is back on the silver screen.

Following the response to his subtle villain act in ‘Anjathey’, he is all set to don a role with negative shades in ‘Saalaiorom’, directed by Moorthy Kannan. “My character in the movie will appear to be a good person. But, when he faces any trouble, he does not hesitate to unleash evil on others,” said Pandiarajan, who is excited to experiment with different roles.

“I was worried how people would react to a comedy actor like me donning negative roles. But director Mysskin’s ‘Anjathey’ has encouraged me to become more adventurous in choosing roles,” he said.

On the other interesting roles in his kitty, he said he plays a scientist, for the first time, in ‘Aaiyukoodam’, which will have a crew of debutants. Pandiarajan has also been cast in Balaji Mohan’s ‘Vaayai Moodi Pesavum’ and ‘Thirumanam Ennum Nikkah’ starring Jai and Nazriya Nazim. Both are due for release in a month.

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Twenty-seven-year-old Arun Kumar of ‘Nalaya Iyakunargal’ fame, who scripted and directed the poignant and moving ‘Pannayarum Padminiyum’, is all set to shift gears with a ‘realistic police thriller’ as his next film.

The slow-paced ‘Pannayarum Padminiyum’ that had Vijay Sethupathi and Jayaprakash in the lead roles was received well by audiences even though its theatrical run suffered a little because its release was close to that of a few other big-budget films.

For his next film though, Arun Kumar is hoping he will have a much bigger budget and backing. Right now, he is concentrating on writing his script and screenplay, a process he is taking his time with.

“I enjoy the writing process the most,” he said in an interview at his office in Alwarthirunagar. “I think the fate of the entire movie is decided purely at the screenplay stage, and if it were possible, I would just be a script and screenplay writer. Unfortunately, pure writers are not respected much in the film industry.”

The self-taught director, who graduated from short films to features without even being an assistant to a director, is among Tamil cinema’s new generation of filmmakers, a list that has the likes of Karthik Subbaraj, Nalan Kumarasamy and Balaji Mohan.

All of them came to films after their short films became hugely popular on ‘Nalaya Iyakunargal’ and also by hosting them on YouTube.

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The upcoming ‘Maan Karate’, directed by Thirukumaran with Sivakarthikeyan and Hansika in the lead, is ready for release.

Doubts were raised when the director announced the release date would be advanced to avoid clashes with Rajinikanth’s ‘Kochadaiiyaan’. Thirukumaran experienced tense moments when he could not fix a date for the film’s audio release, for music director Anirudh had insisted on Shruthi Haasan singing a song. Thirukumaran was waiting for the recording, but Shruthi failed to give dates saying she was busy.

Finally, last week, Thirukumaran received a call from Anirudh saying Shruthi had come down and was ready for the recording. The song came out well and pleased with her, the unit hosted a dinner for her. The audio launch will now be on March 16.

(Reporting by K. Lakshmi, Karthik Subramanian and T.A. Narasimhan)

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