Vishal landed Sandakozhi sheerly by accident after other top stars of the time turned down the movie.
Sandakozhi completed 18 years earlier this week. The film holds a special place in director N Lingusamy's career as it helped him to bounce back from a crushing box office defeat of Ji (2005), starring Tamil superstar Ajith Kumar.
Not just for Lingusamy, but this film also elevated actor Vishal's status instantly making him one of the most bankable stars of Tamil cinema. Vishal continues to reap the benefits of this film even after so many years. "Can't beleive or even put it in words the feelings and emotions I am goin through this day which made my career 18 years ago on Dec 16th 2005 as an action hero in Tamil cinema through the magical #Sandakozhi on silver screen. There was no looking back for me then on who was just one among the audience which I still continue to be after all these years for the sole reason of the love and affection showered by one and all till date," Vishal tweeted earlier commemorating the film's anniversary.
However, Vishal landed Sandakozhi sheerly by accident after other top stars of the time turned down the movie. In a recent interview, Lingusamy revealed interesting events that took place before Sandakozhi became a reality.
It was not Vishal, but Thalapathy Vijay was Lingusamy's first choice to play the role of Balu, the son of the powerful village leader Duraipandi Thevar. But, Vijay at the time felt that Rajkiran's character in the film challenged the hero's supremacy in the narration. "When I narrated the story to Vijay sir, he stopped listening to it post the interval scene, following the introduction of Rajkiran sir. I asked him to listen to the second half and make a decision. But, he felt what's the point of his character after Rajkiran comes into the picture," Lingusamy told Behindwoods.
Later, Lingusamy also narrated the story to Suriya. The initial plan was Director Bala would bankroll the project with Suriya in the lead. However, that didn't materialize owing to financial constraints. While Lingusamy was considering only the top stars of the time to cast in the lead role, Vishal approached him.
Lingusamy noted that he was not sure about casting a relative newcomer like Vishal in such a powerful role. Even his assistant directors felt this character was way above Vishal's pay grade. Still, Lingusamy decided to gamble on Vishal as he was fully confident in his script. And it paid off. The film ran for nearly a year in Tamil Nadu and turned Vishal into an action hero.
In the light of the film's success, Lingusamy ran into Vijay at a party. "Vijay sir came straight to me and congratulated me for the film. He said, 'Anna, the film was superb.' But, at the time I was slightly angry with him for not doing this film. But, he said that Vishal was the right choice for the movie and the industry needed a hero like him," he recalled his conversation with Vijay.
And Lingusamy saw Vijay's point. He realised that Vijay's stardom might have overshadowed his talent as a director. "If Vijay had done this film, it might have become a Vijay film. But, since I gave such a hit with (a newcomer like) Vishal it highlighted my talent among the audience," he added.
Lingusamy revealed that soon after the success of the film, Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi sought to buy the film's remake rights to launch his son Ram Charan's acting career. And even producer Allu Aravind courted Lingusamy to remake the film with Allu Arjun in Telugu. However, the filmmakers decided to dub Sandakozhi in Telugu as Pandem Kodi and released it in 2006. The film became a big hit in the neighbouring state too.