Dhanush: I want to remake Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Sharaabi’, it’s a challenge I want to take up – Exclusive! – Times of India

Down South he’s worshipped and revered by the classes and masses in equal measure. And remarkably, he’s one of the rare actors who has managed to carry that image forward as he’s made a foray in Hindi films with ‘Raanjhanaa’, ‘Shamitabh’ and now he returns after 6 years with Aanand L Rai’s ‘Atrangi Re’. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, Dhanush fields relevant questions about his preference of working with Rai, his evolving perspective of cinema, his introverted nature and more. Read on:

When it comes to Hindi films, do you prefer working with Aanand L Rai?

He’s my brother and I trust him blindly. ‘Atrangi Re’ is a beautiful film. Not very often can an actor be this confident about their film before its release.

What is so special about this film and what was it about the subject that hooked you on?

Right now it’s only the Aanand L Rai factor. If you remove that, there’s nothing much I can say, at the moment about the film.

How was the experience of working with the young and happening Sara Ali Khan?

Sara is a very hardworking youngster and she is full of energy. She was very sincere and dedicated. She knew she had a very challenging role; I’d say it’s the role of a lifetime. She knew the importance of surrendering to the filmmaker. She has done a very good job.

We’ve seen a great oeuvre of work from you in Tamil cinema, but what kind of subjects and genres are you looking at when it comes to Hindi films?

I have made a mental note to do more Hindi films. I am looking for interesting stories. I am interested in all genres. I want to explore new territories.

Apart from Aanand L Rai, which other Hindi filmmaker are you looking forward to working with?

Rajkumar Hirani. I love him.

You’ve always said that you’re an introvert. Are you the same on the sets as well? Do your co-stars get to see a different side to your personality?

I generally take some time to get comfortable and then I let loose a bit. On set, I’m most comfortable in front of the camera. When I’m there, I feel at home and I can be myself.

What do you do when the camera goes off?

I prepare for the next shot.

Not that. We want to know how you unwind.

I surrender myself to music and gather my energy.

Your tryst with stardom started off with the iconic Kolaveri Di. Are you planning to return to making music again?

As of now I’m only planning to listen to music.

With ‘Atrangi Re’, you’ve also managed to collaborate with Akshay Kumar. How was it working with someone who has such a penchant for discipline?

He has an amazing, positive aura around him. He’s very honest, sincere, kind and punctual. You can learn so much about discipline from him. It was amazing to see him work up close.

Are you going to be a part of Aanand L Rai’s ‘Raksha Bandhan’ as well?

I am part of every film of Colour Yellow Productions (laughs). I am with Aanand whether we’re making a film together or not.

When was the first time you met Aanand L Rai? And how did you two hit it off?

Somehow, Aanand L Rai found me. He saw one song of mine from a film called ‘Aadukalam’. He wanted somebody like that to play Kundan (his character in ‘Raanjhanaa’) and later on he quipped, ‘Why not cast Dhanush only for Kundan’. And then he was crazy enough to fly to Kolkata the same day he spoke to me, because I was there performing for an event. Then he spoke to me for ten minutes about impossible achievements.

And then I thought, this man will leave and never come back. One week later, I received a cheque, signing me for ‘Raanjhanaa’. I was amazed by the conviction he had, like when he used to say, ‘This is my Kundan’. It didn’t matter to him whether he was a Hindi superstar or a Tamil actor or a newcomer or even a painter or a clerk, he didn’t care. He just wanted his Kundan and he found it in me. He went to all sorts of lengths and took risks to get his Kundan and achieve his dream. That was commendable.

‘Raanjhanaa’ gave me a lot of things and I found a beautiful human being. We understood each other so well, like, somebody as pure as Aanand L Rai and somebody as flawed as myself became brothers for life.

When you worked in ‘Raanjhanaa’ back in 2013, the synergy between the South and North film industries was very different. Now, a lot of pan-India films are being made and a lot of stars from either industry are actively looking for crossover opportunities. How have you witnessed this change?

When ‘Raanjhanaa’ was happening, South Indian actors coming here and working in North Indian mainstream films was almost an impossible task. Right now it’s not like that anymore, because entertainment is available everywhere and to everybody. Quality content from all languages and industries is being seen by the audiences today. That has brought us very close. This is a healthy and beautiful evolution. Exciting times are ahead and I’m eagerly looking forward to the future.

Hindi filmmakers constantly look at South Indian films for inspiration and we see dozens of remakes every year. Do makers in Southern languages also look at Hindi film remakes with similar zeal?

Good content could be made everywhere. Sometime ago, I wanted to remake ‘Andhadhun’. But unfortunately, for some reason, I couldn’t get hold of the rights.

Which Hindi film would you like to remake today?

Amit ji’s (Amitabh Bachchan) film ‘Sharaabi’. That’s a very challenging role and I’d like to take up that challenge.

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