Rajinikanth on Shankar’s 2.0: Started film with a budget of Rs 300 cr but investment has now doubled

The long-awaited trailer of Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar’s sci-fi magnum-opus 2.0 was launched in Sathyam Cinemas on 3 November to phenomenal fan frenzy. RJ Balaji, who had hosted the audio launch of the film in Dubai, and VJ Paloma, presented the event, which was attended by the entire cast and crew of the film.

Rajinikanth in 2.0. YouTube

“Mark my words, 2.0 is going to be a super-duper hit,” Rajinikanth started his speech to thunderous applause from fans. “I feel quite upbeat about the film because I witnessed the magic that’s been created. Subaskaran has invested around Rs 600 cr on this film, and his confidence is not in Rajnikanth or Akshay Kumar, but Shankar. For the past twenty-five years, Shankar has been proving his mettle time and again with his creations, yet he never fails to entertain the audiences or meet their expectations. He is a showman, a magician, an Indian James Cameron, and Spielberg rolled into one,” gushed Rajinikanth.

Talking about the film, Rajinikanth said, “2.0 is an entertaining thriller with a very good message — The universe is not only for human beings but for all creatures. It carries a universal message which audiences will connect with. Shankar has showcased how technology on the flipside spoils the universe and human mind. I have heard that many people feel the film is not being promoted enough, but I’m sure each and everyone will promote 2.0 on their own after watching it. It will appeal to adults, kids, youngsters, intellectuals, and pseudo-intellectuals too.”

Rajinikanth also candidly spoke about how the budget of the film has doubled from the initial estimates of the team. “Subaskaran of Lyca told me that he would invest the entire amount collected by Endhiran(Rajinikanth’s all-time grosser) for 2.0. So, we started the project with a budget of around Rs 250 – 300 cr. Now, the investment has doubled.”

The Kaala actor also recollected about wanting to pull out from the project because of his health issues. “Initially, after shooting for a week, I was struggling and could not memorise my lines. I could not carry the 12 kg bodysuit for my role and went for repeated takes for my scenes. I later called Shankar sir and told him that I would return the advance amount and requested him to drop the film. But, he convinced me saying that only I could pull off this role. After the release of 2.0, Shankar will be celebrated, and he will reach an international level. Filmmakers like Shankar, Rajamouli and Rajkumar Hirani are the gems of our country. We should protect them,” revealed Rajinikanth.

Drawing parallels to his entry into politics and the film’s continuous delays, Rajinikanth remarked, “Even if it gets delayed, again and again, it should come at the right time. And when it happens, it should hit the bull’s-eye. ” The crowd roared before Rajinikanth added, “I’m talking about the movie”.

Heaping praise on Akshay Kumar, who has played the antagonist’s role, Rajinikanth said, “When Akshay Kumar put on his makeup for the role and came for the shoot, I was awestruck. He has worked really hard for the film and hats off to him. I’m sure his hard work will be worth it.”

Director Shankar said 2.0 will be a thrilling entertainer and a new experience for audiences in 3D visuals and 4D sound. “Rajini sir is the biggest strength of this film. Whatever he does on screen, it’s attractive, stylish and massy. His performance looks fresh even today despite the fact he has been in the industry for decades. When we were shooting the film’s climax in Delhi with Akshay Kumar, a lot of junior artists and nearly 500 technicians with six months of planning, Rajini sir fell completely ill. But, he didn’t want to hamper the proceedings and completed his shooting without any fuss. We were working in 47-degree temperature and he had to carry his body suit in the climax, but he performed with great dedication. That’s the only reason he is a Superstar even today,” Shankar said and appealed to audiences to support this new genre of filmmaking which would pave the way for more innovative scripts in Indian cinema.

Akshay Kumar surprised everyone when he broke into Tamil language and thanked the cast and crew. “After watching all the visuals now, I have to thank Shankar sir for getting me into this movie. I have learned so much from this film and I have gone through a lot of challenging times. As I always say, Shankar is a scientist and not a filmmaker. I had to sit for my make-up for three-and-a-half hours and then another ninety minutes to remove the whole thing. Whatever makeup I’ve done in my entire career, I’ve put in this one film. I’ve been in the industry for 28 years, but 2.0 has been a great experience. I was shocked to see myself on screen. I’m waiting for this epic. I underwent a lot of pain for this film, but I’m sure it will all be worth it,” said Akshay.

Akshay Kumar as the cell-phone robot antagonist in Rajinikanth-starrer 2.0. YouTube screengrab

Responding to actor Vishal’s question about how he maintains his fitness consistently, Akshay said, “I get up in the morning at 4 o’clock every day. My father was in the army and I had a disciplined childhood. It was not forced onto me by my family but I enjoyed it and chose that lifestyle. I’m proud to say that there’s never been a single day in my life where I have not seen the sunrise. My body is my temple and that’s what I’m following it and will follow for the rest of my life.”

2.0 is set for worldwide release in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi on 29 November.

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