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Interview Team : Kaushik L M; Hemananth

With the audio launch function of 'I' just a few hours away, we thought that it would be a fitting time to launch Part 1 of our exclusive interview with the man behind this multicrore marvel, Aascar Ravichandran. A highly engaging interview follows.

Ravichandran is someone who has never come out in the public eye and you would wonder if this is the man who has churned out mega blockbusters such as Anniyan, Dasavatharam and now 'I'. Till date there hasn't been a single photograph of the man, who is among the most powerful producers and distributors in the country.

I don't have a family photo as I am not used to it. For my marriage too, there was no photo. Even in my family picture (which he shows us), my kids would be standing just with their mother.

The whole city is excited about the arrival of international megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will be sharing the stage along with our very own Superstar Rajinikanth, for the audio launch. A grand teaser of the movie would also be launched along with the music. Ravichandran makes sure that all the arrangements and financial requirements are met, sitting in his spacious office room, also comprising a home theater system. He is confident of releasing 'I' for Diwali, with the film's production work almost complete and the post-production going on in full swing.
Considering the 2 year long production period of 'I', when you mention the word 'delay', Aascar bounces back quickly.

Shankar has done just 10 films in his 25 year long career. 'I' has also been filmed at his general pace and there isn't a big delay, save a couple of months postponement due to the CG work and Vikram's ill-health.

Ravichandran is naturally filled with pride while talking about 'I'

We are increasing the level of a film's content, with 'I'. It will be the peaks of grandeur and magnificence. I have screened the rough teaser to more than 10000 people. All were stunned.
Indian film history would be split into 'before I and after I'. Warner Bros were shocked at what they saw. If a Hollywood company like that releases 'I', the film has the potential to do mind-boggling business in excess of 5000 crores. We don't have that privilege here, but are still trying to the best of our capabilities.
Half the film has been shot in China and we are trying for an agreement with the government there to screen 'I' in maximum theaters. We have to reach 'I' to the nook and corners of the world as it deserves that reach and exposure. We have to be proud of what Shankar and team have achieved.
The strain involved in the project is huge, 2.5 years of hard work is there. We have employed about 10000 people for the film. 'I' would be a jaw-dropping experience. The whole world would look back at Indian cinema and recognize Shankar as India's James Cameroon. It's unimaginable - people will be moved to tears. P.C.Sreeram's work is remarkable too, he is after all the Godfather of all current cameramen. 'I' means grandeur, each song would be equally fascinating.
The whole family can enjoy the movie and it would be totally worthy of the ticket money spent. People have already decided to see 'I' with their entire family. It caters to 60% of the audience base. They are just waiting for me to release the movie. It's the same case in Andhra too.


He also screens to us, the high-pitched melody number 'Ennodu Nee Irundhaal, Uyirodu Naan Iruppen' filmed on a beastly Vikram and the angelic Amy Jackson. He keeps humming this song even while speaking to us. The visual output is stunning and seeing Vikram in this song is sure to bring about a jaw-dropping effect, not to forget A.R.Rahman's truly grand and international composition. Before playing the song, he explained a bit about Vikram's shocking efforts for this song.

All this is original make-up. We have about 4000 hours of footage of the elaborate make-up process alone, from the film's start to prove that there is no CG involved. Vikram weighs just 45 kgs in this song, and there was about 12 hours of make-up involved every day. Vikram used to be in a large fridge when the shot wasn't happening, and food was given to him through a tube. The song was shot for 2 hours each day and a doctor was there on the spot everyday to monitor Vikram's health.


Despite many big films clashing for Diwali and a possible theater crunch ahead, Ravichandran doesn't seem to be perturbed one bit

We will screen 'I' in the available theaters. My film will surely get theaters and if a film is good, people will accept it even if many films are releasing simultaneously. If all films are good and achieve success, it would be very healthy. People ll be thrilled to see such good films together.
Before, big stars like Rajini, Kamal, Vijayakanth, Bhagyaraj and TR used to have their films released together. 5 films would be confirmed for every Diwali, with the same Raja sir providing music for all of them.

Now, people are hesitating and shying away from competing. Releasing a film solo in too many screens, may result in deserted halls by the matinee shows. But even then, success parties are being celebrated on the night of the release day itself when the ground reality is clear. This is shameful. People are clear and know what is true and can never be cheated by such misleading campaigns.
Theaters will also act quick and shift a good film to the bigger theater as soon as the public verdict becomes clear. I have personal experience in this regard.

In Part 2 of this interview, we find out more about Ravichandran - the person, and also his views on people's tastes and some other important issues facing the industry. Stay tuned ... 




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