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Kuselan Directed by P. Vasu Produced by G. P. Vijay Kumar Tamil: Pushpa Kandaswamy Telugu: Ashwini Dutt Written by Sreenivasan P. Vasu Marudhuri Raja Starring Rajnikanth Meena Nayanthara Tamil: Pasupathy Livingston Vadivelu Telugu: Jagapati Babu Sunil Brahmanandam Music by G. V. Prakash Kumar Cinematography Arvind Krishna Editing by Saravana Distributed by Ayngaran (Worldwide) Pyramid Saimira (U.S.) Release date(s) 1 August 2008 Country India Language Tamil Telugu Kuselan (Tamil: குசேலன்) is a 2008 Tamil drama film directed by P. Vasu, which was simultaneously made in Telugu as Kathanayakudu (Telugu: కథానాయకుడు). Both remake of the Malayalam film Kadha Parayumbol, the film is directed by P. Vasu and produced by Pushpa Kandaswamy, Aswani Dutt and G. P. Vijayakumar in two languages. Kuselan stars Pasupathy in the lead role, while Jagapati Babu takes the role in Kathanayakudu, with both actors being paired opposite Meena for their respective versions. Rajinikanth and Nayantara appear in extended cameo roles. The film revolves around a villager, who had shared a strong friendship with a popular cinema actor in their youth. However due to their different pursuit in careers they eventually are forced to part ways, one becoming a national figure, the other, a village barber. Decades later, the actor returns to the village to participate in his film's shooting. Whilst the entire village become excited about the prospect of seeing the actor, the barber fears that his old friend would have forgotten him and would neglect him. The story explores the pressures of friendship. Hindi movie Billu is a remake of Kuselan. The film opened to Indian audiences on 1 August 2008, taking the third largest opening for a Tamil film up til the date of release. Despite the film's hype prior to release, the film ended up evoking negative reviews, mainly because the film was termed as a Rajinikanth-starrer, although it was he who had made it clear that it was a guest appearance.[1] Contents 1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 3.1 Development 3.2 Casting 4 Soundtrack 5 Release 5.1 Reception 5.2 Reviews 6 References 7 External links Plot This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (October 2010) Balakrishnan (Pasupathy/Jagapati Babu) is the owner of a barber shop in a remote village. His family consists of his wife Sridevi (Meena) and three children. Balakrishnan struggles to persuade customers to visit his barber shop while his competitor Shanmugham (Vadivelu/Sunil), former worker of Balakrishnan who has his own barber shop across from Balakrishnan's, uses cunning means to make business in haircutting. Balakrishnan's downfall in business also causes him to neglect paying his children's school fees. Although he struggles to make a living, he still enjoys spending time with his family. Later on, news spreads through the village by Nagaraj (Santhanam) that super star Ashok Kumar (Rajinikanth), a popular film actor, will be arriving for a shooting schedule. While the rest of the village celebrates in shock and excitement, the news does not impress Balakrishnan, who was best friends with the actor during their childhood days, and the two have not met one another for nearly 25 years. Balakrishnan is often bothered by Sridevi and his children to introduce them to Ashok Kumar. Kuppuswamy (Livingston), a financier who is keen on making a film and who was once disgusted by Balakrishnan's barber shop, tries to woo him into introducing him to Ashok Kumar so that he can make a film with him. Meanwhile, Sridevi spends her time bragging to her neighbours about her husband being friends with the super star. In the other part of town, Ashok Kumar is given tight security, led by the deputy commissioner Senthilnathan (Prabhu Ganesan) due to the possibility of misbehaviour among the crowd who always spend their time hanging out in front of every shooting location, eager to get a glimpse of the super star. Ashok Kumar is shown taking part in the filmings of Annamalai: Part 2, Chandramukhi: Part 2, (fictional sequels of Annamalai and Chandramukhi) and Kuselan, along with his co-star Nayantara (Nayantara). Balakrishnan tries to meet up with his childhood friend, however he is never able to make it to him through the large crowd. Shanmugham also tries every possible way to meet with the super star so that he can get a photo with him, but humorously fails. Later on, the headmistress of the local convent school (Geetha) visits Balakrishnan and asks him if he could get Ashok Kumar to attend their school's upcoming annual function. Balakrishnan hesitates at first but later agrees to do so. Balakrishnan continues to attempt to confront the superstar, however with no success. On the other hand, Shanmugham finally falls into Ashok Kumar's backyard by accident and, and to his utmost surprise, gets the chance to speak with the celebrity. Days pass by and the staff and parents of the school complain to Balakrishnan about inviting the super star during their parents meeting. Balakrishnan, again, agrees to confront the actor, but goes without doing so. The headmistress later decides that it is only better if she herself invites the superstar. She visits the super star, along with two other school secretaries, which includes Mr. Srinivasan (R. Sundararajan), who arrogantly questions the super star about his films and his personal decisions. (Scene provides answers to controversial subject matters regarding Rajinikanth). Despite the irritation received from Srinivasan, Ashok Kumar accepts their invitation to the function and agrees to attend, as long as Srinivasan wasn't around. The day of the school function arrives and the school prepares for the arrival of Ashok Kumar. Back at Balakrishnan's house, Balakrishnan who is saddened because of his children, who are angry at their father for not taking them to see the super star, does not want to attend the school function. Sridevi shows her admiration for Ashok Kumar and her willingness to attend the function. Balakrishnan shows his willingness to grant at least her wish to see the super star and agrees to attend the function. At the school, Balakrishnan and Sridevi are wide-eyed to see super star Ashok Kumar walk across the stage when he is called to deliver his speech. In his speech, Ashok Kumar praises the students and teachers of the school and receives many applauses. Srinivasan then learns that Ashok Kumar had a great respect for teachers. He brings forth his past, as a child. He explains his poor and harsh lifestyle during his childhood days. On that note, he the recalls his memories of his childhood friend, Balakrishnan, who, according to Ashok Kumar, cared for him so much and spent a lot for him. Ashok Kumar tells the audience that it was Balakrishnan who sold his own jewelry to send him to Madras to join a film institute. Ashok Kumar wipes away his tears as he expresses his sorrow for not being able to see his friend since then. Ashok Kumar then apologizes to the audience and ends his speech on a happy note. A broken-hearted Balakrishnan, returns home in tears after seeing his best friend cry on stage for him. As he weeps to his wife and children, he sees Ashok Kumar at his doorstep, forming the climax of the film. Balakrishnan slowly walks up to his long-lost friend and the two embrace and wipe away their tears. After they settle down, Ashok Kumar tells Balakrishnan that him and his family must live with him thereafter. When Balakrishnan declines the offer, Ashok Kumar and the children utter one of his infamous punch dialogues (from Badsha). Ashok Kumar takes Balakrishnan outside, and to Balakrishnan's surprise, he sees the entire village crowded in front of his house. Ashok Kumar yells out to everyone in happiness that Balakrishnan is his best friend. Just when Ashok Kumar leaves, Balakrishnan feeds Ashok Kumar and Ashok Kumar feeds him back - a sentimental scene. The film ends showing Balakrishnan and Ashok Kumar walking away together and a moral of friendship is given (voiced by Rajinikanth). Cast Further information: Cast of Kuselan The cast from the film was extensive, with several actors portraying supporting roles. Prabhu Ganesan, Surya Sivakumar, Sneha, Mamta Mohandas and Dhanush all made special and cameo appearances in the film. The lead cast in the bilingual (Tamil/Telugu) included: Pasupathy/Jagapati Babu as Balakrishnan. Balakrishnan, more commonly referred to as Balan is a village barberer. He lives care-free with his wife and three children despite his financial struggles. His salon fails to earn profits ude to his reluctance to take in assistance from others. Balan has a dilemma when his old friend Ashok Kumar returns to the village. Meena as Sreedevi. Sreedevi is the wife of Balan, who is commonly known for being rather boisterous and open hearted despite her poor state of living. She shares great affection for her husband despite the villagers' hate towards him. Rajinikanth as Ashok Kumar. Ashok Kumar is dubbed as the "superstar" in South Indian cinema, who comes to the village to participate in his film's shooting. The arrival of him prompts the villagers' excitement, with all of them wanting to see the superstar. Nayantara as Nayantara. Nayantara is the co-star to Ashok Kumar in the film under production in the village. Vadivelu/Sunil as Shanmugam. Shanmugam is an opposition barberer in the village, whose business revenues more profit than Balan. Provides comic relief in the film. Livingston as Kuppusamy. A financier in the village, who is hated by the villagers for his boisterous nature. Provides comic relief. Production Development Following P. Vasu and Rajnikanth's film, Chandramukhi in 2005, Vasu had been keen to re-cast Rajnikanth in another role and prior to signing Kuselan, he had narrated a story entitled Vettaiyan, which would have been a sequel of a character featured in Chandramukhi.