Night Drive: Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben, Indrajith Sukumaran to Star in Vysakh’s Upcoming Malayalam Film

Actors Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben, and Indrajith Sukumaran will star in filmmaker Vysakh’s upcoming Malayalam film titled Night Drive, the director announced on Wednesday on social media. 

Night Drive will mark the second collaboration of actors Roshan Mathew and Anna Ben after Kappela.

Produced by Priya Venu and Neeta Pinto under the Aan Mega Media banner, the film is written by Abhilash Pillai. Noting that he is collaborating with the production house after his 2012 action-comedy Mallu Singh, the director mentioned that the filming of Night Drive commenced on Wednesday. Shaji Kumar is the film’s cinematographer.

In the social media post, Vysakh also revealed that the scenarist had narrated the script to him two years ago and since then, he had been wanting to make the film.

While the songs and background score of Night Drive will be composed by Ranjin Raj, Sunil S Pillai is in charge of the edits.

Vysakh, who previously assisted filmmakers Johny Antony and Joshiy, made his directorial debut with the Mammootty-starrer Pokkiri Raja in 2010. He went on to make commercial hit films like Seniors (2011), Mallu Singh (2012), and the 2016 Mohanlal-starrer Pulimurugan, which became the first Malayalam film to collect Rs 100 crore at the box office. The action film ended up collecting a lot more than that.

Vysakh last directed the Mammootty-starrer Madhura Raja in 2019. It was a spin-off of their previous film Pokkiri Raja.

Meanwhile, Roshan Mathew, who was last seen in Kuruthi, has a slew of projects in the pipeline, including his Tamil debut Cobra, the Hindi film Darlings, and the Malayalam films Chathuram, Kumari, and Oru Thekkan Thallu Case.

Anna Ben, on the other hand, last starred in Sara’s. She will next be seen in Naaradan, Ennittu Avasanam and Kaapa. Indrajith, who was last appeared in the 2021 Malayalam anthology film Aanum Pennum, has several upcoming projects such as Kurup, Thuramukham, Aaha, Pathaamvalavu, and 19 (1)(a), among others. 

Gaganachari: Malayalam Sci-Fi Mockumentary Revolves around 3 Malayalees and an Alien, Says Director Arun Chandu

Gaganachari, the upcoming Malayalam film, is science-fiction mockumentary that revolves around three Malayalees and an extraterrestrial being, the film’s director Arun Chandu told Silverscreen India

The film, featuring actors Anarkali Marikar, Aju Varghese, Gokul Suresh, and KB Ganesh Kumar, is produced by Vinayaka Ajith under the Ajith Vinayaka Films banner. The first look poster of Gaganachari was released by actor Aju Varghese recently.

Director Arun Chandu, who previously directed Saajan Bakery Since 1962, has co-written the film’s dialogues and screenplay with Siva Sai.

In conversation with Silverscreen India, Arun said, “Gaganachari is set in a future where the world is not the same, it’s a post-apocalyptic sort of timeline. The film has elements of science fiction and some quirky humour. We have used several pop cultural references that Malayalee audiences will enjoy.”

He also added that the title is inspired by a phrase from the Malayalam film Njan Gandharvan, directed by legendary filmmaker Padmarajan. “Gaganachari is a Sanskrit word meaning celestial being. It’s a word that has the grandeur I wanted to introduce an alien being.”

He noted that Anarkali plays the titular role of the alien. “It is a challenging role as it involved a restrictive method of acting.” Ganesh Kumar plays a light-hearted role in the film, the director added. “He is a versatile actor and hence I roped him in for Gaganachari after working with him in Saajan Bakery Since 1962. I also got an opportunity to explore the humorous side of Gokul Suresh and Aju Varghese in this film.”

A mockumentary is a type of film that depicts fictional events in a documentary style. Briefly explaining why he choose this style of filmmaking, the director said, “To tell a sci-fi story set in a futuristic timeline demands good production quality and high-end VFX to create the world. However, for a comparatively small film like Gaganachari, we thought adopting a mockumentary style, which includes aspects such as breaking the fourth and fifth wall, could help us in delivering the content in a better way.”

Arun added that he is a big fan of science fiction books, films and mockumentary works like the sitcom Office and Taika Waititi’s horror comedy film What We Do in the Shadows, and these inspired him to make a science fiction mockumentary. 

It was during the post-production of Saajan Bakery Since 1962 that the filmmaker discussed some ideas with Aju Varghese. They then came up with a plan for a film that could be made during these Covid-19 times. 

The filming for Gaganachari began in February 2021 and the first schedule went on for about 24 days. The makers created a bio bubble for the production and shot on an island in Kochi. After a break, they resumed shooting in July. Parts of the film were shot in Ernakulam, Bengaluru, and Dhanushkodi. 

“The film is currently in the post-production stage. We have begun editing. I am also working with the VFX team to bring the best quality output,” Arun noted. 

Dharma Productions & Viacom18 Studios Team Up to Bring Films Like ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo,’ ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’

Viacom18 Studios and Dharma Productions announced a partnership on Wednesday to bring forth a line-up of Hindi films like Jug Jugg Jeeyo and Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, among others.

The films which are part of this deal are in various stages of production and are expected to release over the next 18- 24 months.

Jug Jugg Jeeyo, directed by Raj Mehta, stars actors Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Neetu Singh Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, and YouTuber Prajakta Koli. Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani is being directed by Karan Johar, owner of Dharma Productions, and features Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Dharmendra, and Shabana Azmi.

Others projects that are part of the collaboration include two yet-to-be-titled films: a Shakun Batra directorial starring Deepika Padukone, Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Dhairya Karwa; and filmmaker Shashank Khaitan’s next featuring Vicky Kaushal, Kiara Advani, and Bhumi Pednekar.

Viacom18 has also acquired the satellite rights to all four films.

Speaking about the partnership, Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios, said, “As Viacom18 Studios scales up and begins a new chapter, we are looking at key partnerships with creators who shape mainstream entertainment. Collaborating to build a slate of films further strengthens our long-term association with Karan and Dharma Productions.”

Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions said, “The partnership with Viacom18 Studios is a significant step for Dharma as together we gear up to bring back the best of Hindi cinema to theatrical audiences. We believe that strategic alliances are the way forward for the film industry and this partnership is the stepping-stone to a long-term alliance.”

Johar added, “In Viacom18 Studios and Ajit, we have a partner who not only shares our vision in storytelling but also has our approach to differentiated cinema. Dharma Productions has been committed to entertaining movie-goers world over with every film and this partnership will further enable it.”

Batra’s and Mehta’s projects are both currently under production. While the Johar directorial began its first schedule in August, Khaitan’s project with Kaushal is yet to star rolling.

