The availability of South Indian movie-related merchandise has been almost nonexistent at least online (I’m not sure what the situation is in India). One of my bad habits is that I’m quite a materialist and like to have items that are somehow connected to things like movies or stories that are important to me. Even posters of the southern films seem to be very rare.

Availability of t-shirts hasn’t been much better than of posters. The super-epic Kochadaiiyaan t-shirt was never available. The website of the Japanese official Eega/Makkhi t-shirt wasn’t very foreigner-friendly. And on top of that, while not really an official movie merchandise, the famous pink panda shirt (known from at least Magadheera and Orange) appears to be sold out!

However, now the most awaited movie of 2015, Baahubali, has took the first step to the right direction to fix the problem. Their official shirts and hoodies are sold by an online store called Whoz High and they can be bought at baahubali-whozhigh.com.

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The collection includes t-shirts as well as some other types of shirts and hoodies. I would like to have also a Baahubali t-shirt but I chose to order only hoodies because I didn’t like the designs of the big horse and the lion that much, and hoodies were [at the time of the order] the only type of clothing that came with Prabhas’ epic logo from the movie’s teaser pictures.

I have no idea about the average price level of Indian clothes but INR 799 didn’t feel too expensive for a hoodie so I ordered one in both colors, “Bombay Black” and “Kasol Blue”. Unfortunately the shipping cost to Finland almost doubled the price but I didn’t let that stop me as this was so unique opportunity. The ordering system at the website doesn’t support international orders at the moment but their website gives instructions how to order by email.

baahubali-hoodies The color difference can be seen only in very bright lighting conditions.

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I really wanted the blue one because I already have too many black clothes. Unfortunately, in reality the blue hoodie is much darker than in the pictures, so at first I thought I got two black hoodies. The color difference can be only seen in very bright lighting conditions (like in the flashlight of a camera) – in normal lighting they were almost identical. It’s nothing serious, but it would be nice to have more difference in the colors if there are only two colors available. However, I have been very happy with the black one and I’ve used it regularly. I hope it won’t be completely worn out when Baahubali comes into theaters!

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Superstar Project 2/174.

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To begin with, here is Rajinikanth’s title screen for the Superstar Project’s title card gallery. In 2005 it’s already quite shiny.

chandramukhi-credits

Chandramukhi is a Tamil superstar starrer from 2005, directed by P. Vasu. It is a remake of the 2004 Kannada movie Apthamitra (also directed by P. Vasu). Besides the superstar, the cast also includes Prabhu, Jyothika, Nyantara, Vadivelu, “and others”.

Chandramukhi is a “hounted house” type of story. Sometime in history, a fatal love triangle had taken place in the mansion and as a result, one of the rooms is inhabited by a ghost of a dancer named Chandramukhi. Fortunately, we have Rajinikanth, an excellent psychiatrist, to save the day. The story is interesting and easy to sit through at least once, but it doesn’t have anything so special that I would re-watch it in the near future. (Watching the sequel two days later was already enough of the same story.)

I have nothing bad to say about the songs either, although I like the more recent Rajinikanth songs more. One funny thing was the song sequence where Rajinikanth is flying kites with his friends. The result can be seen in the following image.

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There are two fights in the movie. The first one is the compulsory Rajinikanth introduction fight which once again is very entertaining because of Rajinikanth’s Law of Gravity. The second one feels a bit pointless, but it’s an unwritten law of nature that whenever a character is played by Sonu Sood, he is a villain and therefore has to be defeated at some point.

Another noteworthy gravity moment is when Rajinikanth saves Prabhu’s character from drinking poisoned coffee.

Don't drink, the coffee is poisoned!


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Chandramukhi has a 2010 Telugu sequel, Nagavalli, which is also by the director P. Vasu. It is a remake of the 2010 Kannada movie Aptharakshaka (again by the same director). In this movie, Chandramukhi returns and once again a psychiatrist’s help is needed to drive her away.

