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New Age filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj promises a sweet delicacy this Pongal, the South Indian harvest festival.

When a fan directs his idol, you can be sure of a complete entertainer in true Rajnikanth style. And, if that is the filmmaker Subbaraj look out for surprises and content that breaks stereotypes.

Here are five things you should know about ‘Petta’:

1. Karthik Subbaraj grew up on Rajnikanth’s films, thanks to his father, an avid fan of the South Indian superstar. At the audio launch of ‘Petta’, Subbaraj said that he had never intended to join films. This former software professional switched tracks to start afresh in cinema solely driven by the fantasy world of cinema that was fuelled by Rajnikanth’s films.

When he made ‘Pizza’, his first film, Subbaraj wondered: “Will Rajni sir ever watch my film?” He was not prepared for the surprise when the call from the icon he admired came through.

“I was travelling by car in Madurai and I could not believe when I heard his voice. Rajni sir called ‘Pizza’ brilliant,” he said.

After Subbaraj’s sophomore film, ‘Jigarthanda’ received two Indian National Awards, he was eager to meet Rajnikanth. That opportunity came on the sets of ‘Lingaa’ in 2014.

“I pinched myself when the superstar told me casually, ‘let me know if you have any script,’” he added.

“‘Petta’ is inspired by Rajnikanth. I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Subbaraj, who had given up hopes of directing Rajnikanth when the star announced his entry into politics. In ‘Petta’, Rajnikanth plays Kaali — a hostel warden of a college.

I pinched myself when the superstar [Rajinikanth] told me casually, ‘let me know if you have any script.

- Karthik Subbbaraj, Director

2. Bollywood’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui makes his entry into Tamil cinema with ‘Petta.’ He plays the antagonist.

3. Simran is paired opposite Rajnikanth. This Rajnikanth fan earlier missed an opportunity to work with the star. After working in Tamil film ‘Chandramukhi’ for three days, Simran learnt that she was pregnant with her first child, so she opted out of ‘Chandramukhi.’ The role went to Jyotika.

4. ‘Petta’ boasts of an ensemble cast — Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Simha, Trisha and Sasi Kumar. Sethupathi plays a gangster. Sethupathi had always told Subbaraj that whenever he did a film with Rajnikanth, the former wished to play the anti-hero. The actor could not believe that this opportunity to share screen space with Rajnikanth would arrive so early in his career.

“It was an unbelievable moment, something beyond my dreams,” said Sethupathi. “Meeting Rajni sir on the sets I watched in admiration as he took on every shot with great enthusiasm.”

‘Petta’ has surprises till the very end, he added.

5. Anirudh’s music is already topping charts. Check out the lyrical video of ‘Ilumai Thirumbudhe’ featuring Rajnikanth looking young and stylish opposite Simran. Director of photography Thiru, who last worked in Subbaraj’s silent thriller ‘Mercury’, handles the camera again.

Don’t miss it

‘Petta’ releases in UAE on January 10.