Interview: Director Pa Ranjith about Kabali

Monday, June 27, 2016 - 16:00

Pa. Ranith, the young director who rose to stardom overnight when Superstar Rajinikanth picked him as his director, here opens up on one of the biggest movies of all time in Indian history - 'Kabali'.  In this chit-chat, the humble creator talks about why Rajini's daughter called him up, the title, Rajini's character and looks in the movie, and more.  

Congratulations on the successful making of 'Kabali'. Could you throw some light on how this rare offer to direct Superstar Rajinikanth came your way?
I didn't approach Rajini sir with this script. It was his daughter Soundarya, who is a friend of mine, who first called me up and said that Rajini sir wants to meet me. He had watched my second film 'Madras' twice. He liked it a lot and wanted me to direct him. That's how I happened to prepare this script. Many directors had been trying for an opportunity to work with him, but he chose only me. If I got the opportunity to direct Rajini sir, it's because of 'Madras'.

You are a young director with just two films in your kitty. How come such a huge star wanted you to direct him?

Rajini sir likes to work with directors of my generation. He always yearns to bring out freshness that way.  

Why this title 'Kabali'?

Usually, 'Kabali' is a term associated with goonish behavior. But in my film, I am projecting Kabali in an entirely positive light. There is a low-class ring to the word. The title is justified because in the story, Rajini sir's character grows up to be a saviour of the ethnic Indian labourers facing hardships in Malaysia. Kabali transforms into a don to fight for their cause.

So, is Rajinikanth playing a Malaysian citizen in the film?

Yes, he is a citizen of Malaysia.

The salt-n-pepper look has become a rage. Tell us about that.

The look was essential for the script. Rajini sir will be seen in the old man's look only for about 20 minutes in the film. For the rest of the part, it's the young look that he will be seen in. We used his look of the 1980s as a reference.

Rajinikanth is coming back in the role of a don after 25 years. Expectations from his performance are sky-high. What is in store?

His performance in the film 'Mullum Malarum' is considered as terrific. He has gone beyond that in 'Kabali'.  

There is an impression that 'Kabali' is an action film because it's a gangster flick.

Action is only an ingredient. You will find a lot of emotional content in our movie.  

What are your upcoming movies?

I had plans to work with Suriya even before this film. My next film will be with him.  

By the way, what does 'Pa' in your name mean?

(Smiles). Tamils have this tradition of borrowing the name of the father. My father's name is Panduranga. Thus, Pa.