AMBITIOUS: Rajinikanth plays the Pandyan king, Kochadaiyaan Ranadhiran, in Kochadaiiyaan.

Kochadaiiyaan, a 3D motion-capture, computer-animated film, and the first of is kind in Indian film, hits the big screen on April 11. In this article’s Ramchander discusses whether masala film-loving audiences are ready to take the plunge into futuristic film-making…

KOLLYWOOD is ready to welcome the kind of film that the Indian film audiences are not used to. Kochadaiiyaan, a 3D motion-capture, computer-animated historical drama starring Rajinikanth and directed by his daughter, Soundarya Ashwin, is ready to hit the screens.

The stage is being set for its release on April 11 and the movie bosses are going all-out to create a positive buzz around the film.

We are living in times where our top heroes consider masala movies a safe bet and so continue producing the same old style.

But Rajinikanth has taken a different path with his experimental film – Kochadaiiyaan is expected to represent a milestone in film technology.

While expectations are mounting and the film could impress the urban audience, trade pundits are quietly wondering whether the film will be a success, because Rajinikanth’s strong base is in the rural market in India.

His hard-core fans love to see Rajinikanth in roles that they can relate to instantly. This is not an assumption but a fact that has made the actor a superstar in South India.

An animated Rajini is not a tried-and-tested role and this is the main reason for the debate.

Early reports from audiences say a section of viewers has not been impressed with Kochadaiiyaan.

People say an animated character is no substitute for a real-life Rajinikanth role.

They believe the joy they derive from watching Rajinikanth in normal films will not be the same in Kochadaiiyaan, that the typical “Rajinisim” will be missing.

On the other hand there are traders who don’t want to down play the film’s prospects. They want to wait until the film hits the screens.

If Kochadaiiyaan is packaged with the necessary commercial elements, the film undoubtedly could attract all sections of audience.

Nonetheless, traders are unanimous that Kochadaiiyaan will take Kollywood to new heights in terms of technology and innovation.

They also say that if it is a success, it could lead to more experimentation in Indian film.

The cast of Kochadaiiyaan also features Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff, Sarath Kumar, and Aadhi. The screenplay is by the veteran director KS Ravikumar.

Rajinikanth met the Hindi press for the first time in four years when he attended the trailer and audio release of the Hindi version of Kochadaiiyaan.

The Tamil superstar had a rousing reception from the media.

Asked about his role and the technology used in the film, he said: “It’s an emotional moment and I don’t have words.

“It’s so nice to see you all after a long time. The last time I was here was for my film Robot and the film was one of a kind... now I am here for Kochadaiiyaan, which is highly technological.

“But I am only an actor and I don’t know anything about technology and God has made me do this film.... it is all God’s play.

“I am amazed... Soundarya, in her childhood, had this obsession. She liked to read books with pictures and my wife identified her talent and encouraged her. I am proud of her.

“I hope people like the film.” –