Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Emperor Strikes Back

The Emperor Strikes Back
Friday May 27 2005 14:06 IST

Baradwaj Rangan

A stick of tobacco, a Japanese car, nimble hand-eye coordination,
five-odd minutes of screen time � that's all it took for Rajinikanth
to make the move from supporting mate to star material. Kamalahasan �
okay, Kamal Haasan � may have been the lead of K Balachander's
Ninaithaale Inikkum, but it was Rajini who was its livewire. Whether
swaying to Sambo Siva Sambo or comically pursuing a mysterious female
admirer or, yes, trying to win a Toyota by flipping a cigarette
repeatedly into his mouth, it was Rajini who shone � or should that be
twinkled, considering that, with this performance, he set himself well
on course to becoming a star?

And then Murattu Kaalai-Paayum Puli happened, and his fame hit the
stratosphere. And then Annamalai-Baasha-Padayappa came out, and his
(super) star ascended to the heavens. And then Baba happened, and he
fell dizzyingly to earth.

People began to question the relevance of Rajinikanth in the era of
younger stars who, if not after his mantle, were certainly after his
masses � the crowds that threw coins, confetti, themselves on screen
upon the first glimpse of their hero. With Vijay labelling himself
Ilaya Thalapathy (after one of Rajini's movies), with Simbu calling
himself Little Super Star, with Sarath Kumar becoming Supreme Star,
with Ajith being hailed as Ultimate Star, was there any space in the
Kollywood skies for the original Super Star? Or had he become Rajini

No one's asking such questions today � for after the phenomenal
success of Chandramukhi, the Rajinikanth household is handing out not
only sweets, but also generous slices of humble pie to all the
doubting Thangavelus.

After 40 days of release, tickets are still being sold in black. Says
producer AVM Saravanan: ``In four weeks, it's grossed more than what
Padayappa made in its entire run. And this despite the fact that
Chandramukhi has no punch dialogues, no political references, no
typical Rajini-style moments. Yet the repeat audiences are pouring
in.'' Sathyajothi Thyagarajan, President of the Tamil Film Producers
Council, confirms that. ``I've talked to all trade associations in the
state, and the collections are enormous. Families have taken to
Chandramukhi in a big way. And I guess everyone is happy because we
all want Rajini to do well.''

Doing well he certainly is. His earnings from the movie � salary plus
profit percentage � are reportedly in the Rs 15 crore range, and
that's just so far. The rights for each area in Tamil Nadu were
reportedly sold for Rs 2.5 crore, and revenues to date (per area) have
crossed Rs 3 crore, which means Chandramukhi has already made
something like Rs 60 crore across the state. In the words of Swaroop
Reddy, Director of Chennai's upscale Sathyam Cinemas, ``This is the
best movie as far as the box office is concerned in the Tamil industry
till date, and it cannot be compared to any other film. So far, it is
amongst the top 10 highest grossing movies in the history of Sathyam
Cinemas, and its position can only strengthen from here on. We expect
Chandramukhi to play for more than 100 days.''

That's in Chennai � but it's doing well in its Telugu dubbed version
(better than original Telugu releases), it's doing well in Karnataka,
it's doing well in Malaysia, and if it isn't doing well in Japan, it's
only because it wasn't released there. (A few faithfuls, however, made
it all the way to Chennai to catch their sensei in action.) It's a
bigger grosser than even Baasha, and it's become something of a tonic
to an ailing industry. In an interview, K Muralidharan, former
President of the Tamil Film Producers Council, has said: ``I've often
been asked why we keep producing movies, when the success rate is so
low. That's because we all want to experience a Chandramukhi in our

And to think the movie almost wasn't made. After Baba's no-show, if
all had gone well, we'd have seen something named Jaggubhai. Director
K S Ravikumar worked on Rajinikanth's idea, but nothing came of it
finally. (Industry gossip is that the story had political leanings,
which became irrelevant after recent electoral turnarounds.) So when
the star was on the lookout for new material, he chanced upon
Aapthamithra, a Kannada blockbuster headlined by Vishnuvardhan, which
was based on the Malayalam superhit Manichitrathazhu. He liked the
subject enough to remake it, and he's now remaking box-office history.

Still, there's a section that feels too much is being made of
Chandramukhi's success. After all, it didn't have much competition.
(The films that released alongside - Vijay's Sachein and Kamal
Haasan's Mumbai Xpress - have both performed below expectations.)
Also, it wasn't as hyped as Baba was. Besides, aren't hits and flops
part of a performer's profession? Is this really a comeback for
Rajinikanth or is it just a case of yet another mass movie finding its
mass audience? As film historian Theodore Baskaran puts it: ``In the
career trajectory of a star, ups and downs are not unusual. These
cannot be termed as exits or returns. It is the content and the
quality of his / her movies and the principles the actor stands for
which would determine his / her place in the cultural history of a
society. Look at the way N S Krishnan is remembered in the
Tamil-speaking world today.''

Forget about remembering N S Krishnan. Some fans are wondering if this
is how Rajinikanth, their hero, wants to be remembered � for comedy
that reduces women to sex objects, for playing someone who isn't a
superhero as much as a supporting character in the larger scheme of
the film. (Jyothika has the titular role, and comedian Vadivelu has
almost as many scenes as Rajini.)

But these fans needn't lose heart. After this success, their idol has
apparently decided to appear on screen more frequently � there were
three-year gaps between Padayappa and Baba, and between Baba and
Chandramukhi � and news is already making rounds that he's looking at
a remake of the Amitabh Bachchan-Akshay Kumar tearjerker Waqt. Now
there's a role people should be happy to see the Super Star in, and
there's a movie that could well consolidate his winning streak � for,
as the showbiz saying goes, make the audience cry, and you'll laugh
all the way to the bank.

With inputs from Malini Mannath


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Thursday, May 26, 2005

'Chandramukhi' tops Telugu charts

'Chandramukhi' tops Telugu charts
Saturday, April 23, 2005 | Editor

[Cinema South India] By B. Anuradha, Hyderabad, April 22 : Tamil superstar Rajnikanth's charisma seems to have spilled over to Andhra Pradesh, as his "Chandramukhi" has opened to a terrific response.

1. "Chandramukhi": With Rajnikanth assuring that it would be his kind of film despite an off-beat plot, audiences are thronging theatres to watch the tricks of the veteran star. Will this prove to be his comeback film?

2. "Mumbai Xpress": Kamal Haasan's comic caper is registering good collections in A centres and is bound to catch up in other centres. Ilaiyaraja's numbers are already a big hit.

3. "Bunny": The teaming up of Allu Arjun and Vinayak has resulted in a huge opening but the stale plot could shatter Arjun's dream of a hat-trick. Good dances and action boost the film, but its similarities with "Aadi" could go against it.

4. "Avunnana Kadanna": Director Teja's overconfidence is evident since he has chosen neither a good plot nor a gripping narration and just rehashed "Jayam". Patnaik has tried to salvage the film with a few foot-tapping numbers.

5. "Sankranth": Venkatesh's family drama has crossed 50 days in more than 170 centres and is expected to survive the onslaught of two big, dubbed films. Director Siva's slow-paced screenplay seems to have worked in this case.

--Indo-Asian News Service

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

The final verdict. Exclusive Report by Sify.com

By Moviebuzz
Sunday, 08 May , 2005, 11:08

How big is Chandramukhi?- The third and concluding part of the in-depth box-office report on the film
Part 3

Chandramukhi is turning out to be bigger than Padayappa or Baasha, in terms of box-office collections! All existing box-office records are being swept away by the Chandramukhi tsunami wave at turnstiles. It has become the favourite summer outing among families all over Tamil Nadu and there is a repeat audience for the film.

