"I miss NTR," says Rajinikanth
The actor was in Hyderabad to promote Kaala, along with the film's producer, Dhanush
Actor Rajinikanth and producer Dhanush were in Hyderabad on Monday to promote their upcoming film Kaala. Speaking at the event, Dhanush said, "I am really proud to produce Superstar's film. Kaala is a people's film. It's not only about the people of Dharavi, but about oppressed people everywhere. Director Pa Ranjith has conceived Kaala after painstaking research, and Rajinikanth is the only one who can do justice to such a role. There is and will be only one Rajinikanth."
Rajinikanth played down the compliment by saying, "Everyone is unique in their own way. There is only one Chiranjeevi, one Balakrishna, one Nagarjuna and one Venkatesh. No one is bigger than anybody and only opportunity makes someone bigger." The actor then went on to talk about his career in Telugu cinema. "After my first Telugu film Anthuleni Kadha (1978), I acted in over a dozen straight Telugu films and was a busy actor here. I was then in two minds about choosing a career in Telugu or Tamil. At that time, K Balachander, who introduced me to Tamil cinema, suggested that I should pursue a career in Tamil. But the love and warmth which I have got from the Telugu audience is no less than what I have experienced in Tamil. After a hiatus, it was with Mohan Babu's Pedarayudu that I got a break in Telugu and eventually, the bond grew stronger with the Telugu audience with my films like Basha, Narasimha, Sivaji and Robot, among others."
He also remembered legends of the Telugu industry, such as NTR and Dasari Narayana Rao. "I used to meet NTR and seek his blessings during every visit to Hyderabad. I'm really missing him now and you know why," said Rajini, hinting at his political aspirations. "I also remember my guru Dasari Narayana Rao, another stalwart from Telugu cinema, who always treated me like a son."
Speaking about why he chose to work with director Pa Ranjith, he said, "When I signed on Kabali, everyone in the industry wondered why I believed in a budding director like him. It was because I was impressed with him when he first narrated Kabali's script to me. And you all know how well he presented me in that film. After that, I have teamed up with him again for Kaala, produced by my son-in-law (Dhanush). I don't want to oversell my film, but I have watched Kaala twice and am really pleased with the output. The film is set in the backdrop of Dharavi, one of the largest slums of Asia. Although it's not a commercial film, it comes with an underlying message. What impressed me in Ranjith is his ability to balance commercial elements with a dose of reality. Usually, a film revolves around one character, but when you watch Kaala and step out of the theatre, the story and the characters in it will linger in your mind. He has wonderfully captured the emotions and struggles of slum dwellers and brought them to life."
The actor also went on to praise the work of the film's composer Santosh Narayanan and his co-stars. "Santosh Narayanan has put his heart and soul into making Kaala a spectacular film. My co-stars, Eswari Rao and Huma Qureshi, too, have acted with great sincerity." About Dhanush, he said, "He has not only proved his mettle as an actor but also as a producer in Tamil. And now, he is gearing up for the reaction of the Telugu audience. I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts."