'Superstar' Rajinikanth released a statement on Tuesday on the occasion of his previous film, Annaatthe, completing 50 days of its theatrical release. Posting his statement via a voice note on his Hoote account, the 71-year-old actor spoke in detail about the various hurdles that the entire team had encountered during the film's shooting since it began rolling, including the second wave of the Covid-19 situation and also opening up on the release and the subsequent rains in Tamil Nadu. 

Rajinikanth said, "We began Annaatthe shoot in December 2019 and took a break after we shot for 35 days. Initially, we planned to resume the shoot around the end of March 2020. However, the outbreak of coronavirus brought those plans to a halt, and we couldn't proceed with the shooting for the next nine months. We started shooting again in December and this time in Hyderabad. All safety guidelines were in practice, including Covid tests for the entire cast and crew, with instructions given to everyone to wear masks at the spot all the time. The artists too were wearing masks at all times, with the exception of shooting a scene." 

There were no interruptions for almost two weeks of shooting before it came as a shock to everyone when Keerthy Suresh's assistant had tested positive for Covid. Rajinikanth continued, "He had developed the infection five days ago and did not reveal this to anyone. It was a huge shock. I had worked at close quarters with Keerthy and we shot scenes without masks. The assistant too had been with us during the time. Director Siva and producer Kalanithi Maran were quite upset at the development and took the decision to cancel the shoot immediately and proceeded to get everyone tested." 

The veteran actor then said, "We once again resumed the shooting after three months, and this time we shot the climax with around 800 junior artists. The shooting for the sequence took around 18 days of which we shot for 8 days with these 800 people. Try to imagine getting all the people tested for Covid. And, the artists would be required to remove their masks for that one shot. The doctors had given me clear instructions that I was not supposed to be in the presence of any crowds. The climax scene has me standing solo on a rooftop and instructing my co-artists. The idea for the scene was formed by Siva two years ago; even before the corona situation. I believe this is God's will. And then, the second wave began getting out of control. It was on the eve of lockdown in Telangana when our team had wrapped up the shooting for Annaatthe. This also is God's will." 

Rajinikanth also opened up on the troubles that Annaatthe had come across even after its Diwali release in theatres. "The reviews were not favorable and three days after its release, rains began lashing across the state. Thankfully though, the downpour had begun three days after the film's release. Had it rained earlier, how could people have gone to the theatres? The film would have failed. However, the film did perform well at the box office and it would have done better had it not been for the rains. It is when I think of such things that a dialogue from Baasha comes to my mind: God will test good people a lot, but won't let them down. As for bad people,.... (he finishes off with his trademark laugh)"

Below are Rajinikanth's voice notes on the hoote app: