According to Box Office India, John Abraham-starrer Anek had a very poor opening of just Rs 1.75 crore (nett) and could not attract much of an audience even on Friday evening. While the film is expected to get more numbers during the weekend, it is facing tough competition from Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. In fact, Anek‘s opening is reportedly one of the lowest in 2022 and it is in the same group as films like Badhaai Do, Jhund, and Dhaakad, all of which saw very little footfall on their opening day.
Directed by Anubhav Sinha, Anek is a socio-political thriller set in Northeast India. The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar and Sinha under Benaras Media Works and T-Series. It was earlier set to clash with Jayeshbhai Jordaar, which also failed to rake in much money at the box office.
Top Gun: Maverick, which released on Wednesday, has so far collected Rs 4.25 crore (nett) in India. While the film’s first two days’ earnings were very low, it picked up on Friday and is expected to do better during the weekend. This film will also prove to be strong competition for Anek. Top Gun: Maverick is an action drama and is the sequel to Tom Cruise’s 1986 film Top Gun.
With June set to see many more Hindi releases, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 has proved to be the sole ray of hope for the industry. The horror-comedy’s earnings currently stand at Rs 96.5 crore (nett) and it will surely cross the 100-crore mark as it enters its second week. Only last year’s Sooryavanshi was able to see a good footfall even in its second week, so it will be interesting to see if the Aaryan-starrer can surpass it.
Yash Raj Films, the makers of Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film Prithviraj, have changed the movie’s title to Samrat Prithviraj after facing criticism from the organisation Shree Rajput Karni Sena. The film is set to release next week, on June 3.
YRF made the announcement about the title change in a public letter addressed to Karni Sena President Mahipalsingh Makrana, on Friday. “We sincerely appreciate your effort in alerting us about your grievance in relation to the current title of the film, and assure you that we did not, and do not, intend to hurt the sentiments of any person(s) or disrespect the late king and warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan. In fact, we wish to celebrate his bravery, achievements, and contribution to our nation’s history, through this film,” the letter said.
It further added, “As per the multiple rounds of discussions between us, and to peacefully and amicably resolve the raised grievance, we will change the title to Samrat Prithviraj. We are highly appreciative of the mutual agreement reached between us that you have no further objections with regards to our film and that all other points raised by you earlier are no longer a point of contention between us. We thank Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena and its members for understanding our good intentions pertaining to the depiction of the great warrior in the film.”
In 2021, the film had started receiving flak from Karni Sena, which demanded that the makers of Prithviraj change the title of the film. The contention was that the title without any honorific for the emperor was disrespectful. Later, protests broke out in Chandigarh for the same reason.
Surjeet Singh Rathore, the then president of the youth wing of the Sena, had warned that the film’s makers would face the same consequences as the makers of Padmaavat, the 2018 film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The outfit had physically assaulted Bhansali in 2016 and attacked the sets of Padmaavat while the film was being shot in Rajasthan. The film was then titled Padmavati. Claiming that the film planned to show romantic scenes featuring Rani Padmini and Alauddin Khilji (played by Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, respectively), Karni Sena staged protests in several parts of the country. Bhansali, however, denied the presence of such scenes in the film. After facing death threats, Bhansali eventually agreed to change the film’s title.
Everything runs in circles in Kuttavum Shikshayum (Crime and Punishment), directed by cinematographer-filmmaker Rajeev Ravi. Halfway through the film, the Malayali police inspector Sajan Philip (Asif Ali) and his team members, played by Alencier, Sharaf U Dheen, Senthil Krishna and Sunny Wayne, enter a North Indian village, looking for a bunch of thieves who robbed a jewellery shop in Idukki. As they walk around, the space takes the shape of a maze where people, houses, animals and lanes look like copies of one another. A clay-coloured garden of clones. The camera follows the characters like an apparition shadowing an unsuspecting human being, breathing down behind their necks. The scene conveys the absolute loss of control Sajan feels in these new surroundings. He is like a fish out of the water, terrified of the unknown.
Their journey from Kerala to Uttar Pradesh is compressed into a fascinating montage. Shots of goods trains and those carrying hundreds of passengers storming past their windows. Shots of bridges and arid desert landscapes. The images are eerily alike, sans any sign that marks the time and place.
This monotony also denotes the nature of Sajan’s job. He is in constant motion, from one case to another, from one crime scene to another, losing his sense of right and wrong in the process.
Kuttavum Shikshayum must be the most unusual Rajeev Ravi film yet, and amusingly, the closest to the kind of cinema he describes as his own in interviews. A police drama without a great storyline or dramatic twists and turns. His filmmaking is characterised by an element of randomness, a rejection of order. Sometimes the actors’ lines overlap as though there was no clear-cut dialogue in the first place. The supporting actors look like they were picked right from the filming location. The interior of the hotel rooms and police stations are aptly shabby. The North Indian landscape the film shifts to in the latter half is not typically picturesque but boundlessly plain. But this vérité style flounders in several parts, leading to technical discrepancies and rough edges. The performance of the supporting cast in the second half and the sound design leave much to be desired. The staging of scenes and transitions are absurdly flat in several parts, evoking indifference rather than curiosity.
For the most part, the film ducks the personal and sticks to the procedural. Its emphasis is not on the character backstories or the emotional elements but on the unkind masculine landscape where the characters operate. Before the title appears on the screen, two crimes happen. A murder and a robbery. The first incident is brilliantly staged, like a hunting game filmed from the perspective of the gun-wielding predator. From the wide shot of a stone-pelting mob storming towards the police force, Rajeev cuts to dramatic close-ups of a cop and an activist. One is mired in anxiety while the other in revolutionary zeal. The unfounded fear of the armed man contrasted against the fearlessness of the unarmed. In a later instance, a policeman leaps from the background to hit a suspect who talked back to his superior officer. Why do the cops feel threatened and enraged by the slightest show of boldness by a civilian? It seems less personal and more symptomatic of the hierarchy in the police system and the power dynamics in society.
Kuttavum Shikshayum, like Nayattu (2021), is written by a policeman, Sibi Thomas (co-written with Sreejith Divakaran). If Nayattu’s writer Shahi Kabeer cast himself as a hapless victim, Thomas’ work is brutally self-critical. He interprets cruelty as the sign of a pandemic. Sajan’s monologue close to the climax comes across as a contrived insertion into an otherwise seamless narrative, but in close-up shots in the early scenes, his eyes quietly speak of a history of trauma (Asif Ali delivers a powerful performance), undiagnosed and untreated, left to spread like cancer.
However, the film’s quasi cheerful final scene negates this interpretation.
Kuttavum Shikshayum, like Annayum Rasoolum and Kammattipadam, unfurls in an exclusively male terrain where the female presence is almost always a disruption. The cops, in the early part of the film, dive into the underbelly of the highland town of Kattappana to meet the people who make up that world. They look threatened for the first time when they encounter the bold young wife of a suspect (Srinda) determined to protect her husband. Interestingly, the cops experience a similar shock again when an angry mob of women in colourful veils interrupt their inspection in the North Indian village. The women are encoded anomalies, but Rajeev knows his men. In a scene post the interval, one of the men breaks down in tears, a rare exhibition of vulnerability in a cop drama. The men propel from one phase of the investigation to the next, fuelled by nothing but a sense of duty, like well-oiled machines.
Kuttavum Shikshayum is an easy title, a catchy one at that. Contrary to what it suggests, the film does not raise existential questions or dwell on the rot in the law and order system. In the end, Rajeev stands his viewers up, hastily winding up the narrative without offering them a follow-up to the case. Yet, despite these flaws, Kuttavum Shikshayum is, strangely, a gripping film. Rajeev employs the mechanics of a conventional horror drama to reasonable success. You watch with bated breath as the protagonists venture into a dark, mysterious world and wait for it to explode. The blast never happens, but the pleasures that the wait offers seem gratifying enough.
This Kuttavum Shikshayum review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.
Aattam, the upcoming Malayalam film directed by debutant Anand Ekarshi, is a suspense drama led by actors Vinay Forrt, Zarin, and Kalabavan Shajohn as well as artistes from the Lokadharmi theatre group.
Produced by Dr Ajith Joy under the Joy Movie Production banner, the film went on floors on April 4 and was wrapped up on April 28. It is currently in post-production.
Speaking to Silverscreen India about the film, Anand says, “Aattam is a slow-burn suspense drama. The core essence of the film is human tension.”
He adds that the initiative to make Aattam came from Vinay. The filmmaker and actor have been friends for years, and are both part of the Lokadharmi theatre group. “As Vinay is an established actor in the film industry, he wanted to do something for his theatre friends, who are great actors but have not got opportunities in cinema,” says Anand.
“Last year, in April, we went on a trip and at that time, Vinay suggested we make a film with our friends from the theatre group. We talked further about this plan and he asked me to come up with an idea. I pitched a story to him and he liked it. That’s how Aattam took off,” he adds.
Aside from Zarin, all the other lead actors are members of Lokadharmi. Zarin, who was seen in The Family Man series and Rashmi Rocket, was selected through auditions.
The debutant director reveals that the theatre actors play themselves on screen, with some of their names retained as well. However, he clarifies that the film does not revolve around the theatre art form. “Only the base of the film is the theatre and the characters in the film are theatre artistes. Aattam delves into the human mind, and for that, I thought the theatre background would work well.”
Anand took almost four months to write the script, and then he created a small pilot by shooting one scene from the film. He tells us that he shot the pilot scene live to show the producer that the debut artists were great actors. The producer liked the pilot and agreed to back the film.
“We did rehearsals for 50 days before we began shooting. We met every three days and had whole-day workshops. We also rehearsed for about eight days on location. This was very crucial because the film is completely character-driven and performance-oriented,” Anand adds. “Since all of them have theatre backgrounds, the workshops aided them in exploring a different zone of performance that films usually demand. It was an enriching experience to direct all of them.”
Having worked in both mediums, the filmmaker feels the theatre and cinema are ‘diametrically opposite’ even though they seem to be closely related. He adds that acting, conceiving a script and showcasing it are all completely different in the two mediums. “In theatre, a performance needs to reach even the last row of people in the hall, whereas acting for films requires a sense of subtlety. In Aattam, I have opted for a more realistic approach.”
Anand mentions that he was very particular about employing synchronised sound recording and not dubbing, as the latter can dilute the essence of a live performance. “There are many dialogues and performances in the film, which wouldn’t work as well when reproduced in dubbing. So, we went with live recording. Jikku Joshi was the sound recordist, and the sound design was done by Renganaath Ravee.”
Aattam was shot by cinematographer Anirudh Aneesh, while the film is edited by Mahesh Bhuvanend. Aneez Nadodi is the film’s art director.
Anand has previously assisted director Imtiaz Ali on the 2015 Hindi film Tamasha. Aside from that, he has also acted in various plays. “I have always wanted to become a filmmaker. Iranian films have been my inspiration. In Aattam, I have attempted to bring a more rooted, realistic perspective to Kerala’s culture.”
The winners for the year 2021 were announced by Saji Cherian, minister of Kerala Film Development Corporation and Chalachitra Academy, on Friday. The jury panel was headed by filmmaker Saeed Akhtar Mirza, and included directors K Gopinathan Sundar Das, Suresh Triveni, singer Bombay Jayshree, sound designer Haridhranath Dwarak Warier, cinematographer Fousiyaa Fathima, and lyricist C Ajoy.
As many as 142 films were submitted for the awards and 29 of them were shortlisted for the final round. This year’s entrants included 65 first-time filmmakers and six women filmmakers.
Director Jeo Baby’s Freedom Fight won the special jury mention award. Avasavyuham bagged the Best Feature Film award, and Vineeth Sreenivasan’s directorialHridayam won the award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value.
Prappeda’sdirector Krishnendu Kalesh won the Best Debut Filmmaker Award.
After two rough years, the Malayalam film industry has been seeing some light in 2022. Many big-budget movies and small-scale films have released in theatres over the last five months. Films like Bheeshma Parvam, Hridayam, and Jana Gana Mana turned out to be the biggest grossers at the box office, while others such as Oruthee, Pada, and Jo and Jowere received well by both critics and the audiences.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings you a list of Malayalam films that will hit the big screens this June.
The film is based on a play of the same name written in 1968 by KM Chithambaram, a school teacher and a renowned playwright. The play won the Samastha Kerala Sahithya Parishad award in 1973.
Centred around a Muslim family in Mattancherry – a mother, her son and two daughters – the play narrates a lesser-known slice of Kochi’s history. It unravels details of life in the city’s Mattancherry locality, where the working class reeled under acute poverty, unemployment and exploitation by shipping companies and labour contractors.
In an earlier conversation with Silverscreen India, the filmmaker said, “Vaashi has various meanings, such as ego, stubbornness, persistence, obstinacy. The film is also part courtroom drama with Keerthy and Tovino playing opposing lawyers in a case.”
Produced by Keerthy’s father G Suresh Kumar, the film is presented under his Revathy Kalaamandhir banner. Vaashi is co-produced by Keerthy’s mother Menaka Suresh and elder sister Revathy Suresh.
The film is produced by Aju Varghese and Visakh Subramaniam under the Funtastic Films banner in association with Tinu Thomas’ Hit Makers Entertainments.
In an earlier conversation with Silverscreen India, the film’s director Shahad K Muhammad said thatPrakashan Parakkatte captures a slice of the life of a middle-class family in a small village and also features local residents. “The story will revolve around a young boy’s aspirations, his bonding with his family members and their dreams,” he added.
This cop film features SV Krishna Sankar (SVK) in the lead, with actors Indrans, Murali Gopy, and Shine Tom Chacko appearing in pivotal roles. Directed by Shyam Mohan and produced by Deep Nagda, Kochaal is written by Midhun and Prajith. While SVK plays Sreekuttan, a civil police officer, Indrans plays a cop named Paulose and Murali Gopy plays a senior police officer named Simon Thomas. Shine essays a negative role, a deviant named ‘Pinker’ Babu.
Gargi, the upcoming multilingual film led by Sai Pallavi is set to be an emotional courtroom drama thriller, the film’s director Gautham Ramachandran tells Silverscreen India.
The film’s first look was recently released on social media, along with a glimpse of its making. Gargi is produced by Gautham, along with Ravichandran Ramachandran, Aishwarya Lekshmi, and Thomas George.
“Aishwarya has been a friend of mine for a few years now. When she read the synopsis and came to know I was looking for producers, she was the first person to come forward. I would first extend my gratitude to her,” says Gautham.
Speaking about the film, Gautham says, “I think that Gargi will be a fresh idea, for audiences to see, and we have consciously stayed away from the regular elements of making a film in this genre. I wanted it to be as unique as possible. The film is a courtroom drama, drawing from my own experiences of having been a lawyer, at some point. We have tried to keep the narrative as authentic as possible, instead of following a template.”
