Rajnikanth-starrer Endhiran cost R 150 crore. Will Bollywood ever spend that much on a film?
Special effects by the Terminator and Jurassic Park team. Costumes by the designer for Batman, and stunts by the team of The Matrix. Add to it a 60-year-old man romancing a 36-year-old beauty, and we get India’s, even Asia’s, costliest film ever. And, it’s not even a Bollywood produce.Tamil film Endhiran/Robot, set to hit screens next month, was made for R 150 crore — double the budget of Bollywood’s costliest film so far — Blue (R 75 crore).
Directed by S Shankar, the sci-fi flick stars Rajnikanth in a double role — a man and a Robot — and Aishwarya Rai as the female lead.
Co-producer Hansraj Saxena says a large chunk of the R 150 crore were spent on Hollywood-like special effects. “We thought it would be India’s most expensive film, but it ended up being Asia’s most expensive!
We spent more than R 50 crore just on the graphics,” he says. Elaborate song sequences have been shot in exotic locales of Vienna, Machu Picchu (Peru) and Brazil. “The feel is international. We got two Oscar winners together again — AR Rahman and Resul Pookutty,” he adds.
But, is 60-year-old Rajnikanth bankable even today? “He’s the biggest star in India. So, it’s only logical that the most expensive movie be made on him. He’s equally huge in the overseas market,” says trade analyst Komal Nahata. Filmmaker Vikram Kumar says, “Rajnikanth assures a profit like no one else. Unlike Bollywood, no one compromises on budget in the South.”
Other films known for their extravagant budget include Mughal-e-Azam, which took nine years to complete and cost R 12 crore back in 1960, Razia Sultan, which cost R 23 crore back in 1983 and Yash Chopra’s 2006 action flick Dhoom-2, reportedly made on a budget of R 55 crore. The world’s most expensive film is James Cameron’s Avatar, which cost R 1,200 crore.
The secret behind rajnikanth’s youthful look on screen
He’s 60, has done more than 150 Tamil films, and is the biggest superstar of South Indian cinema. But the Rajnikanth you see on-screen (left, in a still from Endhiran) and off it (far left, from the film’s recent music launch) looks completely different.
In real life, the star is balding and has ageing skin, but on screen, he looks young as ever. Director S Shankar said in an interview that the actor, who also plays a robot in the film, used make-up that was flown in from America and took two-three hours to apply daily.