The project formerly known as “KH234″ that reunites the talents of actor Kamal Haasan and director Mani Ratnam, has revealed a title and first footage.
The pair previously teamed on gangster epic “Nayakan” (1987). The film was a watershed in both their careers. It was a box office blockbuster, won Haasan best actor at India’s national film awards and was the country’s entry to the 1988 Oscars. They announced the decision to reunite last year.
“Thug Life” is the name of the new film and the footage, which shows Haasan in violent combat with several opponents, reveals that his character is a gangster and that his name is Rangaraya Sakthivel Nayakan. In “Nayakan,” Haasan played Sakthivel, who later became known later in the film as Nayakan (hero).
The cast for “Thug Life” also includes Jayam Ravi and Trisha, both of whom starred in Ratnam’s blockbuster “Ponniyin Selvan” historical epic, and Dulquer Salman (“Sita Ramam”).
The film is written by Haasan and Ratnam. It will be produced by Haasan’s Raaj Kamal Films International (RKFI), Ratnam’s Madras Talkies and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies. Haasan, Ratnam, R. Mahendran and Siva Ananth will produce.
Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Grammy winning composer A.R. Rahman will provide the music. Noted cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran, who previously shot “Kannathil Muthamittal” (2002), “Aayitha Ezhuthu” and “Yuva” (both 2004) for Ratnam, will shoot the film.
Both Haasan and Ratnam are coming off the biggest hits of their careers. Haasan’s action thriller, the Tamil-language “Vikram,” produced by RKFI and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, released in 2022 and grossed $60 million. Ratnam’s Tamil-language historical epic “Ponniyin Selvan: 1,” produced by Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions released later in the year and also grossed $60 million. “Ponniyin Selvan: 2” released earlier this year and earned $42 million. All three films were distributed in Tamil Nadu by Red Giant.
After the success of “Nayakan,” Ratnam and Haasan were due to make “Ponniyin Selvan,” adapted from Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic novel, but the stars did not align at that time.
Watch the “Thug Life” title reveal and first footage here: