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In a new arena

Monal and Kunal in "Paesadha Kannum Paesumae".

SATHYARAJ IS doing a Malayalam film in which Suresh Gopi is the other hero. Now that is news because from what you understand Sathyaraj generally prefers to stick to Tamil films. But the makers seem to have convinced him this time — it is said that he accepted the offer only because he would play a Tamil speaking character in the film.

All the same this idea of roping in artistes from other regions of the South for the main roles in Malayalam cinema is not without reason. It is said that the Kerala film market is going through a rough patch — hence dubbing the films in other languages would prove all the more lucrative if popular artistes in those languages are also part of the star cast.

So when a Mammootty starrer, "Phantom", has Malavika as the heroine and Monica (Monisha) doing an important role, with Manivannan also acting in it, dubbing the film could be a viable venture — "Suryadevan", the Tamil version, which is to be released soon could be a case in point.

Also after the success of the Tamil film "Anandham" that had Mammootty as its hero, there seems to be an understandable urge to dub his films in Tamil.

Change of scene

Suma Ranganath who made her debut in Tamil with "Perumpulli", directed by Vikraman, some years ago, turned to Bollywood soon after. She is back again in the Tamil film "Stree".

Suma dons a glamorous role in the film. Vikraman is known for giving strong, family-oriented characters to heroines more known for their glamour on screen — a docile and sari-clad Roja in "Unnidathil Ennai Koduthaen" and Bhanupriya in "Gokulam" are examples.

But the irony lies in the fact that Suma Ranganath, whom Vikraman had introduced in Tamil films, returns... to play a rather sensuous role!

Strong sentiments

Monisha, the child artiste turned heroine, who made an impression as the young Nandita Das in "Azhagi" recently, has begun to call herself Monica. Monica is one of the heroines in the much-hyped T. Rajendhar film "Kadhal Azhivadhillai" — the film in which his son Silambarasan makes his debut. It was T.R. who suggested the change. Reason? A few years ago a budding heroine in Malayalam cinema, also called Monisha, died in a gruesome car accident. Again, call it numerology, superstition or sheer sentiment — but this one is real unique. Raj TV possesses an entire fleet of cars, about 30, and all with the number 2332. When the first car was bought in 1980, 2332 was the number, and since then every Raj vehicle, personal and official, bears the same number plate. A case of carrying things to incredible levels!


Piracy— video and audio— has been a perennial source of headache for the film industry. The culprits seem to thrive despite the stringent measures of the Government machinery. The Gemini cassette making waves with "O Podu", is sold at Rs. 45. A pirated cassette, however, is sold at Rs. 10. In an innovative move, the producers of "King", the forthcoming Vikram starrer, have designed the cassette in a unique size and shape, difficult to duplicate. Let's see if this makes a dent!

Gift that is gold

If you think it is only sponsors of TV serials who announce mind-boggling gifts, you are mistaken. Now film producers have jumped into the fray. The makers of "Tamizh" are prepared to give 100 sovereigns of gold for the best review of the film. Come on! sharpen your pen to win that pot of gold, literally. Not to be left behind, AVM has invited kids to write their views of "Gemini" promising a gift for each.

Poignant moment

It has been a poignant moment for director Murali Krishna in whose film, "Parvai Ondre Podhume", Monal made her debut. After acting in more than a dozen films, she was roped in for "Pesatha Kannum Pesume" a film directed by him, incidentally her last. And she completed her part four days before tragedy struck. The irony has indeed moved the director.

(Compiled by Malathi Rangarajan and S. R. Ashok Kumar)

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