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Rahman musical extravaganza in the offing

Sudhish R. Kamath

Mani Ratnam to direct galaxy of stars who will perform on a jumbo stage measuring 80 by 40 feet

CHENNAI: When Mani Ratnam directs Kamal Haasan, Vikram, Madhavan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek, Laila, Sadha, Asin, Pooja among others for an A.R. Rahman musical, with sets created by Sabu Cyril and lit up by Rajiv Menon, on a stage which is 80 feet wide and 40 feet deep, you know it does not get bigger than this, At least, not in this part of the world. With over a hundred dancers around sets such as the train from `Chayya Chayya' and the ship from `Atho Antha Paravai Pola,' the latest edition of the `Netru Indru Naalai' show will be nothing short of a spectacle. On par with what people usually find only in musicals in Broadway and Westend, Mani Ratnam told the media at The Banyan on Tuesday evening. "We have one change to announce. We are positioning it in August to make it a spectacle," he said.

"We want to make it a special show because it is for a special cause and for special people," the filmmaker said. "It's our desire to recreate the magic of the songs over the years. We are looking at the journey of the film industry over the years, from the black and white era to colour to the futuristic sets and sounds of A.R. Rahman. We will hopefully recreate those moments," Mani Ratnam explained.

"Mani Sir's energy is infectious," says Vandana, co-founder of The Banyan. "He does not want anyone to go on stage without 30-40 rehearsals. Even a person like A.R. Rahman calls just to find out what more he can do for the show."

Rahman was in for a surprise when he landed at The Banyan premises. "They called. I came. I did not know there was a press conference," he said, wishing the team all the best.

"Kamal will do a Sivaji song and a MGR song while Vikram will do a Kamal song and a Rajni song," Mani Ratnam said, explaining the theme for the musical. "As a part of the audience, I would be more interested in how the stars of today interpret what the stars of yesterday did.'

Will Superstar Rajnikant make it?

"We approached him. But he does not make too many public appearances. And we want him not just to appear but also to perform for us," says Vandana.

Director Vasanth is co-ordinating the artistes for rehearsals. The Vijay TV and Madras Round Table No.1 are supporting the show. The TV channel is yet to decide date of telecast.

The show will be staged at Sri Krishna Gardens, near Koyambedu.

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