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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Rajinikanth recalls close brush with Covid on Annaatthe sets: ‘Everyone was in shock’

Rajinikanth suggested that shooting for Annaatthe was one of the challenging experiences of his career as it happened during the peak of the second wave of the Covid infections.

By: Entertainment Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: December 24, 2021 8:56:35 am
rajinikanthRajinikanth in Annaatthe (Photo: Sun Pictures)

Superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday shared an anecdote about shooting for his previous film Annaatthe on the 50th day of the film’s theatrical release. The 71-year-old superstar suggested that shooting for this movie was one of the challenging experiences of his career as it happened during the peak of the second wave of the Covid infections.

“We started shooting Annaatthe in December 2019. And after 35 days of shooting, we took a break. We were supposed to resume around March end in 2020. But, before then, there was the outbreak of coronavirus. And for the next nine months, there was no work. In December, we again began shooting for the film (in Hyderabad). We followed all the safety guidelines, including Covid tests for everyone on the sets to wear masks all the time. Even artists wore the mask all the time except for the duration of a scene,” he recalled in a voice note he posted on his Hoote account.

After two weeks of the uninterrupted shoot, everyone on the sets was in for a shock after Keerthy Suresh’s assistant tested positive for the virus. “He had developed the Covid infection five days ago but he told no one. Everyone was in shock. I worked with Keerthy Suresh closely on the sets as we performed scenes without masks. And the assistant was also with us all along. Everyone was shocked. Director Siva and producer Kalanithi Maran were upset and immediately canceled the shoot and began to test everyone,” he added.

Thankfully, Rajinikanth had tested negative for the infection. However, he was still kept in observation for a couple of days as the doctors wanted to conduct a few more tests to be on the safer side.

Rajinikanth Rajinikanth and Keerthy Suresh in Annaatthe.

“Three months later we resumed the shoot. In the climax, we had to shoot with around 800 junior artists. We shot the climax for 18 days. Of which around 8 days we had to shoot with these 800 people. Imagine doing Covid tests for everyone. And only during the shot, all artists should remove the mask. Just for the shot. And the doctors’ clearly told me that I should not mingle with any crowd. The climax scene involves me standing alone on a rooftop and giving instructions to my fellow actors. Siva had conceived that scene two years ago and not for the Covid situation. This I believe is God’s will. And the second wave was fast going out of control. And on the eve of lockdown in Telangana, we completed our shoot. This is also God’s will,” Rajinikanth said.

Rajinikanth recalled that the troubles for Annaatthe were not over even after releasing it in theatres for Deepavali. “The reviews for the film were not favorable. And three days after the film’s release, it started pouring heavily. But, thankfully rain began three days after the release, if it had started early how could people have come to theaters? And the film would have failed. Thankfully the film did well (at the box office) and it would have done better, if not for the rains. And when I think of these things, a dialogue from Baasha comes to mind: God will test good people but he won’t let them down. But for bad people….(trademark laughs),” Rajinikanth signed off.

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