Entertainment

Indian Superstar Rajinikanth’s ‘Annaatthe’ Shoot Halted Due to COVID-19

The Hyderabad filming schedule of Sun Pictures’ “Annaatthe,” starring Indian superstar Rajinikanth, has been stopped due to crew members testing positive for COVID-19.

“During routine testing at #Annaathe shoot 4 crew members have tested positive for Covid19. Superstar @rajinikanth and other crew members have tested negative. To ensure utmost safety #Annaatthe shooting has been postponed,” Sun Pictures tweeted on Wednesday.

The film, an action-drama, started principal photography in December 2019, but production was halted earlier this year due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

Production resumed earlier this month in Hyderabad, after Rajinikanth flew there in a chartered flight, immediately after his 70th birthday celebrations.

“Annaatthe,” one of the Tamil-language words for elder brother, also features well-known Nayanthara (“Darbar”), Keerthy Suresh (“Miss India”) and Prakash Raj (“Paava Kadhaigal”). It is directed by Siva (“Viswasam”).

Sun Pictures is part of media baron Kalanithi Maran‘s Sun Group that encompasses film, television, radio, streaming and publishing interests, as well as an IPL cricket franchise.

Rajinikanth is a phenomenon among South Indian stars. His popularity includes fan bases in the U.S. and Japan. Every release of his is treated as a near-religious event by fans and causes such a frenzy that  cinemas lay on back-to-back shows at dawn in the first week of release.

In 2017, after years of speculation, Rajinikanth formally announced his decision to step into the political arena.

Elections are due in 2021 in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Rajinikanth resides. The superstar’s old co-star and friend Kamal Haasan has already thrown his hat into the ring. It remains to be seen whether Rajinikanth allies with him to fight the polls or go it alone. A decision is expected from him in January.

Tamil Nadu, a state long used to being ruled by stars-turned politicians, beginning with the late M.G. Ramachandran, has been ruled by civilians in recent years, after the deaths of former chief ministers actress J. Jayalalithaa and screenwriter M.K. Karunanidhi.




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