This film doesn’t feature Rajinikanth except in some flashbacks from Chandramukhi. Instead, the film stars Venkatesh as Rajinikanth’s assistant. I realized that somehow I hadn’t seen a Venkatesh film before, and he actually is quite good in this one. I also liked Anushka’s role as Chandramukhi. Rajinikanth’s authority is in danger as his assistant’s assistant is played by none other than Brahmanandam. M. S. Narayana is in a minor role and he dies almost immediately after his introduction which felt a little inappropriate when watched so shortly after the actor’s death in real life. In addition to those actors, the film also features Shraddha Das who is known for her roles in at least Arya 2 and the Malayalam horrific horror film Dracula 2012.

Though the actors’ performances are good, the movie doesn’t have much to add to the story of Chandramukhi. We get to see a little more of the history part. Also the climax scene is nice. (Now I need to add random thunderbolts to my rules of K/Tollywood drinking game.) I believe that Nagavalli can be watched without seeing Chandramukhi first, but I would still recommend Chandramukhi over this one.

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Superstar Project 1/174.

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The first entry in my new Superstar Project is his 1980 Tamil film, Murattu Kaalai, directed by S. P. Muthuraman. The film is Rajinikanth’s first film with AVM Productions and had highest budget ever in a Rajinikanth film at the time. According to Ramachandran’s book, this is also the film that made Rajinikanth into a commercial hero.

Rajinikanth is a farmer/bullfighter and the story is about defeating a nasty landlord. We get to see bullfighting, a dramatic love triangle, treacherous bad guys, more bullfighting, an interrupted wedding, fighting on top of a moving train, and there are also some very strange-looking jumping stunts in the climax fight scene at the landlord’s house. Overall, the film was a nice watch but a little slow-placed at times.

While doing the Superstar Project, I’ll also try to take screenshots of the Rajini moments in opening credits, as it would be interesting to see when exactly they change into the bombastic spectacles that they are today. Murattu Kaalai simply displays his name without any mention about his stardom.

murattukaalai-credits

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The DVD release of S. S. Rajamouli’s debut film Student No.1 (2001) would really need the English subtitles. I had postponed watching it in a hope that someday I would be fluent enough in Telugu to understand it without subtitles. Luckily, I noticed that the movie has been dubbed into Hindi (as Aaj Ka Mujrim) and the dubbed version has subtitles, so I was finally able to watch the last remaining film that I hadn’t seen from my favourite director.

I don’t know much Hindi but I think the dubbing was mostly OK, far from the Russian dubbing style where one man just reads the whole dialogue with a monotonic voice. Watching a dubbed version was a little challenging as the familiar actors had strange voices. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the dialogue by reading the fast-paced subtitles if you have no idea who is talking. Looks like the dubbing company didn’t ruin the whole movie like they did to Magadheera. At least this time they didn’t remove all the songs.

The movie has Jr. NTR, Gajala, and Rajiv Kanakala in the lead roles. (Rajiv Kanakala is always unintentionally so funny because “Kanakala” means a chicken-fish in Finnish.)

studentno1-ajay OMG! One of Ajay’s first supporting roles!!!

Jr. NTR’s character is of course the hero of the film. He is a new student in a law college (or was it a love college?) but it doesn’t take long when he finds out that the college has bad reputation because nobody ever graduates — the school is ruled by a violent gang which efficiently prevents all teachers and students from teaching and studying! It’s no secret that the hero is going to fix the situation but I can’t tell much more without spoiling the dramatic interval revelation.

This movie has only a couple of fighting/action sequences which is less than Rajamouli’s or Jr. NTR’s movies normally have but it doesn’t really need any more. Good fighting skills are almost a requirement for any Indian movie hero (except Siddharth) and we see enough to become convinced that also this hero can fight. This time however the hero isn’t supernaturally strong against the bad guys but he still does a couple of cool things, like jumping forth from a sea of burning fuel. (I think I’ve seen this somewhere else before!)

studentno1-ntr studentno1-comedy

This is again one of those movies that have all the three of them: Brahmanandam, Ali, and M. S. Narayana. This time Narayana is the only one who is somewhat relevant character as he plays a teacher in the college. Ali and Brahmanandam play an engineer and a doctor but they are used only in two scenes and didn’t add very much to the story. However I liked the bad joke that the doctor wants to cut a car accident victim’s leg with a handsaw to save him while the engineer would prefer to cut the car instead.

