Who is Soundarya Rajinikanth? The Woman Behind the Surname

Who is Soundarya Rajinikanth? Here’s a look at the producer, director, graphic artist and bride.

Updated11 Feb 2019, 09:20 AM IST
3 min read

The much-talked about wedding has finally happened. Soundarya Rajinikanth and Vishagan Vanangamudi are officially a couple. Many celebrities and politicians attended the wedding festivities.

Soundarya is superstar Rajinikanth’s second daughter. Her first marriage with Ashwin ended in 2017. They have a five-year-old son named Ved.

Here’s a glimpse at the woman behind the surname; one who has outgrown the larger-than-life surname of her father.

Graphic Artist at Heart

Soundarya’s career in films began in 1999, as a sketch artist in graphic design for the immensely successful Padayappa. It was only after Sivaji (2007) that she moved on to produce Goa. Her work in Anbe Aaruyire (2005), Sandakozhi (2005), Chandramukhi (2005) and Chennai-28 (2006) has been quite popular. Interestingly, some of the title sequences she worked on, specifically for Rajinikanth’s films like Chandramukhi and Sivaji have attained cult status.

It was her background as a graphic designer that eventually led to her magnum opus, and also her most expensive flop till date, Kochadaiyaan.

The Producer/Director

In 2010, Soundarya launched Ocher Studios, and ticked off ‘producer’ from her bucket list. Goa, her first film as producer (and graphic designer), did average business at the box office, but set the trend in terms of quality of production and cinematography. Also, it was certified ‘A’ by the censor board for its adult content. Quite a heady mix for a debut.

She then directed her brother-in-law, Dhanush, in his production VIP 2, which received mixed responses, but was nevertheless, a feel-good film that’s worth a watch on TV reruns.

Yes, I’m getting to Kochadaiyaan.

The Failure and Success of Kochadaiyaan

Kochadaiyaan is Rajinikanth’s biggest box office disaster, including even Baba and Lingaa. It set the superstar back by a couple of Rs 100 crore in losses, performed abysmally at the box office and was besought by delays, budget-overshoots and technical issues throughout production.

From the perspective of the audience, it suffered from the ‘dead-eye’ syndrome that affected motion capture films of the time, including Polar Express and Beowulf, both big budget Hollywood films with A-listers that bombed royally.

While it was poorly scripted and directed (both credited to Soundarya), Kochadaiyaan was an idea that didn’t have the technology to see it through at the time. It released barely five years after James Cameron’s Avatar, which itself took almost a decade to complete.

Another Ambitious Project, And a Wedding

Ponniyin Selvan, a historic novel written by the late author Kalki is a watershed in Tamil literature. It traces the origins of the legendary Chola King Raja Raja Chola I. Soundarya Rajinikanth is producing this 2,400 page magnum opus as a web series on MX Player. And yes, she’s also heading the graphics team for the project.

With Kochadaiyaan behind her, and Ponniyin Selvan ahead, Soundarya seems to chart a career path that is ambitious and large scale. She is her father’s daughter, and has also grown out of his shadow. 

So, Who’s the Groom?

Vishagan Vanangamudi. Executive Director of Apex Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., one of the leading family-owned pharmaceutical company in India. Vishagan is a graduate in Management from Bradford University, UK and a Masters in Management from London University. He is a second generation entrepreneur as well as an actor who has debuted in Vanjagar Ulagam, a dark comedy.

Basically a groom right out of a Karan Johar family flick. This is Vishagan’s second marriage as well, which is why the entire three/four day event is as out of bounds for the media, which is grand in scale.

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Published: 08 Feb 2019, 12:41 PM IST
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