Director Shakti Soundar Rajan says he had no idea Idoh, a Belgian Shepherd, which plays an important role in his forthcoming Tamil action-thriller Naaigal Jaakirathai, could do so much. He added that he totally underestimated the dog's capacity.
Naaigal Jaakirathai, which features Sibiraj in the lead, releases in cinemas on Friday.
"When I wrote the script, I expected the dog to be much less trained. The action sequences in the second half wouldn't have been possible without Idoh. I completely underestimated its ability and in reality he can do much more than what we've shown on screen," said Rajan.
He said they couldn't use Idoh to its fullest ability because "audiences wouldn't believe that a dog could actually do so much".
Working with a dog has limitations, but Shakti was "aware" of it while shooting.
"Right from the first day of the shoot with Idoh, we realised we can't do things the normal way. The dog could just do a few things - look from point A to point B and go from one point to the other. It could also sit, stand and run. Based on this permutation and combination, we shot most of the scenes," he said.
Shakti and Sibiraj have reunited after 2010 Tamil thriller Naanayam, which was an average grosser at the box-office.
Naaigal Jaakirathai is their attempt to turn heads towards them.
"After Naanayam, both Sibi and I were jobless. While I couldn't have started anything on my own due to several reasons, Sibi could've easily made a film. But I think he's aware of his market as a hero. Both of us know that our names alone won't draw audiences to the cinemas," said Shakti.
"We decided we need a subject that will make people look at us. He suggested the idea of doing a film with a double hero concept featuring a dog in the second lead. I already had a script featuring a detective and a dog, which I was pitching to other hero. I reworked it to write this film," he added.
Shakti is extremely happy with the distributor's response to the film. It is slated for release in about 300 theatres worldwide, which he thinks is "phenomenal".
He reiterates that Naaigal Jaakirathai has all the "elements of a commercial entertainer".
"It's not a cerebral film for multiplex audiences. We've made it for children and the masses. We've made it to make money. We want to take back all that we lost through Naanayam. We're already seeing profits even before the theatrical release," he said.