11. Assisting SA Chandrasekhar
Shankar came to the industry to become an actor, but he ended up assisting SA Chandrasekhar. 15 films later, he was directing his first film produced by KT Kunjamon. We don’t know if Shankar would have been an acting legend, but he is a director par excellence.
12. The Oscar journey
Two of Shankar’s films have been India’s entry to the Academy Awards; Indian and Jeans. Though both films did not make the final cut, it is no mean feat for any director to have two of his films being selected.
Shankar continued to encourage debutant directors under the S Pictures banner. But this film was a complete departure from all his previous ventures as director and producer. Directed by Arivazhagan, Eeram was a gothic horror film. It was critically acclaimed and a huge box office success as well.
Following this film, Shankar produced another supernatural film Anandhapurathu Veedu. This film also proved to be a commercial success.
Sun Pictures joined Shankar for one of the biggest and ambitious films of the time. A sci-fi film starring Superstar Rajinikanth, the film went on to become the biggest hits of 2010. Shankar had initially planned to make this film with Kamal Haasan in 2001. But due to some reasons, the project did not go ahead. Along with Rajinikanth, the film also starred Aishwarya Rai. Rajni wanted to work with Aishwarya for quite some time, but it was Shankar who made it happen with Enthiran.
Every aspect of the film has something new and innovative. Prosthetic make up, animatronics, high octane action scenes, exquisite locations and beautiful costumes, AR Rahman’s music and inspired set design, and of course Rajinikanth as a scientist and a robot made Enthiran an unforgettable theatrical experience.
For the first time in his career, Shankar directed a film that was not written by him. It was also a remake, another first for Shankar. The film was Nanban starring Vijay. It was the remake of the Rajkumar Hirani directed and Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots. With this film Shankar collaborated with Harris Jayaraj for the second time, seven years after Anniyan.
The film was not as big a hit as Shankar’s earlier films. But the fact that it brought together Vijay and Shankar together, makes it a worth mentioning film.
To be continued
- Padma Iyer