The director, who has also written the script, mentions that he made the shift from being a lawyer to pursuing cinema, about 10 years ago. He had penned the film, along with Hariharan Raju, back in 2019-20, a little before the pandemic-induced lockdown. “We usually bounce off ideas with each other, and as there was a healthy space for doing so, we co-wrote the film.”
On casting Sai Pallavi, Gautham says, “Gargi is inspired by several real-life experiences and I wanted to cast somebody, who can be very organic and as real, while playing the character. I had always felt that the artist who takes on the lead, has to portray the character, naturally. So, I went ahead and sent her the script and she liked it.”
“Since I have a lot of friends, who are lawyers, I end up listening to how a lot of cases are broken down, to derive pivotal cues. I have incorporated all of them, and woven them together. At the same time, we have also taken the liberty to fit them into the medium of cinema,” he says. However, the filmmaker clarifies that Sai Pallavi does not play the role of a lawyer, but a “person next-door” like any average person. Aside from her, the film also features Kaali Venkat, Aishwarya Lekshmi in a cameo role, and Saravanan, known for his role in Paruthiveeran, among others.
Gargi was primarily shot in Chennai, with some portions filmed in Bengaluru and Hyderabad by cinematographer duo Sraiyanti and Premkrishna Akkattu. The film’s editing is done by Shafique Mohamed Ali. “We started to shoot last year and wrapped up at the end of the year. Post-production began this year and is nearing completion, now,” he adds.
The music is composed by Govind Vasantha. Gautham notes that since the thriller will play with several emotions, the film has no dance sequences but will feature about 4-5 songs, which are expected to release, soon.
Gargi is primarily a Tamil film, but is also set to release in Telugu and Kannada. Sai Pallavi has dubbed for all three languages. The film is also expected to release in Malayalam and Bengali, but the decision is yet to be taken. “We might announce the film’s release date in the next 10-15 days. We are deciding on a theatrical release and you can expect it sometime in the mid or last quarter of 2022. As there is a lineup of many films, we will decide on the date, after taking all the languages into account,” he concludes.
India was also the country of honour at the Cannes International Film Festival, owing to 75 years of both the festival, as well as the country’s independence. The festival went on to conduct several conferences revolving around the nation that were aimed at expanding the scope of the Indian film and entertainment industry, both creatively and technologically.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you a list of seven series and films streaming across various OTT platforms this week, to watch from the comfort of your homes.
The fourth season of the American science fiction drama series Stranger Things will have nine episodes and is produced by Duffer Brothers, along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Iain Paterson. The fourth season will be released in two volumes, of which, the first set will premiere on May 27, and the second set will release on July 1, 2022. Volume 1 will feature the first seven episodes of the season.
Directed by Vignesh Shivan, this romantic comedy starring Vijay Sethupathi, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Nayanthara was released in theatres in April. Silverscreen India’s review reads, Vijay Sethupathi as Rambo, the man who believes he is jinxed in life until things suddenly change one fine day and luck begins to “pour” in the form of two beautiful women who fall in love with him, is perfectly cast. It is not at all hard to buy that this man would attract Kanmani (Nayanthara) and Khatija (Samantha). Sethupathi’s charm sells us on this completely.”
This American series features the Star Wars character, of the same name. The story begins 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, where Obi-Wan Kenobi faces his greatest defeat – the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
This Hindi web series starring Vaibhav Tatwawadi, Garima Vikrant Singh, and Alka Amin is directed by Rahul Pandey and Satish Nair. The series follows the “story of a young man, who is on a journey to find his roots.”
Mighty Little Bheem: I Love Taj Mahal(May 30)– Netflix
This is Netflix’s first animated children’s series from India and the fourth spin-off of the Chhota Bheem series, following Mighty Raju, Arjun – Prince of Bali and Super Bheem. The official synopsis reads, “On a trip to the beautiful Taj Mahal, Bheem gets distracted trying to return a little girl’s lost teddy bear before someone steals it!”
This American satirical thriller premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Carey Williams from a screenplay by KD Dávila, Emergency is an adaptation of the 2018 short film of the same name. The film’s synopsis reads, “Ready for a night of legendary partying, three college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unexpected situation.”
Actor Kamal Haasan, who will next be seen inVikram after a four-year hiatus from the big screen, revealed that the film is derived from a line he wrote for his 1986 movie of the same name. The actor-producer-politician divulged this at a press meet in Chennai on Wednesday, ahead of Vikram’s release on June 3.
Haasan, who addressed the media with director Lokesh Kanagaraj, also hinted at the possibility of a sequel for the upcoming film and confirmed that Indian 2 is still on the cards.
Speaking at the media event on Wednesday, Haasan said, “It was Lokesh’s idea to use the same title (Vikram). He is fond of many of my past films and could have chosen any of those names. However, he picked this. I had a line for the original film, but Rajasekhar (director of the 1986 movie) thought the idea was way ahead of its time. We then went with another story. I spoke about this line with Lokesh and he liked it. This film is carved out of that line.”
The actor also said that there might be a sequel to the 2022 film and affirmed that, in case it happens, Lokesh will helm it too.
While on the topic of sequels, Haasan also gave an update on his long-pending Indian 2 project with Shankar, which has been delayed due to legal issues. The actor said that it will definitely happen and that talks for it are currently on.
Further, Haasan addressed the controversy surrounding the lyrics of a song in Vikram that he wrote and lent his voice to. The song, Pathala Pathala, has been criticised for certain lines that appear to mock the Union government of India and take a dig at the state of the Indian treasury. However, Haasan said that the word ‘union’ has multiple meanings. “There are unions in cinema as well and if something goes wrong with them, a film might get affected. It can be taken like that as well,” he noted, and added that one has to watch the movie to understand the meaning of the lyrics.
On the current trend of pan-Indian films, Haasan opined, “Pan-Indian films are not new. Satyajit Ray’s films were also pan-Indian films. Vikram is also a pan-Indian film that can be an introduction for outsiders who have certain ideas about Indian films.”
When asked about Tamil films not entering the 1000-crore club, like those from the Telugu and Kannada industries, such as RRR and KGF, Haasan said, “There has been a period when Tamil cinema was at its peak and films from the language were remade across the country.”
Haasan also spoke about his rapport with late DMK chief M Karunanidhi. Vikram is notably set to release on the birth anniversary of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister. “When I began to write screenplays, I used to meet him often. While writing Dasavathaaram (2008), I met with him for suggestions. Even in the midst of his busy schedule, he used to meet me with eagerness. He would advise me to write more quickly and also said that it is a special talent to write for cinema. That stuck with me. Kalaignar Karunanidhi has contributed immensely to my writing,” Haasan said.
However, the actor added that the upcoming film arriving on Karunanidhi’s birth anniversary was simply a coincidence. “We had initially planned for a May 29 release, since that was the date the original Vikram released. However, due to the pandemic and other issues, we’ve now chosen this date.”
After a successful run at the film festival circuit, the Tamil film Seththumaan, backed by filmmaker Pa Ranjith, is set to premiere on SonyLIV on May 27. The film, which marks the directorial debut of Thamizh, focuses on food politics, one of the derivatives of the caste system.
Seththumaan follows the life of Poochi, who lives with his grandson in a small hut on his landlord, Vellaiyan’s land. While Kumaresan’s parents were killed in a caste riot and it is Poochi who is taking care of him, he has big dreams for his grandson and does all kinds of work to save money and get him into a private school. One day, Vellaiyan, who is always on the lookout to consume pork, entrusts Poochi with getting the meat and cook it, much to the chagrin of Vellaiyan’s wife as pork is frowned upon to consume. The film looks into deep-rooted biases within the caste system and their subsequent impact on the education system as well as the notion of food politics.
