As part of his AIDS campaign Richard Gere was in Bangalore too. Actor Ramya is floored by the man and the cause he espousesFour of the best Indian filmmakers, Mira Nair, Kamal Hassan, Vishal Bharadwaj and Santosh Sivan have been commissioned to make short films, 10 minutes in running time about AIDS awareness. Richard Gere was recently in the city to visit the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe and also rustle up support for his anti-AIDS campaign. Gere was impressed with Ramya who does her bit here locally. "I like you because you're personally involved," said the actor to the thrilled actress who just wanted to be photographed with him. Then he popped the question to the incredulous star. Will she do the Kannada version of the short film to be directed by Santosh Sivan? Now who in "her" right mind would refuse "the" Richard Gere. Ramya promptly assented brushing aside the offer of remuneration. "So many of the producers here don't pay the money promised. At least this is for a worthy cause so I wouldn't dream of accepting money," says the star. She also doesn't mind playing a sex worker operating on a highway educating lorry drivers about the advantages of using a condom. The film will be shot on a single day in Mysore at the end of this month. The icing on the cake is that the film is to be showcased at the next Cannes film festival.
Over the topPrajwal is elated. The response on the opening day to Sixer was overwhelming. "It was amazing. Fans lifted me and started shouting slogans comparing me to my father. They've liked my dancing ability and my dialogue delivery. Hamasalekha Sir was very impressed with my voice," says the excited youngster. Nevertheless, signs of stardom are already showing. He doesn't pick calls from unknown numbers. Sixer is the typical over enthusiastic film designed solely to showcase a debutante's abilities. Prajwal's baptism with grease paint is a tad too soon but he exudes confidence. He speaks his lines casually unlike his father who tends to "deliver" his dialogues. Voice modulation is something he'll learn when he works with a good director. College kids will surely like his casual style. Right now it's back to college and books. "There are a few projects being discussed but that's entirely my father's decision," says this die-hard fan of Puneet Raj Kumar.
Will hit screenPuneet's Arasu is nearly ready. The "first copy" will be out shortly. It's one of the most eagerly awaited films directed by Mahesh who gave the refreshing Aakash. The music is out and seems to be quite a hit. It's to be seen whether the songs will be as popular as the hummable numbers in Aakash. "We've worked very hard. Now it's in the hands of the audiences," says Puneet trying hard not to sound nervous. Arasu is a triangle with Ramya and Meera Jasmine playing the romantic interest, but watch out for the appearance of big stars towards the end, a la Karan Johar!S. SHIVA KUMAR