Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coming Soon - Kuselan


Its been a long time since we had a Rajni movie hit the screen in two successive years. After the Sivaji euphoria, just as we were resigning ourselves to settle in for a long wait till Robot released, came the news that Rajni would star in the remake of the superhit Malayalam film, Katha Parayumbol. Sure it was only a guest role but considering the rarity with which we get to see Rajni on the big screen, a little goes a long way. Titled Kuselan, the film was wrapped up pretty fast and is set to hit screens this Friday(Thursday night if you're in the US :)

Katha Parayumbol is a movie about friendship and fame. It is the story of a barber in a village and the changes his life undergoes when the village learns that the actor who is in the village shooting for a film, was a childhood friend of the barber. Srinivasan, who also wrote the script, acted as the barber, Meena played his wife and Mammooty played the actor. I have not seen the film but have read that the actor's role was a cameo and that Mammooty was onscreen for about 10 minutes. All reviews unanimously praised the script and the emotional climax and the film was a blockbuster. Its universal appeal is clear from the fact that it is being remade in no less than 4 languages - while the Tamil and Telugu versions have Rajnikanth andPasupathy as the actor and his friend, the Hindi version, Billo Barber, has Shah Rukh Khan and Irfan Khan essaying those roles.

The record of Tamil remakes of Malayalam films isn't very inspiring. The latest, Kireedam, was a faithful remake of the original and didn't pander much to Ajith's image. But films like Manichithrathazhu and Engirundho Vandhaan were stripped of what made the originals work as they were transformed into hero-centric Tamil films. The worst offender in this regard is P.Vasu himself, as he, along with Karthik, massacred Mohanlal's classic Bharatham. But inspite of all these fears, it is a fact that P.Vasu gave Rajni his biggest hit in Chandramukhi, a Malayalam remake. So I have my fingers crossed, hoping that Vasu manages to capture whatever it was that made Katha Parayumbol so universally loved.

It comes as no surprise that in Tamil, the film has become a Rajni film. P.Vasu has proudly claimed that Rajni's role has been greatly expanded and its common knowledge that it now includes songs and stunts. And all marketing material like posters and audio CDs feature Rajni, with all others, including Pasupathy, pushed to the sidelines. This was inevitable, I guess. After Sivaji and its massive pan-Indian hype and success, brand Rajni is now bigger than ever. So having Rajni in a film and not marketing the film on his name, however small his role in it may be, is now unthinkable. Movies with strong stories still do work but it is Rajni who is going to bring the crowds in, atleast for the first few weeks.

As a Rajni fan, I'm approaching the movie with mixed emotions and I think most fans will be in the same boat. Seeing thalaivar on the big screen within a year of Sivaji is ofcourse a fantastic treat. He looks even younger and more stylish in the stills and the trailer. And while I enjoyed his larger-than-life image and commercial movies, there was a small wish in the corner of my heart that he'd do a 'regular' movie sometime and Kuselan looks like the best bet for that wish to come true. At the same time, this isn't a real Rajni film. So all those punch dialogs and stunts and songs are going to be presented as part of a 'movie within a movie' and I'm not sure if that's gonna be as effective as seeing them as part of a full movie. But one thing for sure is that this is one movie where the rest of the cast matters! Nayanthara is Rajni's on-screen jodi, making it her third consecutive appearance in a Rajni film. She even has a solo song, illustrating her current popularity. Pasupathy has shown himself to be a solid actor(though I feel he has a tendency to overdo his expressions in the emotional scenes) and should fit the role while Meena reprises her role as the barber's wife. Vadivelu and Santhanam are there for the laughs.

In these days of financial problems and production delays, the speed with which Kuselan has been made has brought cheer to Rajni fans. Lets hope the film increases the cheer and proves that as far as the box-office goes, the Superstar is always Kuberan...

10 Comments:

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Ram said...

i have low expectations for kuselan but i would love to be pleasantly surprised...but as u said, i dont know how much of the punch dialogs and action sequences would work when we dont have any real drama backing them...thats the reason why i L O V E 'annamalai' and 'baasha' and even P. Vasu's 'mannan' - they all had good drama to make us relish the sizzling dialogs (love the moment in 'annamalai' where rajni says, 'mala daa' after going up the escalator...thats coz we truly felt his suffering that we now enjoy his meteoric rise) and the stunts (baasha's pre-intermission stunt)...hope kuselan isnt too superficial abt the rajni-pasupathy relnship which i am hoping will bring the actor in rajni to the fore...

 
At 9:08 AM, Anonymous glass said...

hi balaji.....i noted that you copied and pasted this from behindwoods.....as well as that you seem to have made the same mistake as the writers at behindwoods..........you stated that:
"Nayanthara is Rajni's on-screen jodi, making it her third consecutive appearance in a Rajni film."
...........she acted with Rajini in Chandramukhi and now this........how does it make it her "third" consecutive film to appear with rajini??? .......admit it.......this is copied and pasted from behindwoods.....

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, yeah the rajni-pasupathy relationship should be the heart of the movie. the superstar rajni sequences should just be icing on the cake :)

glass, considering how much I have to say about 'kuselan', i sure don't have to copy and paste from anywhere! anyway, i said "her third consecutive appearance in a rajni movie" and not the third time she is paired with rajni. u do remember she danced with rajni in ballelakka..., dont u? :)

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Balaji-

It is indeed P.Vasu's speciality to churn out this movie so quickly. Heard that the last 20 minutes of the movie are sure to make the audience go emotional. Though, haven't got a great deal of expectations like Sivaji, there is definitely some looking forward tow atching 1 hour of stylish Thalaivar in a 2 and half hour movie. The ticket prices of $20 for the first week in Bay Area is outrageous, though.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

P.Vasu mela nambikkai illai.

The film will be a hit nonetheless. All I want to iterate is I'm a better director than P.Vasu. It's Superstar who will do the magic and not P.Vasu.

The thing I hate abt Vasu is the build up he gives for his movies :), talks like Spielberg's brother.

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Arun said...

Balaji, it is not a Rajni movie, that cunning Vasu has conned Rajni into extending his role in this movie and has made sure he makes money. I'm sure thalaivar is going to be exactly in the beginning, middle and end of the movie, so that none of his fans leave the theatre early.
Chandramukhi, is it Rajni's biggest hit? it should be Sivaji right?

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Arun said...

Also, wanted to add that there is a lot of scope to show Rajni in all his vintage avatars (Annamalai, Baasha, etc) in this movie as per his role definition, which would be a delight for his hardcore fans.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

mitr, thats what i'm looking fwd to :) and tickets r $20 for preview shows only. other shows from friday r $15 :)

srivatsan, "talks like Spielberg's brother" - LOL :)

arun, not sure about collections, etc. just said that since 'chandramukhi' ran for a lot longer than 'sivaji' :)

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger Gayathri said...

Hai,
Its really super. We are waiting for Superstar's new movie, "Kuselan".
Thanks,
Check Out the Official Site:
http://www.kuselan.co.in/

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous glass said...

BRAVO BALAJI!!! I stand corrected.......you are right.....i totally forgot about Balelakka.......I kept trying to figure out how it was three.....I was like:
1.Chandramukhi
2. Sivaji - but heroine is Shreya so how can that be....
3. Kuselean
and i apologize for charging you as a plagarizer......by the way when is Sultan coming out....that ccertainly looks more interesting then this.......malayalam version (Katha Parmbyol) was well-made.....but pee-vasu will definetly butcher it.....just like manchitrazhu........

 

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