Ahead of the film’s OTT release, Thamizh, who has previously assisted Venkat Prabhu, met with Silverscreen India at his office in Chennai, to talk about what prompted him to make the film.
Thamizh notes that Seththumaan was based on Perumal Murugan’s short story Varugari (Pork Roast). The debutant director, who became an avid reader when he chose to pursue filmmaking, enrolled himself in libraries, in order to expand his horizons, with respect to reading. After he came to Chennai to become a director, Thamizh says, “I regularly started to visit the Chennai Book Fair, but I couldn’t afford to buy books, everytime I go there. But Kalachuvadu Publications keep their old editions in the front racks, to be given for free. Those books were both fictional as well as touched upon in-depth political issues. At one of those instances, I came across this short story, and it left an impact on me. Later, when I began to assist Venkat Prabhu, I also started working on individual projects. But the journey became unpredictable and was a struggle, and I chose to quit cinema and did nothing for 5-6 months.”
The filmmaker, whose eyes glisten with pride at the mention of his hometown Erode, the birthplace of social reformer Periyar, says that he had thoughts of going back, there. It was then that Thamizh was overcome with determination to create something in the field of cinema, before leaving it. As the filmmaker revisited Varugari again, he mentions that it left him with the same impact as that of when he read it for the first time. Elaborating on the impact, Thamizh says he wondered about what would happen to the boy, after his grandfather’s demise, which prompted him to make it into a film.
“The final image of the grandfather lying by the canal, as the boy is left alone by his side, had such a great emotional impact on me. I decided to make a film on this and was confident to convert the story into a visual narrative with limited investment. I contacted Perumal Murugan sir and he had confidence in me,” he says.
However, despite taking the story and dialogues from Perumal Murugan, while adapting it into a film, Thamizh was determined to write the screenplay, himself. After adding a few extra portions to the film, the filmmaker made it a point to also include a parallel narrative to the plot. This looks into Poochi’s struggle of getting Kumaresan admission to a private school, after the government school he goes to is looking to shut down, due to a lesser number of students.
“I developed the relationship between the grandfather and boy and the portions revolving education, as I wanted the film to touch upon various subjects. I haven’t studied about the writings of Ambedkar or Periyar, but I wanted to incorporate the system of education that they have advocated for, in the film. I was keen about discussing the politics of food and Poochi’s desire to ensure his grandson has the best education, and have them run parallelly, in the story,” he says.
Thamizh further notes, “You can see about a 100 private school buses running between 8-9 am. In Tamil Nadu, Namakkal district has the highest scores in board exams. I was insistent on keeping this district as a backdrop, to show the contrast of educational prominence in the film, that government schools end up shutting down due to a lack of resources. Parents move their children to private schools, as they end up believing in the illusion that government schools are not on par with private schools. As these schools close down as they lack the minimum turnout, the students face the wrath of having no access to education, or move farther away to gain access to schools.” Viewing the film as a commentary on the privatisation of education resulting in a loss of accessbility to many, the director stresses on certain shots from the film that reflect on government schools closing down, and the intentional emphasis on private education.
Throughout the film, there is no direct reference to gore or violence inflicted upon the oppressed castes. Instead, it shows the conflict that Poochi has with men from dominant castes, which subsequently has a domino effect on him. The characters are seen to be passive-aggressive, while showing their disdain towards people from lower castes.
Talking about adopting this narrative, Thamizh says, “I believed in it. Generally speaking, and in all of the politically-charged films that have released, so far, people often think of the extremes. But, there are still some people, who still don’t budge from the pedestal of the caste system. I did not want to romanticise Poochi’s pain. He works hard and he gets the money he deserves. It is a part of the screenplay. For example, there is a scene, where Poochi gets into the car of an upper-caste man. Although they ‘allow’ him to sit inside the car, he gets the last seat, suggestive of the power dynamics within caste. There was no need to romanticise any of these notions.”
Aside from this, Seththumaan, however, largely talks about the politics of food. With the desire of upper-caste men to consume pork that is otherwise frowned upon by their community, Thamizh says that there is hypocrisy observed, when it comes to the type of meat consumed, here and abroad. “While, here, we classify people according to what they eat, the same people look up to those who do the same in foreign countries. Barring other countries, the neighboring state of Kerala has a lot of consumers for beef. It is a dominant practice to consume meat, in general,” he says.
Further, Thamizh points out at a recent case, where the Tirupattur collector was issued a notice for excluding beef and pork biryani stalls at the Ambur Biryani Tiruvizha 2022. “Food politics will exist and as long it does, power imbalances will also be present. We have to do what we can about it. I want to address the issue. It is frowned upon for say, the consumption of pig faeces, but that does not mean one can look down on it. So, one can choose to eat pork or not, but why look down upon someone who eats?” he questions.
Seththumaan won the Best Feature Film award at IFFLA 2021 (International Film Festival of Los Angles) and the Second Best Film award at CIFF 2022 (Chennai International Film Festival). Aside from this, the film was recently screened at the Vaanam Art Festival in view of the Dalit History Month of April. It was also screened at IFFK 2021 (International film festival of Kerala), PIFF (Pune International Film Festival), Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and the Indian Film Festival of Cincinatti, among others.
Talking about his fondness for Kerala further, Thamizh says, “I had sent the films to a few other festivals but it didn’t get selected possibly due to the food politics highlighted. I also refused to make edits or censor the film. But I hold IFFK in high regard. Even though I have not attended it, I have heard good things about it, and how films are celebrated there. I had faith that my film would be selected and eventually it did. It was honouring and well received. I like to specially mention the people of Kerala who recognized what the film spoke.”
However, the filmmaker is strong about his stance of not watching Seththumaan, again. “A good work of art will find its own place among people. I had second thoughts about talking about this film, even now. I do not wish to talk about it further, to promote it. I think my duty as a filmmaker is over, and it is up to the people to watch the film,” he says.
Reminiscing that Seththumaan was shot exactly four years ago, back in May 2018, for about 18 days in Namakkal, Thamizh speaks about his association with Ranjith. “While I had an idea to invest in the film as well as shoot it, I could not afford the budget. At the time, Ranjith was involved with Pariyerum Perumal and I did not know him, personally. Still, I approached him, and asked if he could finance the team for us to rent cameras. After pitching the film to him, he found it interesting. Once I submitted a draft of the screenplay, he decided to back it under his banner. There were certain additions made, for instance, to interweave President Ram Nath Kovind coming to office, with the narrative,” he says.
Theatre artist Manickam plays the role of Poochi, and Thamizh says that it was a conscious decision to not rope in a star for the lead character. “It would not have done justice to the story and would divert attention from the Poochi’s character. Ranjith sir also gave me the freedom to decide on how I want to direct the film,” mentions the filmmaker.
When asked if the lens of filmmaking has changed in recent times, Thamizh says that he would like to largely believe that the present times are important, where actions will speak more than words. He notes, “There is definitely a change, but why talk about it rather than show it through our work. Let the film do the talking and that will give an alternate perspective to people. There might be opposition, but that is the part and parcel of making such films. However, there are many films coming in despite the opposition, and such films should be celebrated.”
Utsavam, the upcoming Telugu film starring Prakash Raj, Nassar and Regina Cassandra, among others, is set to be a family drama, made with the hope to revive theatre and drama, the film’s director Arjun Sai tells Silverscreen India.
Produced by Suresh Patil under the Hornbill Pictures banner, the makers recently announced that the film’s shooting has been wrapped up.
Arjun, who has worked as a writer for the television series Jabardasth, is making his directorial debut with Utsavam.
Speaking about the film, Arjun says, “This film will throw light on drama and theatre artists and their lives. It will show how theatre artists once flourished, their subsequent financial struggles, and how they artform went on to decline owing to the lack of audiences. The film addresses the need to revive the culture of drama and promote varied theatre troupes. Theatre is the ‘mother’ of cinema. A lot of the top, successful actors like Prakash Raj, Nassar, and several others, all come from a theatre background. However, now that the art form is eroding, perhaps in a few years from now, many wouldn’t even know that it existed.”
The debutant director says that the film is set in contemporary times and revolves around a group of youngsters, who take efforts to revive the form of theatre that was popular among their previous generations.
Utsavam has an ensemble cast which also includes Rajendra Prasad, Prema, Brahmanandam, Ali, Raghu Babu and LB Sriram, among others. Newcomer Dilip Prakash is playing the lead. Aside from them, a lot of theatre artists have also been roped in.
“Prakash Raj plays a theatre artist, who plays different heroes, while Nasser portrays several villain characters. Other cast members also play theatre artists in the film. As their livelihood diminishes and they run out of options for work, their younger generation has moved on to pursuing jobs in the corporate sector. The story follows a series of events as to how members from the younger generation, played by Regina and Dilip, take efforts to revive the culture of theatre and drama,” he says.
Arjun, who also wrote the script, says that he wrote it back in 2015. “I met with a lot of theatre artists and spent hours with them. It was a difficult journey since I did all of the on-ground research, by myself,” he mentions.
He adds, “I was determined to make my directorial debut with this film because I went to watch the play Mayabazar in Hyderabad. There were barely two or three people in the audience. I felt very, very bad and that stuck with me. Then, I decided to make a film out of this. Similarly, I wanted strong, well-known artists to tell this story so that it reaches many people, so I went ahead and cast actors Nassar and Prakash Raj.”
Utsavam was shot by cinematographer Rasool Ellore in multiple locations across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, and Nepal, between 2018 and 2020 but due to the pandemic, it was halted. The filming recently wrapped up, with post-production completed. Anup Rubens has composed the film’s music, with editing done by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao. The film has five songs and is expected to release soon. Arjun has written the dialogues along with filmmaker Ramana Gopisetti.
The makers are expected to release the film in theatres around mid-2022.
Arjun says that with this film, he wants to help revive the art form of theatre and the livelihood of the artists. “Dramas usually have a good message at the end, and I personally adore the art. I wish this film brings back the glory of the art form,” he concludes.
By now, theatres and OTT platforms have had their own shares of success. With recent OTT releases like Mammootty’s Puzhuand the Tamil feature Saani Kaayidham garnering praises, films like Don and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 that released in theatres, are also doing well.
While there is much to look forward to from OTT platforms, with many of them recently announcing a line-up of content, theatres are equally geared up for several film premieres. The much-awaited multi-starrer Tamil film Vikram is set to hit the big screens in June, as well as other notable Telugu releases like Major and Ante Sundaraniki.
On that note, Silverscreen India compiles a list of Tamil and Telugu films that are set to open in theatres for the month of June.
Major – June 3
After several delays, Adivi Sesh’s Major is finally hitting theatres. The film is based on the life of late Major Unnikrishnan, who was leading the National Security Guard commandos during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Sesh will be seen stepping into the shoes of the martyr. The film also stars Sobhita Dhulipala and Saiee Manjrekar. Dhulipala will be essaying the role of Pramoda, one of the hostages at the Taj hotel, when the terrorists took over on 26/11. Sesh, in a recent Q/A session on Twitter, said that the film will be released at the normal ticket rates, amid times when tickets for Telugu films have been hiked. Recently, the makers also announced that exclusive previews of the film will be shown across various cities, before its official release. The film will release in Telugu, Hindi, and Malayalam.
Vikram – June 3
Produced and headlined by Kamal Haasan, Vikram is one of the much-anticipated Tamil films of the year. It marks Haasan’s return to the big screen four years since Vishwaroopam 2 (2018). Written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Vikram also stars Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil, Suriya in a cameo role, Narain, Gayathrie, Kalidas Jayaram, Shivani Narayanan, and Arjun Das, among others. The film has acquired much anticipation in recent times, with the trailer having a few connections to one of Lokesh’s previous films Kaithi. It was also noted that the film bears similarities to Haasan’s 1986 Tamil spy action film of the same name, but one has to wait and watch, if Lokesh has interlinked the worlds of these films.
This upcoming Telugu film starring actors Nani and Nazriya Nazim Fahadh marks the debut of the latter in the Telugu film industry. Written and directed by Vivek Athreya, Ante Sundaraniki is touted to be a romantic comedy, with Nani hailing from a traditional, upper-caste Hindu family, while Nazriya will play his love interest, who comes from a Christian family. Aside from Telugu, the film is also releasing in Tamil as Adade Sundara and in Malayalam as Aha Sundara. The film also stars Nadhiya, Harshavardhan, Rahul Ramakrishna and Suhas, among others. Mythri Movie Makers have backed the project.
This Tamil film led by Hansika Motwani, marks the actor’s 50th film. Aside from Motwani, Maha will also feature Silambarasan in a pivotal role. Srikanth, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Nasser, Jayaprakash, Chaya Singh, and a few other prominent actors will also be seen. Directed by UR Jameel, the film is produced by Etcetera Entertainment and Malik Streams Production & Distribution. The music is composed by Ghibran.
Veetla Vishesham – June 17
A Tamil remake of the hit Hindi filmBadhaai Ho, Veetla Vishesham is directed by RJ Balaji and NJ Saravanan. The film stars a host of actors, including RJ Balaji, Urvashi, Sathyaraj, and the late KPAC Lalitha, among others. Boney Kapoor has produced the film. Badhaai Ho was released in 2018 and revolves around a family, whose middle-aged parents get pregnant, much to the chagrin of their children. From the looks of the poster, Urvashi will perhaps be essaying the role of the expecting mother, originally portrayed by Neena Gupta.
Godse is an upcoming Telugu political thriller led by actors Satya Dev and Aishwarya Lekshmi. The film’s director Gopi Ganesh Pattabhi, had earlier said to Silverscreen India that the film will be about the concept of unemployment among the youth in the country. While Satya Dev plays the role of a businessman, Aishwarya is a police official, and Sijju Menon stars as the antagonist. Actors Brahmaji, Tanikella Bharani, Nagababu Konidela, Varghese, Prudhvi Raj, Noel Sean, Priyadarshi, Chaitanya Krishna, Pawan Santhosh, and Guru Charan will also be seen.
Rama Rao On Duty – June 17
Directed by Sarath Mandava, this action thriller Telugu film starsRavi Teja as a government official from Andhra Pradesh. The film is based on real incidents. Other cast members in the film include Divyasha Kaushik, Rajisha Vijayan, Venu Thottempudi, Nasser, Tanikella Bharani, Rahul Rama Krishna, Eerojullo Sree, Madhu Sudan Rao, Surekha Vani, and others.
This upcoming Tamil film marks the fourth collaboration between actor Vijay Sethupathi and director Seenu Ramasamy, where the former plays the role of an auto driver. Gayathrie will be seen portraying the character of his wife. Yuvan Shankar Raja has produced and also composed the music for the film, along with his father Ilaiyaraaja. The film also features Guru Somasundaram, late KPAC Lalitha, Jewel Mary, and others.
