|Directed by||S. Shankar|
|Produced by||Ashok Amritraj
Sunanda Murali Manohar
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||B. Lenin
V. T. Vijayan
|Sri Surya Movies
Amritraj Solomon Communications
|Distributed by||Oscar Films (India)
Eros Labs (U.S.)
Cee I TV (UK)
|Release date(s)||24 April 1998|
|Running time||175 min.|
|Budget||190 million—200 million|
Jeans is a 1998 Indian Tamil romantic comedy film written and directed by Shankar. The cross over cinema was produced by Ashok Amritraj and Murali Manohar, with Prashanth, Aishwarya Rai and Nassar in the lead roles, whilst Raju Sundaram, Raadhika Sarathkumar and Lakshmi played other supporting role characters. The film features a chart-topping soundtrack from A. R. Rahman, whilst Ashok Kumar and the pair of B. Lenin and V. T. Vijayan took care of the cinematography and editing respectively.
The film opened to Indian audiences after several delays, on 24 April 1998 and was the most expensive film to be made in Indian cinema at that time. Owing to its success, it was later dubbed into the Hindi and Telugu language and released with the same name. The film was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1998.
Nachiappan (Nassar) is a restaurateur in Los Angeles, USA. His twin sons Vishwanathan (Visu) and Ramamoorthy (Ramu) (both played by Prashanth), are medical students, who help him out in the evenings and on weekends, alongside with the restaurant's chief cook, Juno (Senthil). One evening, Vishwanathan goes to the airport to check on the family's supply concession and sees that some fellow Indians – Madhumitha (Aishwarya Rai), her brother Madhesh (Raju Sundaram) and their grandmother Krishnaveny (Lakshmi) – have difficulty with an address. He pitches in to help and learns that they just flew in from India so that Krishnaveny can undergo a crucial surgery to remove her brain tumour.
The story shifts to the hospital where Vishwanathan, an intern, visits Krishnaveny's room after the operation, and notices she has been operated on the wrong side of her brain. Vishwanathan appeals aggressively to the doctors and has the error corrected by another surgery and then spearheads an angry fight for compensation. The hospital compensates $2 million to avoid a messy court case. Viswanathan's drastic measures win the respect and love of Madhumitha and her family.
When the grandmother realises that Vishwanathan and Madhumitha had fallen in love, she extends the family's stay in the United States and takes a liking to Vishwanathan's good nature. However, Nachiappan objects to the budding romance and wants his sons to marry identical twins because he himself has an identical twin brother, Pechiappan (Nassar). They both had married for love in their youth, but are now estranged because Pechiappan's wife Sundaramba (Raadhika Sarathkumar) showed such tyrannical behaviour towards Nachiappan's wife (Geetha), that the latter died delivering the twin boys.
Krishnaveny tries to solve the problem by telling Nachiappan that Madhumitha also has an identical twin, Vaishnavi. The story spun by Krishnaveny is that Vaishnavi has been brought up in an orthodox Brahmin household. At this point they ring in Madhumitha's alter ego, contrasting Madhumitha with a very demure, typically traditional Indian version. Ramamoorthy falls for the act and visits India along with his sons to meet Vaishnavi, unaware that Vaishnavi and Madhumitha are the same person. Meanwhile, Pechiappan arrives to a warm welcome by his brother, but later attempts suicide. Nachiappan then rescues him and comes to hear of his sad story and comes up with a plan. Accordingly, Nachiappan and Pechiappan switch places. Nachiappan goes to his brother's wife and impersonate as her husband to convince and reunite with her through his sons'(Visu and Ramu) marriage plan talks. He succeeds. Pechiappan impersonated as his brother towards his nephews. Vishwanathan then meanwhile, figures out that Vaishnavi is Madhumitha and she was impersonating Vaishnavi. In anger, he immediately leaves Madhumitha's household along with his family, but Ramamoorthy persuades his father to have Madhumitha and Vishwanathan married. Though not knowing, it was not his father he talked critically about his uncle who was right there impersonating. That made him guilty. He decided to have Vishwanathan married to Madhumitha. When Nachiappan figure out that Madhumitha doesn't have a twin, he goes and stops the wedding. There they figure out that the brothers impersonated each other as well to get along. Nachiappan's brother Pechiappan's wife(Sundaramba) persuades Nachiappan to have them married because Madhumitha did the same thing the brothers did. In the end, Visu and Madhu get married followed by a grand dinosaur reception specially given by Madhesh.
The cast features three actors who appear in multiple roles. As in previous films by Shankar, the supporting cast included guest appearances by prominent artists.
- Prashanth as Vishwanathan and Ramamoorthy. The twin brothers are both medical students, who assist their father run a catering business. While Vishwanathan is more fun-loving and has a relationship with Madhumitha, Ramamoorthy is more reserved and emotional, especially after being deceived by the double act of Madhumitha. The name of the roles is clearly inspired by the Music Director duo, Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy.
- Aishwarya Rai as Madhumitha and Vaishnavi. Madhumitha is a loving and optimistic young woman who leads her family to the United States seeking medical attention for her grandmother. Vaishnavi is the double act improvised by Madhumitha to deceive Nachiappan.
- Nassar as Nachiappan and Pachiappan Rajamani. A naive father of twin sons, who remains upbeat on re-uniting with his own twin, Pachiappan. Nachiappan Rajamani insists on his twin sons getting married to twin daughters since his brother and him were split due to the non-chemistry between the women they both married. Because of this Nachiappan's wife and Visu and Ramu's mother died after giving birth.
- Lakshmi as Krishnaveny Paatty, Madhumitha's grandmother, who encourages her granddaughter to play a double act in order to meet with the groom's father's marriage requirements. She first begins her role by playing a brain patient who has come to America with her grandkids for a surgery.
- Raadhika as Sundarama as Pachiappan's wife, who starts the friction between the brothers.
- Raju Sundaram as Madhesh, Madhumitha's energetic brother with a habit of ruining the situation due to his innocence and cracking jokes.
- Senthil as Juno. A cook who works at Nachiappan's catering company. The character provides comic relief throughout the film, and instigates complicated situations for the bride's family.
- S. V. Shekhar as Madhumitha's Father
- Janaki Sabesh as Madhumitha's Mother
- Geetha as Nachiappan's Wife
The entire production of the movie took about a year and a half to be completed and released. Jeans, unlike the others, was his first film which was shot outside of India for major portions of the film. The producers of the film were Ashok Amritraj, Michael Soloman and Murali Manohar, whom all made their Tamil film debuts with Jeans respectively. The film reunited Shankar with his award-winning technical crew from his previous film Indian, whilst the cast was finalized by him after he had finalized the story. Genes was the title selected but Shankar felt it would not apply to the masses so he used the homonym, Jeans.
The film's launch was held at the AVM Studios in Vadapalani, Chennai in December 1996. The Jeans invitation was printed, wrapped in Jeans cloth and was hand delivered by Shankar to his close colleagues and friends in Chennai, which included prominent actors in the Tamil filmdom. The cast and crew of the film, wore their favourite pair of blue jeans as per request from the producers to the launch.
The original actor considered for the dual roles of Vishwanathan and Ramamoorthy was Abbas, who rejected the project citing that his dates were booked for the full year of 1997. The second choice for the lead role, Ajith Kumar, also opted out due to call sheet problems. The role eventually went to Prashanth, who sacrificed seven films in the process, and chose to work exclusively on the project during the period. Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World 1994, was the original choice for the roles of Madhumitha and Vaishnavi and collaborated with Shankar after she had been unable to work with him in his previous venture Indian. The supporting cast included Senthil, Nassar and Raju Sundaram, with the latter making his debut as an actor. Prominent supporting actresses Lakshmi and Geetha were signed up for the film, whilst Radhika agreed to appear in a guest appearance. Another supporting role was taken by S. Ve. Sekhar after noted playback singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam opted out of the role.
The other substitution in the project involved the cinematographer. Despite reports that Shankar would again sign on Jeeva, whom he had worked with in Kadhalan, Gentleman and Indian, Santhosh Sivan was announced as the cinematographer for the film. Though between the time of the announcement and the finishing stages of the film, cinematographer Ashok Kumar was publicised as the official cinematographer for the film. In mid-1997, film organisation FEFSI striked and in the midst of this, the film's art director Thotta Tharani, a FEFSI supporter, refused to sacrifice his position in FEFSI and stopped working in Jeans. Without much choice, Shankar signed a newcomer Bala to take over the set design and art work for the film. The film's art direction is credited with both Thotta Tharani and Bala. Venki was signed up to deal with the special-effects in the film, with Jeans. The film also was assisted in graphics effects created by Pentafour Company.
