At the audio launch of Kaala, Rajinikanth spoke in detail about his failures, comeback and what made him joining hands with director Ranjith again.
Poor health and Kochadaiiyaan failure:
The crowd gathered here actually gives me an overwhelming experience. I don’t think this event is a mere audio launch, this has become a success meet. We had a success meet for Sivaji and Kalaingar Karunanidhi graced the occasion. After Sivaji, Endhiran went on to become a blockbuster but we couldn’t host any success meet because of my poor health.
After Endhiran, I started shooting Rana but fell ill and I was admitted at a hospital in Singapore. Doctors told me to keep my mind active and it would help me to recover fast. As I only know cinema, decided to start shooting so people around me suggested an animation film so that I don't need to put so much effort. Thanks to my daughter’s expertise in animation, some so-called intelligent people proposed an idea and I agreed. But these people were dangerous, they spent too much money and I started having my own doubts. In fact, they wanted to invest more and I was the one who stopped them and released the film without further investment. As you all know, Kochadaiiyaan didn’t have a successful run at the box office.
Romancing young heroine, Lingaa failure
After Kochadaiiyaan, I spoke with my favorite director KS Ravikumar who came up with a story on the person who loses all his wealth for providing water to the people. I love rivers, they have all kinds of qualities. It’s surreal to watch the silence, dance and the rise of rivers. As I said, my dream is to interlink all South Indian rivers. If I accomplish it, will not even mind closing my eyes in the next minute.
But I learned two things from the failure of Lingaa —One is you should not be too good both in real life and cinema. The character in Lingaa was too kind. The second thing is I’m 68 now and it’s fine to play characters which are 40-45 years old but playing a young man and romancing heroines like Sonakshi Sinha who is only as old as my daughter will not help me anymore.
People wrote me off but I don’t listen to them
When a group of frogs tried to go out of a deep well, other frogs threatened them about the dangerous things which would present on their way. But this deaf frog came out because it didn’t have the chance to listen to others. Similar, whenever I faced failure, people wrote me off but I don’t listen to them. This horse is successfully running for forty years so some people have this stomach burn, let them have it. This is my life, I don’t listen to what others say, this is my route and I will go ahead.
Ranjith’s introduction and Kabali success
When I wanted to play characters suiting my age, Soundarya told me about Ranjith who worked with her production venture ‘Goa’. When I asked him whether he has any story, Ranjith told me that there is a gangster story set in Malaysia. I stopped listening to gangster films because there can be one and only Baashah but the Malaysia angle impressed me. When I asked Ranjith to prepare the story, he gave me a bounded script.
In my career, I was given a script book only once and it was for the Hollywood film ‘Bloodstone’. I loved my intro in Kabali but his search for Kumudhavali and the slow pace of the film wasn’t convinced the fan inside me. Yes, I only listen to script in the point of view of my fans. As I wasn’t convinced, asked Thanu to listen to the story but he was impressed. Like I said, fans weren’t happy with Kabali’s search for Kumudhavali in the film, they wanted a racy screenplay. But after watching Kabali, I told Ranjith that he has won as a director and the film will be successful but also suggested him to not to listen to my fans for the first three days. As I predicted, Kabali was a commercial success.
I should appreciate Thanu sir here. A lot of veterans like AVM, Prasad, and Gemini are no longer producing films but Thanu has been in the industry for more than 40 years, he started his career as a poster boy and learned everything about the film business.
Rejected Vetrimaaran’s script
I loved Dhanush and his production house Wunderbar Films so asked whether he would be interested in producing a film with me. Dhanush told me “I was only waiting for your call”. Dhanush set a meet with Vetrimaaran who narrated me a fantastic script but it had all political elements. At that time, I wasn’t keen in foraying into politics so declined the offer.
After a few days called Ranjith and asked him to prepare a commercial script. He came up with another script handling a serious issue. But I loved his idea, he researched for nearly three months in Dharavi for Kaala. Ranjith has addressed politics in Kaala but ours is not a full-fledged political film. The problem with audio launches is we can't reveal the story and at the same, shouldn’t exaggerate things.
I can say one thing, Ranjith will not limit his life as a director. I have never seen a person at his age talk and think about humanity and equality of people. Ranjith has made a wonderful film, I’m sure it will become a successful venture. I should appreciate his style of work, he handled 2000 junior artists in Kaala but completed the entire film in 85 days, he is just like my friend KS Ravikumar, another producer friendly director.
Nana Patekar’s character will be very powerful in Kaala. After Raghuvaran (Antony) in Baashaa and Ramya Krishnan (Neelambari), Nana Patekar’s character (Hari Dhadha) will be a major highlight.
Advice for fans and political entry
Rajinikanth said that the time hasn’t come and asked his fans to wait for the right day. He also advised his fans by saying “Don't hurt your parents, take care of your family. It's a bad world and you should handle things with a positive attitude. Each and every thought has a color, ignore negativity and stay positive.