According to the makers, Iravin Nizhal is said to be the first-ever Tamil film to be made as a single-shot, non-linear narrative. The film is helmed by actor-filmmaker Radhakrishnan Parthiban, with music directed by AR Rahman. While Parthiban has written the story, screenplay and dialogues, aside from headlining it, the film also stars known faces such as Varalakshmi Sarathkumar, Robo Shankar, and Priyanka Ruth, among others.
Goundamani, the veteran comedian who appeared in Tamil films, turns 83 today. Often known for adding an element of comic relief in films, mostly alongside his regular collaborator and comedian Senthil, Goundamani worked in the industry for over five decades. With a background in theatre, Goundamani entered films by doing minor roles, before eventually rising to become a prominent comedian in the 80s and 90s.
The octogenarian’s first notable role was in 16 Vayathinile where he appeared as the antagonist Rajinikanth‘s sidekick and uttered his iconic dialogue, patha vachithiya parate (you have sparked it, parate). From then on, Goundamani has appeared alongside the likes of Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Sathyaraj, R Parthiban, Prabhu, among many other veteran actors, and delivered comical punch dialogues and comedy tracks that still have a tremendous recall value.
On the comedian’s birthday, Silverscreen India brings you a list of Goundamani’s iconic comedies.
Karagattakkaran (Thavil Vidvan Thangavelu)
A film that became a blockbuster, Karagattakkaran marks the 100th combination film in which Goundamani and Senthil acted together. However, this is not the only highlight of the film. Appearing as thavil (drums) and nadaswaram (trumpet) musicians of a karakattam dance troupe, Goundamani and Senthil’s famous banana joke has a great recall value. The scene plays out when Goundamani sends out Senthil to buy him two bananas. While the latter gobbles one of them, the rest of the scene ensures a laughter riot with Goundamani going “bananas over” and finding where the other banana is.
Vaidehi Kathirunthal (All in All Azhaguraja)
In this 1984 film, Goundamani plays a cycle shop owner All in All Azhaguraja, who claims to excel in everything. With the firm belief that he is supposed to be in America, Goundamani Azhaguraja’s dialogue, Petromax light eh dhan venuma line (do you only need petromax light), has become so relevant today, with people equating it to a stubborn need for something. The dialogue also found its relevance in the lyrics of Aranmanai song, Petromax Light.
Ullathai Allitha (Vasu)
Pairing up with Karthik in this film, Ullathai Allitha follows the adventures of a man who escapes from his home to avoid a forced marriage, but unknowingly falls in love with the same woman. As Goundamani who plays a con man Vasu, ends up taking the place of Karthik at the girl’s household, the film follows a series of comedy of errors, that delays the union of the couple but cements the luxurious life that the con man desires.
Chinna Gounder (Vellai)
Essaying the role of a washerman, Goundamani’s Vellai finds himself at the receiving end of logical, yet simplistic questions posed by Senthil who works as his assistant. As Vellai often ends up fumbling to answer questions like ‘why seawater is salty’ and ‘why facial hair is called beard’, the situation ends up being comical with Vellai getting irritated with Senthil. One such instance where Goundamani gets tired of Senthil’s questions is when he utters a famous dialogue, ‘nee sonna vaakiathe thanjavur kalvetula porichuttu, athukku pakkathile nee ukkandhukko. unakku pinadi vara sandhathinga paarthu therinjukkatum’ (etch your words on Thanajavur’s stones, your future generations will read and learn). The film also features Vadivelu, the then-upcoming comedian in a minor role.
My Dear Marthandan (Idea Mani)
As his name suggests, Goundamani plays Mani who never runs out of ideas to give. Starring Prabhu as a royal prince, in disguise of poor, (but failing in it because he is obliviously still flaunting his richness), Goundamani plays a washerman who extorts money from Prabhu in return of giving him ideas to survive in the city and find girls of his dreams. The film is loosely based on the 1988 American film Coming to America.
Surieyan (Panikutti Ramasamy)
The Sarath Kumar starrer not only was the first major break for the actor in his career, but also a blockbuster hit for its comedy track performed by Goundamani. The comedian who appears as a so-called powerful politician Panikutty Ramasamy, has uttered some viral dialogues, that are still some pop culture references. Indha kosu thola thanga mudhiyala (cannot bear the mosquito’s irritation) referring to Omakuchi Narasimhan, arasiyalla ithellam satharanampa (all this is routine in politics), to name a few.
Japanil Kalyana Raman (Mayilsaamy)
This 1985 film can be called the first sequel for a Tamil cinema. Directed by SP Muthuraman and starring Kamal Haasan, the film is the sequel of Kalyanaraman (1979). While the film features the actor in dual roles, Goundamani comes as Mayilsamy, husband of Muppaathaa (Kovai Sarala). As the rural and innocent couple win a lucky draw to visit Japan, the antics of the duo, from mistaking noodles as snakes, to a water fountain as rain, the comedy plot revolves around the couple along with their tourist guide Munusamy (Chitra Lakshmanan), sight-seeing Japan and a comical take on the cultural and lifestyle differences of Japan and India.
Tata Birla (Ranjith)
A 1996 film, Goundamani, and Parthiban plays petty thieves who wish to become millionaires like Tata and Birla. After the duo fails pathetically to rob a bank in broad daylight and hold the manager at gunpoint, the thieves are roped in by Manivannan to kill his niece to acquire her fortune. As the film calls for a laughter riot, with duo calling each other “partner” and Parthiban’s role falling in love with the niece.
Koyil Kaalai (Ramasamy)
Directed by Gangai Amaran, in this film, Goundamani essays the role of a coconut water vendor, assisted by Senthil. This film also features Vadivelu as supporting comedian where Senthil and he try to trick Goundamani in his business.
In this 1996 vigilante action film, Goundamani once again reunites with Senthil where the duo plays characters working at Regional Transport Office. While this is one among the few films where Senthil’s role get better of Goundamani’s given the former plays a senior officer and at the upper hand of the other, the film still provides plenty of laughter on how Goundamani tries his luck to get Senthil doing what he wants. The dialogues, ‘good morning aapicer (officer)’, ‘inga Chandru nu oru maanasthan irundhaan, avana thedunen’ (I am searching for Chandru who is known to be a good person) have still got a great recall value.
The festival went on to entail several conferences centered around India, which were aimed at expanding the scope of the Indian film and entertainment industry, both creatively and technologically.
Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Youth and Sports Affairs, led the Indian delegation at the festival, aside from inaugurating the India Pavilion conferences at the festival’s Marché du Film (Film Market) section.
As part of augmenting the Indian film industry, the government’s 2016 National Film Heritage Mission, directed towards restoring thousands of Indian films, also contributed to the same. Films like Satyajit Ray‘s Pratidwandi and Aravindan Govindan’s Thamp were some of the works that were screened at the festival.
On that note, Silverscreen India brings to you, five highlights from the Cannes Film Festival:
Deepika Padukone as an international jury member
Actor Deepika Padukone served as a member of the international jury at Cannes, almost a decade after Vidya Balan was last honored with the selection. Padukone appeared alongside actors such as Rebecca Hall and Noomi Rapace, and directors Jasmine Trinca, Asghar Farhadi, Ladj Ly, Jeff Nichols, and Joachim Trier. The jury was presided over by French actor Vincent Lindon.
Padukone went on to make red carpet appearances with the jury since the first day, and will be responsible for handing out the biggest prize of the festival, the Palme d’Or.
Government incentives and the views on Government’s intervention
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that was present throughout the festival, launched the ‘Film In India’ initiative and the incentives associated with it, for audio-visual co-productions and shooting of foreign films in India, at the India Pavilion.
