Ever since Shah Rukh Khan and Atlee were spotted sitting next to each other at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, speculations were abuzz that they were teaming up for a film. Earlier, it was rumoured that the Theri director was initiating talks with the Badshah of Bollywood for the Hindi remake of Vijay-starrer Mersal. Now, the grapevine suggests that SRK is playing the villain in Thalapathy 63. However, an official confirmation is awaited. If SRK considers this offer, this will be his second film in Tamil, after Hey Ram (2000), and not his debut project, contrary to the reports of many websites.
According to Filmfare, “SRK is the main villain and has a good 15-minute odd role, fighting Vijay. The makers wanted a leading face from the Hindi film industry, and when Atlee approached Shah Rukh for the same, he was quite forthcoming. It’s a four-five day shoot and the team is figuring whether to shoot the scenes in Chennai or Mumbai.”
When indianexpress.com contacted the publicist of Vijay, he said, “The news involving SRK in Thalapathy 63 is not true.”
This untitled film of Vijay, produced by Archana Kalpathi under the banner of AGS Entertainment, has the actor playing a football coach. Also, starring Nayanthara, Jackie Shroff, Vivekh, Kathir and Indhuja among others, it has music by AR Rahman.
Thalapathy 63 is Atlee’s third collaboration with Vijay. Bollywood actors playing a villain in commercial Tamil films isn’t a new trend. We have seen Nawazuddin Siddiqui pitted opposite Rajinikanth in Petta, Rahul Bose in the Vishwaroopam franchise, Akshay Kumar in Rajinikanth’s 2.0, Nana Patekar in Kaala, Anurag Kashyap in Imaikkaa Nodigal, Vivek Oberoi in Vivegam, Vidyut Jammwal in Thuppakki and Neil Nitin Mukesh in Kaththi.
A leading Tamil producer who doesn’t want to be identified says what attracts Bollywood actors towards the south film industry is money. “Producers here are willing to pay a bomb to the film’s villain. For instance, it is believed that Akshay Kumar got paid more than the Superstar for 2.0. Even Boman Irani has an important role in Suriya’s Kaappaan, which is up for release. To make the project commercially viable, filmmakers, these days, look for a pan Indian market,” he points out.