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Ready with the punchlines

The camaraderie between the stars was visible even at the media conference as the stars kept pulling each other's leg. After all the movie has a strong base of friendship.


Five stands for fun — `Panchathanthiram' hits the road.

A WEEK ago, the usually busy Brigade Road in Bangalore was more than thronged by thousands of people. What does Chennai have to do with it? Well, Chennai was responsible. Or should we say that the `Panchathanthiram' star brigade from Chennai was responsible — Kamal Hasan, Simran, Jayaram, Ramya Krishnan, Ramesh Arvind, Yuhi Sethu, Sriman, K.S. Ravikumar and Deva.

``We had a good response. It was better than what we expected. It was a good opportunity to measure people's expectations,'' Kamal Hasan told mediapersons on Saturday on home ground, before starting out on the road show organised by HMV for promotion of the Panchathanthiram audio in the city.

The buzz is that not only were the stars mobbed by fans, an old lady came up and pecked Kamal on both his cheeks, much to his surprise in Bangalore. ``It looked like she had rehearsed for it for 20 years,'' Yuhi Sethu quipped.

``Brigade Road is an area that has a lot of young crowd. And the entire stretch was jam-packed. No wonder because the youth consider Kamal to be so up-to-date,'' local boy Ramesh Arvind described the scene.

The camaraderie between the stars was visible even at the media conference as the stars kept pulling each other's leg. After all the movie has a strong base of friendship. ``It's a pun on Sharma's Panchatantra that was about Mitru-bhedam just like Sati Leelavati was a pun on the wife who schemes against her husband. This is about five friends who try to escape from a problem, they try to help each other but only end up to getting into further trouble. So the movie has a lot of punches. So it can also be called Punch-thanthiram,'' Kamal said. In fact, after watching the movie Ramya Krishnan was amazed at the chemistry between the actors. ``They looked very convincing as friends on screen. They vibed so well together,'' she revealed.

``Not all of it was acting,'' Kamal intervened. ``There was very little of acting because two days into the shoot, we really were making fun of someone or the other, pulling each other's leg, chatting between takes. And having a good friend as a director on the set, shooting was made to look very easy,'' he added.

K.S. Ravikumar, this time plays a character and not just a one-scene appearance. He plays Kamal's co-pilot. ``You should have seen the unit in Canada where we shot for 17 days. Everybody had a lot of respect. They listened with folded hands or with their hands in their pocket. The climate was that cold,'' the director joked.

Jayaram plays Ayyappan Nair, Ramesh Arvind has a Hegde surname, Sriman has a Reddy surname and Yuhi Sethu plays an Iyengar in Panchathanthiram. ``In Nayyandi Durbar, it was more of acting because I had to act intelligent. Here because I had to simply clown, it came naturally,'' Sethu laughed.

As the interaction with the media moved from `Panchathanthiram' to `Anbe Sivam' to `Marudhanayagam', Kamal made it a point to bring the star of the evening, Deva into the limelight.

``I was very happy with the tunes because all of them were songs which I personally liked and were unanimously chosen by both Kamal and K.S. Ravikumar,'' he revealed.

The entire team then left to Music World and Landmark, Nungambakkam for the HMV road show and then came back to dine with the winners of the `Dine with Kamal' contest at Le Meridien.

By Sudhish Kamath

Photo: M. Moorthy

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