Superstar Project 7/174.

aatankhiaatank WPIMDbLB

Aatank Hi Aatank (which Wikipedia translates as “Terror Everywhere”) is a 1995 Hindi gangster film directed by Dilip Shankar. The star cast includes Rajinikanth, Aamir Khan, Om Puri, and Juhi Chawla.

The movie feels just like an average gangster movie. I’ve read that Aatank Hi Aatank is a remake of The Godfather (which I still haven’t seen so I have no idea how much of the film is inspired by it). The story is about a former farmer who becomes a gangster boss in Mumbai. Then some family drama happens and we learn that it’s not easy to be a gangster’s wife. The film is also a revenge drama and eventually almost everyone gets shot and dies. The story isn’t very interesting and the final 15 minutes are the longest ever. The songs too aren’t very good or catchy, except the gangster rap which is hilarious.

Rap rap rap, goonda rap!
I am bad, and I am mad!
I said I’m bad. Ma-ma-ma-mad!

The cast is good but Aamir was maybe a little too young for his role. And he looks so slimy with his hairstyle and moustache in the second half of the film! Rajinikanth performs and looks just fine.

aatankhiaatank-rajinikanthaatankhiaatank-aamir

Some forum posts say that the (unsubtitled) Moser Baer DVD is heavily cut. That’s unfortunate, but apparently the uncut version of the film is on Eros Now and even has English subtitles! I would still like to buy the DVD (as I have it in my collection only on a crappy 3-in-1 disc) but looks like it’s sold out everywhere!

Maybe I should finally watch The Godfather, as my watchlist has at least a couple of other Indian films that are also inspired by it.

Rajinikanth’s total death count in Superstar Project so far: 1

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Superstar Project 6/174.

thaaillaamal_naanillai WPIMDbLB

Thaayillamal Naan Illai (“I’m Nothing Without My Mother”) is a 1979 Tamil film directed by R. Thyagarajan. The movie stars Kamal Haasan and Sridevi and also has Rajinikanth in a short guest appearance.

Moser Baer’s DVD has two large disturbing watermarks (“Moser Baer” and “West Top”) and no subtitles, so I decided to watch the Hindi dubbed version Aakhri Sangram with subtitles and better picture quality from Eros Now. The Tamil version is almost 16 minutes longer than the Hindi version – some of the stageplay stuff has been cut off as well as the childhood flashback from the beginning. The missing scenes don’t seem too important although it would’ve been nice to see the childhood scene with subtitles as it seems to add some background information to the characters, like a swordfight which eventually gets repeated when the characters are grown up.

aakhrisangram_kamal aakhrisangram_crazy

(I’m going to use the character names from the Hindi version that I watched with subtitles. They might be slightly different in the original Tamil version.)

Raja (Kamal Haasan) is a stage actor who a local landlord’s daughter Pushpa (Sridevi) is madly fallen in love with. Pushpa has a nice pet peacock Balwanta who can be used to guard her room and steal things. For example, once he steals binoculars for her so that she could spy on Raja. She soon realizes that Raja is also spying her. “Very good. He also has a binocular.”

aakhrisangram_peacock aakhrisangram_spying

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When the landlord finds out that a romance between Raja and Pushpa is going on, he agrees to marry Pushpa to Raja on the condition that Raja forgets his lower-class mother (played by Sukumari). That would also make Raja the next landlord instead of greedy Mohan who had also hoped to marry Pushpa. Raja disagrees even though his mother insists him to agree to the landlord’s condition. Later, the landlord is trying to marry Pushpa to Mohan but finds out that Pushpa has eloped to live with Raja and his mother. However, until the landlord accepts Raja’s mother to his family, Raja won’t consider Pushpa as his wife.

Rajinikanth plays a righteous goon who has been sent to bring Pushpa back home. He has an awesome intro punch and he’s great in the small role that he has. He almost defeats Raja in a fight but Pushpa interferes and explains that she actually loves Raja and Raja hasn’t forced her to elope with him. The goon understands the situation and leaves the couple alone.

aakhrisangram_rajini aakhrisangram_marry

The situation gets worse when the upset landlord breaks up his relationship with his misbehaving daughter. When Mohan finds out that he cannot become the new landlord by marrying Pushpa, he kills the landlord and is elected as the new landlord as everyone thinks that Raja was the killer. After Raja hears about these events, he disguises as a religious guru and gets the new landlord to invite him to his home. It is revealed that the old landlord isn’t dead after all and Mohan has kept him alive to find out where he has hidden his treasure. Eventually Mohan discovers Raja’s true identity and puts him behind bars with the old landlord. Mohan’s plans to marry Pushpa fail once again because of a phenomenal rescue operation by Balwanta the peacock. Mohan gets banished from the landlord’s lands and the landlord finally accepts Raja’s mother as Pushpa’s mother-in-law as he realizes that greatness is not in the caste but in character.

