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Friday, March 09, 2001

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Placid isle makes waves


AGOD- FORSAKEN land, where no man has ever set foot before. Hold your breath, this is not the opening line of a science fiction thriller like Star Trek. It is about a fishermen's hamlet created on a desolate `island', a 40-minute ride by boat from Pulicat, for `Citizen', the next Ajit-starrer.

After studio sets and green locales, the virgin island is the new find of the Tamil filmdom. Created by acclaimed Art Director, Sabu Cyril, the place, replete with a mosque and a well and lined with thatched huts, is proving to be a major tourist attraction.

``Originally, we decided to shoot about 18 minutes of the flashback sequence of the movie here, but given the picturesque location, we decided to add a song sequence too,'' says Sharavanan Subbiya, Director of Citizen. With nearly 80 per cent of the multi-starrer - Nagma, who appears in the role of a CBI officer, Meena and Vasundhara Das - complete, the movie will be released on Ajit's birthday on May 1.

Christened Athipatti, the wonder in plaster of Paris is just one aspect of tuning everything ``into the real mode,'' explains Subbiya, adding, ``Three big sets are being used in the film.''

Chips in Ajit, ``It is going to be a Tamil film on a grand scale after a long gap.'' About 180 carpenters have created the set. Nearly 400 junior artistes star in the movie.

On his role in the movie, Ajit, clad in a lungi and a faded green vest with his hair bleached in red, says, ``As I am for playing different roles, scripts will be tailor-made for me after `Citizen'.''

The story is about a fisherman fighting for his rights and the well-being of the island. The flashback will be the base of Citizen. Beyond that - Ajit is said to be donning nine get- ups and appears in a double role in Citizen. He says, ``the more you conceal, the more the excitement, so wait for May 1. Mark my words, it will be worth the wait.'' Not to leave anything to chance in the film, Ajit, for whom Citizen is the first big budget film, has engaged the services of Anil Pemgirikar, make-up man of Kamal Hassan. Acknowledging the magnanimous gesture of Kamal Hassan for introducing Pemgirikar, he says, ``The film's backbone lies in its demanding script, sets, cinematography and make-up.''

Adds Mr. Ravi K. Chandran, Cinematographer of the movie, ``We will be using reverse telecine'' for the flashback sequence and then correct it digitally. From `Athipatti', Ajit will be heading for Australia on April 12 for shooting two songs at Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.

What about the hamlet? No suspense. ``It will be flooded,'' as it happens in the storyline, says Subbiya.

By N. Ravi Kumar

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