Partners in Time
Rajinikanth has returned to Shankar for 2.0. Vijay has returned to Murugadoss for his next and Ajith could well join with Siva again. Looks like Tamil cinema is in a decade of recurrent collaborations
Shankar and Rajinikanth
Two of the industry’s biggest names, Shankar and Rajini teamed up for the first time for 2006’s blockbuster, Sivaji, which was also noted for being the first Indian film to use Dolby Atmos. Five years later, they got together for Enthiran, a sci-fi film whose buzz was enhanced by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s presence at its audio launch. The film was also known for its use of vfx, and advanced techniques that were until then, only used in Hollywood. They have joined hands again for 2.0, a spin-off from Enthiran. It is said to be India’s most expensive film till date, and you’d expect nothing less from this collaboration.
AR Muragadoss and Vijay
Thuppakki, in many ways, was a defining film in Vijay’s career. AR Murugadoss brought to light a commercial version of Vijay that also somehow retained sophistication. The film, about how an Indian Army officer on vacation tracks down a terrorist group, released in 2012, and became a huge hit. Following Thuppaki, AR Muragadoss and Vijay teamed up again for Kaththi. This time, it was a cat and mouse game played between the hero and the villain, as their capitalist-communist philosophies collided. This film too was a Diwali release, and after some controversies around it, emerged a super hit again. Is it even a surprise they are working on another film?
Siva and Ajith
Siva announced himself in Tamil cinema with the Karthi-starrer Siruthai in which he was the director, editor, cinematographer and even did a cameo. This led him to work with Ajith on Veeram, the dialogues of which were written by Bharathan, the director of Azhagiya Tamizh Magan and Bairavaa. The story about a joint family, managed to weave in love, family sentiment and heroism into a generally enjoyable masala mix. After its success, the duo teamed up for the successful project, Vedhalam, that released during Diwali. This film again turned out to be a quintessential masala entertainer, despite a dull love track. The story was focussed on a brother-sister relationship. They again did Vivegam, and marked the first time that Ajith had done as many films continuously with a director. While the film released to mixed responses, rumours are already rife that they could be joining hands again for a fourth film.
Vetrimaaran and Dhanush
Vetrimaaran made his mark as one of Tamil cinema’s most prodigious talents with his directorial debut, Pollathavan. An intense thriller that kicks off following the theft of a motor bike, the film featured powerful performances from Dhanush, Kishore and Daniel Balaji. Following the film’s success, the duo teamed up again for Aadukalam, a film this time set in a village. The story about rooster fights fetched as many as six national awards, sharing the record with Kannathil Muthamittal for winning as many. The director and the hero have also since then collaborated on another films like Visaaranai and Kakka Muttai, which have both won multiple accolades, including the former being chosen as India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. They are teaming up again for Vada Chennai which will have Dhanush playing a gangster. The trilogy is said to be also featuring some of the regulars, including Kishore, Daniel Balaji and Karunas.
Mani Ratnam and Arvind Swami
Imagine making your debut opposite Rajinikanth and Mammootty. That’s what happened to Arvind Swami when he agreed to be part of Mani Ratnam’s Thalapathi (1991). A district collector and the favoured son, Arjun, the character played by Arvind Swami in the modern retelling of the Karna-Duryodhana friendship, got plaudits across the board for the actor. The Arvind Swami-Mani Ratnam combination went further with Roja, a film that burst into the Indian public consciousness for its patriotic fervour and for marking the debut of a certain composer called AR Rahman. They got together again for Bombay to explore a story woven around the Babri Masjid demolition.
Five years later, Arvind Swami was again part of Mani Ratnam’s film, but this time, just for a cameo in Alaipayuthey. The director and the actor wouldn’t collaborate for the next 13 years till Kadal. Playing a pastor, Arvind Swami took on Arjun’s character, as both fought for control of a young man, played by Gautham Karthik. And now, 26 years since their first collaboration, Arvind Swami has joined the star-studded cast of Mani Ratnam’s next film that includes Vijay Sethupathi, Fahad Faasil, Simbu, Aishwarya Rajesh and Jyotika.
Ponram and Sivakarthikeyan
Director Ponram made his directorial debut in Tamil cinema with Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam that featured Sivakarthikeyan in the lead. The film, a rural comedy, saw Siva Karthikeyan playing to his strengths. It also marked the Tamil debut of Sri Divya who went on to team up with Sivakarthikeyan in Kakki Sattai. After Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam, the duo got together again for Rajini Murugan, another rural comedy that struck gold at the box office. The movie saw Soori getting abundant screen space. Their upcoming third outing is said to be high on action sequences unlike their previous films that mainly relied on humour. Sivakarthikeyan teams up with Samantha in this film, and has supposedly undergone training in Silambam for his role.