Petta

Karthik Subbaraj, who has directed Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth in Petta, believes the film strikes a balance between content and star power.

The director said if the big names kept the script on a back burner, the film would not work eventually.

“You need actors and performers but there has to be content in a film. I don’t think stardom will fade away. If a star film does not have a good story, it will not run. This will make stars choose good scripts consciously,” Karthik said.

The director said this was the first time that he had written a story for a star, whom he admired a lot. “Usually, I write my scripts first then think of the actors, or I have a reference of someone. This is the first time I wrote for a hero,” he said.

‘Not worried about BO’

Rajinikanth’s last few films have not broken the box office records, as they are known to do, but the filmmaker said this was not something that he worried about. “There was no worry. The makers are not worried. There is no effect of all that,” he added.

Karthik said he had first run the idea past Rajinikanth four years ago, but things did not materialise as the actor was busy with other projects. “I met Rajini sir after Jigarthanda and he said he liked my film. He told me I could approach him whenever I had a good idea. I had never thought he would listen to scripts from new directors. After the meeting, I wondered: ‘Should I take his words seriously or not? Should I write something’? The announcement of Kabali with Pa Ranjith gave me a push that he is willing to work with new filmmakers. After that, I started writing a script for Rajini sir,” he said.

Karthik said he had barely begun the preproduction on his next film, starring Dhanush when Rajinikanth showed interest.

The director said he decided to put the film on hold as this was an opportunity to work with his idol. “I discussed this with the team and we decided to push it for a year. The team, including Dhanush, understood that this is the big opportunity for me as a director,” he added.

In Petta, Rajinikanth plays the role of a college hostel warden.

Karthik said the film was based on the relationship between the superstar’s character and his students.

“How he deals with the situation after an issue comes up is the plot.

Plot of Petta

Petta (meaning “hood”) is a Tamil-language action film written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj and produced by Kalanithi Maran under his production studio Sun Pictures.

The trailer of the film has trademark Rajinikanth moments — from the way he flips cigarettes to wearing his sunglasses.

Karthik said he consciously kept those whistle-worthy moments in the script.

He added, “I wanted to show his style on screen. I wanted to watch it on screen. I was not only a fan but a director too who was watching his idol performing. Every moment was great.”

Cast

Rajinikanth as Petta Velan (Kaali)
Vijay Sethupathi as Jithu
Simran as Mangalam
Trisha as Saro
M. Sasikumar as Maalik
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Singaaram (Singaar Singh)
Bobby Simha as Michael “Mike”
J. Mahendran as Rajapandi
Y. Gee. Mahendra as a college principal
Guru Somasundaram as a district collector
Sananth Reddy as Anwar
Malavika Mohanan as Poongodi
Megha Akash as Anu
Aadukalam Naren as Micheal’s father
Ramdoss as college mess supervisor
Chinni Jayanth as Mangalam’s patient
Vivek Prasanna as a professor
Ramachandran Durairaj as Michael’s father’s henchman
Thennavan as Thangam
Gajaraj as Shanmugam
Adithya Shivpink
Shabeer Kallarakkal as Arjith
Deepak Paramesh as Michael’s friend
Manikandan R. Achari as Michael’s father’s henchman
Vaibhav Reddy in a special appearance as Idhayam Murali in the song “Aaha Kalyanam”

Petta released on 10 January, Thursday.