Interview Template 2
Shankar speaks on 'Sivaji'!
By Moviebuzz
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 Chan.

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 on everything you always wanted to know about Sivaji.

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 ĎS picturesí banner. On his way back, he spoke to his media manager Nikhil Murugan, to arrange a meet with , as he had promised us the first ever interview on Sivaji.

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 Sivaji?
(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? Iím 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 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 8.

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. Iím 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 narration.

To be continued....

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