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Rajnikanh Muthu fight scene in French film
(Wednesday, 20th December 2006)

A film that its makers say is fast becoming one of the year's box office successes in France has an unlikely Indian connection -- a 100-second fight sequence from one of Tamil superstar Rajnikant's blockbuster hits.

In the romantic comedy Prete-Moi Ta Main (I Do) lead actress Charlotte Gainsbourg is shown watching the Indian star in action on her television, said Etienne Dubaille, an official at Alain Chabat's production house.

"Rajnikant's face and trademark action style are clearly visible in the footage. As part of the dialogue, Gainsbourg says she's watching the cult Indian film Muthu," Dubaille told Reuters via e-mail from Paris.

Prete-Moi Ta Main has had one of the best openings of the year in France and has grossed more than $22 million since its release on Nov 1, Dubaille said.

Indian journalist Faizal Khan, who watched the film during a visit to Paris last month, said he was surprised to see Rajnikant's face "popping up" in the film.

"The footage shown on the television set comes at a crucial moment in the movie," he said.

Producer Chabat, known worldwide for his 2002 hit Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, had been on the lookout for a Chinese kung-fu sequence when he chanced upon two Tamil films Anniyan and Muthu.

Chabat felt the fight sequence in Rajnikant's 1995 film was exactly what he wanted and got permission to use the footage from Kavithalayaa Productions, the Chennai-based producers of Muthu.

This is not the first time Muthu has garnered interest abroad. In 1998 it was released as "Oduru Maharaja" (Dancing Maharaja) in Japan and gained Rajnikant a cult following there.

Rajnikant turned 57 on Dec 12 and is gearing up for the release of his latest Tamil film Sivaji early next year.


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