I've seen Sivaji 16 times: Soundarya Rajnikanth | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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I've seen Sivaji 16 times: Soundarya Rajnikanth

Soundarya Rajnikant speaks to Roshmila Bhattacharya on her 3-D animation extravaganza, Sultan-The Warrior, Dad Rajnikant and her animation plans.

entertainment Updated: Jan 22, 2008 17:17 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Soundarya Rajnikant on why she's making a 3-D animation extravaganza.. in conversation with Roshmila Bhattacharya

Hanuman had opened the Indian market to animation features but the debacle of its sequel, Return of Hanuman, has put a question mark on the commercial viability of the genre. Doesn't that make you apprehensive for your $10 million gamble?
There have been several Ganeshas and Hanumans of late. But Sultan - The Warrior isn't mythological, it's a fantasy adventure. Pure fiction. Also, all the other films have worked with the 2D format. Sultan is India's first full-length 3-D animated film which is as close to reality as you can get in this genre.

Of course, our budget is nowhere close to that of a Lion King whose King Mufasa is my favourite animated character. We're still working our way up but I can promise you far superior technology than what you've seen so far.

And of course, there's my father Rajnikant in and as Sultan. He will be the first South-East Asian actor to feature in an animated film.

Apparently, he was quite apprehensive about being a part of the experiment.
(Laughs) Apprehensive is the wrong word. He was curious since animation is new to him too.

<b1>I'm told the movie will have plenty of song-and-dance.
Yes, Sultan is very much an Indian film, so the naach gaana is mandatory. We have four songs including the title track in English. We've been talking to a couple of big names in the west for it. (AR) Rahman sir is really excited about this film and has come up with amazing tunes that will be picturised on my father.

You've seen Rajnikant with a hundred dancers so far, now you'll see him with a thousand. Sultan is an out-and-out commercial film.
You'll see all the gimmicks and mannerisms my father is famous for.. and more.

Will Rajnikant have a heroine?
Of course, but she won't be a live person. She's an animated fantasy character I've had in mind for a while. But she'll speak in a familiar voice. I'll reveal more soon.

We're through with the pre-production.. the characters, set designs and dialogue are complete. We're ready to start shooting and are targeting a December release. The film will be released in 12 languages. If a Chinese film,

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

that was so rooted in its culture, could become a worldwide phenomenon, why not


? The reason for starting with an animation film is because I hope to create a benchmark, tell the world that India has arrived!

Have you undergone any special training for this film?

I did a course in multi-media in Australia but I haven't studied in a film school. Whatever I know, I've learnt from my father.


Which is your favourite Rajnikant film?


, it's an amazing film. I'm a diehard fan of Mani uncle (Mani Ratnam). I think my father looked his best in this film. From his Hindi films I love


best. (Laughs) Remember that line "

Aaj Sunday hai to peena ka din hai?"

My father's great with comedy.

Despite his star power down south, Rajnikant wasn't able to woo Bollywood, maybe because he didn't stay around too long.

I don't think there was a conscious decision to stop doing Hindi movies. It's just that he gets so many interesting offers from south filmmakers that he couldn't make time for more projects. But he's always open to good scripts.

Does he watch Hindi films?

We saw

Chak De!


recently. Shah Rukh Khan was wonderful in a role so different from his usual ones. After


I'll try to get in touch with him. Wouldn't it be great if I could rope Shah Rukh Khan and my father for an animation feature next? It would be a lethal combo!

How many times have you seen Sivaji?

(Laughs) Sixteen times. I intend to see it four more times since I've seen


20 times. I love the last 10 minutes of the film when my father returns with a tonsured head.

Who came up with the name Soundarya?

My father. When my sister was born he named her Aishwarya. And when I came along he decided I was Soundarya.

Do you plan on following in your father's footsteps?

You mean as an actor? No, I'm happy behind the camera.

You've been quoted as saying that this film is a gift to your appa. What's your most cherished gift from him?



. I wear it all the time.