Shankar explains why he chose Anirudh over AR Rahman for ‘Indian 2’

The response to 'Indian 2' trailer was mixed. Shankar's recent track record, with his previous outings 'I' and '2.O', did not live up to audience expectations.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 07, 2024 | 5:00 PM Updated Jul 07, 2024 | 5:19 PM

Shankar (left); Anirudh (right). Pic: X

Shankar, gearing for the release of Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 in theaters on 12 July, addressed why he chose Anirudh Ravichander over AR Rahman, who composed for the original 1996 film.

Shankar cited Rahman’s busy schedule with multiple projects as the reason for selecting Anirudh, as the music director, for the highly anticipated sequel. Even today, Rahman’s album for Indian remains a testament to the quality of his songs. The Internet was split over why Shankar didn’t stick with Rahman for the sequel, Indian 2.

“Paaraa”, the first single was out in May 2024. The full music album was officially released in June.

“When we began work on this sequel, AR Rahman was already busy with the background music for 2.O, and I needed the songs immediately. I didn’t want to overwhelm him with Indian 2. Additionally, I love Anirudh’s music; so I decided to bring him on board,” Shankar said, at the film’s press conference.

 Actor Siddharth questioned Shankar on how he handled not just one or two, but three pan-Indian films simultaneously—Indian 2, Indian 3, and Game Changer (featuring Ram Charan in the lead). This accomplishment is likely unprecedented for any other director worldwide. Shankar smiled and credited the Covid-induced pandemic for giving him more time than anticipated. He explained how this allowed him to sit down, finalise the scripts for Indian 2 and Indian 3, and complete all the pre-production tasks.

‘Pre-production made it easier’

“With all the preparation done, we just needed to bring a camera on set and start shooting. The thorough prep proved invaluable, and having extra time allowed me to also focus on other scripts like Game Changer. This made it easier to handle multiple film projects simultaneously during shooting,” added Shankar.

In addition to Kamal Haasan reprising his role as Senapathy from the original, the vigilante film features Siddharth, SJ Suryah, Rakul Preet Singh, Nedumudi Venu, Vivekh, Bobby Simha, Priya Bhavani Shankar, and others in the cast.

 Indian 2, bankrolled by Lyca Productions and Red Giant Movies, has a runtime of three hours and four seconds; consistent with Shankar’s typical film lengths, which have often hovered around the three-hour mark.

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‘Indian 2 received high praise from the censor board’

At the press conference, Kamal Haasan promised fans that Indian 2 would be outstanding, intensifying anticipation and raising high hopes for the eagerly anticipated sequel.

“I have never encountered so many challenges in a single project throughout my career,” he remarked. The actor-politician recounted a string of unfortunate events during the making of Indian 2, including a tragic accident resulting in the deaths of three crew members, the onset of the pandemic, and the sudden passing of cast members Vivekh, Manobala, and Nedumudi Venu.

Shankar said, “The censor board requested a few edits because they believed it was a film suitable for audiences of all ages and families to enjoy.”

On his part, Kamal Haasan added, “Typically, discussions at the censor board are brief. However, for Indian 2, the enthusiasm was such that they extensively discussed the film. I believe it will be a memorable experience for audiences.”

When asked about his preference between Indian 2 and Indian 3, Haasan responded with his trademark wit and sarcasm. “Comparing this and that one is akin to being asked to pick between your father and mother.”

(Edited by S Subhakeerthana)

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My role in ‘Indian 2’ is, perhaps, the most authentic portrayal of myself in a film: Siddharth