The trailer and audio launch of the magnum opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ was held on September 6. Actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan attended the event as special guests. Before the trailer launch happened, ‘superstar’ Rajinikanth addressed the audience and shared about his work experience with Mani Ratnam.
Rajinikanth heaped praise for Mani Ratnam for making ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ happen after so many years. “Earlier, when Mani Ratnam wanted to do the movie, I said, it was an amazing idea. He asked me if I read the book. I said no sorry, I haven’t. Then I thought I should give it a read and Mani Ratnam said there are 2500 pages. I laughed and I was like there’s no way I am reading it. Later, after a few years, I decided to give it a read. I was late, if Kalki was alive at the time I read the book, I would have fallen in his leg,” Rajinikanth said.
Rajinikanth also revealed that he wanted to be part of the stellar cast of ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, but Mani Ratnam denied to offer the role. “When Mani Ratnam announced in 2019 that he has started the work for the film, I called and asked him to let me play the role of Periya Pazhuvettiyar. He outrightly said no and asked me if I wanted my fans to scold him. He also added that this is not the role of a superstar like you as the screen presence is very less. I still wanted to do it. He then convinced me that I have better movies to do and it was not required for me to do a small role even as special appearance. This is what you call an excellent director. If it was anyone else, they would have agreed to my request. That’s the reason he is Mani Ratnam.”
He also added that he had imagined the characters from the book to the actors. He said, “I wanted to play Arunmozhi Varman. So I imagined the other characters with the stars of that time. Thought of Kamal Haasan doing Vanthiyadevan, Sri Devi as Kundavai and Hema Malini as Nandini and Sathyaraj playing the role of Periya Pazhuvettiyar. I and Kamal did nit get the chance to act for ‘Ponniyin Selvan’. Now, can see Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai and Trisha doing these roles and I am very happy.”
Rajinikanth also reminisced his work experience in ‘Thalapathi’ with director Mani Ratnam. He revealed that he used to seek help from Kamal Haasan during the shoot as Mani Ratnam would reject all the stock expressions that Rajinikanth had prepared for the film shooting. He also added that Mani Ratnam would act the scene and describe. “I called Kamal and told him that working with Mani Ratnam is hard and that he is not satisfied with any acting or expressions. Kamal immediately told me to ask Mani Ratnam to act the scene and just act like you are thinking about how to make it better and after a while play it exactly the same way Mani Ratnam described and the take will be okay,” Rajinikanth said.