This clearly indicates the final verdict that Chandramukhi is a blockbuster of gargantuan propositions. In Chennai city (in 21 days) the film has collected a distributors share of Rs 1.27 Crore and is all set to break the Padayappa record of Rs 1.45 Crore! According to a trade analyst, the film may garner Rs 2.25 to Rs 2.50 Crore from Chennai city alone in the long run, making it the highest collecting film in history!

In Kovai territory, comprising Erode, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Nilgiris and Pollachi on 24 prints, Chandramukhi collected Rs 2.36 Crore in 21 days and may become the first ever film to cross the magic Rs 3 Crore figure from this area in the long run. In Tamil Nadu’s biggest territory the NSC area (North Arcot, South Arcot and Chengalpettu) the film is likely to get a distributors share of Rs 8 Crore! And down south in TK area (Tirunelveli- Kanyakumari) the collections are likely to be Rs 1.50 Crore twice of what Padayappa did!

If one were to go by these figures, then Chandramukhi will do business worth Rs 22.5 Crore from theatrical rights in Tamil Nadu. The normal practice in film trade to calculate the box-office takings of a mega blockbuster is to multiply the Chennai city distributors share by 2.5 = Tamil Nadu distributors share. And if family and repeat audience continue to support the film till the schools reopen (June 1) and there after if collections don’t drop drastically and average around 50 percent, then Chandramukhi may do theatrical business worth Rs 25 Crore from Tamil Nadu.

In Bangalore, Rajnikanth’s home town Chandramukhi will do Rs 1.50 Crore and from rest of Karnataka another Rs 1.50 Crore making it Rs 3 Crore. From Kerala the film is likely to make a distributors share of Rs 1.50 Crore. In Andhra also the Telugu dubbed version of the film is a super hit and is poised to make around Rs 8 Crore! And in other North Indian belts like Mumbai, Pune, Belguam, Ahmedabad, Ranchi and Delhi it has a potential to collect Rs 50 Lakhs mainly from multiplexes.

Overseas also Chandramukhi is a big hit especially in Malaysia, UAE, US and as per trade buzz, the film will be the first Tamil movie to do business over $ 1 Million (Rs 4.3 Crore). It is expected to do Rs 7 Crore overseas including DVD and local TV rights.

So the bottom line is that Chandramukhi has the potential to do business worth Rs 45 Crore worldwide with almost 60 percent coming from Tamil Nadu theatrical rights alone. It is truly amazing that a Tamil film could do such bumper business worth $ 10 Million!

We at Sify.com salute Mr Rajnikanth the ultimate superstar. His worldwide charisma and reach is truly phenomenal. Rajni sir – you are the Emperor of Tamil cinema

Source : http://sify.com/movies/tamil/fullstory.php?id=13736924

Chandramukhi Ticket Booking at Midnight!

Just a few days before, we have mentioned in this same column that, one does not know how and when the tickets of 'Chandramuki' are being sold. Some of the readers of Cinesouth have joined with us in our effort to track down about what is happening. Here is some interesting scenes for the readers..

The place Chennai, Shanthi Theatre, Night show was just over, and the people have gone back to their places. The place was deserted. The whole city is sleeping. But suddenly there were people started arriving, in single and in pairs. With in 3 'O' clock, in the early morning Shanthi Theatre was filled up with crowd.

At exactly 4.30 A.M., the temple doors were opened. (Some people may call them as ticket counter, but for Rajii fans, they are temple doors only) with in just 30 minutes, the tickets for all three shows of that particular day was sold out.

The whole crowd was in cheerful mood throughout. The 'Operator Booking' was executed with police protection. Why this farce is being enacted when the whole city is sleeping? A theatre worker explains the 'reason'. "We could not control the crowd during the daytime that is why, we are doing this midnight reservation".

This incident has been brought to our notice, (along with photos) by the reader of Cinesouth, 'Sundar'. He is also a fan of Rajini.