Posts Tagged ‘Sivaji Ganesan’

What Rajni missed when he went out to smoke

12 December 2012

Photo Caption

On his 60th birthday, school children in Bangalore hold up notebooks of the City’s most famous cinematic export: Shivaji Rao Gaekwad also known as Rajnikanth.

The books were supplied by the Rajniji Seva Samithi (RSS).

***

The website First Post has published excerpts from a new biography of Rajnikanth by the film scholar Naman Ramachandran, with this passage of his relationship with Kamal Haasan.

“In the beginning, in 1975, just how big a star Kamal Haasan was, today’s generation does not know,’ says Rajinikanth. ‘He was an even bigger star in 1975 than he is now. Old or young, a new artiste had never shaken all of India like he did. I had just entered the cinema industry then.

Apoorva Raagangal, Moondru Mudichu, Avargal, these were all my guru K. Balachander’s films—I became a hero with these three films. After that the films that came, big films like 16 Vayathinile, Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu, Aadu Puli Attam, Aval Appadithan—these were all hit films.

“For those films, if Kamal had said, ‘Don’t cast Rajini,’ nobody would have taken me. I got Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu solely on Kamal’s recommendation.

“So I acted in all these films and then, after I became a big actor, one day Kamal called me and said, ‘Rajini, only if you act alone will you get your own space. If you say no, the cinema world will use us, and you won’t be able to grow.’

“I listened to all that he said. After that I worked on my own.

“Then, after I became a big man, Kamal called me again one day and said, ‘Rajini, you have to be cautious in Tamil cinema. I have seen from a young age—MGR and Sivaji, though they had no rivalry between them, the cinema industry separated them. And because the industry separated them, their fans also separated. That shouldn’t happen with us. The producers and directors I work with, you should work with them too.’

“I don’t know how to thank him.”

Rajinikanth adds, ‘In other industries, people like Mammootty, Mohan Lal, Venkatesh, Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan and even Dilip Kumar look at me and are amazed how I managed to make a name for myself as an actor in an industry where Kamal Haasan exists. The reason is simple. I grew as an actor just by watching Kamal Haasan acting. I had the good fortune of being able to observe Kamal Haasan from close quarters.

During the shooting of Avargal I was sitting outside when K. Balachander noticed this and got angry. He sent word for me to return to the set and asked me, ‘Did you go outside to smoke? Kamal is acting; observe him. Only then will your acting get even better.’

“From that time, when Kamal acted I wouldn’t go anywhere; I would just sit there and watch. This is the honest truth.”

Buy the book here: Infi Beam

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A stylish lesson in humility from namma Rajni

11 similarities between Rajni and the iPod

A hit, yes, but why does Rajni have such a hold?

The most testing day in the life of Rajnikanth

Don’t tell us you didn’t know this one about Rajni

How Rajnikanth caught the lion

Vishnuvardhan, the Decent Star, is no more. RIP.

30 December 2009

churumuri records with deep regret the passing away of the Mysore-born Kannada superstar H.N. Sampath Kumar, known to the world as Vishnuvardhan, following a heart attack in his home-town on Wednesday morning.

He was 59 years old, and is survived by his wife Bharati and their adopted daughters, Keerthi and Chandana.

Like Rahul Dravid who has always had to play under the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar, Vishnuvardhan’s career coincided with that of the gigantic Dr Raj Kumar, although the two starred together only once.

But, to Vishnuvardhan’s credit, he carved his own niche and won popular and critical appeal with a range of stellar performances in Vamshavrusksha, Nagara Haavu, Muthina Haara, Bandhana, Suprabhatha, Nagara Hole, Nishkarsha and Aaptamitra.

Unlike most Kannada stars, lef-hander Vishnuvardhan bravely tested his star value  in other languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi, acting alongside Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth and Mammootty. And like his good friend Gundappa Vishwanath, he brought grace, style and an essential decency to the acting (and living) crease.

In an industry filled with all kinds of self-appointed stars, to Vishnuvardhan goes the worthy and weighty title, “Decent Star”.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Passion for Cinema: Dr Vishnuvardhan passes away

Once upon a time in Bangalore on Route No. 11

7 December 2008

southparade2

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Bangalore in the 1950s and ’60s was still a Pensioners’ Paradise and very much a sleepy town. It was mostly divided into “City” and “Cantonment” with Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram the best known among its residential areas.

Jayanagar and its famous mosquitoes had not made their debut yet.

The City Market was really a conglomeration of various petes—Chikkapete, Balepete, Tharugupete, Akkipete, Cottonpete—holding the business community. Dandu, or Cantonment (‘Contrumentru’ as the villagers would call it) was still a very far off place for most Bangaloreans.

