Rajini in Sivaji

Director Shankar's Interview to SUN TV about Sivaji

The Hunt

The Hunt is on!! "The Hunt" is an online puzzle solving game where one has to solve puzzles to go to the next level. There are 35 levels in all, divided into 3 stages. 200+ people are on The Hunt now!

The 100 Rupee Quiz

The 100 Rupee Quiz is a monthly quiz with a prize of 100 Rupees!! The results and answers of the previous 100 Rupee quizzes can be found at the 100 Rupee Quiz answers page. Try the latest quiz at the link above.

This is the second part of 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 first part of the interview here.

Host: As you were working on this film, did you ever feel at any moment any regrets about not having worked with him before in the past?

Shankar: No, nothing like that.I mean everyone who has worked with him always feel like working with him again and also they regret not working with him in the past, those thoughts are always there.because Rajni Sir is even more cooperative than a new face in the industry for comparison, he is so flexible, he is so disciplined, he is so sincere.I'm not just saying that because everyone always says that, but as I have been working with him in the past year, I have seen it personally. There are many things to be learnt from him by all the new up and coming artists.I have not seen any person who has dedicated everything to cinema with total sincerity, dedication, flexibility and humility like him. So he really really is a great artist. (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: Now as you have stated how Rajni has dedicated himself to cinema, in the same vein you can say Kamal has also done the same and you have worked with him before (in Indian).so after working with two artists considered to be two living legends of Tamil cinema, what are your experiences?

Shankar: There are many similarities between the two.like I said sincerity.they both sincerely have dedicated themselves to cinema, the discipline.the notion that cinema is important and it should turn out well. So in these issues, they both have many parallels. For instance, if you take Kamal Sir, when I'm reading the script to him, he would be casually glancing at me, observing how I read, watching how I modulate the dialogues and he would be reading as I went along as well; after reading it through he would say 'ok' and leave. Then he would discuss the script, make any amendments and then when the time for the shooting arrives, he would deliver whatever I expected of him and more often than not, he would exceed my own expectations. So in the same way when you look at Rajni Sir, when I'm reading a scene he would be watching intently as how I'm reading it and then he would leave when I'm finished. And when the time for shooting arrives he would fulfill and exceed my own expectations tremendously by adding his own uniqueness, likewise Kamal Sir.

Host: So Sir, you were discussing Kamal and Rajni and how they always got the performance right after reading through the scenes with them, but would it not be better if you acted it out for them?

Shankar: No, I mean as I'm reading the scene they understand what I'm asking for in terms of modulation and since I read the complete script to them thoroughly beforehand, they have already absorbed the character they are playing. So as we go through the scenes, they fully comprehend what my expectations are.95% of the time they get it right and in the remaining 5%, if their performance does not fit with my own vision for the particular scene, then I will explain it to them and they will do it the way I told them to, so there is not an issue there.

Host: But there is also the supporting cast and how will you demonstrate to them what your expectations are in terms of acting?

Shankar: First I will read the scene to them and will ask them to perform it for me.and as they are acting it out, if they extemporaneously come up with something new and if it is good, I will keep it and if I'm not satisfied with what they do, then I will perform it for them and they will do it.

Host: I ask all of this because didn't you originally come into the industry wishing to act and do you still have any desires like that?

Shankar: Hey I have acted in Sivaji itself (Laughs), I only said that for comedy's sake, but I'm there only for one shot in the "Balleilakka" song, so don't get too scared about my acting in the movie. (Laughs) So it was just simply a casual appearance I did for the fun of it.

Host: So no real plans to act?

Shankar: No no, because the director Shankar is more attuned and principled to the integrity of the script than the actor Shankar, so during casting time for example, director Shankar is quite strict in choosing the best and most appropriate people to play the roles and so when you look at it that way, director Shankar does not easily allow actor Shankar to perform (Laughs).he would say to actor Shankar that he is a miscast and to go away. (Laughs) (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: When you are looking at it, between the release of Boys and Anniyan there was a gap and after it there was another gap and now you have once again reunited with A.R. Rahman for Sivaji, so how did this combination work out?

Shankar: This is not new to us; we have a very good relationship as we have been working together for a long time since 1993.our relationship is not purely an occupational relationship as we work together as good friends.

Host: Did he not ask you why you did not choose him for Anniyan?

Shankar: No, he would not ask something like that at all.he is really a sweet person.since we have collaborated together on many projects in the past, he knows what kind of tastes I have and look for, so for example, when he is composing songs for other movies besides mine, if he comes across a tune which he knows I would like, he would put that aside for me.if I hear a song on an audio cd he has composed for a movie and when I convey to him my fondness for it, he would teasingly tell me he knew in the back of his mind that I would.so in that way, we have a certain understanding. Even if you take this movie Sivaji for example, the "Style" song was something he spontaneously came up with and he immediately saved it for me and once he showed it to me, I approved of it instantly. (Shooting Clips Shown)

Host: Sir, when the name Rajni is merely mentioned, even little children know that style is synonymous with it, so now you have even included a song titled "Style", so what are the new styles you have introduced there?

Shankar: In this movie, many people will be expecting a lot from Rajni Sir, his styles, etc. So we have come up with many new styles and he has done it and they all have come out very well. It will be quite a treat for the fans of Rajni Sir.we have also used his usual styles in various different ways, so there will be no dearth of style in this movie. (Laughs) You see, you have gotten the basic concept itself, where there is Rajni, there is style.so when we say it, you know, the dressing styles, the hair styles, the sunglass styles.even backdrop styles and taking styles, just in all the different areas when we approach this movie within the confines of style itself as a premise, you will clearly see a difference in a positive way. For instance, the backgrounds and locations are stylish, so if you look at the shootings from Spain, you will see different things.

Read the third part of the interview here.