Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kuselan Confirmed!

So the news that Rajnikanth will do another film before Robot has now been confirmed as K.Balachander made the announcement at a press conference yesterday. The film - called Kuselan - will be produced by KB's Kavithalaya, directed by P.Vasu and will be the remake of recent Malayalam hit Katha Parayumbol. With news about Robot confirmed by both Shankar and Rajni at Sivaji's Silver Jubilee function, the recent trailer of Sultan and now this, Rajni officially has 3 films lined up. I can't remember the last time this happened. Its quite a change from the last 10 years or so when the long silence after each film made us wonder if the previous film was in fact his last.

Based on reviews about Katha Parayumbol, the film revolves around the friendship between an actor and a barber. Childhood friends years ago, the film focuses on how the barber's life changes when the actor arrives in his village for a film shoot. Mammootty plays the actor while Srinivasan, who also penned the script, plays the barber and Meena plays the barber's wife. Kuselan will ofcourse have Rajni play the actor with Pasupathy playing the barber. The rest of the cast hasn't been finalized/announced. It seems like an apt title considering the folklore where Kuselan was a poor man who asked for nothing from his rich friend but was given everything. With Kuselan obviously referring to the barber's character, its interesting that Rajni, after Chandramukhi, is once again acting in a film not named after him.

I have absolutely no regard for P.Vasu as a director. While I didn't mind that he foisted a string of maudlin, sentimental movies upon us, his biggest crime, in my opinion, was the massacre of Bharatham, one of the classics of Malayalam cinema and one of my personal favorites. Not content with stripping the film of all its subtleness and emotional impact, he further compounded our misery by casting himself in the role played by Nedumudi Venu, one of the finest character actors Malayalam cinema has seen (he pretty much massacred Manichithrathazhu too but was saved by the fact that he cast Rajni and ended up giving him his career's biggest hit). So a groan was my first reaction when I read that he would once again be directing Rajni in a Malayalam remake. But now that the news is confirmed, I've resigned myself to the fact and have been trying to see something positive in it (its kinda the opposite of the chee indha pazham puLikkum story!).

Along those lines of seeing a silver lining, my first thought was on who else could've been chosen to direct the film and I'll admit to not coming up with too many alternatives. Directors who I would've liked to see Rajni act under, like Murugadoss and Dharani, are out because of this film's sentimental theme. We've had a few directors like Vasanthabalan(Veyyil) and Radhamohan(Mozhi) impress us with sentimental movies recently but they are too new to direct Rajni, who obviously prefers to work with established directors. So the only other director I can think of is K.S.Ravikumar and apart from the fact that he is probably busy with finishing up Dasaavathaaram, he's not particularly good at directing sentiments either. The other scary part is imagining how Vasu will kill the original in the name of modifying it to fit Rajni's image. Vasu has already said that Rajni will have a bigger role than Mammootty had in the original and that the film will have typical Rajni-film elements. This was expected but this doesn't scare me as much this time because of the storyline. The fact that Rajni will play an actor - a superstar actually - will allow songs, fights and other elements to be inserted without much awkwardness. They could always be explained away as being part of a film shooting(Mammootty himself did this in No.20 Madras Mail where he played an actor and so appeared in a variety of get-ups for film shoots)! And finally, there's the fact that Vasu is always known to wrap up his films fast, which means that we will probably see Kuselan hit theaters this year itself. I'm hoping for a Diwali release since its just been too long since we had a thalaivar film for Diwali.


At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate making negative comments. But I can't resist making one this time...

It is high time both P.Vasu and Rajni stop making movies.

Sivaji was horrible - Vivek's comedy and Rahman's music was the saving grace.

Chandramukhi was disastrous (barring Jo's performance).


A frustrated Tamizh Cinema Enthusiast

At 8:50 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

Balaji, i'm also not too happy about P.vasu direction this rajini film. i'm sure he is going to over do it or making the emotional scenes superficial. i wonder how P.vasu is going to blow up rajni's role and make it full fledge? Tat would be something intresting to watch out for.

