Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 15, 2017)

When Dhanush watched Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s comedy-drama Nil Battey Sannata, he was particularly impressed by Principal Srivastava, played by Pankaj Tripathi, who had previously caught the actor-producer’s attention as the blood-thirsty owner of an abattoir in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. So Dhanush, who produced Amma Kanakku, the Tamil remake of the Swara Bhaskar-starrer, recommended Pankaj for a role in Pa Ranjith’s upcoming Rajinkanth-starrer Kaala Karikaalan.

After announcing the film earlier this year, Dhanush sent an associate to Mumbai to get in touch with Pankaj, who was shooting for Tarun Mansukhani’s action-thriller Drive back then. “I was asked if I’d want to listen to an interesting cop role in a Rajinikanth film. I told him there was no need to listen to a part for a film with a legend like Rajini sir and signed the contract immediately,” Pankaj reminisces, adding that it is a full-fledged role in which he plays good cop-bad cop to Rajini’s gangster-slumlord. “It’s been a dream shooting with Rajini sir in Mumbai. We wrap up around June 24. I’ll also be travelling to Chennai to film a few sequences with Rajini sir,” he smiles.