Kochadaiiyaan (English: The king with a long, curly mane) is a 2014 Indian Tamil epic musical historical fiction film written by K. S. Ravikumar and directed by Soundarya R. Ashwin. It is India's first photorealistic motion capture film, featuring characters whose designs were based on the appearance and likeness of their respective actors. Rajinikanth, also Soundarya's father, enacted and voiced the two lead roles, and one surprise role in the film's final act. Deepika Padukone and Malayalam actress Shobana performed the female leads, whilst Aadhi and Jackie Shroff performed supporting characters. In addition to performing, R. Sarathkumar, Nassar and Rukmini Vijayakumar had also voiced their respective characters. The narrative follows the quest of an 8th-century warrior who seeks revenge after witnessing the unlawful punishment administered to his father, a good-hearted warrior in his kingdom, by the jealous ruler.
The film was the result of a complex development process, starting with the director's idea of directing and co-producing Sultan: The Warrior with Eros International in 2007, which was to feature Rajinikanth as a computer animated character. After cancelling the project due to lack of financial support, Soundarya and Eros turned their attention to producing Rana, which was to be a live-action historical fiction film directed by Ravikumar starring Rajinikanth and Padukone. However, the project was put on hold after Rajinkanth fell ill and uncertainty remained whether Rana would resume. In the meantime, producer Dr. J. Murali Manohar felt impressed by Soundarya's draft work on Sultan and persuaded her to materialise her directorial ambitions with Kochadaiiyaan, featuring a plot which leads itself up to the events of Rana, which was later deciphered as a sequel script to Kochadaiiyaan. The team agreed and completed filming in two years with Faceware Technologies at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom using motion capture technology, after which animation work and post-production ensued in the United States, Hong Kong, and China for a year. Music for the film was composed by A. R. Rahman and was performed by the London Session Orchestra. Rahman had been working since 2010 for Kevin Lima's upcoming film Bollywood Monkey Superstar and was inspired to bring idea of motion capture technology to Indian cinema, hence he was also at the forefront in the film's development.
Kochadaiiyaan was promoted as "a tribute to the centennial of Indian cinema" and released worldwide in 3D and for traditional viewing on 23 May 2014 in Tamil and five additional languages, including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Punjabi. Overall, the film received a mixed critical response worldwide, wherein critics drew comparisons to other films that have used motion capture technology, notably Avatar (2009), and noted general discrepancies in the animation. Other aspects of the film, including performances, background score, and screenplay, received acclaim. The film had a large opening in Tamil Nadu and across the world, while a less enthusiastic reception was seen in other parts of India. Though the film fared well in Tamil, it performed poorly in other parts of India, including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The film emerged as a commercial success.