Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rajini, the centre of sensation - Deccan Chronicle

Rajini, the centre of sensation
September 29th, 2010

What would you call a man who has been a beacon of hope for nearly four decades and delivers stellar performances that touch global audiences? Who is also worshiped as a champion of the masses and effortlessly stylises even the simplest of screenplays? The name is Rajnikanth. Despite other regional cinemas vacating the space of good samaritan scripts and desi Robin Hood type storyboards, Rajinikanth is perhaps the only phenomena, who just by the sheer fact of being in the film, has made it a success.

This grandfather of two is no bicep-wielding hunk, yet in his veshti-clad avatar manages to make even women, who have crossed the half century mark, whistle with vigour. Rajini might not have consumed the youth potion, but his sex appeal seems to soar as he transforms into this slick superhero. But it is this unconventional look combined with his street-style that gives him the edgy appeal. The nine-yards maamis who secretly wish they dated a bad boy, find him suitably refined. His image is that of a good at heart, quirky and vibrant young man — the perfect package for the one that roars in and out of intimate spaces.

Temple priests have started performing Paal abhishekams in the name of Rajini at the behest of fans.

“Tickets have been sold out for the first week. Even the trailers we are running are receiving a thunderous response,” shares Swaroop Reddy, director of Sathyam Cinemas. He also adds,“We had fans lining up outside our gates from 6 am, the day we opened ticket sales.”

Reality show director, Akhila Prakash, says, “I will ignore my bias against Tamil cinema and still whistle for Rajini. He is a legend who has infused dynamism and a light-hearted way of looking at everyday instances through his histrionics.”

Predicting a blockbuster reputed astrologer P.B. Sethuraman says, “The release date October 1 is not that auspicious but Rajinikanth and his family’s stars outshine any negative aspect. The film will definitely be a superhit.”

The lane in which Rajinikanth lives, which is used to frenzied scenes of sycophancy has once again started seeing fans line the pavements to catch a glimpse of their Robot. High profile neighbours of the star, who requested anonymity share, “It is a tradition we are used to. Some even climb trees to peek into his house.”

And surprisingly no one seems to mind this. “There is none like Rajini in the entire universe and if he is living amongst us, it can only be a good thing,” says a leading industrialist who is also known for his real estate portfolio.

Abhishekam for the idol
T. Ramalingam, who belongs to one of the numerous Rajini fan association says, "Everytime Thalaivar’s movie releases it is like watching God himself on the screen. We make elaborate preparations for the first few day. We all visit the Murugan temple in Vadapalani to offer prayers for the Superstar's success. We have even performed beer-abhishekham and paal abhishekham for our very own hero.”

Abhishekam for the idol
T. Ramalingam, who belongs to one of the numerous Rajini fan association says, "Everytime Thalaivar’s movie releases it is like watching God himself on the screen. We make elaborate preparations for the first few day. We all visit the Murugan temple in Vadapalani to offer prayers for the Superstar's success. We have even performed beer-abhishekham and paal abhishekham for our very own hero.”

Sci fi and Rajini
When creativity soars, the star’s value might diminish. But despite the film being touted as the costliest flick with revolutionary effects, the Rajini pull remains. “He is entertainment personified. Nothing else will outshine his calibre and I am happy to have worked with him,” shares a glamour model, who plays a blink-and-miss part in the film.

Security arrangements
Taking precautionary measures, M. Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) says, “We have deployed additional manpower for the first two days. It is to ensure free-flow of traffic and no clashes for tickets.” He also shares, “I have booked my tickets for the first day, second show and I can’t wait.”

All hail Rajini
His appeal knows no bounds. Adrenaline is at an all time high as youngsters scramble for last minute tickets. “Thanks to my father, I have grown up watching his films. This time Enthiran seems to be sold out and despite standing in queues across the city, I haven’t been lucky,” rues Nikhil Rajasekar, a student. Priya Natraj, a visual communication student shares, “My friends and I paid for five tickets of ` 250 each at a multiplex, the original price was ` 120 but by paying extra we didn’t have to stand in the queue and it was so much easier to get our hands on this.”

Special Shows
Cashing in on the rush, theatres like Kasi have factored in a dawn show. The film will be screened to fans who pay a price at 5 am on the first three days. Theatres outside the city limits have also been sold out and are trying to find out, if they are any cancellations from the bulk bookings. If rumours are to be believed, a private mini-theatre in the city run by the wife of a prominent director is planning to have a special screening for select celebrities.

Ready to pay Rs5,000 to see Rajinikanth? - DNA India

Ready to pay Rs5,000 to see Rajinikanth?
Published: Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010, 8:26 IST
By Sunayana Suresh | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Are you going to watch Rajinikanth in his Endhiran avatar first day, first show on October 1?

Tickets are coming with a price that will leave you gasping for breath. Rajini fans are willing to pay nearly Rs5,000 for a ticket for the sci-fi thriller which industry watchers point out as a new record in India.

In Karnataka since the release is limited to 24 theatres there will be a mad scramble for tickets.

Salman Khan’s Dabangg and Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots had forced people shell out Rs1,000 per a ticket in the opening weekend.
While the official pricing for the film seems to be the highest in Bangalore, with the PVR Gold Class charging as much as Rs2,500, single screens seem to be selling tickets in black market for much higher.

A distributor sheds light about the picture in Karnataka. Says he: “For someone to recover as much as Rs10 crore that has been spent on the film in Karnataka from just 24 screens, the film needs to run to packed houses for over 20 weeks. No wonder multiplexes are pricing the tickets as much Rs750 and Rs2,500 at PVR or Rs450 at Inox.”

In Chennai, tickets are priced only above Rs300. In some of the multiplexes, the tickets for the film are priced up to Rs1,000. Says the film’s publicist Nikil Murugun: “Rajinikanth is no less than a phenomenon. People would gladly give an arm or a leg to watch the film in the opening weekend. No wonder the film’s tickets are priced like this.”

And the craze isn’t limited to Tamil Nadu.
The dubbed Telugu version of Endhiran in Andhra Pradesh seems to be attracting all the frenzy. A member of the Rajinikanth Fan Club in Andhra Pradesh says: “The reports for highest priced tickets sold in black range from Rs4,000 and Rs5,000. There were reports of police busting a theatre where tickets were sold for Rs5,000 and above in black.”