Operation JuJuPi: Political Fantasy Film Starring Chaams to Release in Theatres on Diwali

Operation JuJuPi, the upcoming English and Tamil bilingual film starring Chaams in the lead role, will release in theatres on the occasion of Diwali (November 4 ), the actor announced on Tuesday.

The political fantasy film is written, directed and produced by Arunkanth, who has also donned the hats of music composer, sound designer, colourist, and handled several other departments as well.

Chaams, the well-known Tamil comedian-actor, is playing a lead role for the first time in his career. Operation JuJuPi marks his 150th film.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Arunkanth says the actor essays an out-and-out serious role in the film. “Operation JuJuPi is about a common man’s dream to transform the nation into a happy place using a magical master plan. I believe development should be measured based on people’s happiness, not on economic growth. The film deals with world politics and also discusses how reforms can be made to the constitution,” the filmmaker adds. 

Noting that he has worked with Chaams in his earlier directorials like Goko Mako and Indha Nilai Maarum, Arunkanth says, “Chaams is capable of pulling off a serious role and I wanted to bring out his untapped talent. Besides, I like his dedication, discipline and team spirit.”

The film also features a large cast, including actors Vinodhini Vaidynathan, Jagan, Badava Gopi, Manobala, Raaghav Ranganathan, Santhana Bharathi, Venkat Subha, Vaiyapuri, and Mounicka, among others.

Operation JuJuPi was simultaneously shot in Tamil and English. On choosing to make a bilingual film, Arunkanth says people across the world need to see the film as it talks about how to create a happy nation. “I made this film in Tamil as it is my mother tongue. But I also want it to reach audiences beyond borders, so I shot it in English as well.”

The film was shot for around 26 days in November and December 2020 in places like Coimbatore, the Western Ghats, Idukki, Karaikal, Vedaranyam and Rameswaram.

Operation JuJuPi is slated to release alongside biggies like Annaatthe and Maanaadu. Arunkanth says he was able to make it because of the self-sustaining model he uses for his films, which includes pre-booking on his website. “I know my target audience and I have customer base data. We began pre-booking for the film six months ago. Based on the response, I have spoken to several multiplexes and have got slots for screening my film.”

Arunkanth followed this method of promotion and ticket booking for his last two films as well. “This gives confidence to film exhibitors to provide screens for my films. I believe following such a method can help small and medium scale films get screens on their desired dates.”

“Initially, Operation JuJuPi will release in a handful of theatres on Diwali. Later, as and when I get more screens, I will roll it out across other states and countries,” the filmmaker reveals, adding that post the theatrical release, he also plans to send the film to festivals.

Ajith Kumar’s ‘Valimai’ Slated for Pongal 2022 Release in Theatres

Valimai, the much-anticipated Tamil film starring actor Ajith Kumar in the lead role, is set to hit theatres on Pongal 2022, producer Boney Kapoor announced on social media on Wednesday. The announcement comes amid speculations that the film would be releasing this Diwali.

Written and directed by H Vinoth, Valimai marks the director’s second collaboration with Ajith after Nerkonda Paarvai (2019), the Tamil remake of the Hindi film Pink.

Valimai, which is Ajith’s 60th film, is produced by Zee Studios and Kapoor under his BayView Projects banner, which also backed Nerkonda Paarvai. Besides Ajith, the film stars actors Huma Qureshi, Karthikeya, Bani, Sumithra, Achyunth Kumar, Raj Ayyappa, Pugazh, and Yogi Babu, among others.

The film has been shot by cinematographer Nirav Shah and is edited by Vijay Velukutty. It will have composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.

The film’s makers have remained tight-lipped about the production since it was officially launched in October 2019 in Chennai. This created much anticipation among the actor’s fanbase, who have been constantly seeking updates on the project using the hashtag ‘#ValimaiUpdate‘ on social media. They also demanded updates on the film at all sorts of events and from all manner of people, even those not involved with the project, including former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami during his election campaign and cricketer R Ashwin during a Test match.

This resulted in Ajith eventually issuing a statement asking his fans to maintain decorum in public spaces. He had added that an announcement on the film would be made at the right time.

In February, Kapoor announced that the team was working towards presenting the film’s first look and requested fans to be patient. The first look of Valimai was slated to be unveiled on May 1, on the occasion of the actor’s birthday. However, it was postponed in view of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, in July, much to the excitement of the fans, the motion poster of the film was released.

According to the makers, the filming of Valimai is complete.

Tollywood Supports AP Government’s Online Ticketing Plan

The Telugu film industry has extended its support to the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to sell cinema hall tickets using an online system, according to PTI.

The new system, which will be similar to the railway ticket booking portal, was welcomed by prominent members of Tollywood, including producers Dil Raju and C Kalyan, and studio owner G Adiseshagiri Rao, who had met State Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah, on Monday.

As per the report, Kalyan told reporters after the meeting that it was the film industry that had placed a request with the government to put such an online ticketing system in place. Rao added that while online ticketing is currently optional, they want it to be made mandatory going forth.

Previously, a section of film producers and exhibitors were unhappy with the government’s decision to introduce the railway ticketing-like online booking system as they were concerned about potential technical snags, Deccan Chronicle reported.

Speaking to the press on Monday, the minister said that everyone has now agreed to the new online system. He added that the tickets will be sold through the portal at prices fixed by the government. “The industry representatives raised several issues, including the problems they face. We will take these up with the Chief Minister and take necessary action,” the minister further said.

It is to be noted that a handful of big film producers exert an undue control over cinema halls in the state, both single screens and multiplexes, in terms of releases and screenings. In April, the AP government capped movie ticket prices at Rs 250 based on an order from the High Court.

On August 31, the government ordered the setting up of an eight-member committee under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary (Home) to design and implement the online ticketing system. One of the objectives of the new system is to check tax evasion, Minister Perni Venkataramaiah had earlier said.

Decision on Reopening Kerala Theatres Will be Taken in Next Phase: Minister Saji Cherian

Saji Cherian, Minister for Culture, Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, said on Tuesday that the decision on reopening of theatres and auditoriums in Kerala will be taken in the next phase of discussion.

Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram, the minister said, “The test positivity rate (TPR) is reducing now and it is a relief for the state. We will take a final call on reopening of theatres and auditoriums as soon as possible after considering all the necessary things.”

Kerala is one of the states in the country that has been seeing a constant rise in Covid-19 cases and as a result, theatres have been shut down in the state for over six months. Even as a few industries have resumed functioning as part of the relaxation of Covid protocols, theatres continue to remain shut.

