The Jailer audio launch was a special event for both Rajinikanth and his legions of fans as the ‘Superstar’ has not addressed them for the past three years. He last spoke to his fans at the Darbar audio launch, and due to the pandemic, Annaatthe didn’t have a grand audio launch event. However, Rajinikanth made up for the long break with an hour-long speech that was many things at once. The speech was a thank-you note for all the crew members of Jailer. He also discussed the performance of Vijay’s Beast and a lot more.
Rajinikanth on Finding the Script for ‘Jailer’
Rajinikanth narrated how he landed Jailer’s script and revealed how Nelson handles things on the sets being a ‘chilled-out guy’. “After Annaatthe, I listened to many scripts but I didn’t like any. And stopped the process altogether and thought let’s see about it later. Then I was told by Kannan of Sun Pictures, who is a friend of Nelson, that he (Nelson) has a story for me. By then, Nelson was shooting for Beast in North India. So, I waited till he returned. When he finally came back, I asked to set a time and asked if 10 am would be fine. Kannan said Nelson gets up pretty late as he sleeps late. I was like what’s this behaviour even before the start of the film. Then he finally set a time around 11:3o.”
When things were going smoothly with Jailer pre-production, Beast was released to bad reviews, which led to rumours that Nelson was sacked from the Rajinikanth starrer. “I got calls from my friends, who claimed that Beast didn’t do well and I should reconsider my decision to work with Nelson. I then called for a meeting with Sun Pictures and asked about the state of things. They told me that though the reviews are bad for the film, the movie didn’t cause any loss to the distributors. A good director will never fail, his subject might. That could be due to bad casting choices and things like that,” Rajinikanth said.
Nelson’s Directing Style
Describing how Nelson is as a director, Rajinikanth said, “On the sets, one day he came and sat near me and asked, ‘Sir, please tell me about your love stories. I have heard about it from a lot of people. But want to get it from you. The story (Jailer) is all set now. Let’s charge ourselves. So please tell me.’ I was like why should I tell him my love story to charge him.”
However, when it comes to work, Nelson is adamant about what he wants from his actors. Recalling two incidents, Rajinikanth said, “In one scene, Yogi Babu and I were shooting inside a car. And Nelson asked Yogi Babu to bring the ‘level’ a bit down. Then he again asked him to take it a bit up. Then he asked for ‘mid’. Yogi Babu turned to Nelson and asked whether his mic is on. After learning that the mic is off, Yogi turned to me and said, ‘Sir, he is killing me, sir. How can I measure and act? Can I measure it with a scale or what?’ Nelson shouted from behind, ‘What I am killing you, is it? I can read your lips.’”
Rajini added, “He made me do one take 8 to 9 times. It was in front of Ramya Krishnan for one particular expression. Even Ramya got a bit awkward as I was doing it again and again. This Padayappa lost his face in front of Neelambari because of Nelson. He will not let you go unless he gets what he wants.”
Praise for Anirudh Ravichander
The songs of Jailer, especially “Kaavaalaa”, have become a superhit, and Rajinikanth praised Anirudh Ravichander to the moon. “Ilaiyaraaja is known for setting up a scene brilliantly. He himself will tell you how to do a scene. AR Rahman, on the other hand, is brilliant with instrumentation. I see both of them in Ani (Anirudh Ravichander). What I like about Ani is that he wants the film to win more than his music. His father and mother should be proud of giving this world such a talent. In Germany, he conducted a concert in an auditorium where concerts of many pop stars happened. They were a bit hesitant about Ani’s concert, but within four minutes, all 14,000 tickets were sold out. It is a record. He is a rockstar. Michael Jackson of Tamil Nadu.”
Shooting “Kaavaaala” with Tamannaah Bhatia
One of the funniest parts of Rajinikanth’s speech is when he shared the experience of shooting “Kaavaaala”. The song was shot for 6 days, and Rajinikanth kept waiting for Nelson Dilipkumar to call him for the shoot but it never came. “Finally, they asked me to come on the last day of the shoot. That too, they asked me to come post lunch. Finally, I was asked to put on make-up in the evening and the shoot started at 7:30 pm. They gave me only one step and two close-ups and said that’s all. I didn’t even get a chance to speak with Tamannaah (laughs). Nelson didn’t allow me only.”
Jailer, produced by Sun Pictures, also starring Shivarajkumar, Jackie Shroff, Mohanlal, Mirnaa, Ramya Krishnan, and Tamannaah Bhatia, will be released on August 10.