Movies - Jeans (1998) | Cast,Crew,Trivia

Last Updated : 07-01-2010
Category : Movies > Tamil
Year : 1998

Jeans - Details
Jeans is a 1998 Tamil musical and romantic film. Directed and written by Shankar and produced by Ashok Amritraj and Murali Manohar, its stars Prashanth, Aishwarya Rai and Nassar in multiple lead roles. Raju Sundaram and Lakshmi, prominent actors from the south Indian film industry, played the roles of the lead characters' relatives in the movie. The film features a successful soundtrack from A. R. Rahman, whilst Ashok Kumar and the pair of B. Lenin and V. T. Vijayan take care of the cinematography and editing respectively.
The film opened to Indian audiences after several delays, on 24 April 1998 just after the Tamil New Year, and was the most expensive film to be made in India at the time.Despite receiving mixed reviews on the actors' performances and the basic storyline, the film became a major hit at the South Indian box office. 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.
Jeans - Cast and Crew
Jeans - Production
The key elements >
The entire production of the movie took about a year and a half to be completed and released. Prior to Jeans, Shankar had directed three films, Gentleman, Kadhalan and Indian, all three of which had been successful ventures at the box-office. Jeans, unlike the others, was his first film which was shot outside of India, for the majority of the film.
Producers Ashok Amritraj, Michael Soloman and Murali Manohar all made their Tamil film debuts with Jeans, respectively, in producing the most expensive film till date in 1998. Critics felt that Jeans, if it became a hit like Shankar's previous films, would capitulate him into the top bracket of directors as both the lead actors, Prashanth and Aishwarya Rai had been labelled as "flop" actors. The film was made by many of the same filmmakers involved in Indian which won several National Film Awards. The casting of the film was left to Shankar 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, making it the grandest Tamil film launch to date in 1996. Aishwarya Rai, Prashanth, and S. Shankar and just about anyone else associated with the shooting of the film, wore their favorite pair of blue jeans as per request from the producers.
Casting >
The original actor considered for the roles of Vishwanathan and Ramamoorthy was Abbas, an upcoming artiste at the time, but the offer was rejected by Abbas citing that his dates were booked for the full year of 1996. The second choice for the lead role, prominent actor Ajith Kumar also opted out due to call sheet problems.The roles eventually went to Prashanth, whose career in films was not as successful as the previous actors enquired. Prashanth dedicated almost a year and half to Jeans, sacrificing seven films in the process, as he considered it "a once in a lifetime" opportunity which would have straighten up his career.Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World, was the original choice for the roles of Madhumitha and Vaishnavi.
Despite having a huge fan base and publicity, Aishwarya Rai hadn't given a hit in her two movie career despite her debut movie, Iruvar directed by Mani Ratnam being critically acclaimed. Amongst the actors in the film were Senthil, Nassar and Raju Sundaram, all three of them appearing as supporting actors with Nassar starring in his first Shankar film. Prominent supporting actresses Radhika, Lakshmi were all signed up for the film, with Lakshmi joining the team later following the death of her father-in-law. Furthermore popular singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam who was selected for a role, left the project and S. V. Sekhar replaced him.
The other substitution in the project involved the cinematographer. Despite popular belief that Shankar would again sign on Jeeva, whom he had worked with in Kadhalan, Gentleman and Indian. However Santhosh Sivan was announced as the cinematographer for the film but between the time of the announcement and the finishing stages of the film, cinematographer Ashok Kumar was publicized 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 in order to continue filming 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 containing the most number of minutes of special effects amongst any film made til 1998, including Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. The film also were assisted in graphics of having the effects created by the Pentafour company in Hollywood
Filming >
The filming of Jeans, broke the record for the number of different foreign locations featured in an Indian film. The initial scenes of the Rajamani family's catering company was filmed in Las Vegas. Other scenes were shot in California at the Universal Studios, who usually does 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 picturized 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 picturize 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. For the most part, Jeans was surrounded by world events of all sorts and for Shankar, the cast and crew of the film described the experiences as "tremendously vivid and memorable”.Three week prior to the release of the film, on 1 April 1998 a screening was held labeled 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 utilized an April Fools joke.
Reception >
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. 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. Owing to the success of the film, the number of reels grew, it was estimated that the film garnered about Rs. 5 crores (50 million) in India. The film completed 100 days of screening in the theaters in the state of Tamil Nadu. In local parlance, this is considered to be one of the measures for a film's success. The reception for Jeans in Malaysia was equally as celebrated, releasing in six major metropolises for a run which lasted up to 9 weeks, collecting $114,883 (then approximately Rs. 5 million) within its 50 day run. In Singapore, $ 125,000 on its opening day setting a nine year record, before the figure for the biggest Tamil film opening was surpassed by Sivaji.The film was also released in limited screens in Japan, earning a favorable response commercially. Furthermore, the film was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1998.
Review >
Jeans opened to positive reviews from most critics, however the film was also negatively reviewed by others. 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". Rediff praises 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".
Balaji Balasubramaniam, a prominent critic, labels 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" iin 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.
Jeans - Soundtrack
Jeans soundtrack released by Westop on April 1, 1998. The soundtrack features artists such as Hariharan, Harini and Unnikrishnan. A. R. Rahman composed the music for this movie. The original soundtrack featured lyrics by Vairamuthu in Tamil. Following the success of the soundtrack, it was dubbed to Hindi with lyrics by Javed Akhtar and was released by T-Series.
The soundtrack initially had 6 songs, but in the later prints two more songs, both used as background scores in the film, were added.

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