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Throwback: When Crazy Star Ravichandran declined Superstar Rajinikanth's offer to star in Ranadheera remake

V. Ravichandran's Ranadheera, a remake of Subhash Ghai's 1983 film 'Hero', was a huge success at the time of its release

Throwback: When Crazy Star Ravichandran declined Superstar Rajinikanth's offer to star in Ranadheera remake
When V. Ravichandran declined Rajinikanth's offer
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Last Updated: 01.30 PM, May 30, 2023

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There's no denying that V. Ravichandran owns an important piece of Kannada film history. Born to the highly revered film producer N. Veerswamy, whose banner Sri Easwari Productions has produced some of the biggest cult classics in Kannada cinema, Ravichandran's career began in a slightly unassuming manner and it is even said that his father wanted him to focus on studies instead of venturing into cinema. These were the pre 'Crazy Star' days and Ravichandran was yet to announce himself. His very first foray into acting was as a child artist in home productions which were followed by a slew of lead roles in the early 1980s in films like Khadeema Kallaru, Premigala Saval and a few others. 

These initial outings gave him moderate success, no doubt, but it would be fair to say that Ravichandran arrived on the scene in a prominent manner with the release of Premaloka. The 1987 film saw him take on the role of a director for the very first time and it was apparent right away that this young and dynamic man had bigger and more extravagant plans on his mind. 

Premaloka brimmed with a kind of opulence that would go on to define Ravichandran as the audacious filmmaker that he is recognized as today but his fearlessness and conviction could not be overlooked. The film was a musical that had heavy strokes of Bob Fosse-like musicals all across it and trade pundits from back in the day remind us that the audience took a while to warm up to this kind of storytelling. Premaloka was remade in Tamil as Paruva Ragam and starred the same hit couple of Ravichandran and Juhi Chawla but only the Kannada version managed to find success.

Over the years, Premaloka's cult has expanded multifold and the music composed by Hamsalekha, whom Ravichandran launched with the film, is still hummed by many. 


And soon after, buoyed by the waves that his very first directorial made, Ravichandran announced that he was going to be remake Subhash Ghai's 1983 film Hero in Kannada as Ranadheera. He would also star in the Kannada version in the role played by Jackie Shroff and though critics reckoned that it was perhaps too early for him to whip up remakes. Nevertheless, Ranadheera went on to become a blockbuster and his on-screen romance with Khushbu (which many categorized as 'vulgar') was adjudged one of the main highlights.

But not many know that superstar Rajinikanth, who was quite close to the Kannada Film Industry at the time, rang up Ravichandran and offered to do the Tamil version of Ranadheera. Impressed with what the former had put together, the superstar saw bright prospects in another remake but quite fascinatingly, Ravichandran would turn him down! In an interview that dates back to September of 1988 with The Hindu, he is quoted as saying, "Since it (Ranadheera) is a remake, however good it is, the credit will go to Rajini and Subhash Ghai. 'Paruva Raagam' has failed miserably and I want to sock the audiences with my next Tamil."

Of course, Rajini and the Crazy Star would eventually get together for the remake of the latter's next magnum opus, Shanti Kranti. The Tamil remake (titled Nattukku Oru Nallavan), which was simultaneously shot and released in Hindi as Shanti Kranti, starred Rajinikanth in the lead role of Inspector Subhash (which Ravichandran played in Kannada and Akkineni Nagarjuna in Telugu) with Ravichandran playing the part of Inspector Bharath. In several ways, Shanti Kranti is regarded as the first Kannada pan-India film.