ரஜி‌னி‌யி‌ன்‌ மே‌ஜி‌க்‌ - ஃபு‌ல்‌ ஆனது 'கொலோஸியம்' தியே‌ட்‌டர்‌! -

ரஜி‌னி‌யி‌ன்‌ மே‌ஜி‌க்‌ - ஃபு‌ல்‌ ஆனது 'கொலோஸியம்' தியே‌ட்‌டர்‌!

ஐரோப்பாவிலேயே மிகப் பெரிய திரையரங்கமான கொலோஸியம் Kino-1ல் சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் ரஜினியின் எந்திரன் சிறப்புக் காட்சி திரையிடப்படுகிறது. கடந்த 10 ஆண்டுகளில் இங்கு வெளியாகும் முதல் படம் ரஜினியின் எந்திரன் மட்டுமே. இந்தக் காட்சிக்கான டிக்கெட்டுகள் வேகமாக விற்பனையாகி வருகின்றன.

இந்த அரங்கம் நார்வேயின் தலைநகரமான ஆஸ்லோவில் அமைந்துள்ளது. Matrix, அவதார் போன்ற சரித்திரப் புகழ்பெற்ற படங்கள் இங்கே வெளியாகியுள்ளன.

மேற்கத்திய நாடுகளில் ஒரு திரையரங்கில் 400 முதல் 700 இருக்கைகளே அதிகம் என்ற நிலைதான் இப்போது உள்ளது. அந்த பாணியைத்தான் இன்றைக்கு இந்தியாவிலும் பின்பற்றி வருகிறார்கள். ஆனால் கொலோஸியம் அரங்கம் 975 இருக்கைகள் கொண்டது. அதிநவீன முறையில், சர்வதேச தரத்திலான (THX) ஒலியமைப்புடன் கட்டப்பட்ட இந்த அரங்கம்தான் ஐரோப்பாவிலேயே பெரியதாகும்.

இந்த அரங்கில் ஆங்கிலம் தவிர்த்த பிறமொழிப் படங்களை வெளியிடுவதில்லை. காரணம் அவற்றை ஒரு காட்சி கூட முழுமையாக ஓட்ட முடியாது என்பதே. ஆனால் கடந்த 10 ஆண்டுகளில் முதல்முறையாக வெளியாகும் இந்திய/தமிழ் திரைப்படம் என்றால் அது எந்திரன் மட்டுமே.

நார்வேயில் உள்ள தமிழரான வசீகரன் சிவலிங்கத்தின் வி.என் மியூசிக் ட்ரீம்ஸ் நிறுவனமும், அபிராமி கேஷ் அண்ட் கேரி நிறுவனமும் இணைந்து இந்த சிறப்புக் காட்சிக்கு ஏற்பாடு செய்துள்ளன.

இதுகுறித்து வசீகரன் கூறுகையில், "கொலோசியத்தில் ரஜினி சாரின் எந்திரன் தமிழ்ப் படம் திரையிடுவது மிகுந்த பெருமையாகவும், மகிழ்ச்சியாகவும் உள்ளது.

இந்த வாய்ப்பை எங்களுக்குத் தந்த ஜாக் ஏ ராஜசேகரின் ஃப்யூஷன் எட்ஜ் மீடியா மற்றும் ஐங்கரன் நிறுவனத்துக்கு நன்றியைத் தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறோம்.." என்றார்.

அவரிடம் எந்திரன் படத்துக்கான வரவேற்பு எப்படி உள்ளது என்று கேட்ட போது, 'பிரமிபக்கத்தக்க வகையில் உள்ளது. நார்வேயில் மொத்தம் 14000 தமிழர்கள் வசிக்கிறார்கள். இவர்களில் அதிகபட்சம் 20 சதவீதத்தினர்தான் திரையரங்குகளுக்குப் போய் படம் பார்ப்பார்கள். பொதுவாக தமிழ்ப் படம் போட்டால் 1400 பேர் வரை வருவார்கள். இதனால் சின்ன தியேட்டர்களாகப் பார்த்து ரிலீஸ் பண்ணுவோம்.

ஆனால் இது சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் படமாச்சே. எதிர்ப்பார்ப்பும் எக்கச்சக்கம். எனவேதான் இந்த பெரிய தியேட்டரில் வெளியிடுகிறோம். மிகக் குறுகிய நேரத்தில் 75 சதவீதம் டிக்கெட்டுகளை விற்றுவிட்டோம். அட, சில நார்வே மக்கள் கூட எந்திரனுக்கு டிக்கெட் வாங்கியுள்ளார்கள் என்றால் பார்த்துக் கொள்ளுங்கள். நார்வேயைப் பொறுத்தவரை இது முன்னெப்போதும் நிகழாத சாதனைதான்..." என்றார்.

இந்த கொலோஸியம் அரங்கில் சிறப்புக் காட்சி முடிந்ததும், 300 இருக்கைகள் கொண்ட வேறு திரையரங்கில் எந்திரன் காட்சிகள் தொடரும் என்றும் அவர் கூறினார்.

எந்திரன் படம் குறித்து வசீகரன் கூறுகையில், "நிச்சயம் இந்தப் படத்தால் தமிழ் சினிமாவுக்குப் பெருமை. சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் ரஜினியின் மேஜிக் குறிப்பிட்ட எல்லைக்குட்பட்டதல்ல. உலகம் முழுவதையும் வசீகரப் படுத்தும் சக்தி கொண்டவர் அவர். இந்தப் படம் மிகச் சிறந்த படைப்பாக வந்திருக்கிறது. நிச்சயம் உலக சினிமாவில் எந்திரன் புதிய சாதனைப் படைக்கும் என்பதில் சந்தேகமே இல்லை," என்றார்.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enthiran Table on Spring-Deccan Chronicle

A dinner table designed around the movie is receiving all the attention at a city-based hotel
With Enthiran frenzy reaching fever-pitch all over the state, a hot favourite with city youngsters is the dedicated `Enthiran Table' at The Movies, a theme-based restaurant. Known as Arunachala Inn earlier, this Rajinikanth-owned property was taken on lease last year by Ravi of the Vasantha Bhavan group, who turned it into a posh, designer hotel named The Spring.

