Rajinikanth to be flown to Singapore

The family says it is part of the ‘rejuvenation’ process

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, hospitalised in Chennai for four weeks for respiratory infection, will be flown to Singapore for “rejuvenation and better health care”, his family said.

Latha, the Rajanikanth's wife, said his organs were “normal” and pleaded that his health “not be sensationalised”.

“We are going to Singapore for (his) rejuvenation, better health care and privacy,” said Latha, who has been with the 61-year-old star at the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre since he was admitted there on May 13.

She also said there was no need for fans to panic and insisted that the Singapore trip has nothing to “undermine Indian doctors”.

Aishwarya, Rajinikanth’s daughter, said the actor will be travelling to Singapore like “any other normal passenger as his vitals are all stable”.

“He is being taken to Singapore because of the fluid collection in his body and for rejuvenation. There has been a lot of media speculation here, sensationalising the whole news. He would like a little bit of privacy with his family.”

“He is so adored that people get agitated hearing something which is not true. It is very saddening for the family,” she added.

The Endhiran star suffered from dehydration on April 29, the first day of the shoot of his latest venture, Raana, and was admitted to the Isabella Hospital in Chennai.

He was discharged the same day only to be re-admitted on May 4 for allergic bronchitis and viral fever.

Since May 13, he is undergoing treatment at the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre for respiratory infection and other problems.

He was shifted to a private ward on Sunday last after being in the intensive care unit.

Five national awards for Kannada films

Kannada films have bagged four National Awards, including the best children’s film. Manu Chakravarthi has bagged the best critic award, the second time the honour is coming to Karnataka after MK Raghavendra.

Hejjegalu, written and directed by PR Ramdas Naidu, has bagged the Golden Lotus for the best Children's Film. Bettada Jeeva (see the picture) directed by P Seshadri won the best film on environment award.

The film also got a special jury mention for its writer, the late K Shivarama Karanth. Both the films are produced by Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce president Basant Kumar Patil.

Puttakkana Highway, directed by B Suresha, was named the best regional film in Kannada.

This is the sixth consecutive National Award for P Seshadri. His films had won the national awards in various categories for the last five years.

As usual, the awards have been bagged by 'art-house' films which lack popular appeal. Admits Seshadri, “No one is asking us to make movies. We are making it for our own interests. It is a bigger challenge to promote these films than to make them. None of the four films have yet been released for public viewing. Only Puttakkana Highway will be released this week.”

B Suresha, the director of Puttakkana Highway said, “I urge people to watch the film in the first week. The market does not permit a long run if there is no opening.”

Kannada director Guruprasad's new role as writer

As if to augment the fact that there is a perpetual lack of writers in kannada cinema, director Guruprasad took up the task of writing dialogues for two films; Hudugaru and I am Sorry, Matte Banni Preetisona. This was after directing two successful films, Matha and Yeddelu Manjunatha. In fact, he put on hold his kannada film, Director's Special, which he was also part producing, to complete the dialogue assignments.

Now, in what is seen as an “unbelievable offer”, he has been asked to write dialogues and script for a film by a top producer for a remuneration of Rs 25 lakh — more than what even top directors get paid. The highest ever sum paid for a script in Kannada was Rs 8 lakh to Janardhan Maharshi. Right on the heels of this incredible offer comes another shocker that Guruprasad has rejected and stuck to direction for now. Shooting for his new film will be launched on June 8.

His dialogues for Hudugaru have won applause. 'I Am Sorry' is yet to release. Guruprasad, though confirming the offer, refused to name the producer. “I am also a producer of Director's Special. There is no way I can further delay it. That is the reason I have said ‘no’ to writing assignments. The big offer was too hefty that even I was surprised more than a bit,” he said.

Kannada film PUTTAKKANA HIGHWAY story

• DIRECTOR B Suresha
• ACTORS Shruti, Prakash Rai, Achyuth Kumar, Neenasam Ashwath, Srinivas Prabhu, Mandya Ramesh

Undoubtedly, it is one of the biggest challenges facing the country: the conflict between development and the subsequent displacement of people in hordes. B Suresha’s National awardwinning kannada film, based on an old story by Nagatihalli Chandrashekhar, is a take (though it does not specify) on the NICE corridor being built between Bangalore and Mysore.

Though there are characters which are happy to cruise on the new highway at 200 kmph, the kannada film is mostly about Puttakka and her struggle to save her piece of land through which the highway is proposed.

Puttakka is not alone in her struggle. The rest of the villagers also feel it is better to retain the land than pick up the compensation offered.

But one by one, they fall to the pressure and sell out. But Puttakka does not succumb to the doles, but it is a mismatch from the very beginning.

You know she will not win. So, the film becomes only a chronicle of her struggle and the effect a big project --like a highway -- has on village life. The struggle becomes a 'universal phenomenon' rather than a focused look at a problem as the filmmaker plays safe by not even mentioning the name of Bangalore.

In a bid to show that migration is universal, B Suresha makes the villagers speak in various Kannada accents. It is not as convincing as showing a Telugu-speaking labourer on the highway and Tamil-speaking vendor on a city (understood to be Bangalore) street.

The kannada film is ‘rich’ by art-house standards. Surely, it does not look like a cheap attempt aimed at minimising costs. Brilliant cinematography by Ramachandra makes it visually stunning as well.

Each character is well defined, giving space for the actors to excel. Kannada music director Hamsalekha's music and Yograj Bhat's lyrics are the highlights of the film. Though the kannada film tells every fact about the negative effects of big development projects, it does not bother to challenge the usual perceptions. It is rather a textbook effort at presenting serious questions ad answers. You know the answer and the fact that it is not the solution. A god ride, but it lacks a soul.

State film awards for 2008-09

It was a star-studded night for Sandalwood on Saturday. Over 30 artistes from the industry received the state kannada film awards for 2008-09. Karnataka Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa gave away the awards and promised he’d try to reduce the entertainment tax on Kannada films and increase subsidy from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. The fight against video piracy will continue and the file is pending in Delhi, he said. New kannada cinema halls with good facilities will be constructed in all districts to promote good regional kannada films. Young and old artistes turned out in large numbers at the function.

The list of state kannada awards

Dr Rajkumar Award — B Saroja Devi

Puttana Kanagal Award — KSR Das

Dr Vishnuvardhan Award — AR Raju & RNS

Krishna Prasad

Three best films



Shankara Punyakoti

Film with social concern: Mukhaputa

Best children’s film: Chaitanya

Best films in regional language: Ponnara Manasu (Kodava) & Sona (Lambani)

Best dancer (male) (Subbaiah Naidu Award): Yogesh

Best dancer (female): Radhika Pandit

K S Ashwath award: M K Matha

Child artistes: Master Manoj Ovam, Sonia Iyer

Playback singers: Chetan, Nandita

Special award: Ravivarma

Music director: Abhiman