Actor Vijay's next film, the tentatively titled Thalapathy 66, began production after a formal pooja, with the superstar flagging off the proceedings in a grand gala event in Chennai earlier this week. Being produced by blockbuster Telugu producer-distributor Dil Raju's Sri Venkateswara Creations banner under Vamshi Paidipally's direction, who is best known for his Thozha and Maharshi, the upcoming film touted to be a family-centric story along the lines of Vijay's Poove Unakkaga and Thulladha Manamum Thullum will see the superstar sharing screen space with the 'National Crush of India' Rashmika Mandanna. That said, Dil Raju, who is incidentally presenting Sun ictures' Beast starring Vijay in Telugu, revealed his first choice for the role of the heroine in Thalapathy 66 to be none other than youth sensation Pooja Hegde during the film's promotions on Saturday. 

Speaking at the Beast release interview with director Nelson Dilipkumar, Dil Raju said, "Pooja Hegde has worked with all the superstars in Telugu and delivered box office blockbusters. She is now going to Tamil to do the same. Initially, we planned on casting her as the heroine in Thalapathy 66 too, but since it was back-to-back, it didn't happen." Pooja then chimed in and said, "We discussed that whole process, but due to some date issues, it did not happen. I started my career in Tamil cinema and I feel like this (Beast) is a relaunch for me in the industry there. And, this time it is opposite a big star (Vijay) and in a big film. I'm excited everyone likes our pairing and am waiting to watch the film on the first day and first show with the audience in Chennai."

Thalapathy 66 has created massive expectations already with the casting of Rashmika, whom fans have wanted to witness alongside Vijay for quite some time. A huge lifelong fan herself of Vijay, the actress' admiration of the Tamil superstar during the Thalapathy 66 launch event went on to garner a huge response from fans, who as well joined her in the celebrations on social media. The photos and videos from the Thalapathy 66 pooja have taken social media by storm and show Rashmika expressing her joy at being cast in the film, which has veteran actor Sarathkumar in a pivotal role, with music by chart-buster composer Thaman. S. 

Below is the Beast team featuring director Nelson Dilipkumar and Pooja Hegde in conversation with Thalapathy 66 producer Dil Raju: