Many People Told Me Not to Have Rajini Sir Play His Age in Jailer: Nelson

Many People Told Me Not to Have Rajini Sir Play His Age in Jailer: Nelson

In The Film Companion Directors Adda 2023, the director opens up about the doubts he had while making Jailer and explains the making of its much-loved interval sequence

In an interview with Film Companion South, RRR director (2022) SS Rajamouli pointed out how every director will have that one moment of utter doubt about the project and it is at that point that one has to remember what made them fall in love with the idea in the first place. In the Film Companion Directors Adda 2023, Nelson Dilipkumar says he had that doubt throughout the making process of Jailer, especially during its writing. And what made him come out of that? The fact that he got the chance to make a film with Rajinikanth. 

Nelson and Rajinikanth from the sets of Jailer
Nelson and Rajinikanth from the sets of Jailer

He says, "I have always wanted to do a film with Rajini sir. So when I had those doubts, I used to convince myself that somehow I had to do this film." However, the doubts crept in even during the production process because of different reasons. One of the main challenges was getting people to accept a Rajinikanth who played his age. "That was the major doubt because a lot of people in the industry told me not to have Rajini sir play his age and instead, let him do whatever he has already done. I had this confidence that it would work, but I was also under-confident at times."

Many People Told Me Not to Have Rajini Sir Play His Age in Jailer: Nelson
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As the conversation unfolds, Nelson emphasises his determination to stick to his creative instincts. “So I decided that even if the film fails, let it be because I did something based on my gut and I was ready to take the blame. I didn’t want to get confused because of what others told me. Ten days into the shoot, I was really confident as I saw that the scenes were working. After that, I left it to the universe."

Rajinikanth in the interval sequence of Jailer
Rajinikanth in the interval sequence of Jailer

Nelson further revealed that he almost spent a month to come up with the idea for the interval sequence. Discussing the meticulous thought process behind the interlude, he says, “I wanted him to be too cool in that scene. Rather than him fighting, I wanted the things that happened around his character to be more interesting and something that hasn’t been done in his earlier films." Many expressed doubt about the interval sequence as well, he recalls. "I had these sessions with the fight master where he used to show me a few staging options every day. But I eventually wrote this scene. On the shooting day, many asked me whether this would work. When I told them that there was a little bit of action that he does too, they still felt it wasn’t enough for him as he was a big hero. But still, we went with it."

Although Nelson found it quite difficult to make these decisions, these very elements went on to become the highlights of Jailer. “I was confused throughout the film. But somewhere, I liked the whole staging. As a fan, I’ve always liked Rajini sir’s style of talking and his dialogue deliveries, even during action sequences. So I consciously avoided fights and I made it the way I liked and finally, it worked. But if it hadn’t worked out this way, I would’ve been done."

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