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    The Akira director tells us why he chose Sonakshi Sinha and how she aced the high-octane scenes

    After giving us action blockbusters like Ghajini and Holiday – A Soldier is Never Off Duty, director AR MurugadossA�took everyone by surprise with his latest Hindi action feature, Akira.A�Set to release next week, the Hindi remake of the 2011 Tamil action-thriller, Mouna Guru, a�� which had actor Arulnithi Tamilarasu as the lead a�� now has actress Sonakshi Sinha portraying the protagonist. The script revolves around a spunky college student, Akira,A�who fights corruptionA�fearlessly. a�?Initially, I wanted to remake the film in Hindi with a hero. Then one day it struck me; why cana��t the hero be a girl? This thought further strengthened the concept in my head and I decided the film would be woman-centric and started adapting and making changes,a�? begins Murugadoss.

    Casting right
    The news of Sinha playing the role of Akira and doing intense action sequences went viral, with the trailer grabbing 13 million views, and MurugadossA�feels thatA�he couldna��t have made a better choice. About Sinha, who undertook mixed martial arts training under leading professionals six months before the shooting started, he says, a�?She fit the role aptly and portrayed (the character) with her hard work exactly the way I (had) imagineda�?. The director added a twist to the plot by casting director Anurag Kashyap as the a�?villaina��. a�?During the shooting of Holiday, she (Sinha) gave me a DVD ofA�Lootera. When I watched it, her small nuances and natural performance took me by surprise. I felt guilty that I had cast her as a normal commercial heroine in Holiday, for just some songs and love scenes,a�? admits the filmmaker, adding that subsequently, when he decided to make Mouna Guru as a woman-centric film, he immediately cast Sinha. a�?The fact is if Lootera had not been there, Akira would definitely not have been done with Sonakshi,a�? he says. Talking about the changes he made to the existing script toA�accommodate a female lead, Murugadoss says that it is psychologically set in the Indian mindset that men can fight five to six men, but if a heroine does the same, we have to give them a reason. a�?So I established (that) with a back-storya��that Akira took formal training in self-defense and martial arts right from her childhood.a�?

    Present and future
    The 38-year-old Chennai-based directora��who picks actressesA�Angelina Jolie, Anushka Shetty and Samantha for their realistic portrayal of action rolesa��is now ready to make his next Tamil-Telugu bilingual movie, starring Mahesh Babu. a�?Ita��s a new genre, with action as the backdrop and an interesting screenplay. I am collaborating with (cinematographer) Santosh Sivan again,a�? concludes Murugadoss, but not before promisingA�a big action film in Bollywood soon, with aA�hero!

    Akira releases on September 2.

    a�� Saloni Sinha

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