[2] Early in 2008, Rajnikanth signed up for S. Shankar's Enthiran, while Kuselan was launched at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai on 14 January 2008 coinciding with Pongal.[3] The director, P. Vasu signed up Rajnikanth and Pasupathy to portray the lead roles, while director K. Balachandar agreed to produce the Tamil version of the film along with G.P. Vijayakumar's Seven Arts Productions, while Aswani Dutt agreed to produce the film in Telugu with Rajnikanth and Jagapati Babu in the lead roles.[4] The film is a remake of the Malayalam movie, Kadha Parayumbol which was written by Sreenivasan who also played the lead role in the movie. Vasu made it clear that Rajnikanth would not be doing an honorary role in the movie which Mammooty had portrayed, but will play a full role, describing that "The whole story revolves around him [Rajnikanth]". The film's launch was halted on 7 March 2008 at the AVM Studios in Chennai with the leading artistes present.[5] P. Vasu, while talking to the media mentioned that the shooting lasted 82 days with the versions being shot simultaneously and that most of the movie was shot inside the Ramoji Rao film city, with other destinations including Kerala and Pollachi.[6] A promotional event took place on 19 July 2008 at the Jawarhalal Nehru Stadium. The event focused on the music by G. V. Prakash Kumar.[7] Casting Apart from the role of Rajnikanth, Vasu intended to use entirely different casts in either version of the bilingual film.Livingston, Manobala and Santhana Bharathi were added to the cast of the Tamil version,[8] along with Vadivelu who pipped Vivek, Santhanam and Goundamani to land the role, even though Santhanam managed another role in the film.[9] Furthermore, director S. P. Muthuraman agreed to play a guest role in the film.[10] Despite Trisha Krishnan's request to appear opposite Rajnikanth, Nayantara accepted the role,[3] however finding a female lead opposite Pasupathy was more difficult for the director, with Simran Bagga,[11] Tabu[10] and Sneha all being considered for the role in the Tamil version.[3] However, Meena who played the role in the original, was offered the role in early February 2008 and accepted it.[12] Throughout the production stages, it had been indicated that several prominent film personalities will appear in cameo appearances throughout the film, however no leading actors were approached.[13][14] Indications later revealed that five actresses would appear opposite Rajnikanth in a song with the selected being Nayantara, Mamta Mohandas, Kushboo, Suja and Sneha all of whom apart from Nayantara, play minor roles.[15] In the Telugu version, comedian actors Sunil, Brahmanandam, Tanikella Bharani and Venu Madhav all signed up to play the roles of Jagapati Babu's fellow villagers.[16] Ileana D'Cruz turned down an offer to act in the film, citing date problems.[4] Like the Tamil version, it was said that several prominent Telugu actors had been approached to be a part of a song in the project, but none were selected.[13] Technicians were common in both versions in the two films with G. V. Prakash Kumar operating as the music composer, whilst Arvind Krishna was the cinematographer for the bilingual.[8] Soundtrack Kuselan: The Official Motion Picture Soundtrack Soundtrack album by G. V. Prakash Kumar Released July 1, 2008 Genre Feature film soundtrack Length 29:43 Label Sony BMG Producer G. V. Prakash Kumar The soundtrack of Kuselan was released on 30 June 2008. The background score has been composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar along with five songs. The song Cinema Cinema commemorates the 75th anniversary of Tamil cinema. Surya Sivakumar, Sneha, Mamta Mohandas, Dhanush, Kushboo Sundar and Soundarya Rajinikanth appear in this song along with Rajinikanth, Nayantara and Vijayakumar. Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran, Rajkumar and N. T. Rama Rao, are also shown in this song. Kuselan Soundtrack album by G. V. Prakash Kumar Genre Feature film soundtrack G. V. Prakash Kumar chronology Ullasamga Utsahamga (2008) Kuselan (2008) Ananda Thandavam (film) (2008) No. Song Singers Length (m:ss) Lyrics Notes 1 Cinema Cinema Shankar Mahadevan 6:08 Vaali The song commemorates the 75th anniversary of Tamil cinema. Prominent actors play cameos in the song. 2 Sollamma Hariharan, Sujatha Mohan, Baby Ranjini & Baby Pooja 6:13 Pa. Vijay A melody picturized on Balakrishnan's family 3 Om Zaarare Daler Mehndi, K. S. Chithra & Sadhana Sargam 7:12 Vaali A song on the sets of the film, featuring Rajnikanth and Nayantara 4 Chaaral Shreya Ghoshal 4:34 Kiruthiya A song featuring Nayantara, picturized in Alappuzha 5 Perinba Pechukaran Kailash Kher, V. Prasanna 5:36 Yugabharathi An interlude with the villagers singing in praise of Balakrishnan after discovering his links with Ashok Kumar. Release Reception Kuselan became the third largest release in the history of Tamil cinema, extracting 1000 prints worldwide, numbers exceeded only by Rajnikanth's previous venture, Sivaji.[17] The film upon release, despite the initial hype before release, received negative reviews and unexpectedly took a lukewarm opening at the box office.[18] Unlike previous Rajnikanth films, on day two of its release, tickets were available in almost all theatres across Tamil Nadu, with the film failing to get advance bookings.[18] Traders blamed the producers for using Rajinikanth's "larger than life image" to sell it to distributors, Pyramid Saimira for $12 million, when they knew very well that he was only doing a special appearance.[19] More than $1 million worth of pirated DVDs were seized around India featuring Kuselan.[20] In Karnataka, Rajnikanth's home state, Kuselan failed to bring in $300,000, despite being sold for $600,000.[20] Pyramid Saimeera declared a loss of 40.32 crore in the 3rd financial quarter of 2008 (a loss of nearly US $8 million, the highest loss for a single film in the Tamil film industry's 100-year history).[21] Overseas, Kuselan opened at number 12 at the UK box office, but slid heavily the following week.[22] The film was still labelled as a "colossal flop".[23] Reviews The film, upon release, garnered mainly negative reviews. Rediff.com criticized the film as "rushed", however praised Pasupathy mentioning that he comes "out the winner" in acting scenes, citing that his portrayal was "poetic".[24] Meena is criticized, with the reviewer claiming that she "tries hard to re-create the original version's magic, but perhaps she has been told to over-do it for Tamil: she wears lipstick and pastel shades of saris for every other scene, while trying to prove that they have no idea where the next meal's going to come from". As for the script, "the freshness of the original has been denuded a little to accommodate dialogues that extol the many virtues of the superstar", becoming worse than that of the original.[24] Whilst labelling Vadivelu as providing "antics are the ones that really make you grin", the rest of the supporting actors Manobala, M. S. Baskar, Livingston and Vaiyapuri "are absolutely wasted". Director P. Vasu is criticized by claiming that his "script must shoulder the responsibility of how Kuselan has ultimately turned out" with the only saving grace being "the original story, which pulls the screenplay from descending into nothing". G. V. Prakash Kumar and Thotta Tharani were also singled out by the Rediff reviewer for their adequate performances in their respective fields.[24] Reviewers also claimed that the producers and P. Vasu had attempted to capitalize on Rajnikanth's fan following in the film. The Deccan Herald reported that "It’s a big con to exploit brand Rajni and make a quick buck. He himself gallops in on a flying horse almost half way through the tortuous proceedings. His oneliners and quirks fall flat. If at all we are able to see flashes of the Rajni of yore, it’s towards the dying moments. By then it’s too late".[25] This claim was echoed by one Sify.com review claiming the film "tries desperately to glorify Rajinikanth’s larger than life superstardom and create a halo around him as a do-gooder and a saint in real life. It loses its focus and moves away from the gist of the original, which was a simple story about human emotions, based on friendship between an ordinary barber and a superstar."[26] In contrast, another Sify.com review praised the film labelling it as "above average". It claims that "Rajinikanth towers above all others, especially in the climax scene where there is a lot of melodrama and the human emotions are well etched out".[26] Pasupathy has a "pained expression throughout" whilst "Meena just repeats her performance in the Malayalam version". It however criticizes Vadivelu who is described as "a bit crass and below-the-belt", in reference to his scenes with Sona Heiden. It adds that "Kuselan is quite an enjoyable watch and is different from previous Rajinikanth films" and that the "touching climax will leave a lump in your throat".