Rajini in Sivaji

Director Shankar's Interview to SUN TV about Sivaji

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If you haven't yet seen the original set of pictures, the trailer from CNN-IBN and the story of the movie Sivaji go to this page.
Go to the Pictures from Sivaji page to see more stills from the movie.

This is the English translation of the interview given by Shankar (about Sivaji, Rajini and everything else) to SUN TV. Darien Rukshan Rajay had translated this into English and given to behindwoods to publish it.

Read the second part of the interview here.
Read the third part of the interview here.

Host: Happy New Year greetings to all of our Sun TV viewers across the globe and with regards to those viewers spanning the globe, there seems to be only one thing they are endlessly chatting about nowadays and the reason behind that is Director Shankar and now we are going to meet him, come on..!(Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: How have you made the whole of Tamil Nadu to talk ceaselessly Sir?

Shankar: (Laughs) We are just doing our job and that job has transcended beyond even ourselves. (Laughs)

Host: And now after the release of the Sivaji songs, the anticipation has grown even more?

Shankar: Yes.

Host: Now even when you were taking the Mudhalvan movie, it seemed that the both of you (Shankar & Rajni) were going to come together for a film, and then why the gap in between and now why has it finally materialized in Sivaji?

Shankar: We have met and spoken on numerous occasions, but I think this is the right time; everything has come together correctly, the script.umm.just everything, all things have fallen into place and because of that we started the movie. (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: Sir, do you typically get the story ready and then choose the appropriate lead star for it - what is your system for this?

Shankar: Generally, we get the story ready and choose a star who is more apt and suiting for that role. In all of my stories such as Kadhalan, Jeans and other such lighter love movies, you can see a certain super heroism, larger than life.you can see those types of characters; those have become super hero driven stories. If you take any of those, whether Rajni Sir had starred or whether Kamal Sir had starred, they would have been excellent. So that is the question of whether we begin with an artist or whether we begin with a story.but in terms of this movie (Sivaji), I was thinking about Rajni Sir when I came up with this story (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: So from the beginning you had this story in mind for him?

Shankar: Yea, this story came about with him in mind.

Host: Then, when you make a movie with Rajni and because he is a Superstar, did you feel a lot of pressure? Such as: should there be a certain kind of buildup? Did you have any pressure since you knew you were creating a story for a Superstar?

Shankar: There was both pressure and jolliness. Because there are certain expectations of him in movies, you have to satisfy those requirements. And another thing, because he is there, there are certain advantages, for instance you cannot take on certain issues with some other heroes...so because of that, there are no limits to my creative imagination, but if I placed those same issues on all artists it just would not work out, so when I approach these issues with him there it is be quite interesting.for example, in the "Athiradee" song, you can witness what I'm saying, you cannot do all of those things we have done in the song with any other hero.so there are many plus points like that, but of course there are pressures as well, for instance you cannot change him too much, but then again, people also expect to see some change in my movies.so essentially, you have to give and not give.have to reach a certain balance, so it was both enjoyable and demanding, but finally, I think have solved those issues. (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: You are known as being a super director and if we take all of your past movies, you can clearly see a sort of Shankar stamp on all of them and in the same way, we can clearly distinguish a Rajni movie from other films, so if we look at it that way and now that the both of you are collaborating together - this Sivaji movie is whose movie?

Shankar: They say this is a "Ra-Shankar-jni" formula. (Laughs) No, but seriously, for those viewers who are coming expecting a Rajni movie, they will see Rajni Sir's formula and for those coming to see a Shankar movie, they will see Shankar's formula and on top of that, for those fans who are coming to see what a combination of the two would be, even they will be fulfilled, so I have maintained that balance appropriately. (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: Sir, now in this movie from all the things we have seen, Rajni Sir looks very youthful, how did you accomplish this?

Shankar: For his character in this movie, we thought a lot about his get-ups and what would look good and like I said before, we cannot change Rajni Sir too much since when people think of Rajni Sir, a certain image registers in their minds, so we cannot change him too much, but we have to bring a tiny bit of change and so we thought about ways to make him look pleasing and we went about gathering stills from his previous movies which we thought would be apt for the character he plays in Sivaji and then we short listed and short listed until we came up with get-ups which perfectly fit his role in the movie. And then we went about procuring the wigs and make-up necessary to reproducing the selected get-ups and we did numerous fittings and only at the last minute did we get the type of wigs and looks we were aiming for.for the city look we used the Billa get-up.

Host: Now when you were doing all of this research were you and your team the only ones doing it or was he (Rajni) also involved?

Shankar: No he turned over the responsibility to me after hearing what I had to say about what would look good for the movie.after seeing the stills and wigs we came up with and seeing that it was all correct, he was quite happy.

Read the second part of the interview here.