'Of course, Vijay’s film will do better than mine' - The New Indian Express

'Of course, Vijay’s film will do better than mine'

Published: 05th August 2013 01:35 PM

Last Updated: 05th August 2013 01:35 PM

When Shah Rukh Khan danced alongside Vijay at an awards function recently, he probably didn’t realise that he would be competing with the actor for screens in Chennai.

But with the latter’s heavily promoted Thalaivaa and SRK’s Chennai Express both set for release on August 9, one can be sure that next Friday won’t be your average first day, first show weekend. It’s going to be a clash of the titans at the ‘local’ box office.

City Express caught up with the Baadshah of Bollywood during his recent Chennai visit to find out what his thoughts were on ‘sharing’ his much-awaited opening day. “It’s a Tamil majority so of course Vijay will get more screens,” the actor is candid.

Perhaps after the recent MNS controversy raised over a lack of screens for Marathi films with the release of Chennai Express, he can’t afford not to be. “Obviously the regional language film will do better than a Hindi film, but we’re confident that Chennai Express will appeal to people because it has a lot of South Indian connections to it – Deepika plays a girl from Tamil Nadu and we have actors like Sathiyaraj who are from here,” said Khan.

The overall numbers won’t worry the Jab Tak Hai Jaan star too much though – despite what the producers claim, trade analysts estimate that Thalaivaa will release on 800 odd screens globally, while Chennai Express will hit a whopping 3500+ screens simultaneously.

“Chennai Express is expected to release on 25 screens here, which is more than sufficient for the viewership. Thalaivaa will release in at least five times as many screens,” said a cinema industry tracker. SRK is cautious this time though, opting not to dub Chennai Express in Tamil like he did with Ra One, where he severely burnt his fingers.

Nevertheless King Khan is cool and charismatic as always, as he settles down to tell us more about the film, managing his fast while on a choc-a-bloc promotional tour and why lungis just aren’t his thing...

You just got back from a heavy duty international tour to promote Chennai Express... UK, Dubai – how did you manage all that travel on an empty stomach, given it’s Ramzan?

I couldn’t fast all the time because my hand is still recovering from surgery, so I’m on sedatives and pain killers on and off... and I can’t fast while on medication. But for each day missed, we make up for it with three days later, so that’s all right.

After watching the trailer there’s been a lot of  talk about the film being a tad derogatory to Tamil culture...

It’s a comedy film so yes some scenes are over-the-top, but we certainly didn’t make a movie that was intended to be demeaning to this Tamil culture or any other for that matter. As an actor and a producer, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that we have tried to make a film as correct as can be, while having some fun.

Which is your favourite part of Chennai Express?

(Laughs) There’s a scene with Deepika where we pose as husband and wife and I try to sleep with her. She gets completely possessed and kicks me off the bed. I swear I’ve never been kicked so hard by a girl in my life!

How did the lungi dance come about?

Well, Yo Yo Honey Singh came up with the idea and we realised it wouldn’t  be right to make this film without a tribute to Rajini sir. So I called Soundarya and asked her if it would be alright, and as always the family was very kind.

But how come you’re not wearing an actual lungi for the song?

I’m a little shy with lungis... sometimes I end up exposing more than I should!

Do you have a favourite Rajini film?

There are so many. I catch Rajini sir’s films on television when I can.

With subtitles?

You don’t need subtitles when you watch his films. There is no Superstar in the world other than Rajini Sir and it makes me immensely proud to say that If I were given an opportunity to act with him, I would jump at it. I still remember watching him practice for a scene while I was in Chennai ages ago. It was called Hum, I think.

And I saw him throwing a cigarette up in the air and catching it with his mouth...he just kept doing this all day and 90 per cent of the time, it was perfect.

Speaking of cigarettes, we hear that you’ve been trying to quit smoking for a long time. Is this true?

I want to. I should. But I haven’t tried. It’s a rotten habit though, I’m glad my kids don’t like it. (Seriously) It’s a bad habit and no one should do it, if they can help it.

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