Shankar is the showman of South cinema, a superstar director whose
name spells magic at the box-office. Shankar is the synonym for total
entertainment in commercial cinema, cutting across states and
languages. He has a huge silent fan following, who owes allegiance to
his kind of film making.
After Karan Johar, Shankar is the most viewed Indian director, through
his 7 Tamil and one Hindi film in a career spanning 14 years. Take a
look at his impressive track record: Highest collecting Tamil film
from a single screen, Anniyan- 2005, Sathyam Cinemas, Chennai.
The highest collecting dubbed film in India, Aparachitudu, the
Telugu version of Anniyan in Andhra. The highest collecting
Tamil film in Bangalore city, Anniyan and also the highest
grosser among other language movies in Kerala! And overseas he is
simply the uncrowned king, who is a brand by himself.
Shankar is a major brand in Indian cinema, and perhaps one of the few
directors who has an opening! Now Shankar for the first time in his
life is coming together with a bigger brand- Rajnikanth, the real
superstar and emperor of South cinema, living legend of commercial
Indian cinema, and the second highest paid actor in Asia, after Jackie
Sivaji has the dream team- Rajnikanth, Shankar and the" Mozart
of film music" A.R Rahman. It cannot get bigger than this! Taking time
of his busy schedule, in his first ever major interview, Shankar spoke
exclusively to sify.com on everything you always wanted to know about
Shankar who was in Cannes, had flown in to Chennai but within hours
had taken a flight to Madurai, from where he had gone to Sivaganga to
give "moral support and encouragement" to director Balaji Sakthivel
who is making a film under his ‘S pictures’ banner. On his way back,
he spoke to his media manager Nikhil Murugan, to arrange a meet with
sify.com , as he had promised us the first ever interview on
Sitting in his posh new office in T.Nagar area of Chennai, designed by
French architect Ananda of Pondicherry, Shankar opens up, in the
longest interview he has ever done, 2 hours 20 minutes! The interview
will appear in three parts.
What is your present state of mind, on the eve of the release of
(Smiles) I'm relieved, happy, and contended. Sivaji has shaped out well, exactly the way I wanted it though
it took me nearly 22 months from the day the idea was born and for it
to be conceptualized into a full length feature film. The film has
given me immense satisfaction, and I think it is my best work. Now I leave it to the public to judge my work.
Why is Sivaji not releasing on your lucky date- 8 ?
Who said 8 is my lucky date? I’m not superstitious or believe in lucky
numbers. In fact 8 is supposed to be a very unlucky number in India,
though in China it is a lucky and preferred number. Just for the heck
of it, and to break superstitions around it I took 8, as my first car
registration number. Soon people around me thought that my luck has
turned around and said it is my lucky number! Last year sify.com did a
story on how my films are all released on 8th or numbers adding up to
8, since then distributors are insisting that my production companies
films also releases on 8. So now people think that I love the number
But your new Toyota Land cruicer-Prado is also registered under 8?
(Laughs) I can't help it; my staff also thinks it is my lucky number!
Anyway to once again break the hoodoo, I have now brought a Scorpio
and insisted on any general number. The number on the registration
reads- 5398, which does not add up to 8! As far as Sivaji
release is concerned, I never had a particular date, though the
producers initially kept May 31 an auspicious day as release date. I’m
happy that it is now releasing on Friday June 15, as it will break the
so-called "lucky number 8 sentiments of Shankar"!
The trailer of Sivaji rocks, as you have been able to
convey the basic essence of the movie.
I was very clear that the trailer should act as an appetizer to the
film, a sort of a sneak preview and what the audience can expect from
a Rajnikanth- Shankar film. Editor Antony did a great job and
made a sleek and stylish trailer with a lot of ramping and cut- to-
cut pattern of editing with hardly any gimmicks. The idea of the
teaser trailer was to give a sampling to the fans of why they should
go for the film.
The most important question everybody wants to ask is how
successful were you in blending Rajnikanth's larger-than- life screen
image with the Shankar brand?
( Pauses) It was a tough act to follow. I was very particular that the
image of superstar Rajnikanth, should not overtake the character
Sivaji, he is playing in the film. For that, I needed my story to be
strong, at the same time I should not ignore his image - this was the
cardinal principle that we followed during the making of the film. My
observation at the end of it is that, we have been able to follow a
central path where the image has fitted well with the story and
To be continued....
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