Earlier in August, Minister Cherian had said that the decision to reopen theatres would be based on the TPR in the state. “If the TPR falls below 8, then we can consider reopening. However, it’s currently on an increasing trend. We should also look at the number of positive cases reported in the areas where the theatres are located before making the decision,” he had added.

On the other hand, the film exhibitors recently expressed hope that theatres would reopen by the end of September with Covid-19 cases starting to show a decreasing trend.

However, on Saturday, during the state’s Covid-19 review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan denied permission to reopen theatres, bars and dine-in restaurants, while deciding to reopen schools from November 1, according to a Mathrubhumi report.

Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Monday that over 90% of the state’s population has been inoculated with the first dose vaccination. Over 2.3 crore people have received their first dose of vaccine and nearly 1 crore have been fully vaccinated in Kerala. 

On Monday, Kerala recorded 15,692 fresh cases, taking the total number of active Covid-19 cases in the state to 1,67,049. The TPR stands at 17.49%.

Supreme Court Stays Rs 10,000 Fine on Yash Raj Films for Omitting Promo Song ‘Jabra’ from SRK-Starrer ‘Fan’

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an order from the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directing Yash Raj Films to pay Rs 10,000 along with litigation costs as compensation to a consumer who was aggrieved by the exclusion of a song in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer FanLive Law reported.

The NCDRC had imposed the fine on YRF for “unfair trade practice” for releasing the popular song Jabra Fan in the movie promos of the 2016 film but not including it in the film itself. The commission had asked the production house to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to the complainant Afreen Fatima Zaidi, along with a litigation cost of Rs 5,000.

Zaidi had complained that she felt “cheated” when she found out the song was not included in the film. She also claimed that her children refused to eat on the night they went to watch the film, as they were disappointed the song was not in it, the report stated.

Zaidi had originally filed her complaint in 2016. However, the district consumer redressal forum had rejected her complaint then. But she filed an appeal in 2017 and convinced the state consumer disputes redressal commission, whose findings were upheld by the NCDRC in 2020.

The commission was of the view that inclusion of a song in the promo of the movie when it is not actually a part of the movie deceives viewers and amounts to unfair trade practice, under Section 2(1)(r) of the Consumer Protection Act. The NCDRC had noted that if a person liked a song shown in the promo and based upon such liking decided to visit a cinema hall to watch the film, they were “bound to feel deceived, disappointed and dejected if the song shown in the promo is not found in the film.”

The production house had approached the Supreme court against the order, arguing that it was in violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1) and that there was no obligation to include the song, which was meant only for promotion of the movie, in the film itself.

“What scenes/songs/portions that the producer and the director finally choose to retain as part of the film, after editing, and what they finally present to the public, is their prerogative. Members of public cannot demand the story to be presented in a specific manner, suitable to their sensibilities,” YRF had argued.

The Supreme Court on Monday, after staying the order, issued notices to Zaidi and to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Arvind Swami-Starrer ‘Kallapart’ is a Thriller Set in Contemporary Chennai; Makers Looking for October Release

Kallapart, the upcoming Tamil film starring actor Arvind Swami in the lead, is a thriller set in contemporary Chennai, the director of the film, P Rajapandi, told Silverscreen India.

The first look poster of the film was released by actor Vijay Sethupathi on social media on Friday. Kallapart is produced by S Parthi and S Seena.

Rajapandi, who has previously helmed the action thrillers Ennamo Nadakkudhu (2014) and Achamindri (2016), said about his third directorial, “The title Kallapart is taken from theatre terminology that was used long back. The protagonist is called Rajapart, the female lead is called Stripart, and the villain role is called Kallapart. ‘Kalla‘ means fake or bad in Tamil, while ‘part’ is from English. The film captures the different shades of people – black, white, and everything in between. Hence, we don’t really know if the lead is good, bad, or someone with one of the other shades. The film is about a person who intelligently handles many issues.”

Apart from Arvind Swami, Kallapart also stars Regina Cassandra and Baby Monica of The Priest fame. Producer Parthi will be making his acting debut as the antagonist.

“I had sent a synopsis and later, the script to Arvind Swami. We waited for a month to get him prepared for the role, both physically and mentally. Regina plays a Zumba dancer who has a love-hate relation with Arvind Swami’s character,” the director said.

The filmmaker, who has also penned the screenplay, revealed that Kallapart is currently in the final stages of post-production. The film has been shot completely in Chennai by cinematographer Aravind Krishna.

Noting that the project went on floors towards the end of 2018, Rajapandi said, “Most of the filming was wrapped by 2019. However, we had some song portions to be completed, and we had date and schedule issues since Regina had many films and Arvind Swami had a different look for Thalaivii. Since we needed him to sport a beard for our film, we waited for him to finish work on Thalaivii. We completed filming earlier this year. In about 10 days, we will be done with the post-production work.”

The film is being edited by Elayaraja S. Nivas K Prasanna is the music composer of Kallapart and the film features two songs, including a theme song, the director added.

Asked about the release, the filmmaker said they have not yet made a decision and want to first gauge the reception that theatrical releases get. “We are looking to release by October. The mode of release will be announced soon,” he added.

Anusree-Starrer ‘Thara’ To Be Feel-Good Family Drama; Filming to Commence September 26

Actor Anusree, who predominantly works in the Malayalam film industry, will play the lead role in the upcoming film titled Thara. Speaking to Silverscreen India, Dheswin Prem, the film’s writer and director said it will be a feel-good family drama.

The film’s title poster was released by actors Fahadh Faasil, Surabhi Lakshmi and director Dileesh Pothan through their respective social media handles on September 14. 

Thara is produced by Sameer PM under the Sameer Movies banner in association with Antonio Motion Pictures and Down Town Productions.

Director Dheswin said the idea for Thara was derived from day-to-day events and the stories that he heard from the people around him. “I was working on another big film, but that did not take off due to various reasons. So, we wrote Thara’s script this year in April and May, and pitched it to the producers, who are also producing my upcoming Tamil film. They were interested in the subject and agreed to back the film. Thara will mark Sameer Movies’ first Malayalam production,” he added.

The filmmaker noted that Thara will be a female-oriented subject that will entertain the family audience. “Anusree plays the lead character named Sithara. During lockdown, she travels from Chennai to Kerala in a taxi. The taxi driver is a Tamilian, played by Sanal Aman. As they reach Kerala, due to an unforeseen circumstance, the driver stays in Sithara’s flat. The main plot of the film revolves around the duo and the other flat residents,” he added.

The film also features veteran actor Sreenivasan along with Vijilesh and Tamil actor Saravanan Naan, who rose to fame with his performance in the 2018 psychological crime thriller Ratsasan.

