MUMBAI: Tamil-Telugu actor Vishal Krishnas 25th film "Sandakozhi 2" has opened to roaring crowds singing and dancing in the theatres as they do for Rajinikanths films.
"It is my most expensive film to date. I am also a producer on the project, so I know exactly where and how the film was shot. Though we shot the film in Madurai, the main set of a Madurai mela (fair) where a lot of action takes place, was erected in Chennai. It remained functional for more than two months," said Vishal.
Vishal, who is now regarded as one of the foremost star actors of Tamil and Telugu cinema, said the "Sandakozhi" franchise fell into his lap by default.
"I was lucky. When the role was first conceived more than 10 years ago, it was offered to two big stars (Vijay and Suriya). Both said no. They wanted to play both the main roles of father and son."
In "Sandakozhi 2", Vishal plays the son while his father is played by veteran Tamil actor Raj Kiran.
"It is essential to be true to the script, and not hog the limelight. I realised this early in my career. I've been trying to do films where the script is the hero, and not just me," said the soft-spoken actor.
"Sandakozhi 2" is Vishal's most massy entertainer ever.
"I've worked hard on the action and the dancing. My co-star Keerthy Suresh had to perform some really massy dance steps with me. We had a lot of fun dancing. I think that sense of enjoyment shows on screen. You can't fool the audience into believing in what you don't believe in."
How does he react to his rising popularity?
"I want my fan base to be used to spread awareness on social issues, to work on improving condition for the improvement of the girl-child's education."
Another social issue that Vishal has been working on is film piracy. Before the release of "Sandakozhi 2", he was instrumental in stopping the film's release in a slew of theatres in Chennai.
"I think movie theatres need to take the responsibility for piracy far more seriously. They can't just wash their hands off saying audiences secretly record film on their camera. If some patrons steal a popcorn machine, would the theatre management not take responsibility? I think it is very important to curb and eradicate piracy from theatres.
"Our attempts in this endeavour are working. We took stringent action against theatres for Mani Ratnam's 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam'. Now we've done the same with 'Sandakozhi 2'," said Vishal.