His fans consider him a real-life superhero. And that’s probably why 60-year-old Rajinikanth is refusing to use a stunt double to perform his trademark stunts in KS Ravikumar’s Rana, despite being hospitalised repeatedly in the past couple of months. This quells recent rumours that claimed many action scenes in the movie would either be modified or done entirely by a stunt double.
“Rajni sir is keen to perform all the stunts himself,” confirms director KS Ravikumar. “That’s why we don’t want him to rush back to shooting. As far as I know, he doesn’t like the idea of using a body double to do his action sequences. You know, he is keeping a close eye on Rana’s development.” During the first schedule of filming in April this year, Rajni fell ill on the sets and was rushed to hospital for over a month, resulting in an indefinite delay.Following a relapse, he was re-admitted to the ICU, before being flown off to Singapore for treatment. Now, news on the grapevine suggests that Rana’s script will be altered, ensuring that all three of Rajni’s reel characters live, although one of them was originally supposed to die.
"What alteration? Not a single sequence has been changed," retorts Ravikumar. "In fact, the script remains completely untouched. Since Rana is special to him, there’s no question of making modifications or bringing in a body double without Rajni sir’s consent. And he too doesn’t want any change in the story." Ravikumar also insists the film is on track, adding that shooting has only been temporarily suspended and will resume in September. "We were planning to resume towards the end of June, but we’ve pushed it back by a few months. Rajni sir is fine, but his health is paramount," he says.
According to Ravikumar, Rajni will stay in Singapore for some time. “He is likely to be discharged in a couple of days, but he’ll take complete rest after that,” he says. Rajni has written Rana himself, a period action film with an estimated budget of over Rs 150 crore. The film also stars Deepika Padukone, with music being composed by AR Rahman.
Rajni’s road to recovery
Rajinikanth is currently recuperating at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Medical Centre. He is likely to be discharged in a couple of days, but plans to stay remain in the country to rest. With family members by his side, he has apparently been practicing power yoga every morning. Doctors are believed to be satisfied with his progress.