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Twice blessed

IT WAS twin delight for Prashanth who celebrated his birthday on April 6. The young actor, whose ``Thamizh" is doing fairly well, was showered with parental love receiving as gifts a swanky house and a Sonata. Pleased as punch with the double bonanza, Prashanth is excited about his next film, ``Winner," directed by Sundar C. The heroine is not from Mumbai's tinsel world. It is Aarthi Agarwal who is making waves on the Telugu scene. Yuvan Shankar Raja is the composer. The film begins with a motorbike race — hence the title.

From Jaipur to Chennai

She came into films with Subash Ghai's "Yaadein." This beauty from Jaipur then travelled to Hyderabad for a couple of films as heroine in Telugu, before AVM and director Saran spotted her and brought her down to Chennai for "Gemini". Kiran is petite, demure and almost vulnerable as she says, " I am very nervous about giving interviews."

Kiran had worked for three pop albums before Subash Ghai noticed her. " I come from a conservative Rajput family. So my parents were very much against the idea of my working in films. It was after a lot of coaxing that dad agreed."

But all that is a thing of the past. Now Kiran is doing a film with Aftab Shivdasani in Hindi and one with Arjun, in Tamil. When Kiran tells you that she goes by her manager's advice in choosing a film in Tamil, because she is hardly familiar with the scene here, she sounds almost nave. "But I find Tamil easy to pick up. Telugu is tough," she smiles. Whether or not she would accept more offers in Tamil depends on how "Gemini" fares.

Location matters

No commercial cinema is complete without at least a couple of song sequences shot abroad. Relevance has no place here — location does. So producer M. V. Muralikrishna plans to transport the lead pair, Arjun and Simran, to Hong Kong for a couple of song sequences, for his "Ezhumalai".

Another number with Arjun and new face Gazala, will be canned in Singapore and Malaysia.

But "villains" are not so lucky. The stunts for the climax, with Arjun, Ashish Vidyarthi and nearly 2,000 others, were filmed at the Birla Planetarium, in Kotturpuram. Incidentally, "Ezhumalai" is Arjun's directorial venture after "Vedham", which did not create much flutter.

Cautious moves

"Anbudan" and its unique theme, you thought, would take him places. The film just came and went. "We failed in marketing and publicity," recalls Arun. But "Pandavar Bhoomi" came and proved Arun's potential.


Arun.

The character was beautifully underplayed and made a great impact. The film was declared a hit. But again, it is nearly a year and Arun has signed just two films. "I don't want to accept everything that comes my way and regret later. I am looking for strong characters backed by a good storyline," says Arun. And that is what he seems to have found now. Arun has signed Joe Kuttan's "Aaryan", to be directed by Malayalam director Sharvi. The shooting is to start in May. The other film, to be directed by S. A. Chandrasekar, will be produced by Arulmoorthi. Arun is excited about the projects — the wait has been worth it, he says.

(Malathi Rangarajan with inputs from S.R. Ashok Kumar)

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