The projects will have a cash incentive of up to 30% with a cap of USD 260,000. In the case of foreign films that will be shot in India, an additional bonus will be provided, with a cap of USD 65,000 for employing 15% or more Indian manpower.
Anurag Thakur also announced the provision of a ‘film visa’, which would allow the entry of cast and crew of international film projects, to shoot as well as scout for locations for their films in India. The document will further enable them to film at locations that are administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as well as those under the Indian Railways.
Subsequently, a panel discussion held on day three, debated the government’s intervention in the film industry. Most Indian filmmakers present, including Kapur and Joshi, agreed that an amalgation of locally-produced content and India’s ‘digital aspirationalism’ could propel the Indian film industry, and cement its position at the global market.
However, Scott Roxborough, the Europe Bureau Chief of The Hollywood Reporter, said that he was “less boisterous” about the potential of Indian content, globally.
Roxborough drew parallels between India and China, and noted that the latter has not been able to translate its domestic domination into a global selling-point.
He noted, “India hasn’t either, despite having a very long history of cinema, a great traditional story-telling. The type of Indian story-telling that is so appealing to the Indian market, has not yet crossed over to the international.”
“And, I am not sure if it will, because it’s just not about having the talent, or the ability to make stories. There’s something else that’s needed. There are other components, and it’s not something that can be easily programmed, especially, not from the government. When the government gets very involved in culture, the culture ends up suffering. We have seen this, recently with Russia. The artists of a country can become tainted by an association. If the government does something that is viewed as controversial, or problematic, internationally,” Roxborough added.
Screenings of Le Musk, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, and the first-look posters released
AR Rahman’s directorial venture, Le Musk, was screened at the Cannes XR section, on May 19. The film features actors Nora Arnezeder and Guy Burnet in prominent roles. An ode to music and memory, Le Musk deals with revenge. The film is born out of a conversation between the music director and his wife Saira Rahman, both of whom share a love for perfumes and have employed scent as a narrative device.
“Dipping into the abstract trenches of the woman’s psyche, Le Musk constructs a compelling world of music and scent that lay bare sinister and pure motives. As Juliet searches for the four men — the injured, the tattooed, the poacher, and the ‘Musk’ — she must come face to face with the price of her purpose and confront the persistent presence of the past,” reads the film’s official synopsis.
As the film adopts the route of VR (Virtual Reality) a separate section was set up at the venue, wherein, viewers would put on VR headsets, and were seated in revolving pods aimed at enhancing their immersive experience.
The film is a biographical drama based on the life of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who fought for justice, after being accused of espionage. While Madhavan essays the role of Narayanan, Simran plays the role of his wife, Meena.
Rocketry will release in Indian cinemas, on July 2.
The festival also witnessed the launches and first-looks of films, including, Pa Ranjith’s Vettuvam, Sandeep Singh’s Safed, Adil Hussain‘s Footprints on Water, Randeep Hooda‘s Rat on a Highway, and Hina Khan’s Country of Blind.
Candid Ghoomar Performance and Hina Khan’s Response
In response to a question from Film Companion‘s Anupama Chopra, the actor admitted the existence of an elitist system in the Indian film industry that marginalises television artists.
“There was this opening ceremony which happened at the Indian Pavilion. There was everyone – all the talents, my contemporaries, everyone. Not just from Bollywood, we had singers, and many well-known talents. It’s not that I envy them. I am so proud of them. But at the same time, it is a bit disheartening that why was I not there?” said the actor, who rose to prominence with the television soap Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.
She added, “I could have been there, probably in the audience at least, cheering for them when they were doing Ghoomar. I loved the video. I felt so proud of my country. But then, I don’t blame the actors, or the celebrities. I think it’s the people on the field who act, who make such things happens, where people from a certain fraternity come together, who make it possible.”
Khan referred to her non-invitation to the inauguration event of the India Pavilion at Cannes, which took place on May 19. The female actors present, also did an impromptu performance at Mame Khan’s insistence, to the song Ghoomar from Padukone’s film Padmaavat.
Khan, who made her debut at Cannes, in 2019, said, “Things have changed with digital premieres and OTT spaces, but its not enough.”
The poster and title of Khan’s upcoming film, Country of Blind, was unveiled at the festival, as well.
Vaaitha, the upcoming Tamil film starring actors Nassar and Mu Ramasamy, is set to be a courtroom drama that questions the authenticity of the judical system, the film’s director Mahivarman CS tells Silverscreen India.
Produced by K Vinothkumar, the film is scheduled to hit theatres on May 27.
Speaking about his directorial debut, Mahivarman, who had previously assisted late filmmaker Thamira, says, “Vaaitha is set against the backdrop of the Salem District Court and talks about the corruption that takes place there. It can be said that this film is the first of its kind because courtroom dramas so far have not criticised or questioned court, as of yet. It questions the genuinity of lawyers, court, and judges.”
He adds, “The story follows an elderly man, who gets hurt due to an accident and how he gets caught up in a court case. The crux of the story explores whether he gets the compensation owed to him or not. The justice denied for a simple man is perhaps the tagline of the story. The film also deals with the idea of casteism; how upper-caste people would have been responsible for causing the accident and how other parties get affected by it, the most.”
Mahivarman, who also wrote the script back in 2017, says that he was inspired by an incident that his friend’s father had experienced. “He had met with an accident, after which we had to go to court. I saw similar accident cases and I realised that there has been a mafia system involving insurance companies, lawyers, court staff etc. They deal with the accident cases free of cost, because they benefit out of the compensation the victims receive. Sometimes, police stations themselves keep lawyers informed about accident cases,” he notes.
In Vaaitha, while Nasser essays a noble lawyer, Mu Ramasamy, who has appeared in films like KD and Joker, takes on the role of the injured elderly man. Pugal Mahendran, son of politician C Mahendran, plays Ramasamy’s son. Other cast members include Powlen Jessica, Regin Rose (NSD), Thirunavukkarasu and Muthu Azhagarsamy.
The film went on floors in 2019 and was wrapped up in 2020. The release was postponed for two years due to the ongoing pandemic and is censored with U/A certificate. “We had another title called Ekali. It denotes a community of people, who predominantly iron clothes. However, censor board authorities had asked us to remove the name of the caste. Vaaitha means ‘to adjourn’,” Mahivarman mentions.
The film was shot in Chennai, Dharmapuri and Salem, by cinematographer RJ Sethumurugavel Angharagan. The music is composed by Loceshwaran C, with editing done by Naresh Gunaseelan. Vaaitha has six songs, including numbers that will offer critiques on the court and the caste system.
Dharma Productions‘ upcoming film Jugjugg Jeeyo has been accused of plagiarism on Sunday by a Pakistani singer, as well as a screenwriter from India, after the film’s trailer was launched.
Abrar Ul Haq took to Twitter and alleged that the makers of the film used his song Nach Punjaban without his consent. The singer threatened to take legal action against the filmmaker, “I have not sold my song Nach Punjaban to any Indian movie and reserve the rights to go to court to claim damages. Producers like Karan Johar should not copy and use songs. This is my sixth song being copied, which will not be allowed at all.”
Responding to this allegation, T-Series, on Monday, posted a note dismissing Haq’s claims and said the song was “legally acquired.” They also said that the UK-based Moviebox Records Label holds the rights to the track.
“We have legally acquired the rights to adapt the song Nach Punjaban from the album Nach Punjaban released on iTunes on 1st January 2002 and is also available on Lollywood Classics’ YouTube channel, owned and operated by Moviebox Records Label, for the film Jugjugg Jeeyo produced by Dharma Productions,” stated T-Series.