The `Enthiran Table' is the latest addition to the theme restaurant. It's a table for two, with Rajinikanth's image embossed on both sides of one vinyl chair and Aishwarya Rai's on the other chair. Completing the picture is the table top, which provides a sneak peek of Enthiran. The restaurant, which has 23 designer tables, all based on Hollywood themes like Harry Potter, Slumdog Millionaire, Directors' Table, Legendary Actors, also has two screens for the projection of global movies.

R. Anand Krishnan, Ravi's son and one of the directors of the swanky hotel, says the entire hotel was redesigned as a "tribute to Rajinikanth sir." He explains, "I saw a moviethemed hotel in Switzerland shortly after we had taken Arunachala on lease. It was like a movie set with stage, camera, and arc lights. Back home, when I suggested this to my mother Swarnalatha, she felt the idea was a good one, but that we didn't have enough space to create a simi lar format. After care ful thought we finally came up with the idea of `dedicated tables.'" Adds Swarnalatha, the managing director of the hotel, "We have plans to screen the trailers of Enthiran after consulting its producers, Sun Pictures."

The Superstar actually dined at the `Enthiran Table' a few days ago and was all praise for the young entrepreneur. "We redesigned the entire hotel after consulting the superstar at each and every stage. And whenever he has time to spare, he prefers to dine here.
Even Rajini sir's daughter Soundaraya's mehendi ceremony was conducted here," she revealed.

Another highlight of the hotel is its Rajini-themed coffee shop, Caffeine, where the walls are lined with murals of major Rajinikanth films right from the time of his debut Kollywood flick -Aboorva Ragangal. "We have recently added a painting of Rajini sir from Enthiran to the list of 23 avatars (murals of the Superstar from his milestone films) on the wall. Artist Santhanam is the man behind these sketches," Anand reveals.

Rajini's portrait from his upcoming film, Sultan The Warrior, also finds a place here.

Plans are being set in motion to open a similar-themed chain of hotels in Coimbatore and Tirupathi, where the global icon's popularity is phenomenal.

Could this be called the `Total Rajini Experience'?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indian Express News on Thalaivar fans celebration

CELEBRATION the screens this Friday, Venkadesan S takes a look at what the fan clubs have in store With Enthiran set to hit theatres

THE wait is finally over with the much-hyped Enthiran soon set to hit the screens. Having successfully booked tickets for the first show on the first day for almost triple the usual fare, they are now preparing to glorify the Enthiran.

"Major celebration begins a day before the release," says Ravi, head of Saidapet Rajini Fan Club Association. "We've arranged for a special pooja at the Saidapet Karumaariyamman temple on September 30. It'll be followed by free meals for differently-abled children."

The celebrations around Kasi Theatre will continue through the night. "We have arranged for music bands, mayilattam and oyilaatam groups. We've purchased `40,000 worth crackers," says Ravi. The hike in the price of the ticket doesn't seem to affect them. "We're ready to pay even `5,000 to watch his film," he adds.

While these celebrations are in South Chennai, other sectors are not idle.
"We're taking the Enthiran reel box on procession after the pooja," says Ezhil, head of Pursawalkam Rajini Fan Club Association.

Not just Chennai, Kancheepuram too is gearing up for the robot. "We've planned to give an apple to audience on the first day as Rajini is seen with an apple in one of the scenes in the trailer," says Rajini Babu, District Secretary, Kanchipuram Rajini Fan Clubs.

The fans seem to be in a frenzy . And, who's to blame them. After all, it's after two years that they're going to watch their thalaivar on the big screen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Enthiran- The hottest movie in US -

Enthiran- The hottest movie in US
By Moviebuzz | Sunday, 26 September , 2010, 06:39.

The Enthiran wave has hit US and tickets are fast selling out all major releasing stations.

The tickets for the first week were sold out a sell out at the Jackson Heights in New York. Rajinikanth is the biggest Tamil star in America.

Superstar is the only legend who can give continuous excitement to his fans. Seattle is the one of his largest fans hub in the USA. Mayuri Videos, Redmond, the only store in Seattle which sells the exclusive Collector's edition tickets for Enthiran.

Local fans from Washington state have come and celebrated and bought the premier show tickets. Tickets for Enthiran premiere in cities across US are selling like hot cakes. The ticket price for premier show itself has created a new record, as they are selling at $ 40.

Please note that Rajinikanth’s last release Sivaji premiere tickets were sold at $25.

Enthiran’s tickets sold out within minutes in Tamil Nadu - DNA India

Enthiran’s tickets sold out within minutes in Tamil Nadu
Published: Sunday, Sep 26, 2010, 0:18 IST
By D Ram Raj | Place: Chennai | Agency: DNA

Science fiction film Enthiran (Robot), which is to release on October 1, is living up to every bit of its hype. Theatres across Tamil Nadu have closed their ‘advance bookings’, just hours after the counters were opened. Huge queues of young and old, men and women were seen in theatres across the state, all trying to get a ticket to see the latest Rajinikanth film.

“People have already booked for all advanced tickets to up to a week. A lot of bookings happened online, so much so that many servers crashed,” a film industry source said. In some of the state’s districts, Rajinikanth fans were seen performing aarathis to the film’s posters and breaking coconuts to wish the film good luck.

Fans who were able to get tickets for the first show were seen rejoicing, sharing sweets and in some places even bursting crackers. “I have been watching Rajini movies on the first day of their release. And I will also be watching Enthiran’s first show,” Sathish, a staunch Rajini fan, remarked. And there was heart-break for those who could not get tickets. “I was hoping to get a ticket for the first show, tickets were sold out within minutes,” a young girl in Chennai, who identified herself as Mala said.

According to sources, a record 2,250 prints have been made for the simultaneous launch of the film directed by S Shankar. The film is expected to be released in over 2,000 theatres in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. AR Rahman has scored the background music and Aishwarya Rai co-stars with Rajinikanth in the film.

Theatre officials were seen remarking that they expected a huge turnout for advance bookings, but this exceeded all expectations.

Some, like a popular multiplex on the East Coast Road, Chennai is expected to screen up to 60 shows a day, the highest ever for a single film in India.

