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'Sivaji: The Boss' Turns 17: From Mohanlal To Aishwarya Rai; Did You Know THESE Actors Rejected The Rajinikanth-Starrer?

Helmed by S. Shankar, 'Sivaji: The Boss' emerged as a major critical and commercial success.

'Sivaji: The Boss', written and directed by S. Shankar, is "Rajini magic" at its best. He reigns supreme in literally every frame that he appears in, bringing his infectious energy and magnetic charm to the screen that leaves us in awe. And the film features him in such a character that allows him to demonstrate his full range.

Well, it's been 17 years since 'Sivaji: The Boss' happened to Indian cinema, and that impact is still fresh in our minds. Upon its release, the film resonated with one and all as it represented the common people's aspirations and critiqued the system. And it was a revolution in its own way, inspiring countless individuals from across the nation to stand up for their rights. Released on June 15, 2007, 'Sivaji' emerged as a blockbuster (grossing ₹125 - 160 crore worldwide) and went on to earn numerous awards including a National Film Award, three Filmfare Awards, and two Vijay Awards.

However, did you know several heavyweight actors from across industries rejected pivotal roles in the Rajinikanth-starrer? Yes, you read it right! To mark the film's 17th anniversary, let's delve deep into that.


Mohanlal, our beloved 'Lalettan', was approached by Shankar for the antagonist’s role in 'Sivaji'. The legendary actor was quite interested in playing the role and had a long discussion with the director. However, he had to eventually turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with several of his Malayalam films.

In his words, "... they wanted many days from me spread over an entire year. It meant letting go of many of my Malayalam projects, which I didn’t want to."

Amitabh Bachchan

The 'Shahenshah' of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, was also offered the antagonist role in 'Sivaji'. And it would have been really interesting to see him as the villain to Rajinikanth's hero, as the latter considers him his mentor. However, due to his prior commitments, he also turned it down.

Prakash Raj

Prakash Raj is absolutely brilliant whenever it comes to playing negative characters on the screen. After Mohanlal and Amitabh Bachchan said 'no', Shankar approached Raj to play the antagonist in 'Sivaji'. Unfortunately, it too couldn't fructify for some reason.


Sathyaraj (best known for his role, Katappa, in the 'Baahubali' franchise) was the quintessential villain in almost all Rajinikanth films during the early 1980s. But the duo parted ways in 1986 for some reasons, leaving fans yearning to see more of their chemistry on screen. However, he received an offer from Shankar to play the antagonist in 'Sivaji', but turned it down.

Speaking about why he rejected 'Sivaji' and later 'Enthiran' (where he was again approached to play the villain), he shared in an interview, "After a film of the caliber of ‘Mr. Bharath’ with Rajnikanth, I couldn't settle for anything less."

Notably, the role, Aathiseshan, was eventually played by Suman.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

The 2010 Shankar directorial 'Enthiran' marked the first collaboration between Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. But three years prior to that, Aishwarya was offered the female lead in 'Sivaji: The Boss'. She was the first choice for the role, and both Shankar and Thalaivar were keen on casting her. However, she turned the role down and it eventually went to Shriya Saran.

Well, 'Sivaji: The Boss' is inarguably one of the milestones in Rajinikanth's career. The film earned him loads of acclaim from across the world and catapulted him to new heights of stardom.