Is the film going to release for diwali? i thought they said might release in june/july..The earlier the better for us..

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

Balaji, like I have said before, not too excited about this project, except for the fact that we will get to see Thalaivar on-screen.

If you had noticed during the Sivaji 175 days function, Thalaivar was trying to downplay his role in this movie, saying that it is just a guest role whereas P.Vasu in the news conference yday, said that his role would be bigger than in the Malayalam original. I think what Thalaivar is trying to do here is to set the expectations low as far as this project is concerned (his absence in the film's launch is by itself a proof of the same), so that the fans do not return disappointed and also at the same time, make sure that this movie turns out to be a profitable venture for everybody involved.

But yeah, if Kuselan does make it to the screens on Deepavali, that would be a first after such a long time.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

I think rajni is playing a full fledge role here. According ti sify, Rajni would have a heroine paired opposite him. this could be either Nayanthara or Simran.Mammoty had no heroine at all. There also would be more songs in the film oppose to the malayalam version which had a couple of songsonli.

Look like, pasupathy might end up doing the supporting role is more footage is given to Rajni.

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply put, who doesn't wanna rake in the moolah with the single collossal box office power that's Superstar Rajni.

Undoubtedly, PV wants to savour the stupendous success of Sivaji in some measure - even if it means absolutely no weight to story or screen play and to rely completely on the mass pull power of the Superstar - as in CM

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kuselan is a pathetic title first of all,even if it fits the storyline

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, "It is high time both P.Vasu and Rajni stop making movies." - i agree with 1 half of that statement :)

skanda, my guess - or rather hope - is that he'll probably have a song and a fight under the guise of a film shooting. and yeah, i heard yesterday that it's slated for aug 15 and not diwali :)

filbert, yeah his absence at the press conference was surprising esp. since he holds KB in such high regard and KB was present. ur reasoning is probably right...

anon, i'm guessing rajni is doing this for KB. PV's simply along for the ride to get himself another hit :)

vijay, heard yesterday that it'll probably be changed :)

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have my concerns about "kuselan" because Rajni and Vasu have a tightrope walk ahead of them. Rajni fans will neither want to see him downplay his role (I always lament the fact that his fantastic "performance" as Rajni in "Anbulla Rajnikanth" is sooo underrated) not that Vasu has any idea of the word 'downplay' (!) nor can he indulge in too much heroism...its going to be a very tough fact revisiting "Anbulla..." made me think that the significant time that Rajni was off screen was what made the film flop. Meena's story, Ambica's flashback, the side stories at the orphanage all took a lot of screen fact the very entertaining Bhagyaraj episode must've been added just to give kids a glimpse of Rajni in full comic form...sorry for the digression but thought i'd address the tricky issues involved in making a film where Rajni is going to be integral to the film's success but not to the storyline...

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KB has made a calulative move..Here are the reasons.
1. He got P.Vasu to direct for cheap sum.
2. Rajni would do the movie for free.
3. He's sure no matter who the director is, Rajni's film will always run..


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


Like Vijay said i'm surprised why P.Vasu cannot stop butchering mallu movies. Just a warning to P.Vasu, don't give any crap just because you've signed Superstar ;-)

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vadivelu said this in an interview post chandramukhi when questioned about how he bagged the role in the said film with the superstar: "....Yenakku pee vaasana(P.Vasu Anne) na remba pidikkum. Pee Vaasanaikkum yenna rombo pidikkum....."

This pretty much sums up everything P.Vasu produces. We are going to witness another murder of another great malayalam movie. I still cannot forgive him for what he did to Bharathan and Chandramukhi.

His problem is that he misses the whole point in the original and tries to give it his own sick masala twist on the lines of a 80s-Early 90s era potboiler. The result is he inflicts tortures on movie goers sensibilities with products like Chinna Thambi, Mannan and Walter Vetrivel where he Puzhijifies his script for all the sentiments it is worth and much more just to make the "Laydis(Ladies) see and cry".

He does not understand that it is not just the ladies that he makes cry.