Why Rajinikanth Rocks - Forbes India

Why Rajinikanth Rocks

If anyone can make Chuck Norris look like a one-roundhouse-kick wonder, it is the southern superstar Rajinikanth. He’s larger than life. His fans would have you believe, he created God when he smiled

by Manisha Lakhe | Sep 27, 2010

It is not unknown for fans to fast before a Rajini release, as prayer to the Gods for success of his film. But, perhaps, in a part of the world that puts its film stars on very high pedestals, that’s not unusual. Try this.

If you could possibly wangle a first-day-first-show ticket to a Rajini starrer, you will witness something you won’t see in a movie theatre, ever.

Rajinikanth gets his very own credits styling. The screen will say ‘Superstar’, then his name will follow: ‘Rajini’ in English and then in Tamil, glowing in platinum. By the time your eyes adjust to the glare, you realise that you might also lose your hearing. Every member of the theatre audience is standing up, chanting ‘Thalaivar! Thalaivar!’ (which means ‘boss’ in Tamil). Then he will make his entrance: First you see the underside of his shoe; then dried leaves and debris will fly out of the way when the foot comes to earth. Then the camera moves above ground and pauses, looking up, as a supplicant would to the saviour. That’s when the noise in the theatre reaches a crescendo and… the credits pause. And you see, at the foot of the screen, the regional distributor, the multiplex manager, and a few other dignitaries, resplendent in crisp white veshtis, are standing with a priest, who begins to chant prayers. Which end with the men in veshtis holding out their right hands and performing an aarti by burning camphor on their palms.

Then the crowd will settle down and the film will continue. Chances are, you’ll see the signature moves: The finger pointing skyward, deft handiwork with the sunglasses (in older movies, you’d have seen the cigarette toss; he doesn’t smoke on screen now, though). You’ll see gravity-defying jumps and hordes of bad guys being done in. Through it all, nothing will dislodge the Superstar’s smile and sunglasses.

Rajinikanth’s story is straight out of the movies: Boy from the wrong side of the tracks makes it big. Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, he had a wild childhood and even wilder youth where his pranks got him into all kinds of trouble: He was thrashed by the cops for chasing girls and beaten by restaurant workers for trying to pass off an old six rupee bill for a table full of food that he and his gang had demolished. The tale of how he moved from bus conductor to stage to screen is too well know to retell. Suffice it to say that for all his hell-raising, there was a talent which his friends recognised and people noticed first on stage. His wild ways were temporarily tamed when playwright and director ‘Topi’ Muniappa offered him a chance to act in mythological moral plays. The story goes that he played the villainous Duryodhana so well, he was applauded by old men when he was ripping off Draupadi’s sarees.

Hindi cinema, which was yet to become Bollywood, was, like much of Indian cinema, entangled in social themes. South Indian cinema, especially, was dealing with morality issues, which was fantastic for a performer like Rajinikanth, because he played the villain with much glee (shades of this are visible even in his blockbuster hit Chandramukhi, where his demented, ‘Laka, laka, laka, laka’ still sends shivers down one’s spine). 16 Vayathinile (At the Age of 16) paved the way for unkempt villains who had a singularly disgusting laugh. Mithun Chakraborty ruled 80s Hindi cinema with the same brand of impossible heroics and made-for-the-front-row lines, and inspired similar devotion from his fans. But it took Rajinikanth to not just find the formula of punch-line-laden, impossible-action-packed movie persona, but to make it work for over three decades. And counting.

That he was talented was evident to the director K. Balachander, who offered him a 15-minute role as a drunkard in Apoorva Raagangal (Rare Melodies), a Kamal Haasan starrer. Rajini made an impact as the man who muddies the love story by announcing a prior claim to the affections of the heroine just before she admits her love to the hero.

Partly, it’s the simplicity of his image, the impossible, uncomplicated heroics that give the man on the street something to cheer. Like splitting an oncoming bullet into two with his knife, dodging both split halves, then smiling as each half hits a different baddie and his knife plunges into the heart of the man with the gun. Or how about saving the heroine, who is strapped to an electricity transformer, by running faster than electrical current after a vengeful villain switches the electricity on.

Certainly the whiplash actions, the mannerisms, the gimmicks, if you will, contribute to memorability.

But face it, there is no film school theory that explains why he can make the viewer not just suspend disbelief but chop it into little pieces, set fire to the remains and stomp on the ashes. There is no intellectual explanation for why the corny rhyming punch lines are such a hit.

Purely and simply, Rajinikanth makes the whole package work. Only he can.

That’s why there are thousands of dedicated fan sites, whose members would rend you limb from limb should you even think about dissing the Superstar.

That’s why even today, the script, the story, the dramatic lines, the costumes of a Rajinikanth movie — they’re all treated like a national security issue. Fan clubs go into frenzy at the slightest hint of a leak and with every movie Rajini and his producers laugh all the way to the bank.

That’s why when Kuselan, not as big a hit as Baasha or Padayappa, was shown across the USA, the candy giant M&M made specially-coloured bites of joy to be made into giant posters of the star; M&Ms were distributed to kids and his fans stampeded the halls as though it was the last show on Earth. In Japan, he is the ‘Dancing Maharaja’ — and to this day busloads of Japanese tourists stop by his Poes Road home in Chennai to take pictures. In Malaysia and Mauritius people expect to be granted leave from work when his movies release.

Applause? Sample this: In Baasha, he’s just asked his brother to step away from the action. The row of thugs is behind him. They drag swords and sickles and what have you from behind and advance towards him. He does not turn around; he’s seething mad though. And just when you think he will be diced by those swords, he bends down and pulls apart a hand pump and with the remains, proceeds to beat them all up, one thug after another, then he ties up the honcho to the lamp-post and beats him to pulp. With the light behind him making him look like some avenging God, he raises his finger and the whole theatre screams: ‘Naan oru dhadavai sonna, nooru dhadavai sonna maadiri!’ (If I say it once, it is like saying it a hundred times!)
It doesn’t matter whether you are originally from north of the Vindhyas, you find yourself whistling and stomping your feet, pretending there are villains there, crushed!

What’s next for Thalaivar? Will he, like so many film stars of the South, move into politics? He’s certainly a thinking man, and fans have admired his plunging into issue-based responses, like fasting during the Cauvery water division fight between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But he has kept his followers guessing. ‘Yesterday I was a bus conductor,’ he said, ‘Today, an actor. Tomorrow who knows?’

