Shankar speaks-Read Part 1
Shankar on Rajnikanth’s image, storyline and message
So, the story suits the image of Rajnikanth and the fans can expect the right mix of entertainment from your combination. Please comment.
Yes, as I said earlier the teaser trailer has showcased what the fans can expect from Sivaji. It was a tight rope walk throughout the making of the film, but in the final analysis I think the mixture of the superstar's larger-than-life image and my story and presentation will work with all concerned. The bottom line is that the coming together of Rajnikanth and Shankar will be fully justified by this rollicking family entertainer.
There has been so many rumours regarding the story of Sivaji. What is the story about?
Let the rumours remain as rumours till the release of the film! Is there any movie maker in the world who will tell you the story line of his film before release? Any way the basic thread is about a man Sivaji who wants to do something good for his Piranthu mannu (home land) and the ordinary folks in his village. Sivaji never gives up in the face of stiff obstacles in his path. The social reformer in him finds new methods to overcome his difficulties as he continues his one-man crusade to cleanse the system.
Like in your earlier films is there a message in the film?
Of course there is a message, for which you will have to see the film. All that I can say now is that it is a timely and topical message.
About Rajnikanth, and his look for `Sivaji`
Have you made Rajnikanth look appealing to his fans? What is the look you have given him?
I think Rajni sir looks dashing and debonair, as he plays a middle aged man in his late 30's. For that I needed a different look. So before the shoot I thought like an ordinary filmgoer in Tamilnadu, the way they want me to project the superstar. I went through hundreds of his photos from his previous movies and selected two pictures for the
new look, and then decided on the wigs that suited him. Along with Bhanu the wig and hair designer and cameraman K.V Anand I decided on the look and style. Rajni sir co-operated with us by doing a make-up test? Which superstar in India will patiently sit through a make-up to try a new look? He is genuinely humble and simple man; I have never met a star like him. Later the measurements were sent to New York, where they made the wigs that were used in the film. As far as the look and colour tone of the film is concerned, I have given it a colourful look as it is a family entertainer with comedy, romance, songs, sentiments and action.
How was it working with the superstar, and his performance in the film?
There is only one word to describe his performance in the film- R O C K I N G! Remember he is a superstar and people buy tickets just to see him, and he has done full justice to what has been assigned to him. Rajni sir is the complete professional, a man who does his homework well and still willing to learn, a director’s dream.
Did he compliment you on your work?
Rajni sir has not seen the completed first copy of the film, as he is out of town. He saw bits and parts of it during dubbing and editing of the film, at that time he told me –you are editing a super hit film! I may sound pompous, so I don't want to tell you anything
On Shriya, Vivek and Suman
Why did you choose Shriya to be the heroine of Sivaji?
I wanted a very homely girl to play the character of Tamilselvi, a girl who works in a shop selling music instruments, and she fits the bill. Shriya looks like a homely girl at the same time can be glamorous too, see the songs in the film!
In all your films, the heroine is the homely type like Nandini( Sada) of Anniyan.
It is sheer co-incidence that Shriya too is playing a homely girl in Sivaji. But Shriya here has a very sentimental role, the pivot around which the story moves and she has done a good job. In the songs especially Vaaji, Vaaji…. she is simply amazing!
During the last few years, comedy in a Rajnikanth film has become a
must. How did the new combination of Rajni- Vivek work?
It is one of the highlights of the film. In the first half it is full of comedy as Vivek plays a character who is the young uncle of the hero! The comedy track goes with the storyline and I’m sure the audience will find it hilarious. The Rajni-Vivek comedy scenes had me
in splits, they are really funny.
How has Suman shaped up as the bad guy in the film?
As you know I tried for a lot of actors to do this powerful villain character, bur somehow it did not work out. Finally I zeroed in on Suman, after seeing a photograph of his. I asked him to cut his hair, remove his moustache and change his wardrobe. In my film he plays a very rich man Adiseshan, a person who wears white throughout the film
and is at war with the hero. After a long time you will find a polished villain in Tamil films. He has done a commendable job and stood up to Rajni's gigantic image and delivered.
So, you are satisfied with the casting of the film?
Yes, I’m happy with the casting which has a freshness about it, that will appeal to the audiences, even the supporting cast has done a great job and Nayantara in a special song appearance has made it lively.
/Shankar speaks-Read Part-3
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