Ai (The word has multiple meanings: "King, beauty, astonishment, guru, vulnerability, owner and arrow") is an upcoming Indian Tamil romantic action thriller film directed by S. Shankar and produced by Venu Ravichandran's Aascar Films. The film stars Vikram and Amy Jackson in the lead roles along with Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel and Santhanam in supporting roles. The cinematographer is P. C. Sreeram and the music is composed by A. R. Rahman. The Telugu version of the film has been titled as Manoharudu. Weta Workshop has worked on the digital make-up and background arts for the film.
Vikram as Manoharan
Amy Jackson as Diya
Shankar approached Subha to work on the script of the film. Music director A. R. Rahman will compose the music and background score for the film. The cinematographer for the project is P. C. Sreeram. Mary E. Vogt is designing specialized costumes for the lead roles. Action choreographer Peter Ming has been announced for stunt direction with additional stunt direction and supervision by Anal Arasu. VFX company Rising Sun Pictures under supervision of visual effects designer V. Srinivas Mohan would provide the special effects in motion filming. Indian film production designer T. Muthuraj is the art director. In May 2012, Shankar had visited Weta Workshop, New Zealand and met filmmaker Richard Taylor & Peter Jackson's special effects and prop company Weta Workshop. Actor Vikram was provided with a catchy makeup by Sean Foot and Davina Lamont.On Weta, Shankar quoted, "I had storming sessions regarding the look of Vikram and others in ‘I’. They took me through the whole Weta Workshop and I was amazed to know all the stunning visuals, makeup and props which I saw in the recent year’s movies are done by Weta".
Vikram was confirmed of playing the lead role much earlier than official. First, it was reported that Asin, would play the lead. Deepika Padukone though reported, denied her association with film and Priyanka Chopra was also rumored for the same. Initially, Samantha Ruth Prabhu signed on, but the actress was forced to opt out as she was unable to allot larger number of dates that were required for the film. Further she clarified being busy for her Telugu film outings. Amy Jackson was then signed on. Santhanam was also selected to be a part of this film. Malayalam Super Star Suresh Gopi is playing the role of a doctor. Ramkumar Ganesan is enacting a major role in the film. Actor Seenivasan was chosen to play a significant role in the film. Bollywood actor Upen Patel would be debuting in Tamil cinema through this film. Jiiva was considered for playing the antagonist, but was unable to accept the offer due to his prior commitments. He was actually hesitant on playing such a character, as his antagonistic performance in Singam Puli (2011) received mixed response. American actor Arnold Schwarzeneggar was cast as an award presenter for a brief scene.
The film had its official launch on 15 July 2012 accompanying a poster photo shoot that featured Vikram and Jackson. The first schedule of filming was completed in Chennai by early September 2012. Majority scenes in the film have background arts created by Weta. The main cast and crew were off to China for a 45 day schedule to shoot certain stunt scenes while some song sequences were also canned at scenic locales, especially in northern Hunan. The schedule in China was wrapped up by late November 2012. As per reports, filming was expected to be done across eight different countries over the globe. In January 2013, a fight scene was canned at an abandoned, 20 year old factory in Chennai. Sixty percent of the shooting was completed by the end of the same month. By March 2013, four songs and three major action sequences were shot around China, Bangkok, Jodhpur, Kodaikanal, Pollachi and Chennai. In June 2013, three week filming schedule was completed in Bengaluru, Mysore and Chennai. 75% of the shooting was completed by July 2013. In August 2013, filming began at a hospital in Kilpauk and Ambattur in Chennai as well. Thirty days were allotted to shoot the climax. A dance number featuring the lead heroine and Upen Patel was shot in November 2013. The filming was wrapped up by March 1, 2014 except for a dance number that introduces Amy Jackson which was shot in Chennai on 25 April 2014. Upen Patel is featured with her in the song.
On April 3, 2014, film critic and journalist Sreedhar Pillai stated that the film's trailer was in stages of editing.
In early July 2012, music composer A. R. Rahman composed a track sung by Vijay Prakash, written by Kabilan. In January 2013, the second song penned by lyricist Madhan Karky was recorded. Karky stated that it was the most challenging song he had ever worked on. Another track by Sunitha Sarathy was recorded on 14 February 2013. Lyricist Madhan Karky's third song in the film was recorded by mid-September 2013. On 24 March 2014, Sony Music acquired the audio rights of the film. In May 2014, Rahman through his bulletin board system of Reddit stated that the film songs have more youth-oriented voices and thus, the bits of pre-marketing activity of late June 2014, composer Anirudh Ravichander had recorded for a song for the film. By early July 2014, recording of all the songs was completed.