Perhaps it will be spirituality that takes over. Despite the ever-growing bank account, he only seems to get more humble each year. Not for him the carefully publicised temple visit photo-ops of the Bollywood brigade. People who know him say he goes on pilgrimages and visits temples disguised as a beggar. (And, a possibly apocryphal story goes, he is so convincing that once a woman pressed some money into his hands. When she realised who the mendicant really was, she apologised. Rajini, they say, kept the note as a reminder and as a reward for his acting skill.)

Applause? Sample this: In Baasha, he’s just asked his brother to step away from the action. The row of thugs is behind him. They drag swords and sickles and what have you from behind and advance towards him. He does not turn around; he’s seething mad though. And just when you think he will be diced by those swords, he bends down and pulls apart a hand pump and with the remains, proceeds to beat them all up, one thug after another, then he ties up the honcho to the lamp-post and beats him to pulp. With the light behind him making him look like some avenging God, he raises his finger and the whole theatre screams: ‘Naan oru dhadavai sonna, nooru dhadavai sonna maadiri!’ (If I say it once, it is like saying it a hundred times!)

It doesn’t matter whether you are originally from north of the Vindhyas, you find yourself whistling and stomping your feet, pretending there are villains there, crushed!

What’s next for Thalaivar? Will he, like so many film stars of the South, move into politics? He’s certainly a thinking man, and fans have admired his plunging into issue-based responses, like fasting during the Cauvery water division fight between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But he has kept his followers guessing. ‘Yesterday I was a bus conductor,’ he said, ‘Today, an actor. Tomorrow who knows?’

Perhaps it will be spirituality that takes over. Despite the ever-growing bank account, he only seems to get more humble each year. Not for him the carefully publicised temple visit photo-ops of the Bollywood brigade. People who know him say he goes on pilgrimages and visits temples disguised as a beggar. (And, a possibly apocryphal story goes, he is so convincing that once a woman pressed some money into his hands. When she realised who the mendicant really was, she apologised. Rajini, they say, kept the note as a reminder and as a reward for his acting skill.)

Rajini's Endhiran: A sell out in Chennai - NDTV

Rajini's Endhiran: A sell out in Chennai
Sam Daniel (NDTV Correspondent)
Sunday, September 26, 2010 (Chennai)

Chennai seems to have been gripped with Rajini mania as the advance booking for Asia's most expensive movie Endhiran began on Saturday. It was an instant sell out in close to forty theatres of the city, i.e., almost double of Rajinikanth's previous blockbuster Sivaji. 2000 theatres across the world will screen the movie.

"I'm disappointed as I didn't get tickets for first day first show. But I will not give up, I will try in other theatres till I get a ticket," said a Rajinikanth fan.

According to Supriya, Head, Public Relations, Sathyam Cinema, "It's a sellout. Tickets have been completely sold for the first three days, the weekend
and Monday. We are expecting more."

Sources say the Rs 162-crore movie is fetching staggering prices - 75 crore for Basha's bastion Tamil Nadu and 27 crores for neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

Although a few flicks of the superstar have bombed in the past, experts say this time the strategy would click.

"The hype is justified and the price is justified because to a large extent whatever you've invested you'd get back in the first week itself just from 200 screens," said film critic Sreedhar Pillai.

"Kalanidhi Maran's only goal was to produce India's biggest movie, but it ultimately became Asia's biggest movie," said Hansraj Saxena, COO, Sun Pictures.

The idea seems to be to screen Endhiran like carpet bombing on as many screens possible, and ensure it turns out to be a blockbuster, without allowing fans to wait for any kind of feedback.

Enthiran mesmerizes - American TV writer comes Chennai watch the film!

Rajinikanth charms Lindelof to India


With advance booking kicking off with great fanfare, Superstar Rajinikanth's Enthiran is all set for a mega opening it seems. The movie's advance booking which began on Saturday in Tamil Nadu has left the ticket boxes empty.

The Tamil and Telugu ver sion of the film has already been booked for two weeks in advance in all theaters in USA. The film is releasing in both Tamil and Telugu in USA.

The Rajini factor has already gripped many fans overseas.

Damon Laurence Lindelof, the popular American TV writer, most recently noted E as the co-creator and executive producer for the popular television series Lost vision series tweeted, Hello. I am on a plane to India.

Why, you ask? Oh... it might have something to do with this!!! and he publishes a link of Enthiran trailer.

While Lindelof has said that his visit to India may have something to do with Enthiran, close sources reveal that there might be a highly confidential meeting with Shankar and Sun Pictures for a possible high budget film. After the mammoth accomplishment of Enthiran, people say that Sun Pictures is capable of handling Hollywood flicks also. Only time will tell.

Huge expectations? Enthiran won't dissappoint you! - Shankar assures!!

3D animation adds zing to 'Enthiran' climax

CHENNAI: The city may soon be riven between the haves and the have-nots (those who get tickets for 'Enthiran' and those who don't), but on Saturday, director Shankar is charming, tired and lively all at the same time.

"Three years of hard work went into the making of 'Enthiran', and I am happy I have made a film which is for both the man in a Lexus and the layman," says Shankar. How can he be sure that the technicalities of a science film will reach a composite audience, we ask him bluntly. "I am depending on the story to do that, and audience in India today are neither the refined ones of Hollywood, nor are they green horns, when it comes to technical wizardry," he says.

The film is, however, loaded with special effects. "Barring three or four scenes and the songs, the entire film has plenty of special effects," says Shankar. He has opted for 'Light Stage', a technique adopted in the making of Benjamin Button' where 80 lights were used to capture a series of shots. "These are used by special effects team to deliver whatever a scene demands including human emotions," says Shankar. Animatronics (a kind of mechanical puppetry) and a never before attempted 3D animation in the climax are the other highs of 'Enthrian', says Shankar.

Storywise, it is about a robot, created in a scientist's lab and the consequences of its interface with society, Shankar tells you sitting beside the huge fish pond in his T Nagar office. The gently swimming fish, especially the one he had named 'machchakanni' which sadly perished recently, have been a source of comfort, inspiration and a vitamin tablet almost in the years that he chipped away refining and redefining the script of a film which he penned ten years ago.

