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Arjun's Madhura Meenakhi Temple set

Madhura Meenakshi temple of Madhurai town is recreated by Thota Tarani in the outskirts of Hyderabad for Mahesh Babu's forth coming film 'Arjun' in the direction of Guna Sekhar. Krishna Productions Private Limited has invited the press on 29th September to show the set and share their feelings. Here are the highlights of the set

Set cost 4 crores
The initial estimate of the Madhura Meenakshi temple set cost was 2 and half crores which was supposed to be built in 3 months. But, it took 6 months with over 500 workers constructing the set. The total cost of this set turned out to be 4 crores. This set was constructed in 5 acre space of Padmalaya Studios near Gandipet. This set consist of gaali gopuram, pond and garbhagudi. The real temple in Madhurai was constructed over 5 centuries from 13th century to 18th century. And its not surprising that a replica of the same was constructed in 6 months in Hyderabad.

Set has a life time of 3 years
This set can withstand all kinds of weathers. It can even stand natural calamities like floods etc. The life time of the set is 3 years. After the release of Arjun, this set might also be used for remake of Arjun in other languages or using this set for films in other languages.

90 tons of Iron used
Art director Thota Tarani used 90 tons of iron in the construction of this temple set for longevity. 90 tons of iron itself cost around 42 lakhs. Pond in the temple has a depth of 3 feet. It took 5 days of continuous filling using 5 motors to fill the water. The 'gaali gopuram' is of 130 feet, which is equivalent to the original gaali gopuram at Madhurai temple.

Madhurai priests installed Meenakshi in the set
A set of temple priests from Madhuri came to this set and installed Meenakshi Goddess in the Garbhagudi. This traditional installation took 8 hours (from 6 am to 2 pm). Now the Garbhagudi is recognized as one of the temples in and around that area. Two regular priests are summoned to stay at Garbhagudi all the time and perform the rituals for the devotees who come there.

40% of the shooting would take place in this set
40% of the Arjun's shoot would be taking place in this set. 2 songs would also be canned in this set. One with day effect and another with night effect. Currently the shooting of 'Madhura madhurata meenakshi' is going on in the choreography of Raju Sundaram on Mahesh Babu, Keerthi Reddy and Raja. This song has a classical touch to it and the lyrics are concentrated on the tender relationship and friendship between Telugus and Tamil people. Veturi is panning all the lyrics for this film. Shooting of the film in this Temple set was started on 20th of September. It would take place in this set for 60 days.

Prakash Raj as Bala Nayakar
There are lots of Telugu people in and around Madhurai. There is a Royal Telugu family that donated money in the construction Madhura Meenakshi temple in Madhurai between 13th century to 18th century. There are so many heirs from that dynasty. Prakash Raj is playing the role of Bala Nayakar, the last heir of that dynasty. Sarita is playing his wife.

Sarita is making comeback after 16 years
Sarita who acted in Kokilamma film 16 years back is making her come back as a character artist in this film. She is playing the role of Andallu, the wife of Prakash Raj. She says that she finds this set to resemble the original temple and she finds lots of sacredness and serenity in Garbhagudi of the set. She feels that Mahesh Babu is cool and very friendly. She is taking it as a challenge to act with Prakash Raj.

No injury so far
If a set of this magnitude were constructed, its only natural for anybody to get injured in the process. But for Madhura Meenakshi temple, the entire process of set construction was smooth. Art director Thota Tarani along with director and his team stayed in Madhura Meenakshi temple for 15 days. He drew his sketches to the minute details and replicated it in Hyderabad.

Ramesh Babu is like Aalaya Dharmakartha
The producers have the compromising attitudes while sanctioning huge money for construction of sets. But Ghattamaneni Ramesh Babu behaved more like a Aalaya Dharmakartha by providing unlimited budget for the temple set than restricting the flow of the money like an ordinary Telugu film producer.

25 gensets for a night effect song
Director Guna Sekhar would be using 25 powerful generation sets for a song to be shot in the temple in night effect. Guna Sekhar says that this song would be so amazing that even the citizens of Madhurai would end up showing their amazement over the beauty of Madhura Meenakshi temple.

This set is the soul of the film
Generally people mistake grandeur set as publicity gimmick by producer to sell his/her film. But after Okkadu film was released, people realized how important is the charminar set for Okkadu. Likewise, this Madhura Meenakshi temple is the soul of the film. Prakash Raj gave a beautiful example of Titanic film. Just like how Titanic ship set helped Titanic film, this temple set would also act as a backdrop for the story of Arjun.

More sets to be erected
One more Madhurai Temple street set is being constructed besides the temple set now. There would be another set for the exterior of Prakash Raj's house in Padmalaya studios of Gandipet.

2 messes catering vegetarian food
Two messes from Vijayawada were summoned or cater food to the unit members. Everyday there would be around 1000 unit members (half of them are junior artists). Only vegetarian food is being served out there.

Arjun - More powerful than Okkadu
Like Ajay character Okkadu, this character too is a character of a middle class guy whom all the audiences would connect with. This film would have more mass quotient compared to Okkadu. The colors and emotions in Arjun would have more span compared to Okkadu.

Arjun - Summer 2004 release
Mahesh Babu - Shriya combination film 'Arjun' is getting ready for Summer 2004 release. Keerthi Reddy is playing Mahesh Babu's sister. Raja is paired up with Keerthi Reddy. Ghattamaneni Ramesh Babu is producing this film on Krishna Productions Private Limited banner.

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