[26] References ^ "'Kuselan' – A boon or bane to Tamil cinema". IndiaGlitz. 8 August 2008. http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/40636.html. Retrieved 2008-10-11.  ^ Shankar, Settu (2007). "P Vasu's version of Vettaiyan". OneIndia.com. http://entertainment.oneindia.in/tamil/exclusive/p-vasu-vettaiyan-170807.html. Retrieved 2007-08-27.  ^ a b c "Nayan is Rajini's lady love in Kuselan!". OneIndia.com. 2008. http://entertainment.oneindia.in/tamil/exclusive/2008/nayantara-rajinikanth-kuselan-280108.html. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  ^ a b "Ileana refuses Rajini's Kuselan". Chennai365.com. 2008. http://chennai365.com/news/ileana-refuses-rajinis-kuselan/. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  ^ "Kuselan pooja held". Sify.com. 2008. http://sify.com/movies/tamil/fullstory.php?id=14618571. Retrieved 2008-03-07.  ^ "P Vasu Interview". Behindwoods.com.com. 2008. http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news-1/jun-08-03/kuselan-19-06-08.html. Retrieved 2008-06-19.  ^ "”Kuselan’s promotional event". Behindwoods. http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news-1/july-08-02/kuselan-10-07-08.html. Retrieved 16 July 2008.  ^ a b "Jegapathy Babu in 'Kuchelan'". Cinesouth.com. 2008. http://www.cinesouth.com/masala/hotnews/new/23012008-4.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-23.  ^ "Vivek acts in Kuselan!". OneIndia.com. 2008. http://entertainment.oneindia.in/tamil/exclusive/2008/rajini-kuselan-vivek-vadivelu-080208.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  ^ a b "Latest on ‘Kuselan’". Indiaglitz.com. 2008. http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/36081.html. Retrieved 2008-01-23.  ^ "Simran confirmed for ‘Kuselan’?". Indiaglitz.com. 2008. http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/36206.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29.  ^ "Meena in `Kuselan`!". Sify.com. 2008. http://sify.com/movies/tamil/fullstory.php?id=14600822. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  ^ a b Shankar, Settu (2008). "Kamal, Ajith and Vijay dance with Rajini!!". OneIndia.com. http://entertainment.oneindia.in/tamil/exclusive/2008/kamal-rajini-kuselan-ajith-vijay-040208.html. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  ^ "Big star cast in Kuselan?". BharatStudent.com. 2008. http://www.bharatstudent.com/cafebharat/view_news-Tamil-News%20and%20Gossips-3,18098.php. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  ^ "Rajinikant to romance 5 heroines?". Sify.com. 2008. http://sify.com/movies/telugu/fullstory.php?id=14628888&cid=2364. Retrieved 2008-03-24.  ^ "Aswani Dutt producing Rajinis Kuselan in Telugu". Oniondosa.net. 2008. http://www.oniondosa.net/news/2008/1/Aswani-Dutt-producing-Rajinis-Kuselan-in-Telugu.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-24.  ^ "'Kuselan' opens in maximum centres". Indiaglitz.com. 2008. http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/malayalam/article/40427.html. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ a b Nadar, Ganesh (2008). "Kuselan gets lukewarm response at box office". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2008/aug/08sskuselan.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ "Kuselan Fiasco- A postmortem". Sify.com. 2008. http://sify.com/movies/tamil/fullstory.php?id=14736612. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ a b Vijayasarathy, R. G. (2008). "Kuselan flops in Karnataka". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2008/aug/11kuselan.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ http://www.pstl.in/investor_pages/investor/Notes%20on%20Q3%20financials.pdf ^ "Kuselan Storms UK Box Office". Behindwoods.com. 2008. http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news-1/aug-08-01/kuselan-06-08-08.html. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ "Rajnikanth's Kuselan gets rave reviews in Malaysia". Hindustan Times. 2008. http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=CinemaSectionPage&id=d4ca22e7-7a96-4a18-ab7c-fac3842c92fa&&Headline=Rajnikanth's+EMKuselan+%2fEMgets+rave+reviews+in+Malaysia&strParent=strParentID. Retrieved 2008-09-16.  ^ a b c Srinivasan, Pavithra (2008). "Rajnikanth's show all the way". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2008/aug/01ssk.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  ^ "A Kuselan gone Kaput!". The Deccan Herald. 2008. http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Aug12008/national2008080182223.asp?section=thirdcolumnupdatenews28792. Retrieved 2008-08-01. [dead link] ^ a b c "Review:Kuselan". Sify.com. 2008. http://sify.com/movies/tamil/review.php?cid=2429&ctid=5&id=14728792. 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