Rajinikanth: Kaala has politics but it’s not a political film

In a glitzy affair, the audio of Rajinikanth’s upcoming film Kaala was launched in Chennai on Wednesday. While the songs were available earlier during the day, the event had some power packed performances from music director Santhosh Narayanan and his team. Songs from the album were sung by singers such as Shankar Mahadevan, Dhee, Ananthu and of course, Santhosh himself. They were also accompanied by Parayatam artists and rappers Dopeadelicz, who are from Dharavi — the slum where Kaala’s story is set.

After the performances, Santhosh took the stage to thank producer Dhanush, director Pa Ranjith and Superstar Rajinikanth along with several others for making the event happen. “I must have performed at least 1000 times, but YMCA has been a dream destination. I must thank Dhanush for arranging such a beautiful stage. Every single artist had their names on caravans. It was such an emotional moment for them.”

Taking the stage director Pa Ranjith said that Kaala will talk about the issues of the people, about the politics of land ownership. “Kaala is a commercial film for sure but it will talk about people’s problems. Rajini sir’s voice is powerful. It had to be used for something productive. Especially now that I have gotten a second chance. I see this film as a small step in creating an equal space where we respect and treat each other with humanity.” He further went on to thank Rajini for the massive platform he has been given. “Kabali had received mixed reviews, I was a bit worried. I was clear about conveying what I wanted in the space I was given. Thank you Rajini sir for giving that to me again. The Rajini I have interacted personally is much much more intense, humble and emotional. The power of the real Rajini is multifold than the onscreen Rajini. I have tried to bring forth that as much as possible.”

Kaala is bankrolled by Dhanush, who is also Rajinikanth’s son-in-law. Speaking at the event, Dhanush said that Wunderbar was born out of a discussion that he and Selvaraghavan had about supporting talent if they become successful in cinema. “I am happy to have been able to do that until now, Kaala is our 12th film. This is a film not produced by actor Dhanush, but by Venkatesh Prabhu, the fan.”

“On the last day, a difficult sequence was being shot. There was a delay. I asked him if it was okay. And he says ‘This is our everything. There are so many people who haven’t gotten an opportunity.’ I saw the loyalty he has for his profession. Even when the people who had grown due to Rajini sir spoke negative things about him, he always just smiles. I learnt patience from him. When we decided to invite people for the launch, I asked Rajini sir, with a tinge of immaturity, if we had to invite people who had spoken ill about us as well. He said ‘All our people’. I learnt the quality of forgiveness. His journey – ‘a villain, a hero, a star, a Style Samrat, Superstar, Thalaivar and tomorrow… I am waiting like you to see what happens next,” he said.

Taking the stage at the end, Rajinikanth gave a speech that saw him in his best form. Forthcoming, honest and at his wittiest best, Rajini admitted to several mistakes he had committed in the past with refreshing candour. He acknowledged that he should do age-appropriate roles and stop running around the trees with heroines half his age. “We couldn’t celebrate Endhiran’s success as I was not well. At that time, people told me that if you keep your mind and body healthy, I would heal soon. I don’t know anything other than acting. I was doing Kochadaiiyaan then. The proposed budget was too high so I decided to release the film as it is. That didn’t work well. I realised that I should work with intelligent people, but not with people who are ‘too smart’.

Then, Linga with KS Ravikumar happened. It was a story I really liked. It was about water scarcity — my only dream has been to unite the south Indian rivers. I would die peacefully if that happens. But that didn’t work as well as we expected. Then I realized, one should be good but not too well-intentioned both in real life and on screen. Also, I am 65 years old. I shouldn’t be romancing heroines who are half my age.”

His decision to adapt to change led him to Pa Ranjith, disclosed Rajini. “He didn’t come back within the designated time with the script of Kabali. So when I met him at that time, Ranjith was hesitant. He told me there was something missing. He added that it was a lifetime opportunity and that if he messes this up, he will not have a career. I realised he wasn’t an opportunist and decided he was the director. I saw the film and told him that as a director you have won, but I don’t know if I have won as a hero. I also told him not to ask opinions of fans for the first 2-3 days. The film went on to be a success.”

After Kabali, Rajini and Dhanush decided to do a film together, the former even heard a script from Vetrimaaran. “But the film was extremely political which I didn’t want to do. I called Ranjith again. Kaala has politics but it’s not a political film. After Malaysia, I suggested doing a film on the people in Dharavi. Ranjith went to Mumbai for three months and came back with Kaala. I told Ranjith that Kabali was Ranjith’s film, but this should be his and my film as well.”

The superstar ended the speech on a high note by hinting at his political journey. “It will happen when the time is right. Good times will come,” he said.