Indian superstar Rajinikanth. Image Credit: IANS

Indian superstar Rajinikanth is fresh from the success of his new movie ‘Jailer’, which continues to run in UAE theatres. And director Lokesh Kanagaraj, who brought together the triumvirate of South Indian cinema — Kamal Haasan, Fahadh Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi — for one of 2022’s biggest hits, the action entertainer ‘Vikram’, will be directing him in his next movie.

The production house Sun Pictures put out a tweet, saying it will be bankrolling the superstar’s next movie, tentatively titled “#Thalaivar 171”. ‘Thalaivar’, or leader in Tamil, is a moniker given to Rajinikanth for delivering box office successes over the decades.

But this will be presumably after two of Rajinikanth's current projects — a cameo in 'Laal Salaam', directed by his daughter Aishwarya; and a yet-to-titled movie with TJ Gnanavel, who won laurels for his hard-hitting social drama 'Jai Bhim', which had actor Suriya in a pivotal role.

Anirudh Ravichander, who’s served as composer for some of India’s biggest blockbusters in the recent past, including Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Jawan’, ‘Jailer’ and Tamil star Vijay’s ‘Beast’, will be music director for the movie. Ravichander and Kangaraj have earlier collaborated for ‘Vikram’ and the action drama ‘Master’, which saw actor Vijay Sethupathi turning the baddie to Vijay.

Rajinikanth in a still from 'Jailer'. Image Credit: Supplied

Meanwhile, Kanagaraj has an exciting 2023 ahead of him. His ‘Leo’, with a cast headlined by Vijay and starring a bevy of Indian matinee idols — from Sanjay Dutt to Arjun Sarja, Trisha Krishnan and Gautam Menon — is primed for a theatrical release on Oct. 19. And every movie that he has made has grown in scale and size, since his first movie ‘Maanagaram’, an offbeat hyperlink thriller that won rave reviews.

Kanagaraj is also known for the LCU or "Lokesh Cinematic Universe", where his movies are interlinked to one another. The LCU started with 'Kaithi' (which was remade in Hindi as 'Bholaa') and encompasses 'Vikram'. There is no official confirmation yet on whether Rajinikanth's next movie will also be a part of the LCU. 

And that’s an impressive run for a filmmaker who started off as a banker.

Tamil actor Vijay with director Lokesh Kanagaraj.
Tamil actor Vijay with director Lokesh Kanagaraj. Image Credit: Twitter/dir_lokesh

‘Jailer’, produced by Sun Pictures and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, collected over Rs6 billion worldwide since its release on Aug. 10, 2023. The movie follows the story of a retired jailer who sets off to find his missing police inspector son, for which he relies on his old associates. The movie features cameos by the Kannada star Shiva Rajkumar, Malayalam silver screen idol Mohanlal, actress Tamannaah Bhatia and Jackie Shroff.