Is Kajol Playing Rajinikanth In Soundarya’s Film?
It’s complicated. But intriguing. Maybe more so than the film itself. But it looks like the most creatively daring gender-switch ever achieved in an Indian film with the enterprising young filmmaker Soundarya Rajinikanth rewriting a role she conceived for her father for Bollywood’s spunkiest actress Kajol.
According to sources in the know, Soundarya’s original plan was to achieve a near-impossible casting coup in the Tamil film, Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 with her legendary father Rajinikanth as the main antagonist opposite her brother-in-law Dhanush.
But the idea of finally bringing Dhanush face-to-face with his iconic father-in-law fell through for many reasons, not all of them professional. In fact there are rumours of a major rift between Rajinikanth and his younger daughter Aishwarya’s husband Dhanush even as the family comes to terms with the elder daughter Soundarya’s recent divorce.
Given the bleak domestic picture, Soundarya quickly re-scripted Velaiilla Pattadhari 2, gender-reversing the antagonist’s character. Kajol is now the film’s pan-India USP as Dhanush inspite of a successful Hindi launch in Aanand Rai’s Raanjhanaa remains a non-entity outside the Tamil film industry.
A Hindi version of Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 is also being readied along with the original Tamil and dubbed Telugu versions. But it is doubtful we will ever get to see Dhanush share screen space with his famous father-in-law.
(The love of Lata Mangeshkar's voice and Hindi movies - in that order - has propelled Subhash K Jha to the pursuit of journalism for over 30 years.)