|Directed by||Soundarya R. Ashwin|
|Produced by||Sunil Lulla|
|Written by||K. S. Ravikumar|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Running time||124 minutes|
|Budget||125 crore (US$20 million)|
Kochadaiiyaan (Translation: The king with a long, curly mane) is an upcoming 3D motion capture computer-animated Tamil period film directed by Soundarya R. Ashwin and written by K. S. Ravikumar. The film will feature Rajinikanth enacting and voicing three lead roles, whilst R. Sarathkumar, Aadhi, Deepika Padukone, Shobana, Rukmini Vijayakumar, Jackie Shroff, and Nassar enact and voice supporting characters. The film, which was shot with animation techniques and some portions using motion capture in 3D, has cinematography handled by Rajiv Menon whilst background score and soundtrack is composed by A. R. Rahman.
Shooting for the film was completed by the end of February 2013 while post-production work took place in the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, and China. The film is set to release worldwide on 11 April 2014, dubbed in regional languages Telugu (as Vikramasimha), Bhojpuri, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi. The film will also have a dubbed English version release at the international screens.
- Rajinikanth as Kochadaiiyaan and Rana
- Deepika Padukone as Princess Vadhana
- R. Sarathkumar as Sengodagan
- Shobana as Yaahavi
- Aadhi as Veera Mahendra
- Rukmini Vijayakumar as Yamuna
- Jackie Shroff as Raja Mahendra
- Nassar as Rishikodagan
Rajinikanth's next film, after Shankar's Enthiran, was supposed to be Rana, a historical drama film to be directed by K. S. Ravikumar and dually-produced by Soundarya R. Ashwin's Ocher Picture Productions and Eros Entertainment. However, Rajinikanth became ill and was treated for dehydration and exhaustion at a hospital, resulting in postponement of Rana's filming. On 23 November 2011, for her maiden directorial project, Soundarya tweeted through her Twitter account, notifying followers to watch out for an official announcement. The following day, she announced that her father's next film would be titled Kochadaiyaan and that she was "[grateful and] excited to be directing [her] father". A tentatively scheduled release period of August 2012 was also announced. The film was finalised to be a co-production of Eros Entertainment and Media One Global. Soundarya further stated that Ravikumar had worked with her father and herself on the script of the film. With regards to the film's title, Ravikumar claimed that it drew reference to an alternate name of Hindu deity Shiva, while also being partly inspired by the name of the Pandya Dynasty king Kochadaiyan Ranadhiran, and that the plot would be a fictional account with small references to Indian history. The director clarified that Kochadaiiyaan was not related to the same-titled history series being published by the Tamil magazine Kumudam. When rumors circulated that the temporarily shelved feature Rana was being remade as Kochadaiiyaan, Ravikumar denied theses rumors saying, "Kochadaiyaan has nothing to do with Ranadheeran or Rana." Latha Rajinikanth also clarified that the film would serve as a prequel to Rana.
For the female lead role, Anushka Shetty was initially approached, but sources confirmed later that she was not part of the film. It was then rumoured that Asin Thottumkal and Vidya Balan were being considered for the role, since producers preferred a Bollywood actress. Soundarya approached Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif in January 2012, who was not able to clear her schedule for the film and the team reapproached Balan. Despite reports that Kaif was finalised, Deepika Padukone, who was slated to pair with Rajinikanth in Rana, took up the offer in February 2012, marking her debut in Tamil cinema. Padukone was paid a salary of 3 crore (US$490,000) for shooting only for two days in the film. According to Soundarya, she was "quite relieved to not be wearing make-up for a film for the first time in her career." Although reports of November 2012 suggested that lead actress Deepika Padukone would dub her own voice for the Tamil version, it was later announced that she would dub only for the Hindi version as the makers of the film felt that the film's "chaste Tamil" would be a "tad difficult for her". Savitha Reddy dubbed the voice for Padukone in the Tamil version. In January 2014, it was revealed that dubbing artiste Mona Ghosh Shetty had dubbed Padukone's voice for the Hindi version, allegedly because the actress "just did not have the time for dubbing". Shetty had earlier dubbed for Padukone in Om Shanti Om.
The film began to increase its casting profile after Malayalam actor Prithviraj was rumoured to have been signed to play an important role in the film. The rumour was falsified following the inclusion of Aadhi, who was known for his lead-role performances in Mirugam and Eeram, in the cast; when he confirmed his presence in the project, he remarked that working with Rajinikanth was "a realisation of a dream that he has had since childhood". Sneha was reported to be finalised for a supporting role, with the actress confirming her presence in the film in December 2011. She, however, opted-out a couple of months later citing conflicts in her schedule and Rukmini Vijayakumar was signed in her place. R. Sarathkumar accepted Soundarya's offer for an important role in the film while veteran actor Nassar was recruited in the film as well for a supporting role.
Furthermore, Shobana and Lakshmi Manchu were said to be considered for a role in the film. Soundarya confirmed that the former was added to the cast saying that she was the "only choice for the role" as the character was written keeping her in mind. Soundarya disclaimed the rumour that Aishwarya Rai was chosen to do a guest appearance in the film. Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff was also approached for an antagonistic role. Shroff immediately gave his consent, when the cast and the technical scope of Kochadaiiyaan were revealed to him. Reports claimed that the film would feature late actors like Nagesh, P. S. Veerappa, M. N. Nambiar, S. A. Ashokan, and R. S. Manohar recreated through sophisticated animation techniques, although it was later revealed that only Nagesh was recreated for the film. According to Soundarya, "The biggest triumph for Kochadaiiyaan was bringing back late comedy actor Nagesh to the screen."
Peter Hein was chosen as the film's action choreographer, while A. R. Rahman agreed to compose the film's background score and soundtrack. Rajiv Menon was recruited as the film's cinematographer, while Resul Pookutty was recruited as the sound engineer. Soundarya chose Saroj Khan, Raju Sundaram, Chinni Prakash and his wife, and Shobi to choreograph the songs. Soundarya invited art professionals to send their work as she was forming an art department for Kochadaiiyaan. She chose 42 students from the Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai for the task, besides 50 experienced persons from the Jacob College of Fine Arts. 60 concept artistes were already reportedly working for the film.
National Award winning fashion designer Neeta Lulla worked on the looks of each character, including the lead role portrayed by Rajinikanth. According to Lulla, the project required a lot of research. Around 150 costumes per character were designed on paper and out of those, 25 costumes were selected and detailed. She also created a range of 20 to 30 looks especially for Rajinikanth's suit of armour as well as the supporting cast of Kochadaiiyaan. Lulla, along with the team working on the costumes, created the looks of all characters on sketch. They had worked for about eight months on the various characterisations of Rajinikanth and the supporting cast. According to her, "It was a different kind of design experience altogether"
On Rajinikanth's looks, Soundarya quoted: "First, we scanned his face and made a 3D model to get the exact precision of his features, such as the scar on his nose. And then we corrected the 3D model by tightening his skin to make him look 25 years younger. They used that technology in the film Tron." The youthfulness of the look was compared to the looks that Rajinikanth carried in his film Muthu. Soundarya also claimed that Rajinikanth's hairstyle in the film was inspired by his appearance in his earlier film, Thalapathi.
|"Animation is a word, a process. In India, people think animation is cartoon. Avatar was animation, but is not a cartoon. Tintin is completely cartoonistic. I am creating Rajinikanth, where he has actually performed, it's captured on a camera and then put into a 3D version. Avatar took seven years and so much budget and a James Cameron. There was always the insecurity of the unknown, but we have taken a road never taken in India and broken rules and have completed the film in just a year and a half."|
|— Soundarya, in an interview with The Times of India|
The film posters showed that the film would utilise performance capturing technology, which was used in films such as Avatar and The Adventures of Tintin. During production, Kochadaiiyaan was the first Indian film to utilise the technology. However, Maattraan, another Tamil feature, which also made use of the technology, was released before Kochadaiiyaan, making it the second Indian film to utilise the technology. K. S. Ravikumar, story writer of the film, announced that the filming would commence from 15 January 2012. The first schedule of indoor shooting started with Rajinikanth's base actions being filmed as per the motion capturing norms.
