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Rajinikanth at Bharathiraja film institute launch
(Wednesday, 19th April 2017)

At the launch of veteran Bharathiraja’s International Institute of Cinema, recently, two of his well-known protégés —Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan came together to unveil the school, and reminisced on their days with the veteran. Recalling his days with Bharathiraja, Kamal said, “Our friendship started even as we were both working as assistant directors. Later, when I became an actor, I fell sick during one of the movie shoots. As an AD, he came to me and asked me if I could join the shoot. I was feeling uncomfortable, and told him that I’d come after a few minutes. Suddenly, he held my hands and laughed, ‘You will become a big actor one day!’

Continuing, he said, “A few years later, he came to me with a script and asked for my call sheet. When he started the narration, I told him I knew the story and that I was ready to work. It was the same story, which he had talked about when he was an assistant — and it was 16 Vayadhinile.”

Praising his mentor, he elaborated,“Bharathiraj-a has attained the same glory and brilliance of the Jains, who imparted their knowledge and education to others at a time when it was denied — by imparting his expertise and creativity in cinema to many in the industry.” Rajiniknath, on the other hand, began his speech in an amusing way. “When anyone asks Bharathiraja sir as to what he thinks of me, he would reply, ‘he is a good man’. They would still ask, as an artiste, what do you have to say about Rajini, and he would still say, ‘he is a good soul.’ He has never accepted me as a good actor or hero!”

The Superstar also spoke about how the way he addressed Bharthiraja had changed over time — “Initially, I used to call him Bharathi. Later, when Ilaiyaraaja revealed his age, I started to call him ‘sir’. If you know his real age, you will fall at his feet!” (laughs) Rajini also revealed an unknown fact about the veteran director — “Whenever the legendary MGR was amidst tension in his political career, he would call Bharathiraja to his place and chat with him for hours together.”

Adding more, he said, “In politics, the biggest tool is information and in cinema, it is contacts. And once you know Bharathiraja, you will get all the contacts. I know the value of Film Institute since I studied there. No doubt, this international institute will be of great help to budding talents.”

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