The new Rajinikanth starrer Kaala which was to open on 27 April (now rescheduled) has a very heavy Marathi influence. Not only does one of the characters take Rajinikanth original Marathi name that is Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, Nana Patekar who plays the main antagonist is Maharashtrian in the film and speaks his lines in Marathi.
The very talented Anjali Patil, seen giving stellar performances in recent films like Newton and the Marathi The Silence, features in a prominent role as one of the Marathi characters. Says Anjali, “My character too takes her name after Rajini Sir’s real name. I am named Puyal Charumati Gaikwad. I play a feisty young Tamil-speaking Marathi girl born and brought up in Dharavi.”
Anjali clarifires that she doesn’t have any romantic involvement with Rajinikanth’s character. “Huma Qureshi plays Rajini Sir’s romantic interest. I have this very interesting stand-alone part.”
Anjali is reluctant to reveal too much about her character. “This film is very different from Rajini Sir’s usual films. It has a strong political message. I play a character who propels the plot forward. So I can’t crib about getting a raw deal, etc. Because I got to do exactly what I was promised by the director Pa Ranjith, nothing more nothing less. I’ve some very powerful scenes. Some of them with Rajini Sir.”
What Anjali found most interesting about the film was its heavy Marathi influence. “We shot half the film in Maharashtra (Mumbai) and the other half in Tamil Nadu. It does have a strong Marathi element in the storytelling. That’s why I was chosen to be in the film. The director saw me in my Sri Lankan film Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka and decided to cast me.”
Apparently, Rajnikanth had the final say in the casting. It was he thought Anjali suited the role of the feisty Marathi character. Not that Anjali is awed by Rajini’s stardom. “I found the adulation, reverence and hero-worship fascinating. But nothing that I’d ever want for myself. For me acting is not about adulation. It constantly means to grown and evolve as a human being. I am currently learning how to play a musical instrument called the Hang. And I am writing my own script which I plan to direct soon.”
How does Anjali look back on the experience of working with Rajinikant. “He was so down-to-earth, always attentive. One never felt intimidated by his stardom because he never allows it to impinge on his day-to-day life. We all need to learn from Rajini Sir’s humility and sincerity.”