Dheswin revealed that the film will go on floors on Sunday, with major portions set to be shot in Kochi and some parts filmed in Coimbatore. Bibin Balakrishnan will handle the camera and art director Diljith M Das, who worked in Guppy, has been roped in for Thara.  

The film’s dialogues and lyrics are written by Bineesh Puthuppanam and the music is composed by Vishnu V Divakaran.

‘Emmys So White’: Emmys 2021 Called Out for Lack of Non-White Winners Despite Nominations Promising Diversity

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards that were held on Sunday saw no actors of colour winning in any of the major performance categories despite the Television Academy announcing a record-breaking nominations slate with respect to diversity. This led to the Emmys getting called out by netizens, several of whom used the #EmmysSoWhite hashtag to express their outrage.

Significant nominated performances by actors of colour that were overlooked included those of Billy Ray Porter and Mj Rodriguez in the FX show Pose.

Porter received a nod in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, that saw a total of four people of colour nominated. Rege-Jean Page (Bridgerton), Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), and Sterling K Brown (This Is Us) were the other three. However, all four lost to Josh O’ Connor, who essayed the role of Prince Charles in the Netflix show The Crown.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who became the first ever transgender performer to receive an Emmy nomination in a major acting category, lost out to Olivia Colman in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. Colman took home the award for her role in The Crown.

Colman’s colleague and fellow nominee, Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana, would have become the first openly non-binary actor ever to win an acting Emmy were the award given to her, as per Variety.

Photo Credit: Still from The Crown – Netflix

The lack of diversity in the awards this year came as a surprise, as the 72nd Emmys felicitated artists of colour like Zendaya, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Uzo Aduba, and Regina King, and shows like Watchmen.

One of the few countable wins for the non-white community at the 73rd Emmys came when Michaela Coel, the writer, director, and star of I May Destroy You, won for best writing in a limited series.

While none of the actors in the musical Hamilton won, the musical itself won the Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) Emmy.

The Creative Arts Emmys, that were held on September 11 and September 12, were more inclusive in nature.

Maya Rudolph won the Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series award for her appearance in Saturday Night Live, and the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance award for voicing Connie the Hormone Monster in Netflix’s Big Mouth, at the Creative Arts Emmys. She became the third Black woman ever to win back-to-back acting Emmys in the same category.

American drag queen and host of the show RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul Charles won the Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program for the sixth year in a row.

The show was further declared winner in the outstanding competition program category on Sunday. RuPaul, who also serves as the executive producer on the show, has reportedly won 11 Emmys so far – the most won by any person of colour.

Also winning at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier was HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, which won the Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming. The show’s entire cast, as well the writers’ room, consists of Black women.

Photo Caption: Netizen’s tweets against the all-white wins at Emmys 2021

Several artists, including former Emmy winners and nominees, have voiced out against the all-white wins at Sunday’s Primetime Emmys.

Ashley Nicole Black, who won an Emmy in 2017 for writing the show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, noted on Twitter that there have been only 33 Black women Emmy recipients so far.

Another netizen wrote, “I remember when Viola Davis won her Emmy she said ‘the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.’ That’s still true. It’s not like we can audition for a role on shows like The Crown.”

Journalist Benjamin Ryan, in a reply, wrote, “The point is that a lot of the shows and movies that win awards are historical dramas that because of historical accuracy have largely all-white casts. Some people see this as an all too convenient way to keep celebrating the same old thing: entertainment for and about whites.”

Inclusion and representation in terms of awards and recognition, has become a major concern in recent times. Earlier this year, the Golden Globes came under fire for nominating Lily Collins and her Netflix show Emily in Paris and leaving out Coel and her show.

The Globes curator, Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), went on to receive a streak of backlash from across the globe due to its lack of inclusion. It culminated in around 100 studios, including Netflix and Amazon, distancing themselves from the HFPA and compelling the association to redraw its plans.

Corona Kumar: Simbu’s 48th film To Be a Spin-Off of Director Gokul’s ‘Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara’

Corona Kumar is the title of actor Silambarasan TR’s 48th film, the makers of the film announced on Saturday on social media.

The announcement was followed by the release of a promo song on Sunday, sung by the actor himself and meant as a tribute to the Chennai Super Kings team, which is taking part in the ongoing IPL cricket tournament.

The upcoming film, backed by producer Ishari K Ganesh of Vels Film International, is a spin-off of the 2013 hit comedy Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara, which won actor Vijay Sethupathi laurels for his role as Sumaar Moonji Kumar. Filmmaker Gokul, who helmed the 2013 film, will write and direct Corona Kumar as well.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, the creative producer of the film, Cinemawala K Sathish, said, “Spin-offs are new to Indian cinema. In Hollywood, they’re more common with Marvel, for instance, taking Avengers’ characters and doing multiple spin-offs. In this film, we have taken the main characters from Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara and added Simbu as the protagonist. It will be a hyperlinked story set in Chennai. Just like the 2013 film, there will be some four situations, and how all of them connect is what the plot is about. It will be a hilarious, out-and-out comedy entertainer.”

Sathish added that Silambarasan will be playing the titular Corona Kumar. When asked if the title has anything to do with the Covid-19 pandemic, he said that there is no connection to it. “This is purely a film to spread positivity and happiness. During times like this, we wanted to present a happy film and once Simbu sir became associated with the project, the film became bigger,” he added.

Sathish noted, however, that it was the lockdown which inspired him and Gokul to make a fun film. “We were talking about the rough times of the lockdown and that’s when we happened to think about Gokul’s hilarious older film. We wanted to recreate that laughter, and that eventually paved the way for Corona Kumar.”

On the characters from the original film that will be returning for this spin-off, Satish said, “The character Kumudha will be present, but will not be played by Nandita. The casting for that role is not yet decided. Other characters from the original, such as Baby (Madhumitha), Painter Rajendran (Rajendran), and Patti Babu (Vinodh Munna), will be returning with the respective actors reprising their roles. We have added other new and unique characters as well.”

Corona Kumar’s script is ready and filming will commence once Silambarasan wraps up his other film with the production banner, Vendhu Thanindhadhu Kaadu, directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon. “Once the third schedule of that film is completed, we will start rolling immediately. We expect to go on floors in November and finish shooting in about two schedules,” Sathish added.

Emmys 2021: Netflix Bags Record 44 Awards, Including First Best Drama Series Emmy for ‘The Crown’

The Crown bagged seven awards at the 73rd Primetime Emmys, held on Sunday, bringing Netflix its first Emmy in the Best Drama Series category. The streaming platform’s total tally for the night was a record 44 awards.

