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Gulaebaghavali director Kalyan says Prabhu Deva has delivered outstanding performance in the film



Director Kalyan Kumar is quite positive about his sophomore feature Gulaebaghavali, a black comedy which stars the multi-talented Prabhu Deva in the lead role. Gulaebaghavali is a dark horse amid other two Pongal releases – Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam and Vikram’s Sketch – which are driven by star power.

Kalyan’s directorial debut Kadha Solla Porom, which majorly featured kids in lead roles, didn’t fare well at the box office and he is now raring to see how audiences receive his second film.

Gulaebaghavali is the title of famous yesteryear film of late actor and ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran directed by TR Ramanna.

Hansika and Prabhu Deva in Gulaebaghavali

Asked about the similarities, Kalyan said, “Yes, our film has some connections with the old MGR title. Both the films have travel as an important element of the story, and both are adventure-based scripts. My film is a con-thriller, and the story is about the incidents that happen while four separate gangs hunt for a treasure trove. We shot for seventy-five days in the borders of Andhra Pradesh border, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, and ECR.”

Kalyan says he had the image of Prabhu Deva in mind while writing the script.

“I decided the lead cast during the scripting phase itself, and I wanted to bring the Prabhu Deva sir that we saw a decade back on screen now. Though I decided to cast him in the lead role, I was quite terrified about the narration. I have not met him before, and I even practiced for the storytelling. When I started to narrate, I could sense his involvement. As I proceeded with the session and the way he enjoyed the narration, I was confident about my script. When he gave his nod and asked to start the shoot as soon as possible, it was more like a godsend,” recalled Kalyan about his first meeting with Prabhu Deva.

The songs of Gulaebaghavali composed by the musician duo Vivek Siva and Mervin Solomon have received rave reviews from music lovers, especially the foot-tapping ‘Guleba’ track which features Prabhu Deva’s vintage moves.

“Prabhu Deva sir is like a phoenix bird. He and his dance never age. Nothing has changed in a decade, the way I admired him on-screen while watching Gentleman songs is the same way today’s youngsters admire him in Chalmaar or Guleba. And his performance will always be subtle yet outstanding, like in Minsaara Kanavu. When we discuss a shot and start rolling, he will do something spontaneously and give his own touch to make it more lively,” said Kalyan.

Kalyan says the team meticulously worked to construct a grand set for the Guleba track to make it a memorable song for Prabhu Deva. “The backdrop of Guleba song is the replica of Babylon’s hanging gardens but with cars. It took more than thirty days to build that set with a budget of Rs. 2 crores. Guleba will be Prabhu Deva sir’s introduction song. Johnny master from Tollywood choreographed the song with inputs from Prabhu Deva sir. The CG also took considerable time and budget,” reveals Kalyan.

Gulaebaghavali has Hansika Motwani paired opposite Prabhu Deva for the first time in her career. Kalyan says her role in the film will not be a typical song-and-dance character. “Gulaebaghavali will be a special film for Hansika. Her character and performance in this movie will stand out compared to the other films where she mostly played the bubbly-heroine types. Unlike her other films, she has screen presence throughout the movie. The script demanded a cute girl. Also, she has done some stunts and pulled off the dark comedy sequences too. Hansika has applied herself well to the role. She plays a pub dancer-cum-thief in the film,” Kalyan said, adding that the romance track in the film would not be cinematic but very realistic.

Veteran actress Revathy, who was last seen in Dhanush’s directorial debut Power Paandi, plays a pivotal role in the film. “I’m a fan of Revathy mam’s performances. Be it Aan Paavam or Arangetra Velai, her girl-next-door looks and ‘un-ornamental’ performance are something that still stands unique. When we were shooting, her performance everytime would surpass my expectations manifold. She comes in multiple roles in the story, and her character is something I don’t want to reveal now,” said Kalyan.

Gulaebaghavali is produced by KJR Studios, who bankrolled Nayanthara’s social drama Aramm last year. The movie is all set to hit the screens worldwide tomorrow, 12 January.

Published Date: Jan 11, 2018 13:13 PM | Updated Date: Jan 11, 2018 13:13 PM


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Suriya at Thaanaa Serndha Koottam success meet: ‘The film has shattered a lot of stereotypes’



The success meet of Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam was held in Chennai on 18 January. Suriya, who was conspicuous by his absence during the beginning of the event due to food poisoning problems, made a sudden entry towards the fag end of the function to the surprise of everyone.

“I haven’t missed any event for Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. That’s why I decided to come down despite asking for an excuse. The road trip in Andhra Pradesh took a toll on me, especially the spicy food (laughs). We traveled nearly 1000 KMs covering Rajahmundry Vijayawada, Bhimavaram, Guntur and visited some 10 to 15 theatres. It’s my first multi-city theater tour in Andhra Pradesh although my films have been regularly getting a Telugu release in the past twelve years,” said Suriya.

Suriya in Thaanaa Serndha Koottam.

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam has become an important film in my career,” says Suriya

Talking about the extremely encouraging positive feedback from across the board, Suriya said, “TSK has become an important film in my career. Although it’s my 35th film, I’ve received a lot of responses that it’s a completely different movie in my career. The unanimous feedback, from audiences to the media, is that TSK is quite unique from my previous outings. Everyone opines that a lot of stereotypes concerning my makeover have been shattered in this film. The entire credit goes to director Vignesh Shivan. He meticulously took care of all the minute details.  He kept exploring various options, which made me convinced.”

Suriya said he’s happy with the film’s performance at the box-office although he doesn’t delve into exact numbers. “I usually don’t go into box-office collections. But somehow the information reaches my ears. The Sunday figures are higher than the opening day (Friday). And the Monday numbers are said to be higher than Sunday. It’s mainly because of the family audiences who watched the film, after the opening,” he said.

“Anirudh’s songs have taken this film beyond borders,” says Suriya

Suriya showered praise on composer Anirudh Ravichander for delivering a great album and excellent background score for the film. “Anirudh’s songs have taken this film beyond borders. Every technician has played some crucial role in the movie’s success. Everyone was lifting the whole experience by contributing something. We all had a lot of positive vibes while shooting the film. We were very sure that the film should be a celebration because it’s been eight years since my last festival release. And, I witnessed all the celebration in theatres firsthand by visiting screens like Kasi and Brinda, where people were enjoying everything on screen. For every film, there will be an inevitable difference between how the media and public respond. But, for Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, there was a unanimous opinion,” stated Suriya.

“There was a lot of pressure on Vignesh Shivan to deliver an entertaining film,” says Anirudh Ravichander

Composer Anirudh Ravichander talked about his magical working experience with Vignesh Shivan and reasoned why their combo clicks. “When Vignesh Shivan decided to do a film with Suriya sir after Naanum Rowdy Thaan, there was a lot of pressure. NRD was a small-scale film, and it opened up the opportunity to bag Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. So, the fate of Thaanaa Serndha Koottam would decide his future since it’s a big-star film on a big canvas. Despite the considerable pressure, Vignesh utilized the offer correctly and delivered an entertaining movie, which didn’t receive any negative reviews at all. I don’t know how our combination works. He extracts the best of out of me very casually. We used to keep chatting something, and in between, he will take the right scores from me. Our sessions have always been candid and very nonchalant.”

“Though the music was a hit, we wouldn’t remember the experience fondly if the end product is not good. It’s what I’ve learned in my small career. If the film doesn’t work well, we won’t have any pleasant memories associated with it even if the album was a chartbuster. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie with audiences in theaters,” added Anirudh.

“Suriya sir gives his 100% to the script, and that’s his biggest strength,” says Vignesh Shivan

Vignesh Shivan said Suriya’s absolute commitment to the character he plays was one of the reasons for producing the output he had desired.  “When I received this offer, I was a little hesitant about the ‘remake’ part. But, it’s a precious opportunity to direct a big hero. So, I did my best to make the film more interesting. Suriya sir gives his 100% to the script, and that’s his biggest strength. He understands the role thoroughly and gets into the skin of the character with utmost commitment,” said Vignesh.

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:16 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:16 PM


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Supreme Court upholds acquittal of Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui by Delhi HC in rape case



The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the acquittal of Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in a rape case by the Delhi High Court, after hearing a plea by an American woman challenging the high court verdict.

During the hearing before the apex court, the woman’s counsel told the bench that a new argument of alleged consensual relation was advanced by Farooqui’s lawyer before the high court and claimed that this issue was not raised before the lower court during the trial.

The bench, however, observed that it was not a case where strangers came, met and did something as both Farooqui and the woman were known to each other.

File image of Mahmood Farooqui. GettyImages

File image of Mahmood Farooqui. GettyImages

“This is a very hard case. We would like to say that it has been decided extremely well (by the high court),” the top court said.

When the woman’s counsel said the issue was whether there was any consent, the bench observed that there appeared to be a “positive response” which, according to her, was faked by her. “People give false smiles. How would the other person know that it’s a false response? This is very difficult to understand,” the bench said, adding, “she appeared to have responded in a positive manner”.

When the petitioner’s counsel referred to the email conversation between the woman and Farooqui, the apex court said the record reflects that they were good friends. The bench also referred to one of the communications between them and asked whether she had said “I love you” to Farooqui in one of the emails after the alleged incident.

“How many rape cases you have gone through where the prosecutrix (woman) has said I love you to the alleged accused much after the alleged incident,” the bench asked the counsel and also posed several other queries including how many times the woman had visited Farooqui and had drinks together.

The bench was not satisfied with the answers given by the counsel and dismissed the plea, saying no question of law was involved in the matter.

“We will not interfere with the high court verdict. It is a well-written judgment,” PTI quoted the Supreme Court as saying.

In September 2017, the Delhi High Court had acquitted Farooqui, saying he was entitled to benefit of the doubt as the testimony of the victim was not reliable.

Justice Ashutosh Kumar had set aside the trial court order which had awarded a seven-year jail term to Farooqui after convicting him for the alleged rape of a 30-year-old American researcher at his south Delhi residence in March 2015.

The high court, in its 85-page judgment, had directed that Farooqui be released forthwith.

It had held that the woman’s testimony was not reliable and the accused can be given the benefit of doubt. “Whether such an incident happened, if it has happened, it did happen with the consent of the prosecutrix. This remains in doubt,” the court had said.

Farooqui had challenged his conviction and the sentence given by the trial court.

During arguments, Farooqui’s lawyer had denied the allegation of rape levelled by the woman and had said, “no such incident took place on that day”.

His counsel had referred to messages exchanged between his client and the woman before the case was lodged and contended that the two were in a “relationship” since January 2015.

The argument was opposed by Delhi Police’s counsel, who had said that rape had taken place and the trial court had given reasons while convicting and sentencing 45-year-old Farooqui.

A trial court on 4 August last year had sent him to jail for seven years, observing that he had taken advantage of the situation when the victim was alone in his house.

The court, which on 30 July, 2016, had held Farooqui guilty of raping the American woman in 2015 in a drunken state, had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

The police had on 19 June, 2015, lodged an FIR against Farooqui on the woman’s complaint after which he was arrested.

On 29 July, 2015, the police had filed its chargesheet against Farooqui, alleging he had raped the research scholar from Columbia University at his Sukhdev Vihar house in South Delhi on 28 March, 2015.

With inputs from PTI

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:46 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 13:48 PM


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Naya Rivera’s estranged husband Ryan Dorsey drops charges of domestic violence against Glee actress



The charges of domestic violence against Glee star Naya Rivera by her estranged husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, have been dropped after he decided not to press charges, as reported by Daily News.

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey. Facebook

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey. Facebook

Rivera had been arrested and charged with domestic battery last year following a complaint by Dorsey when she had struck him on the head and the bottom lip while on a stroll with their two year old son. The charges have been dropped by Kanawha County Magistrate Court’s office, as reported by Daily News.

The incident had occurred on 25 November, 2017 and the actress was believed to be intoxicated at the time. The fight between the couple had erupted over an argument over their son. At the time the actor known for his role on Pitch had tweeted a statement, “This is a difficult time for everyone in the family especially for Naya and I. This isn’t some reality show, this is our life, and I ask that everyone especially ‘the media’ please respect our privacy and treat us/this situation how you would want a loved one to be treated. Perhaps with kindness, respect, without judgement, and as negative a situation like this is, with positivity and love. Thanks,” as reported by US Weekly.

After her arrest, Rivera had filed for divorce a second time, from Dorsey since November 2016, which she had dismissed, as reported by Daily News.

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:48 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:48 PM


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