The film was launched with a formal puja on 19 January 2012 at the Ganesha temple located inside AVM Studios in Vadapalani, Chennai. The first phase of production began in Chennai on 15 March 2012. It was then moved to London on 17 March 2012, where motion capture filming was done at Pinewood Studios. Production in London lasted for 15 days, during which, Rajinikanth announced that the film might be released for Diwali 2012. After completing the first phase of production in London, the crew returned to Chennai on 2 April 2012. The next schedule of the film shooting was planned at various locations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The second phase of production began at the Chitranjali studio in Thiruvananthapuram. Although initial reports claimed that production had moved to Mohanlal's Vismayas Max studio, it was later reported that shooting never took place at that studio. It instead happened at Accel Animation Studios, where the crew shot scenes which they were unable to complete during their schedule in London. The second phase was completed on 30 April 2012, after which a romantic song choreographed by Saroj Khan was filmed in early May 2012. It was said that the entire film shooting would be completed in the second schedule itself and the post-production work would begin. However, the team was off with the lead actor to Hong Kong for the third schedule of the film on 12 May 2012 where some crucial scenes and combat scenes featuring the lead actor and the antagonist were shot at the State of the Arts Gallery studio. Since the film was shot using performance capture technology, 48 cameras were used to shoot each and every scene. The 48 cameras captured performance of artistes' at 48 angles. Kochadaiiyaan was equipped with Auro 3D sound technology. As per reports, due to involvement of extensive graphics, four separate teams, including teams from Chennai and London were also working on the film. On February 20, 2013 the director announced through Twitter that Kochadaiiyaan was in the process of being finalized. On 28 February 2013 the final edited version of the film was viewed by the director, writer and the lead actor along with handful crew members.
In June 2013, Soundarya revealed that the film would feature a fight sequence "in the middle of the ocean", where Rajinikanth's character would be fighting dolphins. The dubbing for the film's Telugu version Vikramasimha began on 25 August 2013. In an interview in February 2014, Soundarya revealed that Rajinikanth felt very awkward while shooting romantic shots with Padukone.
The music and background score of the film was composed by A. R. Rahman, who was initially hesitant to work on the project but started after he felt the "positive energy and the commitment". The rights to the soundtrack album were sold to Sony Music Entertainment in August 2012. The track "Engae Pogudho Vaanam" was released on 7 October 2013 as a single, along with its Telugu version "Choodham Aakasam Antham" to positive response. On 9 March 2014, the original version as well as the Telugu version of the album were released at Sathyam Cinemas in Royapettah, Chennai. The album gained the top position on the iTunes charts in India within hours of its release. Meanwhile, "Kochadaiiyaan" became a top trending topic on Twitter in India, making it a first for a Tamil film.
The first trailer of the film was all set to be screened at 66th annual Cannes Film Festival in mid-May 2013, however it was delayed due to Soundarya's dissatisfaction over the final cut of the trailer. The first teaser trailer was released digitally on 9 September 2013, coinciding with Ganesh Chaturthi to mixed response; while fans of Rajinikanth were satisfied, others criticised it for its "poor visual effects". It was also noted for its similarities to the teaser trailer of Soundarya's shelved animation venture Sultan the Warrior, that was also supposed to feature Rajinikanth. Nevertheless, it was viewed over 1 million times on a single day, establishing it as one of the most anticipated film teasers in the history of Tamil cinema. Soundarya also announced that a second trailer would be released, which would feature Padukone prominently, and unlike the first trailer, it would have sound and dialogues. The trailer was released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi on 9 March, 2014, the same day of the audio launch.