The Crown, which follows the British royal family from Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, also bagged actors Josh O’ Connor and Olivia Colman wins in the lead actor categories. While Connor played Prince Charles, Colman played the queen. Tobias Menzies and Gillian Anderson took home Emmys in the supporting actor categories for the same show, which additionally saw Jessica Hobbs and Peter Morgan win for directing and writing, respectively.

Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit won Emmys for Best Direction in a Limited Series and Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series.

Both The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit won a total of 11 Emmys each, including the Creative Arts Emmys.

Following Netflix was HBO/HBO Max, that won a total of 19 Emmys, including the Creative Arts Emmys. Among the HBO shows that made a mark was Mare of Easttown, headlined by Kate Winslet. While Winslet won the award in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie category, co-stars Evan Peters and Julianne Nicholson also bagged awards for their supporting roles.

Jason Sudeikis won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy for his role in Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.

Michaela Coel received an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for her HBO show based on her own sexual assault, I May Destroy You.

Receiving the award, Coel, who also directed and starred in the mini series, said, “Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves and to, in turn, constantly feel the need to be visible. Visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear – from it, from us, for a while – and see what comes to you in the silence.”

Coel was also one of the few artists of colour who received an Emmy on Sunday. American drag queen RuPaul Charles’ show RuPaul’s Drag Race won the Emmy in the Outstanding Competition Program category. As host of the show, RuPaul earlier took home the Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program for the sixth year in a row.

The 73rd Primetime Emmy awards was hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, and conducted in a fully air-conditioned tent at LA LIVE in Los Angeles. Presenters at the event included Uzo Aduba, Awkwafina, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Ava DuVernay, Jessica Long, Mindly Kaling, Amy Peohler, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among others.

Attendance was limited after the Academy declared in August that nominated teams of three or more members were to be restricted to no more than four tickets per nomination.

The full list of winners can be accessed here.

Idumbankaari: Sshivada Nair & Ramya Pandian Starring Investigative Thriller Nearing Completion

Idumbankaari, the upcoming Tamil film starring actors Sshivada Nair and Ramya Pandian in the lead roles, is nearing wrap up with only a couple of weeks of shooting pending, the director of the film Arul Ajit told Silverscreen India.

It is produced by CV Kumar of Thirukumaran Entertainment and BT Arasakumar of BTK Films. In addition to producing, Kumar has also written the story.

Speaking about Idumbankaari, debutant filmmaker Arul said that while Nair plays the first lead and Ramya the second, there is no prominent male lead. “Both of them are seasoned artists. Sshivada has done both Tamil and Malayalam films and is more experienced. Ramya has also proved her mettle in Joker and a other few films. We chose them based on their acting strengths and suitability for the respective characters,” he added.

The cast includes TV anchor Gopinath of Neeya Naana fame, actor Anupama Kumar, and veteran filmmaker Velu Prabhakaran in prominent roles.

Idumbankaari went on floors March and the film’s first look was released by the makers on the occasion of Vinayaka Chathurthi on social media on September 10.

Choosing not to reveal much about the plot, Arul only mentioned that it is an investigative thriller, and the title refers to a historic character’s name. However, the film is set against the backdrop of modern-day Chennai.

“I had gone to meet CV Kumar to narrate a script in late 2020. Since my script was more demanding and needed to be shot outside Chennai completely, he thought it would be wiser for me to make my debut with this one that he has written.”

The director added that it is very challenging to direct a script penned by someone else because you have to recreate what another person has visualised. “Before each day of shoot, CV Kumar and I would discuss about the frames. It has been a good learning experience.”

With cinematography by Ameen, the film is completely shot in live locations in Chennai, without the use of any sets, the director noted.

Arun Raj is composing the score for the film that does not feature any songs.

Speaking about the release, Arul said, “Post-production will take place in October and after that, a decision will be made about the release. We have not ruled out an OTT release. The producers have to take the call on that, however, since it is purely a business decision.Personally, I am okay with any type of release.”

The filmmaker next plans to helm his own script.

Sivakumarin Sabadham Trailer Starring Hiphop Tamizha Aadhi, Madhuri

#SivakumarinSabadham – Official #Trailer | #HiphopTamizha | #SathyaJyothiFilms | #IndieRebels

Movie: Sivakumarin Sabadham
Starcast: Hiphop Tamizha, Madhuri
Director, Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, Lyrics: Hiphop Tamizha
Programmer: Vinu
DOP: Arjunraja D.F. Tech
Editing: Deepak S. Dwaraknath
Choreographer: Santhosh
Dialogues : HiphopTamizha & Bala singaravelan
Colorist: Sreejith Sarang
Art Director: Vasudhevan
Action : Pradeep
VFX: Nectar Pixels media
Sound Mixing: Tapas Nayak
Trailer mixed by : Nikhil Mathews @Hiphoptamizha
SFX: Sync Cinema
PRO: Suresh Chandra, Rekha D’one
Designs: Amudhan Priyan
Executive Producer: Ashwanth
Banner: Sathya Jyothi Films and Indie Rebels.
Producer: Hiphop Tamizha, Sendhil Thyagarajan Arjun Thyagarajan
Audio Label: Think Music

Ponniyin Selvan: Historical Drama Film Wraps Up Shooting, To Release in 2022

The shooting for the first installment of the Tamil historical drama film Ponniyin Selvan was wrapped on Saturday. Directed by Mani Ratnam, the movie will release in the summer of 2022. The film’s producers Lyca Productions and Madras Talkies took to their social media to make the announcement.

Ponniyin Selvan is based on author Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel of the same name. It follows the early days of Arulmozhivarman, who went on to become the Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I.

Dubbed as a magnum opus, the film boasts of an ensemble cast from multiple film industries. It stars Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Prakash Raj, and Trisha in the lead. Other cast members include Jayaram, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prabhu, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Lal, Sarath Kumar, Rahman, and Ashwin Kakamanu.

Jayam Ravi plays the role of Arulmozhivarman and Karthi and Trisha play Vandhiyathevan and princess Kundavai respectively. It has also been speculated that Aishwarya Rai will portray the character Nandhini in the upcoming film.

While Vikram, who is essaying the role of Adithya Karikalan, wrapped up his part two weeks ago, actors Karthi and Aishwarya Rai took to social media recently to announce that they have also finished filming.

Ponniyin Selvan, which has been touted as Mani Ratnam’s dream venture, finally took off in 2019. The film’s cinematographer is Ravi Varman and the music has been composed by AR Rahman.

The screenplay is been jointly penned by Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel, while the editing has been handled by Sreekar Prasad. Jeyamohan was in charge of writing the film’s dialogues and Thota Tharani handled the production design.