The science fiction film was originally written with Kamal Haasan in mind. "I even did a photo shoot with him, and Preity Zinta was to be the heroine," he adds. The director and the actor both had other commitments. "Each time I picked up the film, worries over recouping the budget would rear its head," recalls Shankar, with a laugh. So he looked northwards, and he held talks with Shah Rukh Khan for a Hindi production with SRK as the hero. A couple of road blocks later, Shankar took another road, this time with Rajnikanth. "After the success of 'Sivaji - The Boss', I was convinced that Tamil film industry is ready for huge projects, and the film rolled on September 8," he says.

That was three years ago, but the mere thought of the scope of such a film stunned the industry. "The art department wondered how to execute what I demanded," he recalls with a laugh. And since the film is happening in the current time frame -- not futuristic -- in Chennai, the background score had to reflect people and characters of the present. "Without too much of synthesizers," he says quietly. Music director AR Rahman thought in tandem and a symphony orchestra went into play for the climax scene.

Making the film was akin to standing at the foot of Mt Everest. "Mind-blogging. So, I said, let's take one step at a time, and that worked," he adds. So, where does this film fit in his kitty?

"I have been clear that 'Enthiran' should not be cleaved into either of the Shankar genre' of films," he says. So it will be neither a Gentleman' reflecting social concerns, nor a Kaadhal' kind of love story, he says. "It is a film which will have a linear narration, with plenty of action, and far fewer dialogues," says Shankar. Rajni fans need not despair, there will be plenty of Rajni one-liners. "Only they won't be like a refrain," he says with a smile. And this is a film that everyone can relate to, it is not region-centric, says Shankar. "Go watch the film without expectations, and you will be stunned. Go with expectations and you will enjoy the film," he says with a huge smile.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Rajini's three faces in Enthiran" - Resul Pookutty reveals...!

A genius's track record

Oscar-winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty talks about the challenge of working on the Tamil science fiction film 'Endhiran'

  • By Mythily Ramachandran, Special to Weekend Review
  • Published: 00:01 September 24, 2010
  • Weekend Review

For the past two months I have been following Oscar winner Resul Pookutty through e-mails and text messages. And each time he has found the time to write back. It didn't matter that he was away in Los Angeles on work, the last time I sent him a message, prompt came the reply.

That is one thing about him — no celebrity airs. When I text him again, he replies: "In Chennai for two weeks."

We meet at A.R. Rahman's studio, where he is working on the final stages of Endhiran, a Tamil film being directed by Shankar, dubbed in Hindi as Robot and in Telegu as Robo.

Pookutty's friendly smile greets you and an easy conversation follows, as he opens up about his work and the philanthropic foundation he has set up that is so close to his heart.

So what are the challenges of working on Endhiran [a science fiction film]?

"Initially, it was difficult conceptualising the script," replied the 39-year-old sound engineer. "Trying to live up to Shankar's creation and finding an auditory expression is a challenge. The film begins in rustic Chennai and is a story of an experiment going haywire.

"It's a film starring Rajnikanth, whom I adore. Rajni has three faces in the film. In one role, he plays a scientist. In the second, he portrays a humanoid [a robot created by the scientist and which is his look-alike]. And when this robot turns wicked, it reveals another facet of the character.

"In Endhiran, what Rajnikanth does is surreal. He finds logic in everything he does. For me, it was interesting to find that logic, to make it believable. My work was to create a soundtrack for all these elements, so that everything becomes believable. It is an interesting project."

Need for balance

Sounds for the film were not pre-laid, which means Pookutty had to create sound effects from nothing.

For the character of the robot, he had to create a voice for a machine that talked.

"We had to make the audience feel it wasn't the voice of the human Rajni. Yet, it could not be too different from the real Rajni's, which fans love identifying with. We had to find a balance between the two voices. Again, we couldn't be playing the same robotic voice in every sequence. When the robot displayed emotion, we had to make it sound partly human. And when it turned villainous, it had to have another tone."

In the film, Rajnikanth talks in several languages. He even tunes in to the frequency of mosquitoes and has a conversation with them.

"That is a funny scene. How do we make a mosquito talk?" Pookutty laughed. "These were challenges we had to deal with."

Again, since the sound was not recorded while shooting, he had to recreate sequences. "I had to reshoot a fire scene, where the power of the robot is revealed, using a hundred people," Pookutty said.

Cut to the climax scene and the robot is transformed into a snake made of numerous robots. When the snake moves forward, several robots move together.

"We had to rack our brains to come up with a sound for that kind of motion. Such a sound does not exist. We arrived at a suitable one after several experiments."

When the robot turns into a ball, "we had to roll a huge iron ball down a street" for the sound effect, Pookutty said.

All machine-related sounds in the film have been created from real sounds.

"Some sounds came to us in a eureka moment. The football World Cup was on. And we were working on the scene in which Rajnikanth converses with mosquitoes. Listening to the sounds of the vuvuzela, we thought, why not use this sound?"

Another scene involves using the sounds of a Harley-Davidson.

"I am always listening to various types of sound and I record a palette of sounds for each film," said the Padma Shri recipient.

Did Pookutty refer to other science fiction films?

"I watched I, Robot, RoboCop and Transformers to understand why these films appealed to an international audience. I also spoke to people who had worked on them. But Endhiran is our creation. Nothing has been borrowed from any film. The shortfalls are our own and if appreciated, we take credit."

So when does a sound engineer enter the film?

"My work starts from the moment the script is locked. For sync sound, I have to be there at the time of shooting. In the case of Endhiran, I stepped in after 80 per cent of it was complete. Being a science fiction film, it was difficult to record live sound."

Freedom to experiment

And then we get talking about Shankar.

"Shankar is a gem of a person," Pookutty says. "He gives freedom to his co-workers and trusts people. For this project, I wanted to record everything in a particular way so that I could manipulate it later."

Consequently, Prasad Studios was revamped to suit the requirements of the acoustics. Pookutty flew in his recording gear from Mumbai. His friends, Tom Marks and Kunal Rajan, who work in the US, assisted him too. And when he played some of the sounds, the director was astonished as to how well he had read his mind.

"For the mosquitoes flapping their wings, I used the sound of a helicopter. A surprised Shankar told me: ‘You know, while writing the script, I had called the mosquitoes ‘koshukopter'. How did you know that?' And this script had been penned ten years ago!"

