After a lull caused by the recent lockdown of the Tamil film industry, the audio launch of superstar Rajinikanth’s next film Kaala was the first massive film event in Chennai that had thousands of fans in attendance. The launch was held at the YMCA grounds and attended by the film’s cast and crew, including director Ranjith and producer Dhanush. “I am taken back to memories of my Sivaji success function many years back,” said superstar Rajini.
Director Ranjith thanked the superstar for entrusting him with such a massive film again, despite Kabali’s mixed reviews and post-release controversies. “I will never miss an opportunity to raise my voice through my films. Kaala will be a film for the people, with realistic film making and an important political context. We all know about the inequalities in Indian society. We have been independent for more than 70 years; still 60% of our people are without any land ownership. Kaala will be a small step towards addressing such deep-rooted issues,” said Ranjith.
“During my conversations with Rajini sir, I sense the power, emotion and intensity that he has. I have tried to create that power in Kaala as well. Cinema is a mass medium, and when you talk about people’s issues with a person who always thinks about the people, the reach is bound to be huge. Rajini sir’s voice is really powerful and I have utilized that in my film,” he added.
After Lingaa‘s failure, my detractors wrote me off yet again like they’ve been doing for the past 40 years. I’ll keep running in my track with blinkers on, thanks to all of you and of course God’s grace. My detractors don’t realize that. – Rajinikanth
Dhanush was brimming with pride on being the producer of a Rajini film and spoke about being inspired by how the superstar has handled his 40-year career with patience and poise. “Recently, some industry people have been criticizing him severely for his political entry. Rajini sir was instrumental in giving their careers a face-lift; they’ve used him for their personal benefit many times. When I asked him whether we should invite those people for the audio launch, he was generous enough to say that all of them were his friends and that they should be invited too,” said Dhanush.
“I remember stealing some money from home to see the first day first show of his Baasha way back in 1995, sitting among the front benchers. Kaala is not a film produced by actor ‘Dhanush’, it is a film proudly being presented by his fan ‘Venkatesh Prabhu’,” he added.
The last to take the stage was Superstar Rajini. He was gracious enough to accept that some of his recent films like Kochadaiyaan and Lingaa hadn’t worked at the box office. He spoke candidly about what he had learnt from those failures – the chief lesson being to play parts that suited his age.
“I was drawn to my favourite K.S.Ravikumar’s Lingaa due to its theme surrounding a river, a dam and how it’ll solve the water scarcity issues of people. I keep going to the Himalayas to experience the magic of the Ganges. All of you know about my dream to see the unification of South Indian rivers. In hindsight, I realized that I shouldn’t have acted as a 30-something man in the film and romanced Sonakshi Sinha, a girl who grew up with my daughters. It was an eye-opener for me and I then decided to only pick roles that suit my age,” said Rajini.
“After Lingaa‘s failure, my detractors wrote me off yet again like they’ve been doing for the past 40 years. I’ll keep running in my track with blinkers on, thanks to all of you and of course God’s grace. My detractors don’t realize that,” he added.
Rajini also spoke at length about working with Ranjith in Kabali and Kaala. “The Malaysian Don aspect drew me to Ranjith’s Kabali. Due to some of the slow emotional portions involving the Don and his wife, the film met with criticism from my fans for the first 3 days, but it ran well eventually and emerged successful. Producer Thanu’s judgment was proven right yet again; he felt that ladies will take a liking to the film due to its sentiments. Ranjith succeeded as a director with Kabali while Kaala will be his film as well as my film and a film for my fans. Despite many issues, he wrapped the film’s shoot in 85 days and proved to be a producer’s director.” About the cast, he said he enjoyed taking on Nana Patekar, who plays the antagonist. “Nana Patekar plays Hari Dada in Kaala; I myself was thrilled to take him on. He is a tough person to deal with but Ranjith handled him beautifully. The Bollywood circle was actually surprised that we were working with him.”
The grand event also had a live performance by composer Santhosh Narayanan, with many contributing artistes like Shankar Mahadevan, Ananthu, Dhee and the Dharavi based hip-hop band Dopeadelicz. Choreographer Sandy and his group delivered an enjoyable dance tribute performance to the superstar.
The superstar didn’t speak about his looming political entry apart from his usual ‘the exact time hasn’t come yet’ and ‘a bright future awaits TN and Tamil people’ statements.