Earlier in August, Ponniyin Selvan was caught in a controversy after a complaint was filed against Madras Talkies by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for the death of a horse on the film’s set.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya Interview: A Character Artist’s Journey into the Night

“Whether it is a police officer in cahoots with the local politician or a seer who tells the future, playing each character is like peeling an onion”, says Dibyendu Bhattacharya. “You keep peeling till you reach the core,” he says.

The character artist who has starred in a number of blockbuster films like Dev D and Black Friday has applied this philosophy since his foray into acting in 1988 through a theatre group in Kolkata. While the journey and his pursuit for roles in Bollywood have not easy, Dibyendu says he has stuck to the basics.

Even while getting his undergraduate degree in Commerce in Calcutta, he was always ready to go up on stage, he says. 

Dibyendu adds that his aim to be professionally trained had manifested in the form of an opportunity to study at National School of Drama, New Delhi in the 1990s. Once he entered the institution, he could guiltlessly contribute time to the theatre.

After NSD, Dibyendu says that he tried to juggle working as a senior actor and a government employee, patiently waiting for opportunities and auditions to present themselves.

Since then, in a career spans over 20 years with movies in both Hindi and Bengali Cinema, Dibyendu’s performances have been noted and lauded in several films. He has played iconic roles including those like Chunni Babu in Dev D (2009), Yeda Yakub in Black Friday (2004), Biswa Paathak in Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega (2020), Layak Talukder in Criminal Justice (2019), Peer Baba in Ray (2021) and many more.

Although the actor has gotten his fair share of trolling and online abuse for his role of of a heartless jail inmate in the show Criminal Justice on Disney+ Hotstar,plays the role, he stands unfazed and has been booking a number of new projects.

Recently, he even won the SPOTT Awards for supporting actors for his performance in the show Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega which airs on Netflix 

In an interview with Silverscreen India, Dibyendu talks about his busy shooting schedule post the lockdown. He also speaks about winning his recent awards, facing trolls and taking a realistic approach to the roles he is offered. 

Dibyendu Bhattacharya in Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega (Credit: IMDb)

Jamtara was a huge hit, and your character was the viewer’s favourite. Was the attention overwhelming?  

As actors, we are always looking to do quality work, and when that receives recognition of any kind, it is always overwhelming. I have never paid heed to whether the role is big or small, but what I do think is important is that it is impactful. Jamtara is a show that continues to be an absolute success and it does deserve all the accolades it can receive. I am glad that I can contribute to it too.

What process do you undertake to prepare for a role? Does it come to you from observing people in real life or do you just focus on what the script demands?  

When the script is provided, I plan the features of a character based on the information provided by the script. However, one needs to go beyond that to understand the role a bit deeper. I feel like one must find some point of uniqueness in a character. Till the time one does not get that, it is not possible to bring character to life.  

I love playing characters and do not really bother about the length. For instance, I played the character of Peer Baba in the Netflix anthology Ray. It is a small role but impactful. Viewers applauded it. They loved that small appearance. In coming years, there will surely be more such lovable characters.

Many of your projects were either shelved or delayed due to the lockdown. What is it like to jump from that phase to working a 12-hours shift now.

It has suddenly created a lot of pressure because everybody wants to shoot now, and I am committed to everyone. But the question is, when do I find the time?

I am currently shooting in Manali where the weather fluctuates between hot summery days to wet monsoon like conditions. The schedule got messed up because of these showers. I am suddenly also working a night shift now. The hours are strange and have at least 12 hours of work. Sometimes it also extends but what can we do. The show must go on.

After Criminal Justice you ended up getting lots of hate mails and threats. How did you deal with them?  

 At first, I got scared because I was not used to it. I felt weird because the comments of these trolls were very personal and threatening. Then people around me told me that this sort of thing happened often. People who troll end up taking everything to heart and forget about the fact that the person on the receiving end is an actor who is supposed to do all kinds of roles.

Do you go grocery shopping on your scooter as easily as you used to before you found fame in shows like Jamtara or Undekhi? 

Yes. I still roam around. I own a yellow Vespa scooter. Whenever I want to step out, I take it out for a spin. Fans have recognised my vehicle in the past but that is okay. I like to live freely and go to buy vegetables if I want to.

Would you like to talk about your upcoming projects?  

There is an upcoming film with Ribhu Dasgupta, and I will be returning as Officer-in-charge Biswa Pathak for the second season of Jamtara. I have two more shows-Khuda Hafiz 2 and Undekhi 2There are two other projects which are in the works and will be released soon.

Review Roundup: What the Critics Are Saying About ‘Kaanekkaane’, ‘Annabelle Sethupathi’ and More Releases This Week

Cinemas across the country are marching towards normalcy as films like Thalaivii, Laabam, and Seetimaarr which released in the second week of September, are continuing their successful run in the theatres.

 

While viewership of Seetimaarr has topped the charts, Thalaivii, Jayalalithaa’s biopic starring Kangana Ranaut, has picked only over the weekend and has reportedly collected Rs 4.75 crores. Laabam, which has had a wider release than the Ranaut-starrer in Tamil Nadu, has collected only Rs 4 crore in the four days after its release.

While films like Kodiyil Oruvan and Friendship have released in theatres, several films like Nithin’s Telugu film Maestro, and Vijay Sethupathi and Taapsee Pannu’s Annabelle Sethupathi have taken the digital route.

Silverscreen India brings to you, responses from critics and audience, for films that have released both online and in theatres.

Kaanekkaane (Streaming on SonyLIV)

Photo Caption: Poster of Kaanekkaane; Credit: IMDb

The Manu Ashokan directorial features actors Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, and Shruti Ramachandran, in lead roles.

Reviewers have appreciated the first half of the Malayalam film that set a subtle premise, but criticised the second half that chose a convenient and mainstream conclusion.

“When Paul (Suraj Venjaramoodu) chances upon a shocking piece of information about Sherin’s (Sruthi Ramachandran) death from a carelessly placed photograph at Allen’s (Tovino Thomas), he decides to seek revenge. Paul, who had been blaming a lax taxi driver for the accident all along, suddenly finds a new enemy, a target to steer his anger and grief towards,” writes Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India.

“The premise of Kaanekkaane takes off from countless front-page news items about women who were eliminated to make room for the men’s illicit desires,” she says.

She adds, “The film’s betrayal of its own cause hits hard because it began with immense promise.”

Vishal Menon of Film Companion notes “The thriller-like treatment disipates and the film’s moral undertones suddenly appear on the forefront, pushing back its subtleties.”

S.R. Praveen of The Hindu, writes “The ever-dependable Suraj carries much of the film, but even his shift comes across as unconvincing in the climax. Kaanekkaane works when it patiently unravels its many layers, but spoils it with a convenient stitching-up.”

However, it seems like the film worked better with the audience, as it currently has an IMDb rating of 8.5.

Kaanekkaane went on floors in November 2020 and was shot for around 33 days in the outskirts of Kochi. “Though we shot the film amidst the pandemic, the story is not set in the Covid-19 context. The filming was not confined to a single location either. We have a mix of both indoor and outdoor scenes,” Manu told Silverscreen India earlier.

Kodiyil Oruvan (Currently in theatres)

Kodiyil Oruvan Movie Stillls Starring Vijay Antony
Photo Caption: Still from Kodiyil Oruvan

The Vijay Antony-starrer Tamil film is a political thriller that revolves around an IAS aspirant, played by Antony, who decides to take the responsibility to fight against corrupt politicians of Chennai.

For reviewers, the film seems to have fallen flat as a political thriller with only the ‘Amma’ sentiment keeping it afloat.

For Arunkumar Sekhar of Silverscreen India, while the film is confused and falters in terms of sound mixing, editing, and character study, it “delivers because it has the quintessential amma sentiment as its driving force – it dictates the protagonist’s choices at crucial segments. This core is solidly written from start to finish.”

Similarly, Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion while appreciating the film’s premise, calls the screenplay, a “garbled mess”.

Haricharan Pudipeddi of Hindustan Times calls the film predictable but lauds it for making the “sentimental mother-son subplot” work for itself.

It is to be noted that apart from playing the lead in the film, Antony also served as the editor.

The film has a current rating of 9 on IMDb.

Ankahi Kahaniya (Streaming on Netflix)

Photo Caption: Poster of Ankahi Kahaniya

The anthology film comprises three shorts directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey, and Saket Chaudhary. While Tiwari’s work features Abhishek Banerjee, Chaubey’s short features Rinku Rajgugru and Delzad Hilwale, and Chaudhary’s short features Kunal Kapoor and Zoya Hussain.

The three films about love and relationship has received mixed responses from reviewers.

For Mrinal Rajaram of Silverscreen India, Tiwari and Chaubey’s stories works the best as both capture the innocence in their protagonists’ romance. Despite an interesting premise and writing, Chaudhary’s final short proves to be the weakest link because of the acting which fell short.

Rohan Naahar of Hindustan Times calls Chaubey’s Madhyantar, a genius.

While Tiwari’s short stands out just for Banerjee’s acting, it falls flat for him due to the absence of a subtext.

Anna MM Vetticad of Firstpost, however, contrary to the two, finds Chaudhary’s short “breezy” and attributes it to the actors.

Ankahi Kahaniya is currently rated 6.3 on IMDb.

Annabelle Sethupathi (Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar)

Photo Caption: One of Annabelle Sethupathi‘s posters

The Vijay Sethupathi and Taapsee Pannu-starrer horror-comedy film revolves around a palace full of ghosts.

According to director Deepak Sundarrajan, while the film was not conceived as a pan-India film, it became one with the addition of actors like Jagapathi Babu, Rajendra Prasad, Raadhika, Yogi Babu and Vennela Kishore.

Despite a good cast, the film failes to impress both critics and the audience.

Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India, writes, “The director has everything in place – a history with the industry, good cast and crew, and the capability to lavish on vast sets and locales. He has everything but convincing writing.”

According to Vishal Menon of Film Companion, the film looks and feels like a television serial. It is “an extremely derivative horror comedy that’s never clever enough to double up as a spoof of the many films it borrows from.”

Praveen Sudevan of The Hindu, writes, “The story, after all, isn’t as important as how it’s told. But that’s where the film falters; Annabelle Sethupathi doesn’t address what it makes fun of.”

Annabelle Sethupathi has a current IMDb standing of 4.6.

Maestro (Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar)

Photo Caption: One of the posters of Maestro

The remake of the 2018 Hindi film Andhadhun, Maestro stars Nithiin reprising Ayushmann Khurrana‘s role, Tamannaah reprising Tabu‘s role, and Nabha Natesh in Radhika Apte‘s role.

According to Mukesh Manjunath of Film Companion, the film’s biggest let down is its lack of humour. However, reviewers agree that Nithiin and Tamannaah’s performances deliver a good watch.

“The dialogues are functional and the scenes are too faithful to the original barring the film leaning a bit too heavily on the organ donation aspect and getting into a preachy zone. The film doesn’t have as ambiguous an ending as the original and that’s understandable given that Telugu audiences have generally favored clear cut endings,” he writes.

For Balakrishna Ganeshan of The News Minute, Maestro works as a decent thriller as director Merlapaka Gandhi does not resort to shot-to-shot copy.

Apart from the aforementioned films, the third season of the highly anticipated show Sex Education has begun streaming on Netflix.

Pa Ranjith to Co-Produce Film on the Internal Battle of a Person in Their Mid-40s

Filmmaker Pa Ranjith has announced a new film to be backed by his Neelam Productions banner. The film will be written and directed by debutant Dhinakaran Sivalingam, who has previously worked with Ranjith on the Rajinikanth-starrers Kaala (co-director) and Kabali (associate director).

The upcoming film will be co-produced by TN Arun Balaji under his Balloon Pictures banner. Ranjith made the announcement on social media on Thursday.

Speaking to Silverscreen India about the untitled film, Dhinakaran says, “It is a hopeful film with an empowering message, set in contemporary Chennai. The core idea is to show a certain emotion in a comical way. It is about the internal battle of a person in their mid-40s. We will be presenting the protagonist’s highs and lows in a humorous way. And this will be balanced with family emotions, a loss, and the struggle to regain what was lost.”

The filmmaker, a former college-mate of Ranjith’s, says the duo was supposed to collaborate on another film earlier, but since that was a big-budget project, they later decided to make this film first.

“I am currently working on the final draft,” says Dhinakaran, adding that he began working on the idea in November 2020. “I completed a handwritten draft of about 130 pages in March. There were a lot of notes, and I added a few characters during the last moment. So now, I am restructuring the script and will finalise it by October. The casting and crew choices will then follow.”

The filmmaker adds that he is looking for seasoned actors with screen familiarity, but has not settled on any concrete names yet. “There are about four extreme emotions to be delivered by one character: innocent humour, cunning, hopelessness on the verge of losing something, and an inspirational attitude. The lead actor should be able to portray all these emotions,” he explains.

Dhinakaran mentions that he follows the works of filmmakers such as Yôji Yamada and Dileesh Pothan, particularly how they design characters and make feel-good films. “I also have an interest in the Japanese school of Buddhist philosophy, which teaches us to constantly renew ourselves and practice values that can elevate the lives of others as well. My film will similarly highlight the empowerment of one person and show how that inspires others.”