Shankar's films have a social message. This time, he talks about human greed for money and power.

Pookutty considers Endhiran a perfect mainstream Tamil film, with all its elements and entertainment value, chocolate-wrapped and ready for an international market. About 95 per cent of Endhiran has been filmed in India.

"In terms of content, scale, production, technical finesse and acting, Endhiran has been made on the scale of a Hollywood film, with larger-than-life sequences. Shankar has succeeded in achieving that. Rajnikanth's performance is comparable to that of Jack Nicholson in Batman."

"Films such as Avatar take away millions of rupees from India. We, as people from the medium, must understand this and counter it at an intellectual level. We can be original and true to ourselves — that is the need of the hour," believes Pookutty, who has recorded the first and only library of Indian sound effects called "The Essential Indian Sound Effects".

About Rahman, he says: "We share a great understanding. There is always an exchange of ideas. Few composers do that."

"Music is just one element of the entire gamut of sounds you hear in a film. But this element must not clash with the other elements of sound. My job is to ensure the audience a selective hearing. I have to make choices as to where, how and when to hear a particular sound."

No conversation with Pookutty is complete without memories of the Oscars. Besides bringing him fame and glory, it was a catalyst for the birth of his philanthropic venture.

Pookutty added another feather to his cap when he was chosen as one of the voting members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "I feel privileged to be a part of the academy," he said. "It is a matter of pride that we are being accepted by the Western world and asked for our opinion."

And for one who studied in a vernacular medium till Class 10, it is no mean achievement when his Oscar speech was voted the best at the Academy.

He owes it to Rasheed sir, his physics teacher in college, "who taught me to be fearless", and his law-college professor Sathya Seelan, who believed that true education is beyond syllabus.

"Professor Sathya goaded me into joining the film institute. He would give me books and even food," Pookutty recalls.

Looking back, he talks about his visit to Bhuj, when it was devastated by the earthquake. He was part of an international rescue team and using sound sensors, rescued people trapped under the debris.

"Among them was a 20-year-old boy trapped for 108 hours. You realise then that nothing is in your hands. I became a different person after that. I started valuing people," Pookutty says.

An incredible journey indeed for the youngest child of P.T. Pookutty and Nabeeza Biwi, from the nondescript village of Vilakkupara to the Oscar podium.

Dipping into his palette of sounds, the sound engineer goes back to his canvas.

He will also provide the sound effects for Shonali Bose's Chittagong and Francois Gerard's Voyage Sans Detour.

Endhiran is scheduled for release on October 1.

The Resul Pookutty Foundation

After he won an Oscar, Resul Pookutty received letters seeking financial aid for education and medical treatment. "People presumed that Rahman and I had received billions of rupees as prize money. That made me ponder," Pookutty said.

On the suggestion of his friend, media entrepreneur Ramesh Menon, and with encouragement from Amitabh Bachchan, The Resul Pookutty Foundation was born in 2009 to serve the needy in the field of education, health and social welfare.

The Resul Pookutty IIFA scholarship amount of $10,000 is awarded to two students of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, every year. The Resul Education Society for Unified Learning was launched in New York in July. Menon, CEO of the foundation, says: "We intend to work with schools in the Middle East by exposing them to achievers in various fields and inspiring Indian students there through interactive workshops. There are plans to start sound engineering institutes in Mumbai and Kochi and also to be associated with schools in Kochi, Trivandrum and Calicut."

Joining hands with Laskhmi Hospitals of Kerala, the foundation aims to conduct 3,000 subsidised treatments in a year, including 300 free surgeries, of which 30 will be heart surgeries.

As part of their social-welfare initiative, Pookutty (who has done the interiors of his house and company himself) will design plush homes in association with companies and real estate groups. A part of the revenue thereby generated will go into developing houses for the poor.

Also on the anvil are plans to adopt a village in Kerala.

"The Oscars gave me access to the powerful and the wealthy. Through my foundation, I hope to reach out to those with fewer opportunities," Pookutty says.

For more information, visit

- Mythily Ramachandran is a writer based in Chennai, India.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

'Endhiran's treat for all Rajini fans' - Anthony

For editor Anthony, life is back on track. After working on the much-awaited Endhiran for the last three years, Anthony says he can get back to his routine. "For the last three years, I was concentrating on Endhiran. I was always on call with Shankar and we used to meet during odd hours to work on the edit. Now, that crazy part of my life is over. But, I'm already missing it," begins Anthony.

Talking about his crazy schedule, he continues, "Shankar used to finish shooting at 8 pm and come rushing to the edit suite on the location where I would be editing scenes that were shot two days earlier. We would finish work and send it to the animation studio immediately."

Anthony says that Endhiran will be a treat for all Rajini fans, irrespective of where they stay. He also adds that the climax will be the highlight of the film. "The last 25 minutes of the film will draw maximum applause. It has a lot of graphics that will make the audience go wow! Everyone will love Rajini for what he's done in the movie," he adds.

Endhiran is the first film for which Anthony has had a pre-visualisation session. He elaborates, "We used to work on rough graphics. For every single scene. For instance, we would first visualise two characters sitting and talking in a grey background, then shoot the scene and have a rough edit ready for that particular scene. The film has 4000 shots of graphics. We first calculated the timing and shots on an empty background and after the CG was completed, I trimmed it. Sometimes, the timing of the pre-visualisation edit and the final cut would end up getting mismatched. To set things right and to get it synchronised, I had to trim scenes."

Despite the film belonging to a sci-fi genre, Anthony insists the editing pattern was quite normal. "Endhiran neither has flashbacks nor jazzy scenes. The edit is slick and sleek and will keep the audience hooked for a good two hours."

Now that the film is ready to hit screens, Anthony has begun working on other films. "The editing work for the second schedule of Ko is happening now. We have also sent 7am Arivu for CG work. Apart from that, I'm also working on several other Kollywood projects," he signs off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

எந்திரனுக்கு முன்பதிவு துவங்கியது - ரசிகர்கள் ஆர்வம்!

எந்திரனுக்கு முன்பதிவு துவங்கியது - ரசிகர்கள் ஆர்வம்! - தினகரன்
9/22/2010 3:03:19 PM

சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் ரஜினியின் எந்திரன் திரைப்படத்துக்கான டிக்கெட் முன்பதிவு தமிழகத்திலும் துவங்கியது. சன் பிக்சர்ஸ் கலாநிதி மாறன் பெரும் பொருட்செலவில் பிரமாண்டமாக தயாரித்துள்ள படம் ‘எந்திரன்’. சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் ரஜினிகாந்த், உலக அழகி ஐஸ்வர்யா ராய் ஜோடியாக நடிக்க, ஆஸ்கர் நாயகன் ஏ.ஆர்.ரகுமான் இசையில் ஷங்கர் மிகப் பிரமாண்டமாக இயக்கியுள்ளார்.

திரையுலகமே எதிர்பார்த்திருக்கும் அக்டோபர் 1ந் தேதி ரிலீசாகிறது. இதற்காக, அமெரிக்காவில் உள்ள நியூயார்க் நகரத்தில் ‘எந்திரன்’ படத்துக்கான டிக்கெட் முன்பதிவு நேற்று முன்தினம் தொடங்கியது. தொடங்கிய பத்து நிமிடங்களில் ஒரு வாரத்துக்கான டிக்கெட்டுகள் முழுவதும் விற்றுத்தீர்ந்தாக ஜாக்சன் ஹைட்ஸ் என்ற திரையரங்க நிர்வாகிகள் தரப்பில் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது.

இந்நிலையில், வரும் அக்டோபர் 1-ம் தேதி சென்னையில் 32 திரையரங்குகளிலும், சென்னை புறநகர் பகுதிகளில் 30க்கும் மேற்பட்ட திரையரங்குகளிலும் எந்திரன் படம் வெளியாகிறது. அண்ணா சாலையில் மட்டும் 12 திரையரங்குகளில் எந்திரன் திரையிடப்படுகிறது.

தமிழகம் முழுவதும் 1000க்கும் மேற்பட்ட அரங்குகளில் எந்திரன் வெளியாகும் என அறிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. உலகம் முழுவதும் 2250 பிரிண்டுகளுடன் 3000 அரங்குகளில் திரை விருந்து படைக்கவிருக்கிறது எந்திரன்.

இந்த நிலையில் எந்திரனுக்கு தமிழகத்தில் சில குறிப்பிட்ட திரையரங்குகளில் முன்பதிவு இப்போதே ஆரம்பித்துவிட்டது. பொதுவாக ரிலீஸுக்கு மூன்று அல்லது நான்கு நாட்களுக்கு முன்புதான் சென்னையில் முன்பதிவு துவங்கும்.

ஆனால் எந்திரன் வெளியாக 10 நாள் இருக்கும்போதே, சென்னையில் அபிராமி 7 நட்சத்திர தியேட்டரில் திங்கள்கிழமை மாலை துவங்கியது. முன்பதிவு பற்றிய அறிவிப்பு வெளியான சில மணிநேரங்களில் முதல் மூன்று நாட்களுக்கான டிக்கெட்டுகள் விற்றுத் தீர்ந்துவிட்டன. டிக்கெட் விலை ரூ 120 மற்றும் 100 மட்டுமே.

புதன்கிழமை காலை நிலவரப்படி, முதல் வாரத்துக்கான டிக்கெட்டுகள் ஒரு சில மட்டுமே இன்னும் உள்ளன. அபிராமி மெகா மாலில் உள்ள மற்ற மூன்று திரையரங்குகளிலும் கூட எந்திரனே திரையிடப்பட உள்ளது. இவற்றுக்கான டிக்கெட் முன்பதிவு இன்னும் ஆரம்பிக்கப்படவில்லை.

மதுரை மற்றும் சிவகங்கை மாவட்டங்களில் சில திரையரங்குகளிலும் டிக்கெட் முன்பதிவு ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டிருப்பதாக செய்திகள் வெளியாகியுள்ளன.

சத்யம் போன்ற மல்டிபிளக்ஸ்களில் இன்னும் ஓரிரு நாள்களில் எந்திரனுக்கான முன்பதிவு துவங்கவிருக்கிறது.३


It's Rajini magic! Choregrapher turns into an ardent Fan!!

Remo D’Souza and the ‘Enthiran’ dance
Shankaran Malini
Express News Service

Having Superstar Rajinikanth and the stunning Aishwarya Rai Bachchan together in an AR Rahman song is marvelous. Being asked to make this larger-than-life combination even more spectacular can be a daunting task. But Remo D’Souza is a man who loves challenges, and so he gladly agreed to take this up.

“I was surprised when director Shankar asked me to choreograph this song for 'Enthiran'. I have choreographed song sequences for Aishwarya before ('Shabd') and for AR Rahman’s music in 'Lakeer' and 'Tehzeeb'. I have even worked with Shankar as an assistant choreographer in 'Mudhalvan', but this was my first working experience with Rajnikanth,” says Remo.

After choreographing this number, Remo has become a die-hard fan of Rajini. It took eight days to shoot this dance sequence. “This was the last sequence to be shot. All of it was done in Chennai at AVM Studios,” he adds.

What is the song like?

“'Irumbile Oru Irudayam Mulaikudo' is a racy number — a robotic, hypnotic, supersonic song with peppy lyrics (written by Karki, lyricist Vairamuthu’s son, who also co-wrote Enthiran’s dialogues alongside director Shankar). It has the English lyrics sung by Kash’n’Krissy,” says Remo, a dancer, actor and director himself.

Since his mother is a Tamilian, he could understand the lyrics. Moreover, Shankar explained to him the mood and situation of the song.

What is unique about the choreography?

“This is the first time both Rajini and Ash have attempted popping (a of funky street dance) and tutting (another form of street dance). These styles are slowly gaining popularity in Bollywood. They were popularised in the season of Dance India Dance,” Remo. “They require a lot of energy and I am amazed at how gracefully Aishwarya did it. Rajini, at sixty left me speechless at his dancing skills. I salute his dedication,” he adds.

There were obstacles too along the way.

“The biggest challenge was to incorporate this style when the costumes were so rigid. The song sequence required robotic movements as well. But it was worth the effort,” says Remo.

Now, all we can do is wait for the film’s release to catch the Superstar tutting and popping it with the beauty queen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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