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Sunday, April 18, 2021

There may be nepotism in south but no bullying: Thalaivi star Kangana Ranaut

Besides Kangana Ranaut and Arvind Swami, Thalaivi also stars Prakash Raj, Samuthirakani, Thambi Ramaiah and others. The film is due in cinemas on April 23.

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 24, 2021 9:03:49 am
Kangana Ranaut. (Photo: Ramesh Bala/Twitter)

On the eve of her 34th birthday, actor Kangana Ranaut won her fourth National Award for her performances in films Panga and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. And today, to make her birthday more special, the trailer of her upcoming multilingual film Thalaivi was unveiled at a media event in Chennai.

Kangana has essayed the role of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who also made a dent in the history of Indian cinema before she gravitated towards electoral politics. The upcoming biopic film will trace her humble beginnings and her rise as a powerful regional satrap in Tamil Nadu politics.

“Thalaivi is the main focus of my life right now. This journey would not have started if Vijayendra Prasad sir had not recommended me for this role. That was a first as I usually get recommended to be thrown out of films,” said Kangana while talking about the film.

She also revealed that she thought that she was the wrong choice for the film, when KV Vijayendra Prasad, who has written this film, approached her. Her doubts were caused by her unfamiliarity with the politics and cinema of Tamil Nadu, she said.

“So I asked Vijayendra Prasad sir, why do you think I will be good in that role? And it gets tricky for me to say no to him. I felt I was not good for that role and I should not do it. And I told him, it will be a big disaster. If the casting is wrong, the film will go only downhill after that. But, the way he was confident about me, gave me a lot of strength. And I said to myself, ‘why not, let’s try it’?” she recalled.

Kangana noted that her co-stars and filmmakers made her feel at home while working on Thalaivi. “In the south Indian film industry, I have noticed that there might be nepotism. But, there is no group-ism or gang-ism. There is no subjecting outsiders to bullying. They are very inclusive of people who come from outside. With the kind of love and encouragement I have experienced here, I don’t want to leave. I am here now. I hope to do many more films here,” she said.

While thanking Arvind Swami, she appreciated him for doing this film. “Not many big heroes are keen to work in women-centric films, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said, adding “in future, I hope, many male superstars will support women-centric films even in Hindi films.”

Kangana heaped praises on her director AL Vijay. “I really fall short of words when I talk about him. The mere thought of him brings a smile to my face wherever I am. The first time when we met, we were doing a make-up test in California. And he was just surviving on water. Because he can’t eat even in places where there is a trace of cruelty. He got me intrigued as I thought he was a very strange person,” she recalled.

She became very emotional while talking about her experience “But, when I got to know the real him, never in my life, I met a man, who did not make me feel apologetic about my talent. He is the one person who made me feel good about my talent. Especially the camaraderie they show with a male hero, they never show with an actress. But, as a director, I learned from him, how to treat actors and how to show creative partnership,” he said.

The actor later tweeted, “I call myself Babbar Sherni cause I never cry I never give anyone the privilege of making me cry, don’t remember when I cried last but today I cried and cried and cried and it feels so good #ThalaiviTrailer.”

Vijay also had equally amazing things to say about his collaboration with Kangana. “I think I can call her a legend. She has already seen everything. I really feel blessed to have worked with her, honestly. Her knowledge of understanding of cinema and understanding of screenplay is phenomenal. She knew what was the next scene or emotion better than I did. She was very thorough with the entire script. She gained weight, she lost weight. I think she has given everything for this film,” he said.

Perhaps, to steer clear of any controversy during an election season in Tamil Nadu, Vijay clarified that he has not mixed his politics with this film. “We have made a film about a very big leader. We wanted to make a film that would simply justify her status as an icon. We didn’t see it as a political film. We just wanted to show a woman’s journey in this male-dominated world. It is just a story of a great woman leader,” he emphasised.

Besides Kangana and Arvind Swami, the film also stars Prakash Raj, Samuthirakani, Thambi Ramaiah and others. Thalaivi is due in cinemas on April 23.

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