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, P.Vasu just makes me shudder...
Balachander's poi was disasterous but his serials are still interesting. I dunno...

anyway enough lamenting about if superstar will have a film out in june or july... Please review a film for pongal. I want to know whether I should go see Bheema or pirivom sandipom or not bother at all... its not like I can rely on indiaglitz review... *rolls her eyes*

At 6:47 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

Sivajini, i've already seen 3 of the pongal movie, "Pirivum sandhipom", "palani" and "bheema". But seriously none of them are worth watching. "Pirivi sandhipom" is way too slow and there is no action at all while "Bheema" has too much action and gore which would sure give u a splitting headache by the time u come out of the cinema. I dunt wanna talk bout "palani" and u know why....

i'm waiting for "velithirai" and "anjathey", i'm sure this movie would be a lot better than the ponggal releases

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji:

I say this again!!!!

I am glad finally Rajini decided to act in "Robot" (though as you know that I am a die-hard Kamal-sir fan, I still love Rajini in movies like "Mullum Malarum", "Thillu Mullu", "Thambikku entha Ooru" etc., But the last time I really "ENJOYED" a Rajini movie was "Batcha" (but never thought that after that he would be doing totally non-sense movies (just "whooshing" the air and with his hands & whoosing IN the air won't do for me - SORRY!). I hoped a better movie with Sivaji but it was one of the worst ones from Shankar & Rajini!)

hope he just forgets about "being" a super star and just gives into what the story needs(hopefully Shankar has one this time as this was in the planning for about 5-6 years - and also knowing Kamal was involved in it (he won't commit for an one-line story!!)). That's MY HOPE!

But I am really worried about Pee-Pee Vasu's movie as he IS COMMITTED in murdering every classic in Malayalam!! (Already there are news items talking about a possible "lengthening" of Rajini's role with a heroine etc., to cater(!?!) for Tamil audiences - HOW INSULTING!

The next one I am NOT too keen to watch is "SULTAN" - I LOVE animated movies - but in this trailer Rajini looks "expressionless" plus "very tired"!! (Soundarya says that it would have "punch dialogues" and the usual (refer Sify and all other websites!) - NOW THATS TOTALLY STUPID - to put it mildly!! Why can't we BREAK from all those "cliches" at least in an animated movie - is BEYOND me!!

Hope ROBOT comes out really good - (Kamal would be ready with his "Marmayogi" (7-th Century adventure film for kids with Walt-Disney) to take it on!!!!

SEE YOU THERE, then!!! (Just kidding!!)

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji:

BTW, I was looking for one of your old movie reviews - I do not remember which one - and I noticed that somebody in the comments column added full of(yeah it had like 200+ comments - but most of them were) PORN links!!! Just wanted to bring it to your attention!

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more Rajini movie? Enna kodumai ithu saravanan!

At 3:24 AM, Blogger Bart said...

I missed writing at length about "Kadha Parayum pol" earlier.
It had a simple story (aptly as "Kuselan" suggests) but what made it endearing and entertaining are:
- The simple, lovable, amicable village / small town scenario with quite a few likeable characters thrown in addition to main characters - a nonsense bard, a stupid owner and his two equally good jaalras, a tea owner, a jealous barber shop owner, cook of shooting crew, the principal nun, tuition teacher to name a few
- The main characters - poor barber, his wife, his children and the mega star and their very natural and simple actions and reactions
- very easy moving screenplay with no unnessary intrusions (just two songs)

Now the story has almost no role for the megastar almost until the end (unlike chandramukhi, where the mallu version had the doctor playing his part even before interval). If P.Vasu butchers this story with superstar coming in right at the beginning, it might actually turn out to be one of those rasigar mandra films (rajini fan as a hero praising songs of thalaivar etc) - unappealing to many.
So, the butchering has to be done very carefully else I feel this time P.Vasu might fall flat on his face.
Given that, there is no place for stars in this movie and I feel Pasupathi might be a good choice for the barber role. Good start there. Simran for wife - not required.. Probably, Meena herself would do (Meera jasmine might look too young for Pasupathi).
More later..


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