aakhrisangram_end


P.S. I wonder what the VCD cover of the Hindi version has to do with the movie…

aakhrisangram_vcd

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Superstar Project 4–5/174.

kathanayakudu-earthquake

kuselan-kathanayakudu WPIMDbLB (Tamil)
WPIMDbLB (Telugu)

It is finally the time to continue the Superstar Project. I finished watching P. Vasu’s Kathanayakudu (2008) already a couple of months ago but didn’t write anything about it until now. I hope I haven’t forgotten too many details. Kathanayakudu is the simultaneously shot Telugu version of the Tamil movie Kuselan that I had watched a couple of years ago. The movie is a remake of a 2007 Malayalam Mammootty film Katha Parayumpol. I haven’t seen the original version so I cannot do a remake comparison. Bollywood fans might know the story also from Shahrukh Khan’s 2009 remake Billu (which I haven’t seen either).

Ayngaran’s Kuselan DVD has slightly better picture quality than AP International’s Kathanayakudu DVD but both versions are watchable. The biggest difference between the movies (besides the language) is that the main character Balakrishna is played by a different actor (as well as his sidekick comedians). I like the Telugu version’s actor more so there must be a choice between nicer actor and better picture quality. (Kathanayakudu is also 12 minutes shorter than Kuselan but this time I didn’t check if there were any scenes missing.)

kuselan-interval kathanayakudu-interval

Balakrishna (played by Pasupathy in Kuselan and Jagapati Babu in Kathanayakudu) is a poor barber who lives in a small village. One day his childhood friend Superstar Ashok Kumar (Superstar Rajinikanth) visits the village for the shooting of his new movies Chandramukhi 2 and Annamalai 2 (with Nayantara who is playing herself!). Surprisingly, Balakrishna is afraid to meet Ashok again. Does the superstar care about him anymore now that he is significantly richer than his old friend?

kuselan-100 Looks like the children have seen Rajinikanth’s Baasha.

I’m not sure why they named Rajinikanth’s character Ashok Kumar as it’s very clear that Rajinikanth is playing none other than himself. The film is full of references to his earlier work. It’s strange especially because Nayantara is playing herself without an imaginary character name.

Officially the movie was a flop and reviews that I’ve read have been mostly negative or neutral but I don’t see why. Maybe the audience didn’t expect this kind of film from Rajinikanth, as this is definitely not a typical Rajinikanth role. There’s no fighting against mafia or corrupt politicians. Instead, it’s just a simple story about friendship with a heart-touching climax. Superstar Rajinikanth, who despite the DVD covers and opening credits, is only in a supporting role (his character is not even introduced until the halfway through the first half of the film) while Balakrishna is really the main character. (However, Jagapati Babu who plays the main character in the Telugu version Kathanayakudu was nominated for Filmfare Awards South only in the best supporting actor category…)

Jagapati Babu came up with one of the finest performances of his career. This role demands a tremendous histrionics from the actor in Jagapati Babu and he does a wonderful job. His get-up is also good. But one wonders why he has light beard though he is doing the role of barber.

kuselan-vadivelu I’ve never seen anything like this.

While I agree with Idlebrain’s Kathanayakudu review about Jagapati Babu’s superb performance, I think their reviewer hasn’t heard of the famous two barbers puzzle: If there are just two barbers in the town, the barbers must shave each other’s beards and therefore the one with the messier beard is actually the better barber of the two! And in this case the other barber is played by Sunil who is famous for his comedy roles in Telugu movies… Sadly, it seems to be the other way around in the Tamil version Kuselan – Pasupathy doesn’t have a beard while Vadivelu’s mustache is the most horrible ever! (Oops. Now that I think of the puzzle again, I think it actually applies to hair cut and not beard shaving which is easier to do alone. But right now I’m too tired to come up with anything more intelligent.)

Meena plays Balakrishna’s wife in both versions (as well as in the original Malayalam version). Her role isn’t very large but she does a good performance. I haven’t yet seen many of her other films but I can’t wait to see some of them later during the Superstar Project!

It’s also always nice to see Prabhu who has a small role in the film.

Comedy could have been slightly trimmed. I liked Telugu version’s Sunil a little more than Tamil version’s Vadivelu. There are also other usual Telugu and Tamil comedians in minor roles, like M. S. Narayana, Ali, and Santhanam, but their jokes aren’t very memorable. I didn’t even recognize Brahmanandam from Kuselan but he was easier to locate after seeing the Telugu version where he does the talking instead of his Tamil friend.

The songs are awesome in this movie! My favourite one is Rajinikanth’s introduction song “Cinema cinema” which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Tamil cinema and has several cameo appearances by celebrities of the industry. “Om Zaarare” is also very catchy. The picturizations of these two also have very epic costumes! I like the other songs too.

♪ No one has seen God for real but Cinema shows them on screen. ♪

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zwVdzXJFCI&t=9s

Story 4
Star Power 4
Songs 4½
Comedy 2½
Overall 4

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