The initial scenes of the Rajamani family's catering company was filmed in Las Vegas, whilst other scenes were shot in California at the Universal Studios, who usually do not grant permission for foreign films to conduct shooting there. However, with influence from the film's producer Ashok Amritraj they were able to obtain special permission to film a few scenes inside. Besides the King Kong set, Jeans was also shot in the "simulated earthquake experience" sets. The filming in Los Angeles received much publicity as well as the filming at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Other Jeans shooting locations in the United States of America included the Valley of Fire, Manhattan Beach, Malibu Lake and many scenic spots throughout California. The song Columbus was picturised at the shores of Venice Beach, California with some foreign male and female dancers. Shankar also filmed in New Jersey and New York at the World Trade Center when co-producer Michael Salomon and his wife, Luciana Balusia visited the sets of Jeans.
After a 45 day schedule in the United States, Shankar and the team returned to India to film a couple of scenes in the climax. The team then visited several other countries to picturise the song Poovukkul, with featured scenes with seven prominent buildings in the world, dubbing Aishwarya Rai as the "eighth wonder of the world". Shankar admitted that due to no real list being present, thought had been put into which wonders were selected. The team made a thirty day trip around the world stopping to can scenes at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Empire State Building, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Egyptian pyramids, the Roman Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower. During the shooting in Paris the death of Princess Diana had taken place and shooting was delayed in the France, due to her death. Shankar, the cast and crew of the film described the experiences as "tremendously vivid and memorable". Three weeks prior to the release of the film, on 1 April 1998 a screening was held labelled the Making of Jeans with prominent personalities invited, however the short film showed the real manufacture of jeans. The prank was claimed by Shankar and his crew who utilised an April Fools joke.
Jeans was released worldwide on 24 April 1998 soon after Tamil New Year's Day, over three months after its original release date of 14 January 1998. This high-budget production won positive reviews and was successful at the box office. With 240 prints, the films holds the 1998 record for a Tamil film. Upon release the film was subsequently dubbed into two languages, Telugu and Hindi. The film completed 100 days of screening in the theatres in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The film was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1998,. The film won four Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Best Comedian, Best Female Playback Singer, Best Choreographer and Best Costume Designer with Senthil, Nithyasree Mahadevan, Raju Sundaram and Kasi picking up awards in their categories. The film also won a Filmfare Award for Best Music for A. R. Rahman's musical score.
Jeans opened to positive reviews from most critics. A reviewer from Rediff praised the lead characters Prashanth, Aishwarya Rai and Nassar as "ever dependable", whilst singling out praise for Radhika whom she describes that " with her startling cameo, sweeps the acting honours". The reviewer praised the technical crew describing Venky's FX as a "virtual reality", Ashok Kumar's cinematography as "throughout and outstanding", Raju Sundaram's choreography as "memorable" and A. R. Rahman's score as "entirely hummable". Shankar's directorial attributes were described to be to a "perfect flow of narrative and a penchant for demanding and getting perfection out of every element of his cast and crew" and that the film was an "easy fit".
The reviewer from The Indian Express called the film a "hilarious comedy" and drew significant praise to the performance of Aishwarya Rai and the music of Rahman. Another critic, labelled Jeans as "glossy and extravagant" and comments that the "film clicks". The lead actors were mixed with Prashanth labelled as "impressive", while Aishwarya Rai is described as "pretty" and that she "exhibits grace in dancing" but that "her performance leaves lots of room for improvement" and that she "overacts" in the character of Vaishnavi. Nassar, Lakshmi and Raju Sundaram were all appreciated for their roles. Rahman's musical composition of the film was described as "one of his best soundtracks", whilst Vairamuthu's "terrific lyrics" also stood in the song Poovukkul.
|Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Producer||A. R. Rahman|
|1||"Anbea Anbea"||Hariharan, Anuradha Sriram||05:13|
|3||"Enake Enaka"||Unnikrishnan, Pallavi||06:36|
|4||"Kannodu Kanbathellam"||Nithyasree Mahadevan||05:09|
|5||"Varaya Thozhi "||Sonu Nigam, Shahul Hameed, Harini, Sangeetha||05:52|
|6||"Columbus Columbus"||A. R. Rahman||04:46|
|8||"Theme Music - Nisarisa"||02.01|
Prashanth announced that he had registered the title Jeans 2 and was completing the pre-production works of a sequel to the 1998 film in November 2013. The film was set to be directed and produced by Prashanth's father Thiagarajan, who revealed that production would begin in May 2014 and that they were trying to bring members of the original team back for the venture. In January 2014, Ashok Amritraj distanced himself from the sequel and questioned the viability of the project, citing that he did not believe they had the rights to make a sequel.
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