Critics kept writing me off, but I bounced back every time: Rajinikanth

Chennai: Reflecting on his failures in the last few years, superstar Rajinikanth said critics have tried to write him off over time but he has come back stronger every time.

The 67-year-old actor said his films such as daughter Soundarya’s motion-capture “Kochaidaiyaan” and KS Ravikumar’s “Lingaa” did not work at the box office. Rajinikanth said he was wary of “Kochadaiyaan” failure after watching the film’s final version.

“Soundarya is a genius. Working with intelligent people is easy. But, we should be careful with geniuses. She listed out a post-production budget to enhance the film’s final version. But, I was sure that this film wouldn’t be successful. So, I insisted on releasing the film with the same version,” he told reporters yesterday.

The actor was speaking at the audio launch of his upcoming film “Kaala”. Santhosh Narayanan has composed the music. About “Lingaa”, Rajinikanth said that he agreed to do the film as the subplot of interlinking rivers was a dream come true on-screen. “I agreed to the story because the main story revolved around building a dam and interlinking of rivers was also a subplot. Interlinking of rivers is my lifetime dream, so I gave my nod immediately. However, the film flunked at the box-office. Critics, in no time, wrote me off. They have been doing that for 40 years of my career. But, I bounced back every single time,” he said.

The actor said it was Soundarya who introduced him to director Pa Ranjith. They first collaborated on “Kabali” in 2016. “I instantly liked him when I met him for the first time for ‘Kabali’. But, when he narrated the story, I was sceptical about the sluggishly-paced screenplay and asked my producer Thanu to watch the film. He was jumping with joy after listening to the story. So, I nodded, and the film emerged a success.” Rajinikanth revealed that it was he who suggested the idea of “Kaala” to Ranjith.

“First, I listened to a script from Vetrimaaran (“Visaaranai” director). He narrated a fantastic script, but it was politically-driven. I was not planning to make my political foray then. So, I wanted to do a different film. Then, I called Ranjith and told him about the slums in Dharavi and the Tamil population who are residing there for years.” The actor, who announced his political plunge on New Year’s eve, clarified that the film is not political in nature.

“I warned Ranjith that ‘Kaala’ should be a Rajinikanth film in Ranjith’s style unlike ‘Kabali’ which was a Ranjith movie. There’s politics in ‘Kaala’ but it’s not a political drama. Ranjith is a great human being who cares for his community and his people a lot.” The actor said the director camped in Dharavi slums for weeks to do research on the film. Rajinikanth also praised his “Kaala” co-star Nana Patekar, comparing his  performance to his powerful on-screen adversaries Raghuvaran and Ramya Krishnan.

“In my entire career, only two actors challenged me as villain in my films. One is Raghuvaran’s character of Mark Antony in ‘Baasha’ and Ramya Krishnan’s portrayal of Neelambari in ‘Padaiyappa.’ Now, Nana Patekar has done a great job. I was thrilled by his performance and thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.

About the impending announcement on the name and other details of his political party, Rajinikanth said the date is yet to arrive and “good days” are not far off for Tamil Nadu. Ranjith said “Kaala” would be a memorable film for those who have faced discrimination. “‘Kaala’ is a film for the people and of the people. It will be an important film in Indian cinema which talks about inequality,” he said.

Produced by Dhanush‘s Wunderbar Films, the film also features Huma Qureshi, Anjali Patil,  Samuthirakani and Pankaj Tripathi. “Kaala” is slated to hit the screens on June 7.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal