For critically acclaimed South Indian filmmaker Bharathiraja’s son Manoj, being an assistant director has certainly not been new.
Although it was just for about 10 months, being the first assistant director for 'Endhiran' was certainly a wholesome experience for him.
“When I heard about Shankar’s big budget project 'Endhiran' and that he was roping in artists from Bollywood and Hollywood, I approached him. My father was cool about my proposal. This was in 2008-2009. Shankar is a man of principles. When you work with him he ensures that you are thorough with the script.”
So, what were the tasks?
“I went location hunting for Rajini’s house in the film. It is not easy to satisfy Shankar, especially when he is clear about what he wants — a good location which has never been spotted before. I did a thorough scouting from the outskirts of Chennai to Puducherry, and I finally got this location on ECR. Now, I have so much knowledge about real estate that if somebody has queries about property dealings then I have details on my fingertips (laughs).”
Working with the superstar Rajnikanth?
“He is a child at heart — a simple soul. Even now as I recall that moment when he introduced me to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. He said, “Meet Manoj, noted director Bharathiraja’s only son. He has played in my arms as a child and look how he has grown up today.” I have always cherished him as ‘my Thalaivar."
Manoj is all praise for Aishwarya.
“I am amazed at her dialogue delivery in Tamil. It is so clear and perfect. She does not use prompters and learns and delivers her own dialogues. She is a
professional. She would be thoroughly focused on her scenes and script. Between shots I have seen her read books/magazines or listen to music.”
And Danny Denzongpa, who plays the villain?
“I worked with him on a two-day shoot. Ben Kingsley was actually sought after for Danny’s role. But Danny has done a wonderful job.”
Though this young director could not stick through the end of the shoot as his hands are now full with two projects, he has certainly given his best to this much awaited blockbuster. And Manoj is certain that his ‘Thalaivar will yet again rock’ as he always does.