Sunday, February 26, 2006


From Gentleman to Shivaji...

All the talk now in kollywood is about "Shivaji." No, its not about the veteran Tamil actor, but about Shankar's next movie starring superstar Rajinikanth. It’s always unique and irresistible when great names join forces. In this case, it is Rajinikanth, Shankar(director), AVM(producers) and AR Rehman. Wow, what a combo?! I can hardly wait for the movie. Shankar's movies usually take quite some time in the making, because of his unique ability of concentrating on little details and giving a well-finished product.

Shankar started his career as an assistant director working for some big names like S.A.Chandrasekar ("Ilayathalapathi" Vijay's father). His big break came when he was working as an Asst. Director to Pavithran during the making of "Suryan". This is when producer KT Kunjumon saw his potential and offered him an opportunity to unleash as a director. It all started with "Gentleman." Here was a director making his first movie and straightaway bending all the conventional hero-ethics a little bit, by casting Arjun as a big time thief (but for a noble cause). It was a different storyline, different approach and altogether different category of movies that the Tamil audience had ever seen. No wonder, he heaped success in the box office, with the film running full shows. It was also well-acclaimed in the commercial movie setup. Shankar might not quite be a director who is well-appreciated by the artistic clad of film-makers, but from an entertainer's perspective he's priceless. His movies are fast paced, daringly different and hugely entertaining. It is widely talked about that Kamal was first approached for Arjun's role in "Gentleman," but Kamal politely refused as he was not in agreement with the shades of the character.

Then came "Kadalan" which didn't have any message or thought-provoking ingredients, but it was a pure college-goer's entertainment basket. The songs were trend-setters, and the theaters had the youth dancing all out for "Urvasi" and "Gopala Gopala".

Then came another unique blend with Shankar joining hands with Kamal to come out with yet another wholesome entertainer - "Indian". The concept and the plot were amazing. The storyline and screenplay were awesome. Shankar's attention to detail was evident once again and Kamal was, as usual, matchless. Shankar's maturity as a director entered a new phase with this movie. He was talked on par with Maniratnam, which for any film-maker is a huge accolade. The whole idea of "Indian thatha" and his focus on building a corruption-free society was a wonderful onscreen idea and indeed immensely engrossing.

He followed up with "Jeans" which was not really special except for the presence of Aishwarya Rai, who was the talk of the town, then. But it did have its fine ingredients, Aishwarya's double action sequences,'s little cameo and the songs (just like in all other movies).
Next came his home-production,"Mudalvan". This movie again had a novel idea - One day CM. Where does he get such ideas from?! Although one feels Rajini would've made a master fit in the movie, Arjun didn’t come across like a makeshift cast. It’s a little ironical that Shankar's two movies with Arjun have a commonality involving the two big guns of Tamil cinema - the first movie had Kamal as the first choice and for the second, Rajini would've been the best fit!

Then came ‘Boys’ . . . well that's one movie that's less talked about, the better. It was in all probability, Shankar's first flop! But everyone has his hay days and he had his too.

But, out he came with a bang- "Anniyan". Yet another idea that only Shankar's brain can think of and he gave shape to it as an interesting and thoughtful celluloid representation. Vikram's popularity and fan-following added spice to the movie and all about "Boys" was a forgotten history now.

It would be totally unfair not to mention AR Rehman's immense contribution as the music man behind all Shankar's movies (except for Anniyan for which Harris Jeyaraj won appreciation).With Rehman coming back to spend more time with the Tamil audience and his association with Shankar resuming, its great news for movie lovers.

Rajini, no wonder, is the hottest aspect of "Shivaji". Already, there are lots of stories floating around regarding the movie’s plot. Whatever it is, with all big names of kollywood joining hands, it would be nothing short of a special buffet that the Tamil audience has probably never tasted! Good luck, Shankar and co.!

Research skills par excellent :-)
Whatz with Boys? I think it gives a message that you can get what you aspire for if you are determined in following your dreams.
Thennavan, thanks.
Phoenix, yes you are right abt the message conveyed through 'Boys'. But, he probably needed to have dwarfed on the details, inorder to reach the various segments of the audience. It was a practical movie but a little sublety would have made a definitive difference.
The day Rajini quit his excellent character roles of the 70s and decided to take up a larger-than-life on-screen image(starting with Murattukalai), he took the whole of tamil cinema to the pits with him.
And we,the gullible audience, blame the northies for not recognizing "excellence" in southern cinema!
TTM, I spent my formative years in North India. When I heard my Chennai friends/relatives go gaga over Rajini, I criticized them for their monomania. After I watched the first Rajini movie in theatre-Baasha, I secretly started to like the heroism, however illogical it was! Probably that was when, I became gullible too.
You had to call SAChandrasekar a big director!! I disagree with you on Rajini taking Arjun's role in Mudhalvan. Its like ArvindSwami doing Pithamagan.:-)
TTM, I so agree with you on this. Rajini would've become a great villian if he had followed up movies like NetriKann, 16 vayathiniley etc. I like him in Thillu Mullu as well.
My fault - I didnt have to call SAChandrasekar a big director!:)) But, there were movies like Needikku thandanai when he was supposedly a good director.

LOL@'Arvind Swami in Pithamagan'

Shankar will defly cut Rajini's stereotype in Shivaji. Lets wait n watch!
the movie is already a HIT!!! if rumours r to be believed the movie has been sold for minumum 50 crs, some claim 100crs but thts too much money in my opinion
Like monomania is absent in North "India". The incredibly mediocre and insipid Shah Rukh Khan is made too much of a fuss over in N.India.
SS...if I remember well, you are the one who wrote...vada naattaar mada naattaar, right ?

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