Everyone's favourite on the sets of Rajnikanth's upcoming movie was the street dog Mani. Director Pa Ranjith auditioned around 30 dogs for the very special role of Thalaivar's pet before he zeroed in on Mani. And now after playing the role of Rajnikanth's pet, Mani's worth has shot up exponentially. Bidders are willing to pay a whopping Rs 2 crore to include Mani in their families. However, Simon, who found Mani on the streets of Chennai and trained him for the role is not very welcoming of the idea - and quite naturally. "A lady had asked him for Rs 30,000 and then another came asking for Rs 50,000. Some even quoted Rs 1 crore and Rs 2 crore for Mani. I was really surprised. He is like family now and I won't give him away," said Simon, as mentioned in a report in India Today.
Not only did Mani's worth increase, the street dog's life drastically changed after his discovery. Kaala is not the only movie in Mani's kitty. He has, in fact, completed four other movies after wrapping up with Rajnikanth's next offering.
Simon says that finding someone to fit the bill was as tough task. "For days together I had shown many dogs to Pa Ranjith but he was not happy with my choices. He said that he was not interested in Labrador or German Shepard. He wanted a fresh face and something Indian. It was really hard to find Mani," said Simon. Although Mani tried to bite Simon in the beginning, he has become a part of the trainer's family now.
Mani, the apple of everyone's eye on the sets warmed up to Thalaivar within a day. The superstar's routine of feeding the dog everyday also earned the dog the nickname of Biscuit Mani. Simon says that Mani took a strong liking to the superstar and would act on his command.
Simon has been working in the industry for about four decades now. He was also the trainer of the dog who played the central character in the Odia movie, Maa O Mamta. The National Award-winner will be training a pig next for an upcoming Tamil movie, Jet Lee.Kaala, Rajnikanth's upcoming movie that will be released on June 7, is directed by Pa Ranjith, the force behind the blockbuster Kabali. Set in Mumbai's Dharavi, this gangster movie also stars Nana Patekar as the antagonist, Huma Qureshi and Pankaj Tripathi. Kaala is produced by Dhanush.