The music label said detailed credits will be included, when the adapted song is officially released. “All due credits shall be included across all platforms when the song releases. As represented by Moviebox Records Label, the said song copyrights exclusively vest with Moviebox only, with all valid documents,” it added.
Moviebox Records Label also refuted Haq’s claims and said that his accusation was “defamatory.”
Haq, however, posted that his song “has not been licensed to anyone”. “If someone is claiming it, then produce the agreement. I will be taking legal action,” he wrote.
The film also faced another plagiarism accusation on Sunday, when a screenwriter named Vishal A. Singh posted a series of tweets on his Twitter account alleging that Dharma Productions has copied his story titled Bunny Rani, whose extract he had mailed to the production house in 2020, which they have made into Jugjugg Jeeyo.
Singh provided the screenshots of his e-mail to Dharma Productions and said that he will lodge an official complaint against the company for plagiarising his story, which according to Singh was registered with the Screenwriters Association in 2020.
Singh also said that there are multiple incidents in the Hindi film industry, where scripts are used without the knowledge of the writer. He mentioned in his tweet that he has decided to raise his voice and stop this ‘malpractice.’ Further in his thread, Singh asked Johar “to start the truth and reconciliation process.”
Dharma Productions is yet to respond to Singh’s allegation.
Juggjugg Jeeyo is directed by Raj Mehta and is jointly produced by Johar’s Dharma Productions and Viacom18 Studios. The film is slated for a theatrical release on June 24.
Ajay Gnanamuthu, the Tamil filmmaker who is awaiting the release of Cobra, announced on Sunday that a sequel to his 2015 directorial debut Demonte Colony, is in the works.
Demonte Colony, is a fictional horror thriller set against the backdrop of a locality of the same name in Chennai. The film, which stars Arulnithi, Ramesh Thilak, and Sananth among others, was positively received, after its release. It revolved around four friends and their experiences at a haunted residence in the locality of Demonte Colony.
On Sunday, Ajay announced a sequel to the film, as well as hinted at the possibility of making the stories as part of a franchise. However, he also mentioned that while he will be writing the story, screenplay and dialogues of the sequel, his Cobra co-director, Venkatesh Venugopal will be helming the sequel. Arulnithi will also be featuring in the film.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, Venkatesh, who will be making his debut directorial with the sequel, says, “I have worked with Ajay sir in Cobra, and we developed a good rapport. When he was planning to make the Demonte Colony sequel, he offered me an opportunity and I felt that it was the right chance to make my directorial debut.”
Venkatesh says that it will be a “proper sequel” and take off from the point of the story, which the 2015 film left off. “Our plan is to also make it into a franchise of several releases. You can expect more parts, aside from the sequel, and we are also working on the script, the same way. If you see Hollywood films or even KGF, we are trying to create a universe with these films. There will be new characters, and whatever the old characters go through, will also be focused on. While the dead characters remain the same, there will be a continuation to the plot of what potentially happens, further,” he says.
The filmmaker attributes that it was Ajay’s idea to create a franchise. He adds, “A lot of people had asked him (Ajay) about the film, since it stirred a lot of expectations from him and Arulnithi. He was planning on working on it, when he got the right idea for it. Now, as the right script came along, we have announced it.”
The sequel is in the pre-production stages with final touches to the script being added. Venkatesh says that the cast and crew of the film is yet to be finalised. “From the first week of June, we will be concentrating on locking down the people for cast and crew. Arulnithi sir will be appearing in the sequel, as well. We are planning to go on floors from the third week of July, and the film will be predominantly shot in Chennai.”
Venkatesh says that it has been a long time since a “pure horror” film came into Tamil cinema, with the recent influx of the horror-comedy genre. On being asked why he chose to debut with this film, he says, “I think this is more challenging because I am taking up to work on a sequel of a film that is already a hit. There are expectations to be met. I think I have the confidence to handle it.”
Meanwhile, both Venkatesh and Ajay are awaiting the release of Vikram-starrer Cobra. The film, which is scheduled to release on August 11 in theatres, will be an action thriller and is in its final stages of post-production.
The shows of Telugu film Shekar, starring veteran actor Rajasekhar that was released in theatres on Friday, have been stalled for screening since Sunday, due to financial issues involving the makers, a source from the Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce, confirmed to Silverscreen India.
Being the remake of the Malayalam film Joseph (2018), Shekar is helmed by the filmmaker’s wife, Jeevitha Rajashekar. The film also stars the couple’s daughter, actor Shivani Rajashekar. The Rajasekhar family is also one of the producers of the film, along with Beeram Sudhakara Reddy, and Boggaram Venkata Srinivas.
While the film hit theatres on Friday, the source said, “The screenings of Shekar have been stalled across theatres in both the states, after a financier approached the court. The issue with the financier pertains to Rajasekhar’s previous film, as he was supposed to get some money back. However, the makers had not fulfilled it, before the release of the film. After he approached the court, the film was ordered to halt screenings across all theatres.”
The source further added, “Subsequently, the film was not performing well. It was released on Friday and all the shows were received poorly. After the court order, shows were not screened from Sunday morning, onwards. The film also recorded only about 1-5% occupancy. The audience would have possibly also not come on Monday, being a week day.”
With the film receiving mixed responses, Rajasekhar, shared a note via social media on Sunday, affirming that the halting of the screenings was a “conspired” attempt.
He wrote, “Shekar is everything for me and my family. We worked very hard to bring this film to the audience. Shekar was garnering such a great response, but today, just out of spite, some people have conspired and stopped our film from screening.” He added, “Cinema is our life, and this film was our hope. I’ve run out of things to say. I can only hope that this film will eventually get the visibility and appreciation that it truly deserves.”
The source said that until further orders, no theatres will screen the film.
We present to you the World’s First Non-Linear Single Shot Film, the latest creation from a New Wave Filmmaker Mr. Radhakrishnan Parthiban titled Iravin Nizhal- Shadow of the Night. A path-breaking effort in filming through an enormous set of 59 settings, with over 300 actors, 150 technicians, numerous costumes and makeup changes, through 50 years of time period all beautifully choreographed into one single shot and achieved after a whopping 90 days of rehearsals.
Yes, it’s a single-shot film, in a non-linear narrative, also certified as the World’s first Non-Linear Single Shot Film by the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of records.
Cinematographer – Arthur A Wilson
Music Composer & Original Score – A R Rahman
Art Director – RK Vijai Murugan
Audiography – S Sivakumar
VFX Supervisor – Cottalango Leon (Academy Award Winner)
Supervising Sound Editor – Craig Mann (Academy Award Winner)
Supervising Sound Designer – Kunal Rajan
SFX – Virtual Sound Lab – T.S. Harihara Sudhan
Lyrics – Radhakrishnan Parthiban, Madan Karky, Raaki Mowli, Kaduveli Sithar
Choreographer – Baba Baskar Master, Master Shanti Kumar
Stills – L. Ramachandran, J. Vijay Balaji
Co-Director – P. Krishnamurthy
Executive Producer – Raaki Parthiban
Line Producer – J. Prabaahar
Production Executive – Shankar A Doss
P.R.O – Nikhil
Visual Promotions: R.Sudarsan
Costume Designer – Sowbarnika
Costumer – Kasim Bhai
Makeup – Abdul Razak A.R
Publicity Designs – Kannadasan DKD
DI – Igene Media Solutions
Colourist – Ranga
Digital Marketing – Digitally
Audio Label – Music on Dhwani