Superstar Dhanush is back with his next stint in Hindi cinema with Atrangi Ray, believing that the crossover of various film industries in India is a “healthy” sign of the country’s entertainment sector. A two-time National Award winning actor, he made his Bollywood debut with the 2013 romantic-drama Ranjana, directed by Anand L. Roy, and starred in Tamil films such as Aadukalam, 3, Mari, Asura and Karnan. His performance in the film earned him critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike for his portrayal of Kundan, a madman with unrequited love for his neighbor Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). She later co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan in R Balki’s 2015 satire Shamita.
When asked about how the barriers between industries are fading, Dhanush said in an interview, “I have always been against the divide between South Indian and North Indian films. This is an Indian film and it should always be so.”
Venkatesh recently acted in his Telugu film Asuran as Narappa. Vijay Devarakonda starrer Arjun Reddy has been remade in Hindi as Arjun Singh starring Shahid Kapoor.
Last year, Bahubali star Anushka Shetty saw a Bollywood adaptation in Durgamati with Bhagwati and Bhoomi Pednaker. Bollywood giants Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn are proud to star in SS Rajamouli’s much-anticipated period action drama RRR, starring Telugu actors NTR Jr. and Ram Charan.
“We are moving towards it (change) very fast. It is very healthy. It helps us all in our films, actors and creative people globally,” Dhanush added.
The actor also lauded his father-in-law Rajinikanth for bringing Pan-Indian cinema to international shores and the huge success of Rajamouli’s two-part epic war saga Bahubali film series.
“… Initially it was a phenomenon called Rajinikanth, this phenomenon became nationally and later internationally. He has huge fans all over Japan, Canada and the US. Since then it has been Bahubali. They (Rajinikanth and the Bahubali team) have all set the trend,” he added.
Dhanush, who previously starred in the 2018 English language film The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, is set to make a comeback with Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans in the Netflix movie The Gray Man, directed by Rousseau Brothers of Avengers: Endgame.
“What has happened to our film industry is a beautiful thing. It has convinced us that we are in control. It’s a very big circle and we need to move forward on our own,” he added.
Eight years later, the director’s upcoming Hindi film Atrangi Rail reunites with Dhanush Rai, starring Sara Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar.
The musical romance follows the story of a woman named Rinku (Khan) who is in love with Sajjad (Kumar) but she is forced to marry Vishnu (Dhanush).
Romantic movies play an important role in an actor’s cinematography, Dhanush believes.
“I believe in any actor, in the early stages, romantic movies are very important in building and shaping your career. Later, you can do other things,” he added.
The actor thanked Roy, Balki, the late legendary director Balu Mahendra and his brother, writer and director Selvaraghavan for giving him the opportunity to be a part of many “important films”.
“I was lucky to meet the right producers at the right time with the right stories. Not everyone is lucky enough to make such important films and filmmakers. My brother Selvaraghavan taught me the ABCD of acting. Balu Mahendra Sir, Vetrimaran, Anand. I met six to seven great directors and they all snatched something new (from me) and I learned something from them, “he said.
Atrangi Ray is Dhanush’s first Hindi language film in six years.
“I want to be a part of good and beautiful stories like how Atrangi Ray is a fun film. There are a lot of factors that make everything work and everything is right if a movie is to happen. Through this movie, I hope I can satisfy the expectations of my fans here.”
He said that the main reason for choosing Atrangi to return to Hindi cinema was Rai, who is also a good friend.
“I like Anand L Roy’s sensitivity. He looks into your soul and finds the right chords. He’s a brilliant technician. When I know Anand, I can blindly trust him, follow him and let him do his magic. He never did. I was disappointed.”
There has been a lot of discussion on social media about the obvious age difference between the main actors – the 26-year-old Khan is now paired with 38-year-old Dhanush and 54-year-old Kumar.
Addressing the argument, Dhanush said that it is about writing the character with complete honesty.
Citing the example of a 55-year-old man in his acclaimed film Asuran, he said, “At the age of 38, I fell in love with a heroine (Manju Warrier) who was older than me in Asuran, so, this is the way the character is written.
“Everyone deserves their opinion. I thought I would face this question 10 years later. The character is important to me, and it’s my job to convince that character.”
Bhushan Kumar’s Atrangi Re, produced by T-Series, Roy’s Color Yellow Productions and Kumar’s Cape of Good Films, will be released on December 24 on the streaming platform Disney + Hotstar.