When asked about what movie of his he personally liked, Rajinikanth told his biographer Gayathri Sreekanth Mullum Malarum. "He said that because he felt that way, but how will I respond to it? I felt shy to call him and wrote a letter instead saying I haven't done anything in the film. He called me immediately after reading the letter," reveals Mahendran who directed Rajinikanth in the film. His family members urged him to talk to Rajini after the actor said in public that Mahendran is his favourite director, "Later we met at his Raghavendra Mandapam and he said others seconded his opinion about his favourites," he adds fondly.
All these years later, Mahendran says that he feels a little shy about wishing him now. "Right from the days when we worked together, we spoke over the phone, but never on our birthdays," he says, "I'm aware that his birthday is celebrated by his fans in a big way, but I feel strange to think of greeting him at his house with a bunch of flowers. I feel I will distance myself from him if I do that, because we are so close," adds the filmmaker.
Reaching into his memory, he says that it was idea to cast Rajini as the hero in Mullum Malarum, "When I decided to become a director, I was very clear that I would only work with people whom I wanted to work with. I told the producer that I wanted to Rajinikanth in the lead role, but he objected saying that he was dark complexioned and had only been doing villain roles then. But I was firm and the producer finally gave in," he recalls. "When I completed Mullum Malarum, the producer was very upset that the film had very little dialogue. But Rajini never questioned anything," he says, underlining how much faith the actor placed in him.
Years later, when they reunited for Kai Kodukkum Kai, he had to include a duet in the film because of pressure from others but never from Rajinikanth, says Mahendran.
Mahendran says Rajini is updated of all developments in the film industry and prepared about his future ventures. "I'm sure Rajini is seriously working on what kind of films he should do from now and his scores of fans will accept him in his new avatar as well," he concludes.