Almost as far as London itself.

***

One got a fair idea of the City when one used BTS, or Bangalore Transport Service to give its full name (“Bittre Tiruga Sigodilla“, was the other full form).

50 years ago, the only other modes of transport for a common man were the Jataka Gaadi (horse driven covered cart) or nataraja service— local lingo for footing it out.

The word ‘autorickshaw’ had yet to enter the lexicon, the contraption was yet to invade our roads.

Those who worked in Atthara Katcheri (18 offices) before Vidhana Soudha was conceived, or those who worked in AG’s office walked to their offices. After an early meal around 9 am, chewing Mysore villedele with sughnadhi betel nuts, most of them changed in to their kuchche panche with their marriage coat, some wearing the Mysore peta as crown, they set off to their office holding a tiffin box which contained their afternoon snack: a couple of idlis, uppittu, etc.

The same tiffin bag was used to bring back Mysore mallige in the evening along with badami halwa for the waiting wife. The only addition to the office gear was a half-sleeve sweater during winter, and a full-length umbrella which sometimes doubled as a walking stick, during the monsoon.

Bangalore looked almost empty during the day as most of the eligible science and engineering graduates or diploma holders were herded into buses at the unearthly hour of 6.30 in the morning and ferried to HAL, HMT, BEL, LRDE, ITI, NGEF, Kirloskar, BEML, etc.

The city suddenly perked up after the factory hands returned to their favorite haunts like Yagnappana Hotlu opposite National High School grounds or Bhattra Hotlu in Gandhi bazaar for the mandatory ‘Three-by-Four Masale’ or ‘Two-by-three coffee’ in the evenings.

***

The best way of seeing Bangalore and getting an idea of what was happening in the city in those days was to travel by BTS route no. 11.

Route no. 11 started its journey from Gandhi bazaar in Basavanagudi opposite Vidyarthi Bhavan and took you to Tata Institute (now Indian Institute of Science) on Malleshwaram 18th cross, after eons of time spent amidst chatter, sleep and fights over annas and paisas.

Morning visitors to Vidyarthi Bhavan would already be waiting for the delicious masale dose after eating rave vade when the conductor asked the last of the commuters to get in to the bus and shouted ‘Rrrrighhttttt!’

The bus, initially coughing and moving in fits and starts, would go past the only taxi stand in the City and take its first left turn at K.R. Road and pass through Basavanagudi post office and enter Dr. H.Narasimhaiah’s National College circle and stop at diagonal road opposite Dr. Narasimhachar’s dispensary.

Here in the evenings, Gokhale, a Maharashtrian, sold ‘Brain Tonic’—a tangy kadalekai (groundnut) concoction with the goods atop his bicycle carrier. The light from his dynamo illuminated the area for you to see what you were eating and for him to check whether he has not been palmed off with ‘sawakalu kasu‘ (disfigured  coin).

Gokhale claimed that students of the National High School and National College figured in the state rank list (and hence dubbed ‘kudumis’) only because his brain tonic was their staple food!

Everything on route no. 11 had “laidback” stamped on it: the issuing of tickets, getting in and out of the bus, and the bus ride itself.

At the end of Diagonal Road you entered the sanctum sanctorum of Shettys or Komatis of Bangalore who sold anything and everything that could be sold from gold to pakampappu, gulpavatte and gunthaponganalu.

The Sajjan Rao temple and choultry by the same name was much sought after for society weddings. The Satyanarayana Temple came much later as politicians became more and more crooked.

Kota Kamakshayya choultry was opposite to the best bakery in Bangalore and may be the whole of south India, the V.B. Bakery.

Dressed in spotless white panche and banians with sleeves, the staff looked as if they were running on  skates taking and fetching orders for chakkuli, kodu-bale, veg “pups”, om biscuit, kharada kadale kayi, ‘Congress’ kadale kayi and  ‘Badam Haalu’. V.B. Bakery’s stuff was made for the gods who, I suspect, had descended on Bangalore not only for this but also for the weather, the doses, and mallige.

Next, after passing Modern Hotel and New Modern hotel where the whiff of SKC —sweetu, khara, coffee—hit your nostrils, was the stop opposite Minerva talkies, which in those days mostly showed Tamil pictures for three shows and wore a culturally superior hat with Bengali movies and that too only Satyajit Ray for the morning shows!

I suspect most Bangaloreans got introduced to Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar—and roso gulla—only through Minerva.

A 200 meters dash from Minerva took you to Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) in a dingy lane, which morphed into MTR as one of the best eateries in town.

(more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,704 other followers