I guess the songs were nice but I’m not going to do any in-depth reviews of them as I was watching the movie in a “wrong” language.

Story 3
Star Power 2
Fights 2½
Comedy 1½
Overall 2½

Student No.1 obviously isn’t among the most entertaining Rajamouli movies but I still liked it very much.

Kantri on YouTube The subtitled Hindi version can be found on YouTube, uploaded by Goldmines Telefilms.

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Tonight I watched Kantri which is a 2008 Telugu film directed by Meher Ramesh and starring Jr. NTR, Hansika Motwani, Tanisha Mukherjee, and Prakash Raj.

I didn’t have very high expectations and Kantri indeed turned out to be just like an average masala movie. The story has a couple of nice twists but nothing revolutionary. Jr. NTR was as good as always but this time he had only about average dancing and fighting choreographies. Prakash Raj gave a solid performance as the villain which was expected because he has acted in a similar role for uncountable times. Hansika and Tanisha were used only for the romantic subplot which was ridiculous (but funny) and unnecessary. Tanisha’s role was much smaller than many of the supporting actors’ roles.

The first kiss

The movie has the complete set of the three most frequent Telugu comedians: Brahmanandam, Ali, and M. S. Narayana. This time they are also accompanied by not-so-frequent but funnier Sunil which is funnier also this time. The comedy scenes, which often are long and boring in South Indian movies (because of too fast paced subtitles and sometimes incomprehensible cultural references), are kept short enough in this movie, and most of the jokes are easy to get with a fairly brief amount of prerequisite information of the South Indian cinema. It’s not often that comedy is actually the strongest part of a masala film.

Ali comedy
Sunil comedy

The songs were not very memorable. I already forgot all of them with maybe the exception of “One, Two, Three, Nenoka Kantri”, and one song might have had some lyrics about mangoes…

Story 2
Star Power 3
Songs 1
Fights 2½
Comedy 3½
Overall 2½

Overall, Kantri is not a must-watch movie but pretty watchable for one time if you enjoy watching Jr. NTR. If you’re not yet familiar with Jr. NTR, watch Yamadonga (2007) instead. If the director Meher Ramesh is new to you, I would rather recommend his next film, Billa (2009), except if you like Rajinikanth. Be sure to watch at least Sivaji (2007) before this one or you’ll miss some awesome Sunil comedy!

Kantri on YouTube Sri Balaji Movies has uploaded the movie to YouTube with English subtitles.

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There are some memorable childbirth scenes in Indian cinema, like in Enthiran (2010) or in Sudigadu (2012), but the most miraculous midwife of them all is definitely the Real Star of Telugu cinema.

MPCC Award for the Most Miraculous Midwife goes to Srihari for the following scene from the 2010 Telugu movie Bhairava.

Srihari saves a pregnant lady, calms down the unborn child with his trademark babble, and beats up some bad guys. Giving birth is quick and easy if there is Srihari protecting you and giving instructions. PUSH I SAY!


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The official trailer of Rudhramadevi is finally here!

Rudhramadevi, directed by Gunasekhar, is currently the second most awaited Telugu film (at least for me). It has a huge budget and its star cast is full of big names like Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun, Krishnam Raju, Prakash Raj, Cathrine Tresa and Nithya Menen (and Ajay!!!).

The trailer has some funny moments and the costumes look great. However, the visual effects are quite disappointing considering the high budget. (Just look at the sword’s glowing outline in the picture below.) The trailer somewhat reminds me of the 2014 Tamil animation film Kochadaiiyaan which was widely criticized for poor visual effects. Rudhramadevi still is a must-watch movie, but the story must be really extraordinary if it’s going to survive multiple watchings.

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