The film will have special screenings in Los Angeles, London and India. In 2012, the producers struck a deal with Karbonn Mobiles, an Indian telecommunication firm that will involve Kochadaiiyaan merchandise worth 5 lakh (US$8,200) with screen savers and images from the film along with the trailer, behind the scenes shots, signature tune of the film and lead actor's signature on back cover of phones. However, delays in the film caused the clause to be modified. Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn, said, "We will roll out a million handsets by February-end or first week of March 2014 with a pre-loaded app for the movie. All the handsets will come with the signature of Rajinikanth. This is the first time any mobile handset maker is launching products with an augmented reality app." The promotional tactic is an extension of Eros' alliance with Karbonn, wherein the latter will make a million special-edition phones. Using augmented reality, producers of Eros International and Mediaone Global Entertainment have developed interactive Kochadaiiyaan hoardings in association with Karbonn Mobiles. Eros has deployed 500 interactive hoardings across India. People will have to stand in front of the hoarding and send an SMS to activate the hoarding. Karbonn stated that an estimate of 400 hoardings would be put up across the country, majority in southern states of India. Hoardings and banners of the film will be displayed at 3,650 Bharat Petroleum stations across South India.
On 21 April 2013, Soundarya revealed a first fully 3D rendered picture, which shows Rajinikanth in two different avatars. It was also announced that a "making-of-the-movie" video would be released, where a song featuring Rajinikanth's voice would be used. It was shown nearly a year later on 9 March 2014 to the audience of the music launch event. As another initiative to promote the movie, Hungama and Gameshastra announced on the 12th of March, the launch of two games for mobile platforms based on the movie, called Kochadaiiyaan: Kingdom Run and Kochadaiiyan: Reign of Arrows respectively.
Initially, the film was set for a November 2012 release in India. In course of time, the release date was advanced to September 2012. In the last week of June 2012 the release date was reported to be unspecified as the makers were disagreeing to compromise on the quality of the multilingual film. Other reports claimed that the release date was pushed to avoid competition from other high budget multi-starrer Bollywood films releasing during the festive time of November 2012. The producer of the film confirmed the news of setting no official release date as he opined the need for perfection in every aspect of filming, production, post-production and promotion.  Later, reports stated that Soundarya Rajinikanth was planning to release the film on 12 December 2012, coinciding with Rajinikanth's birthday. However, it was postponed to January 2013 due to extensive post-production work. The reports of February 2013 strongly considered the film to release on the eve of Puthandu in April 2013. Though on 3 March 2013, the makers of the film zeroed on 5 July 2013 as the release schedule, later reports suggested that the film would be released on Diwali in November 2013. Though the producers considered releasing the film on 12 December 2013, it was later postponed to 10 January 2014. Citing further delays, it was finally confirmed by the team that Kochadaiiyaan will be released on 11th April, 2014.
In March 2013, the distribution rights for the film in the United States were sold to ATMUS Entertainment while Hyderabad-based Lakshmy Ganpathy Films purchased the distribution rights of Vikramasimha, the film's Telugu version. In July 2012, Jaya TV purchased the satellite rights of the film for an undisclosed sum.
Kochadaiiyaan was originally intended to be a prequel to Rana and to be released after the latter. Rajinikath said, "I like stories that are about kings and queens and used to read stories that began with 'Once Upon A Time…'; I haven’t done a film based on folklore and that’s why I wanted to do Rana." It went into production and principal photography began on 29 April 2011. However, while filming, Rajinikanth became ill and production on Rana was temporarily halted. His treatment lasted till June 2011, which made all attempts at restarting production unsuccessful. Rana was shelved indefinitely and production on Kochadaiiyaan began subsequently.
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