The makers of the untitled film are planning to go on floors in January 2022.

Doctor: Sivakarthikeyan-Starrer to Release in Theatres on October 9

Doctor, the upcoming Tamil film starring actor Sivakarthikeyan in the lead role, is set to release in theatres on October 9, the makers of the film announced on Thursday.

Sivakarthikeyan is also producing Doctor under his home banner Sivakarthikeyan Productions along with Kalai Arasu under the KJR Studios banner.

Doctor wrapped up its shooting in January and Sivakarthikeyan announced in February that he has completed dubbing for the film. The film was initially scheduled to release on March 26. However, the makers postponed the release due to the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections that took place in April.

While, a few months back, there were speculations that the film will opt for a direct-to-OTT release, following the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic and the shutting down of theatres, KJ Rajesh of KJR Studios, had refuted the rumours, speaking with Silverscreen India. Following the reopening of theatres in Tamil Nadu from August, on September 9, makers of the film announced that it will release in theatres in October.

The film is written and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, who is currently working with actor Vijay in the upcoming Tamil film Beast. Doctor is Nelson’s second directorial venture after the 2018 Tamil black comedy film Kolamavu Kokila.

Doctor, which is shot by Vijay Kartik Kannan, also features actor Priyanka Arul Mohan in her Tamil debut. She is also set to collaborate with Sivakarthikeyan in the upcoming film Don. Apart from her, Doctor’s cast includes actors Vinay Rai, Yogi Babu, Ilavarasu, and Archana in pivotal roles. While Anirudh Ravichander is composing the music, Nirmal is the editor.

Sivakarthikeyan who was last seen in the 2019 superhero film Hero, has science fiction comedy Ayalaan and a film with Jathi Ratnalu director Anudeep KV in the pipeline. He is also in talks with Gautham Menon for a film with Vels Film International.

Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham: Kerala HC Directs Centre to Decide on Release of Mohanlal Starrer

The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the union government to take a final decision on the release of Mohanlal-starrer Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham after considering the complaint raised against the film, The New Indian Express reported.

The direction came in response to a plea filed by a descendant of Kunjali Marakkar, on whom the film is based, alleging that Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham is a distortion of history and hence its release should be restrained. 

Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, written and directed by Priyadarshan, is set in the 16 century and narrates the story of Kunjali Marakkar, the fourth and the last of the Malayali naval leaders deployed by the Samoothiri of Calicut to fight in the war against the Portuguese in the 16th century. 

The film is produced by Antony Perambavoor under the Aashirvad Cinemas banner on a budget of Rs 100 crore. It won awards for best feature film, best special effects and best costume design at the 67th National Film Awards. 

According to a Live Law report, petitioner Mufeeda Arafath Marakkar alleges that the teaser of the film has portrayed distorted and fabricated versions of the life and time of Kunjali Marakkar and the attempt has defamed the members of his family.

“This would also incite communal hatred which poses an imminent threat to law and order,” the petitioner said, adding that the government or the district collector has the authority to suspend the release of the film on the ground that it is likely to provoke a breach of peace.

The petitioner further noted that an expert committee should view the film and only then should it be allowed to release in theatres. Alleging that the Central Board of Film Certification has given a U/A certificate for the film without application of mind and without verifying whether the film has depicted the true story of Marakkar, the petitioner added, “The history of Kunjali Marakkar is a component of the school curriculum and if this version is exhibited it would have a serious impact on the minds of the children in their formative years.”

The petitioner’s counsel noted that though the plea was filed in February 2020, the state has not taken any decision on this so far. 

On the other hand, the CBFC informed the petitioner that the complaint has been rerouted to the concerned ministry. The CBFC also added that the union government has no role or right to interfere in the matter.

However, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan has now directed the union government to decide on the film’s release within four weeks.

Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham was earlier scheduled to release on August 12, but was postponed since theatres in Kerala have not been allowed to reopen yet. A new release date has not been announced. Meanwhile, the makers have signed a deal with film exhibitors for an exclusive three-week theatre run.

Prithviraj’s ‘Brahmam’ to Have Theatrical Release in the Gulf & Simultaneous Amazon Prime Video Premiere in October

Bhramam, the upcoming Prithviraj Sukumaran starrer, will have a theatrical release in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and a simultaneous premiere on Amazon Prime Video in October, the actor said during a recent media interaction in Dubai. 

Prithviraj was in Dubai to receive the Golden Visa from the United Arab Emirates government. Apart from him, Malayalam actors like Mohanlal, Mammootty, Tovino Thomas and Dulquer Salmaan were also bestowed with the Golden Visa in the recent past. 

During an interaction with a radio channel, Prithviraj noted that Dubai is “officially” his second home now and said he would establish his production house, Prithviraj Productions, there in the coming years.

The actor also discussed his upcoming projects such as Brahmam, Bro Daddy, and Aadujeevitham.

Revealing that Brahmam would simultaneously release in theatres (in GCC) and on Amazon Prime Video, Prithviraj noted that the Gulf audience could choose their preferred medium of viewing. “This [simultaneous release in theatre and OTT] is an interesting phenomenon and has already happened in the West,” he said, adding that streaming services have come as a blessing for the film industry which was at a standstill in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that though films are designed for community viewing, the shutdown of theatres has caused a lot of grief in the industry. “However, with OTT platforms, at least a part of the industry was able to restart operations. I am really looking forward to the days when theatres can reopen fully.”

The actor also revealed that Brahmam will be released sometime in October first or second week. “The announcement will be made in the coming days,” he added. 

Bhramam, a dark comedy crime thriller directed by Ravi K Chandran, is the Malayalam remake of the Hindi film Andhadhun. The film also features actors Unni Mukundan, Mamta Mohandas and Raashi Khanna

Prithviraj also spoke about his second directorial venture Bro Daddy which, like his debut directorial Lucifer, stars Mohanlal in the lead. The actor-filmmaker said Bro Daddy, much like every other film, is made for a theatrical experience. However, due to the prevailing uncertain situation with the pandemic, he would not be able to comment on its mode of release at present, he added. “I don’t know when theatres will reopen. Whichever way it is, I’ll be happy if the film reaches the audience.”

When asked about the other film he is starring in, the upcoming Malayalam adventure drama Aadujeevitham, written and directed by Blessy, Prithviraj said he would resume work on the film in December. “We will start in Algeria with a big 40-day schedule, then shift to Jordan for another big schedule, and then back to India for a small schedule,” he added. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Benyamin.