I had the privilege of talking to the late Crazy Mohan, sometime last year, when told that the conversation would be centred on his association with Kamal Haasan, one of his closest collaborators. Crazy Mohan readily agreed. Upon meeting him, I was pleasantly surprised; age had had little effect on his humour and his childlike innocence. Nobody who knew him then would have imagined that he would pass away a year later.
As a child, KS Sundaramurthy used to enjoy watching people play the tabla. “My interest in music began then. I then started learning the keyboard,” begins the young composer who has got himself a big-ticket release with Nayanthara’s Airaa.
His love for cinema seems to run in the family. “My father is a designer. Since Vikram he has been the title and poster designer for Kamal Haasan sir”. He has also worked with Mani Ratnam for Thalapathi and Anjali,” he says. Saturday nights at the Sundaramurthy residence were reserved for films, especially those by K Balachander and Visu. “My love for cine music and re-recording grew. I was learning all sorts of things — piano, Hindustani, sound engineering.” Music, he believes, comes from within.
When Kamal Haasan received flak for opting to host Bigg Boss Tamil, the actor defended his choice with one explanation: The show would take him to the living rooms of the people of Tamil Nadu. And that it definitely did. The first instalment of Bigg Boss Tamil percolated into the daily conversations of normal people, and proved to be a formidable alternative to the serials that constituted primetime television. Continue reading “Small screen gets its silver sheen”
Would you believe me if I say there is a connection between Alfred Hitchcock, Sridevi, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Sashi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Nutan, Padmini and that it is hidden away in plain sight in one of Chennai’s busy lanes? Well, there is. The tad bizarre assortment of stars, amid multitudes of others, are all part of the massive collection of books and articles with 82-year-old Govindaraju. With a 50-year assortment, stars and cinema are just a humble part of this octogenarian’s wares. If you’re a bibliophile, cinephile or just an anachronistic soul, Govindaraju’s stories and his collections are a source of delight that you wouldn’t want to miss. Continue reading “This rare book store in Chennai is a paradise for the bookworms and cinephiles”
In Carnatic music, Sruthi Betham is when the singer misses pitch. Ironically, Rajinikanth’s first ever frame called him a Sruthi Betham. Pushing off a creaky gate, his entry into the glitzy, glamourous world of cinema wasn’t the brisk strut that is now immortal. He slowly walks inside and asks with a tinge of uncertainty, “Bhairavi veedu idhu dhane?” to Kamal Haasan. To Kollywood back then, everything that made Rajini who he is, was probably sruthi betham: his stylised gestures, the pace at which he spoke, his throaty laughter. As opposed to the more manicured Kamal Haasan, Rajini’s unconventional and raw style made him relevant to masses. And a new villain was born. Continue reading “Rajinikanth turns 67: From being a ‘Sruthi Betham’ to becoming a Superstar”
For Kunal Rajan, it is a double treat as his 150th film is also a silent film. The sound designer of Karthik Subbaraj’s silent film Mercury terms the experience quite a challenge. “When Karthik approached me, it is not like I could check other films for references. The last silent film came thirty years ago (Kamal Haasan’s Pesum Padam), and that wasn’t a thriller. Even in Hollywood, the last silent film I remember watching is The Artist, again a completely different kind of film. It was challenging and scary but we did what we felt was right.” Continue reading “Generally, Indian filmmakers don’t explore much when it comes to sound: Mercury sound designer Kunal Rajan”
Parvatii Nair is pleasantly surprised when I start saying her film career started around seven years back. “Boy, it is that long,” she acknowledges with a smile. It is even longer since she received her first film offer which was in school. But neither Parvatii nor her parents were very keen on a film career. However, Parvatii admits to being quite drawn to theater. “But I was never crazy about getting into films. I kept dabbling with theatre as it was interesting to play different characters,” she recalls. Malayalam film Poppins happened after a few of her advertisements became incredibly popular in Kerala. “I used to get several calls. But I skipped very commercial films and picked roles in more off-beat films. There was a film in Kannada with a big star which I didn’t pick and chose something more unconventional,” she says. The reason she says was the ambivalence to take mainstream cinema as a profession. Continue reading “Mohanlal appreciated my performance in Nimir: Parvatii Nair”
Music director Ghibran seems to be on a roll. With four films in two months, the young music composer’s discography is of great variety and they have all been received well. With Magalir Mattum, Aramm and the recently released Theeran Adhigaram Ondru earning rave reviews, we catch up with Ghibran to talk about his music and future project Vishwaroopam 2. Continue reading “Music director Ghibran: Vishwaroopam 2 would be a complete cinematic experience”
When Crazy Mohan received the best actor and writer award for a play he wrote in college from Kamal Haasan, little did he know that he would end up as one of Ulaganayagan’s long-time associates. The combination of Crazy Mohan and Kamal Haasan is legendary and they have a string of hits as evidence. And that bond started years later from the award and interestingly at a cemetery. “I was watching the shooting when I heard someone calling me from inside the cemetery. I went inside to see Kamal in Sathya get up,” Crazy Mohan reminisces. Continue reading “Happy birthday Ulaganayagan: Perfection thy name is Kamal Haasan, says Crazy Mohan”
Recently, the much-appreciated Mission: Impossible – Fallout, starring Tom Cruise, hit the screens. The film gave some great cinematic moments, stunts that could cause a crick in your neck just by watching those. Now, fans of the franchise expect that from a spy film. To critics, they ask, “Well, what else can you expect from an action film?.” With the Vishwaroopam films, Kamal Haasan has given an answer that spy films need not focus on just action. This is what I loved about Vishwaroopam 2, probably something that might be a disappointment to pure-action fans. Continue reading “Vishwaroopam 2 movie review: With an intelligent spy film, Kamal Haasan delivers promises”