Sometimes a script has been written, the cast and crew have been finalized, the producers are on board and a film is announced. Then, even after part of the film has been shot, the film is dropped altogether. There can many reasons for this to happen; producers decide to back out, the cast and crew gets busy with other projects, or controversies regarding the film's story. Here are some of the most anticipated Tamil films over the years that never actually made it.
Cast: Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai
This was supposed to be the Superstar's next film after the average-grosser Baba (2002). AR Rahman was signed as the music director and the project was supposed to take off sometime in 2004. Even a photo shoot featuring Rajni in a terrorist-like look commenced and garnered much hype. However, Rajni and Aishwarya Rai became busy with Chandramukhi (2005) and Raincoat (2004) respectively while Ravikumar went on to work on Varalaru (2006). The project eventually got shelved. However, story has it that the movie was immediately dropped just after a few days of filming because the script was too similar to Baasha (1995). Ravikumar then went on and reused the name for his next movie with a different cast and script for his 2010 film with Sarath Kumar and Shriya Saran.
Cast: Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta
After completing Nayak: The Real Hero in 2001, Shankar announced his plans to direct a science fiction thriller with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta titled Robo. However, the film was dropped after a while as a film of that scale would require a big budget and there was an issue with funding. Shankar then moved on to work on Boys (2003). Shankar would later rewrite the script and cast Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the sci-fi blockbuster with a similar premise, Enthiran (2010).
Cast: Ajith Kumar and Asin
Not to be confused with the 2012 film starring Vinay Rai, this film was originally announced in March 2004 as a revenge story with a photo shoot already taking place. This would have been Murugadoss and Ajith's second movie together after the the former's directorial debut, Dheena (2001) which earned Ajith the title 'Thala.' Yuvan Shankar Raja was signed as the music director. However the movie failed to launch after Ajith left the project due to disagreements and attempts to rope in Madhavan failed. Murugadoss then revamped the story by adding the Memento-inspired short-term memory lost aspect to it and proceeded by directing Surya in Ghajini.
Taunted as S. J. Surya's dream project, this was supposed to be the director's second movie with Vijay following the highly successful Kushi (2000). However, Vijay was on the rise to become a commercial entertainer with all the formulaic masala flicks he did throughout the 2000s and this script did not fit the image he was trying to build. The project was dropped but later revived in Telugu with Pawan Kalyan. Vijay then went on to star in another film with the same title in 2015.
Director: Gautham Menon
This film was planned as a spy thriller revolving around a third generation NRI who joins the CIA. His father, who is a US senator has him sent abroad on a mission to pose as a local Tamilian to solve a mystery that could endanger the American people. Sounds promising right? Director Gautham even had plans on making multiple sequels with each one taking place in a different city surrounding a different mystery. Sounds promising, right? Even AR Rahman was supposed to be the music director with Menon producing it himself. Sadly, Vijay felt the film would be too radically different for his fan base to accept and dropped the film at the last moment claiming it did not suit his image.
6) Arunachalam Vs. Chitra (AC)
Cast: Simbu and Asin
The teaming up between the man behind New (2004) and Anbe Aaryire (2005), and the man behind Manmadhan (2004) and Vallavan (2006) was highly anticipated by those who enjoy these kinds of movies with mature themes. Asin was signed up as the female lead and a photo shoot also commenced. However, the delay of Vallavan apparently led SJ Surya to pursue other projects and the film was eventually shelved.
7) Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikkalam
Director: Gautham Menon
The film was supposed to be an AR Rahman musical starring Trisha and four male newcomers; Nikitha, Satish Krishnan, Veera Bahu and Deva. It was supposed to be an urban film set within the IT world. However, the project was delayed and eventually canned even after more almost 40% of the filming was completed due to unknown reasons. Gautham Menon then went on to direct Vaaranam Aayiram (2008) and Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010).
Cast: Simbu and Genelia
This was supposed to be Simbu's 25th film. Initially, the script was dropped then revived again with Simbu in talks to direct it himself once Osthe (2011) was completed. The film was rumoured to be a much more intense psychological thriller than Manmadhan. However, the film appears to have been put on hold again and there is no news on if the film will be made or not.
9) Dhruva Natchathram
Director: Gautham Menon
Cast: Surya, Asin and Daniel Balaji
Yes, Gautham Menon tops the list as the director with the most shelved projects. Initially titled Thuppariyum Anandham, this film would have been Menon and Surya's hat trick had it materialized. The film would be set both in present day Pondicherry and back when the French still ruled the territory. There are many stories on why the film was dropped. The most popular one is that Gautham had presented Surya with an uncompleted script which he could not commit to, leading him to sign up for Anjaan (2014). Another story states that the film places more importance on other characters that were allegedly supposed to be played by Simran and Parthiban, and Surya's screen time would be very limited considering his status as a leading man in the industry. This led him to leave the project.
Director: Kamal Hassan
Cast: Kamal Hassan, Vishnuvardhan, Nassar, Sathyaraj and Pasupathy
This film probably has been shelved the longest in this list and though rumours of it being revived always surfaces, little proof of that exists. The film was launched at a grand scale by Queen Elizabeth II herself with Her Majesty visiting the sets alongside Tamil Nadu's chief minister at the time. Problems first rose in late 1998 when a group complained that the film misinterprets their community's historical figure. Then, another group complained that the film would glamorize the main character when he is allegedly a traitor. Extensive sets built were abandoned as the number of complaints grew. The British company that was supposed to fund the film also back out after it was alleged the film might be anti-British. Most of the film's sets and props were then used for another Kaml Hassan sterrer and directorial, Hey Ram (2000) which lured much controversy as well but went on to become a critical success. Though a trailer of the film was eventually leaked online, there is no saying when filming will resume.
11) Idhu Maalai Neerathu Mayakkam
Cast: Dhanush and Andrea Jeremiah
This film, which would have been brothers Selvaraghavan and Dhanush's next venture after Mayakkam Enna (2011) but was canned and relaunched several times. It began filming in late 2006, but was then shelved and revived in late 2008 with Dhanush and Andrea Jeremiah in the lead roles. Dhanush was alleged to sport four distinctive looks for the film depicting various stages of his life, from a school boy right up to an elderly man. However, the project was shelved for unknown reasons for the second time. Now, rumour has it that Selvaraghavan's wife, Gitanjali will be directing the remaining portions of the film, although another report stated that this is a completely original film under the same title.
12) Madras Talkies' Untitled Project
Director: Mani Ratnam
After the mediocre Kadal (2013), Mani Ratnam was all set for a comeback with an action thriller starring his muse Aishwarya Rai and Telugu stars Akkineni Nagarjuna and Mahesh Babu. However, Babu opted out of the project and negotiations with Ram Charan failed, after he claimed that the film lacked any commercial elements. There were then reports that Nivin Pauly was approached for the project although he denied it ever happened. The film appears to have been dropped now with Mani busy filing Okay Kanmani (2015) with Dulqueer Salman, Nithya Menon, Prakash Raj and Kanika.