As Rajinikanth and Shankar's 2.0 opens to unprecedented box office numbers, the actor-director duo's foolproof track record has once again come under the spotlight.
Having delivered two of the biggest Tamil entertainers - Sivaji and Enthiran, the two now go down the same road with 2.0, which is reportedly India's most expensive film. The duo's knack for VFX and stylised atmospherics is not newfound. Their projects, often too indulgent, have always found their audience though.
Here's a look at their track record and how they have taken over the industry with their astute business sense:
Their professional association began with Sivaji. The 2007 film raked in a record-breaking $13.5 million in the first four days of its release in Chennai and grossed Rs 128 crore in entirety. The film also picked up pace internationally and had a wide theatrical release in over 200 halls across South East Asia, Europe, North America and other locations. Shankar's swanky filmmaking style clicked with the audience and despite Rajini's gravity and logic-defying act as a vigilante, the film was declared a massive success.
After Sivaji, Shankar and Rajinikanth joined forces for Enthiran, India's most expensive film at the time. Rajini's act as a powered android robot lent a cult status to the film, strengthening Shankar's position as a visionary. The film emerged as the highest grossing film of 2010 and is the fourth highest earning South Indian film.
Mounted on a budget of Rs 100 crore, the film yeilded a return of Rs 179 crore. The film had seen the light of the day after multiple obstacles — studios backed out, actors quit due to creative differences and busy schedules. However, when Rajinikanth came on board, the script was re-written to suit his style.
The scripts of Enthiran and Sivaji were reportedly narrated to Rajinikanth at the same time. He agreed to star in both the films and went on to sweep awards.
2.0 has also been in the making for a long time due to exhaustive VFX. The film, despite its fair share of controversies, has released and outshined its competitors. Perhaps it's a feat only the combined force of Shankar and Rajinikanth could have pulled off.