Says director Venkat Prabhu of the ACTORS, INCLUDING PREMGI, who made their debut in ‘Chennai 600028’

Very few celebrities are frank, especially when it comes to being critical of their own work. While most are highly cautious of what they say, there are some who speak out their minds even in front of a huge audience. Film director Venkat Prabhu did just that at an awards function held recently. With actor-director K. Bhagyaraj seated in the front row, Mr. Prabhu told the packed hall that he was happy to receive the award in the presence of Mr. Bhagyaraj, one of the best screenplay writers, from whose films he had copied several aspects and would continue to copy. Recounting his ‘Chennai 600028’ days, he said there had been no salaries for the ‘boys’ (the debutants), including his brother, Premgi, and cousin, music director Yuvan Shankar Raja.

Sometimes, programmes to felicitate achievers in various fields throw up interesting titbits from the pages in history. The audience at a function organised to felicitate Carnatic musician Sudha Ragunathan was treated to a string of anecdotes by the speakers. Thangam Meghanathan, chairperson, Rajalakshmi Group of Institutions, who hailed women achievers in the field of music, shared information on Hirabhai Barodekar, a renowned Hindustani classical music singer. Known to be a pioneer of concerts by women artistes, Hirabai was the first to sit on a dais to perform. “She broke the record of male dominance. Following Hirabai, women artistes, today, regularly sit and perform on stage,” she said. While lauding Sudha Raghunathan’s style of rendition, Ms. Thangam also had a word of praise for her dressing style. “She is not exceptional for her singing alone, but also for her silks. I admire her silk saris,” said Ms.Thangam.

At a function held to launch a book ‘Telugu Talli’, the guests, who knew the event could begin only after ‘Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu’ was rendered, remained standing, waiting for the song to begin. However, the host, who did not realise the guests, including governor K. Rosaiah, were waiting for the song, continued to introduce the event and asked the audience to be seated. Finally, the public relations officer had to intervene and announce the playing of the ‘Vaazhthu’ after which the guests could take their seats. Promptly, after the Vaazhthu, the Telugu anthem was also sung.

Photos of dogs elicit the most ‘aww-inspiring’ comments on Facebook, but there is a lot more to bringing up a pet, as this reporter realised during the recent inauguration of a hotel for pets. Households with pets spend whopping sums on the upkeep of their furry friends. For instance, a couple in Velachery spends Rs. 7,000 a month on their four-year-old pug, for his ‘super pedigree’ food, vet’s bills, toys, grooming and pet-sitting. “He has to take several medications for arthritis, and like most pugs, he’s on a regular eye medication — all of which amounts to about Rs. 40,000 a year,” said the lady. There is also an interesting addition to the expenses. “Cherry has become friends with two street dogs and likes playing with them. But the dogs come around to our place only if they are fed chicken nuggets,” she said.

(By Serena Josephine M.,

K. Lakshmi, Deepa H. Ramakrishnan and Vasudha Venugopal)