‘Leo’ Director Lokesh Kanagaraj on Film’s Success – TechVerdant

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Vijay-starring “Leo: Bloody Sweet” is the fifth highest grossing Indian film of the year with $72 million. Its director Lokesh Kanagaraj is now in high demand.

The film got off to a winning start when it released in October, debuting in third position at the global box office with a $31.2 million weekend. The action-thriller follows a docile cafe owner (Vijay) who is incited to return to his violent past. The film name checks David Cronenberg’s 2005 film “A History of Violence.”

“It inspired me to write ‘Leo.’ ‘A History of Violence’ left its mark on me and from that this movie was born. ‘Leo’ is my tribute,” Kanagaraj told Variety. “The success of ‘Leo’ means a lot to not just me but the entire team.”

After a few shorts, Kanagaraj made his feature debut with “Maanagaram” (2017) and he also directed “Master,” starring Vijay. “Leo” is the latest instalment in Kanagaraj’s LCU or Lokesh Cinematic Universe, which began with “Kaithi” (2019), continued with “Vikram” in 2022 and retrospectively included 1986 title “Vikram.” Characters from “Kaithi” and the 2022 “Vikram” make appearances in “Leo.”

“I have always been fascinated to do crossover films or have some connection between the films I make. While in the writing process of ‘Vikram’, it seemed to be a good opportunity to explore the same with my previous film ‘Kaithi,’” Kanagaraj said.

Future films in the LCU include “Kaithi 2,” starring Karthi, “Vikram 2,” starring Kamal Haasan, and “Rolex,” starring Suriya, who had a cameo in “Vikram” as a character named Rolex. “I haven’t started writing them yet, [but] there’s already a foundation to it. So, once I start writing I’ll explore more,” Kanagaraj said.

Kanagaraj’s next film is a project currently identified as “#Thalaivar171,” signifying the 171st film of superstar Rajinikanth. “#Thalaivar171 is not going to be a part of LCU, it’s a standalone film. It’s a genre that I’m trying for the first time,” Kanagaraj said.

Another film outside the LCU is sci-fi epic “Irumbukkai Mayavi,” expected to star Suriya.

On the opportunities and challenges within the Tamil-language film industry that Kanagaraj operated in, the filmmaker said, “There are opportunities at every stage of filmmaking, it’s all about how you utilize them. When it comes to challenges, I would say ‘writing’ because it anchors the entire process.”

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