– RINKU GUPTA

Actor JACKIE SHROFF has left a significant and lasting impression when he debuted in Tamil cinema in his role as an aging don in the new noir-gangster flick Aaranya Kaandam (2011). The film won the Grand Jury Award for Best film at the South Asian International Film Festival. Jackie himself received accolades for his gripping portrayal. In 2013, he made an appearance in Rajinikanth’s Motion capture technology film Kochadaiyaan. A few months ago, the actor who seems to be choosy about his roles had signed up for another Tamil film Mayavan, naturally increasing curiosity levels. His shoot is complete and the first look of the film is now out. In a chat with C V Kumar, ace producer turned debut director, we discover how excited Jackie was about his role that led him to break a 25-year-old rule he had followed all through his career.

When Jackie Shroff broke a 25 year rule for Mayavan

“Mayavan is a psycological murder mystery and thriller starring Sundeep Kishan and Lavanya Tripathi,” begins CV Kumar who has hitherto produced trendsetting films like Pizza under his Thirukumaran Entertainment banner before the directing bug bit him. “Jackie Shroff plays an Army Major with an almost don-like attitude and powerful presence. When we were brainstorming about who would fit this role, and couldn’t zero in on the perfect actor for the role, Jackie’s name was suggested by my team. We established contact with him in Mumbai and narrated the story and his role to him. I was thrilled when he immediately said yes to it and flew down for the shoot.”

Was it tough directing the veteran Jackie Shroff for newbie director Kumar? “Actually though I was a bit apprehensive at first it was Jackie who put me completely at ease. He would put his arm around me and joke around. He would sit on sets all through the shoot till he completed his scenes, without going to his caravan. Despite his stature, he had no starry airs at all. He put everyone at ease by his camaraderie. In fact, I was completely blown away by the way he gave me so many variations of a shot that it became very tough for me to choose the best!”

When Jackie Shroff broke a 25 year rule for Mayavan

Apparently Jackie found his role in Maayavan so enthralling that he broke a 25-year-old rule of his. Reveals Kumar, “It was the climax shoot of the film. We had put up a giant set for the climax fight in Chennai. We had to shoot the climax fight with Jackie and the hero amongst others. Since it was an expensive set, which would break bit by bit during the planned action block, we wanted to finish the shoot at one go. Rebuilding the set and sorting date problems would place us under constraints so we wanted to complete it fast. But though we tried to complete it within 10 hours, the shoot got prolonged. Stunt choreographer Vicky was conducting the fight. It was then that Jackie got so involved in the shoot that he shot continuously for almost 30 Hours that day. We started shooting around 7am and went on till 12 noon the next day. Despite being a veteran Bollywood star of such stature he didn’t take any rest and continued working well beyond his scheduled time. Once the shoot was over he put his arm around me and said ‘ for over 25 years of my career I’ve followed a rule of shooting only from 6 am to 9pm. It’s the first time in 25 years that I have broken my rule for your film and worked well beyond my working hours like this.’ It was his complete involvement in the role and his consideration for our continuity problems and re-building an expensive set that led him to make this gesture. I think his role is certainly going to be a highlight of the film and will prove a worthy successor to his powerful portrayal in Aranya Kaandam years ago.”