Reshma Pasupuleti: I was an easy target in the Bigg Boss house

Reshma Pasupuleti, the latest housemate to be evicted from Bigg Boss Tamil 3, is fondly called ‘Neutral Reshma’ by other contestants. An eviction that took the housemates by surprise, Reshma was also revealed to have lost by a slender margin. Here, she talks about her journey and how she feels she was thought of as an ‘easy target’ within the house.

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Shashaa Tirupati, Sashaying into spotlight

National award-winning Shashaa Tirupati is back in the news for her portions in Singapenney, composed by AR Rahman for Vijay’s Bigil, which has been making waves on the internet. No stranger to Tamil music or Rahman, Shashaa says that the love Singapenney has fetched her is quite gratifying. “More than the solos, when someone appreciates the small things you do, it is a huge form of appreciation. Overnight, I had two-three thousand more followers on social media,” she says with a happy laugh.

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Aadai DoP Vijay Kartik Kannan: Cinematography is like a sine wave

Aadai might have opened the Pandora’s box of debates but it received unanimous appreciation for its top-notch cinematography that embodied the ‘dignified gaze’. In an industry notorious for objectification, this film is unique in how it showed a woman’s nudity in a respectful light. Ask Vijay Kartik Kannan, the cinematographer, and he says with an honest smile that it was a team effort. Here, he talks about Aadai, his third film after Sindhubaadh and Iravakaalam, about the need to maintain rapport with the director and how big a part budget plays in cinematography…

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I might have given it all up if not for AR Rahman sir: Singer, Darshana KT

It might have been a year and a half since we last heard Darshana KT in Meyaadha Maan (Nee Mattum Podhum) and Mom (Maufi Mushkil), but the Madhuraiku Pogathadi singer is poised to make a comeback with a song in Suriya’s Kaappaan, which has music by Harris Jeyaraj. “It is my first song with Harris sir,” begins Darshana, her excitement quite evident in her sweet voice. Quite comfortable singing songs and harmonies for AR Rahman and chorus for Ilaiyaraaja, the singer says the call from Harris Jeyaraj’s office was quite a surprise.

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Sriranjani: House Owner felt like my first film

When I first asked Sriranjani for an interview, she told me she is a tad nervous of media interactions. So when we settled down for an interaction, I was pleasantly surprised by her uninhibited vibrance. The actor, known for playing the mother in so many films, recently made heads turn with her stellar performance in House Owner. But she is quick to credit director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan. “The role and the story demanded that I be natural, just like we are at home. That was tough for me. There is a notion that ‘acting’ means being expressive. But none of that applied here,” she says. Her goal, she adds, was to understand what the director wanted and deliver it. “Lakshmy is brutally honest about what she feels — it is something that I love and hate about her because I can never be like that.”

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House Owner movie review: A poignant story in a middling film

It is hard to miss the irony in the timing of House Owner’s release, directed by Lakshmy Ramakrishnan. The film, set during the Chennai floods, comes as the city is on the brink of its worst water crisis. What’s more, just days before the film’s release, the city finally got a respite in the form of welcome rains after 200-odd days. But that’s life for you. It throws extreme situations at us, so much so that if we look at the larger picture, the sheer contrast confounds us. House Owner narrates one such journey. The film has been called a ‘survival drama’, but it is actually a love story — Radha (Sriranjani) and Vasudevan’s (Kishore) journey.

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SU Arunkumar: Had Pannaiyarum Padminiyum become commercially successful, Sethupathi would not have happened.

The plan was for director Arun Kumar and Vijay Sethupathi to do one film together—Pannaiyarum Padminiyum—before they would both move on to other projects and collaborators. But they didn’t anticipate that it would not do well at the box office. Arun couldn’t comprehend this failure at first. Some attributed this to the release timing; after all, Rummy, with the same lead pair in similar get-ups, had released the week before. “Some others asked me why I removed the Koodamela Koodavechi song from the film,” he says.

Continue reading “SU Arunkumar: Had Pannaiyarum Padminiyum become commercially successful, Sethupathi would not have happened.”

Ashwin Saravanan: I want people to understand that direction is a job by itself

Just as our interview is about to begin, Ashwin Saravanan walks in, clutching a copy of Driven: The Virat Kohli Story. It’s a word that could well define Ashwin himself. He stepped into cinema, after quitting his software job. His first film Maya (2015) was a huge hit, and the trailer of his second film, Iravaakaalam, also sparked good responses. However, the delay in the film’s release meant that every conversation with Ashwin inevitably veered to that subject. The filmmaker admits it was tough to come out of it. “Every filmmaker is a control freak. This is the worst situation for a filmmaker to be in,” he says. In fact, he began isolating himself as repeated explanations became exhausting. “Imagine people seeing you pregnant, and then, one day, your baby vanishes. Everyone keeps asking what happened to it.” However, he wouldn’t be stopped.

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I am here to earn money: Vijay Antony

Vijay Antony says that aspiring to become a music director was the first reckless decision he took — ‘muttalthanam‘ is the word he uses. The reason, he says, is that he hadn’t done the groundwork for it; he says he didn’t even know what was required. “College, school la kottadichu paatu paduven. With that, I thought I could become a music director. I decided to become a music director only at 23, with no formal training in a field in which there are people who train from childhood,” narrates Vijay, who reached Chennai to discover the arduous journey ahead of his goal. “Music isn’t just about instruments but also about the technology, about software. No matter how long I took, I just couldn’t understand.” Vijay believed that music wasn’t in his DNA, but perhaps it was, as he persisted on his dream. He started off as an assistant to a sound engineer. “I was naive, and had just the drive to do something,” he says. Slowly, he figured he didn’t really have to ‘know music’ to become a music director. “Our moms don’t study cooking, but they make good food. Similarly, I tried to learn what you need to direct music. I didn’t need to know to play instruments — I hired talented people.” 

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Rakul Preet: I am not worried about being stereotyped

Rakul Preet seems busy, as she answers my call. She is already back on the sets of the film she is shooting for next. Despite her tight schedule, she obliges, and begins talking about her year, and what a bustling year it has been. She has had two releases, Dev in Tamil and De De Pyaar De in Hindi; she also did a cameo in NTR Kathanayakudu in which she got the opportunity to play Sridevi. Interestingly, both of her films saw her play different versions of the modern, sophisticated young woman. “If you look at my character in De De Pyaar De, it is the sort I have never played before. She is fun, liberated, and with a naughty streak,” says Rakul. Dev, on the other hand, saw her play Meghna, a successful businesswoman who has trouble believing in relationships.

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