With Rajnikanth's Jailer, the stakes were too high for Nelson as all the goodwill he heard with Doctor and Kolamaavu Kokila was wiped out by Beast.
In director Nelson's career, Jailer will remain a very important film, and not just because it collected more than Rs 600 crore in worldwide ticket sales.
Starring Superstar Rajinikanth in the lead, Jailer was a litmus test for Nelson's career. Nelson's reputation as a promising storyteller took a huge beating following 2022's Beast. Even though the film, starring Thalapathy Vijay in the lead, managed to make profits for its producers, the scathing reviews many made wonder whether Nelson's was just a two-film wonder.
The stakes were too high for Nelson as all the goodwill he heard with Doctor and Kolamaavu Kokila was wiped out by Beast.
In a recent roundtable discussion, Nelson revealed that he was grappling with a slew of debuts going into Jailer. And some of his doubts were so crippling that he was even considering to shelve the project if the script didn't meet his confidence.
"But, I convinced myself. Whatever happens, don't let this project go," he recalled during a roundtable discussion with Film Companion.
Many advised Nelson not to write an age-appropriate character for Rajinikanth. "While shooting also I had the same doubts. I think for the first time I think I made him play his age. That was a major doubt for me. A lot of people advised me not to make him play his age. Let him do whatever he has done already. I was confident and unsure at the same time," he said. But, eventually, he prevailed over his self-doubts and anxiety by deciding to fail or win on his own terms.
"I made the film according to my gut and even if it didn't work, I was ready to take the full blame," he added.
And Nelson's belief in his own vision paid off. Jailer became one of the biggest grossers of 2023, second only to Thalapathy Vijay's Leo.