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Friday, December 29, 2000

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Talk of the town

BEFORE THE hype over his nine different get-ups died down, actor Ajith has managed to get the camera cranking for his latest movie ``Citizen.'' Though active in the trade circuit for quite a while, the movie had been delayed due to technical hitches and date- problems. The shooting for this star-studded movie finally began on Thursday in Chennai.

If the young actor's make-up versatility is old news, here is more. The original heroine, model Sameera Reddy, is out and ``shakalaka baby'' Vasundhara is in. The pan-cake and latex job on Ajith will be done by Bollywood man, Anil Premgirkar, photography is by wizkid, Ravi K.Chandran and music by Deva.

Ajith's strategy is two-pronged: box office success and a journey through the award circuit. ``The film will definitely get noticed at the national level. Perhaps, win awards,'' said the actor at a launch press conference in the city on Thursday. Insiders say that the movie is inspired by Mani Ratnam's ``Dil Se'' with Ajith playing the terrorist. Though it is a landmark film for Ajith, he reposes faith on a debutante director, Saravana Subbiah. ``I am excited and also am nervous,'' said the director.

If the release of ``Citizen'' in May is still far off, Ajith fills the gap with ``Deena'' to be released in January.

* * *

TALKING ABOUT a different citizen altogether, there is a lot of fun lined up for the general public as well! We are close to New Year and there are all those parties you can go to. There is the regular beach party at HFO on the beach at those astronomical rates. A fancy concession, if you are a member of World of Coke, to let your hair down.

And if you also belong to the Coke card carrying group, then in addition to letting your hair down, you can also paratroop into MGM Dizee world for a post New Year celebration. Another attempt at promoting brand loyalty, Coca Cola will charge merely Rs. 750 for air-lifting you from MCC School, Chetput to MGM Dizee World, while the usual rate is around Rs. 4,000, they say. After the new year bash, the soft drink guys are also thinking of a major promotion show, with the likes of Remo Fernandez. But then, as the grape vine says, plans will fructify only during the end of January next year.

* * *

FIRST WE had the KBC, then ``Koteeswaran''. Then we had the original host, Amitabh looking at different states for exclusive shows. Now, we hear that the Koteeswaran host, Sarath Kumar also is following the Big B.

If the national host Amitabh is looking at J and K and Tamil Nadu, Sarath Kumar's plan is to give a chance to participants from Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy and Thirunelveli. In both the cases, the idea is to improve participation.

``Koteeswaran'' sponsor, Clinic Plus, says that the programme is a hit. ``Within a month the channel share has risen from 41 per cent to 63 per cent for the weekend 9 p.m to 10 p.m. slot.''

To improve viewership further, the host will now ask questions to TV viwers who can mail their answers and win prize money.

* * *

THE PLOT behind the killing of tigress Sakhi in Hyderabad appears to be thickening with more leads taking the investigation to Tamil Nadu. First, the fingers were pointed at a leading politician in Chennai with Hyderabad connections. Now, the Police is probing the role of an astrologer from Kumbakonam.

According to grapevine, the astrologer, who is quite popular with some politicians, is close to an estranged relative of a political bigwig in the city. His trump-card is a promise based on ``kumbharasi'' and the latest to fall for him is the ``relative'' who does not hide his political aspirations. The Tamil Nadu connection has also alerted the Vandaloor Zoo authorities. Besides beefing up regular security, the authorities have mooted the idea of using private security personnel to protect the animals and zoo properties.

By Sudhish Kamath, Ramya Kannan, S.Shiva Kumar and P.Oppili

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