I (also known as Shankar’s I ) is a 2015 Indian Tamil-language romantic thriller film written and directed by Shankar and co-written by Subha. Produced and distributed by V. Ravichandran under his production company, Aascar Films, the film features Vikram and Amy Jackson in lead roles while Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Santhanam and Ramkumar Ganesan portray pivotal roles. The soundtrack and film score were composed by A. R. Rahman. Production design was handled by T. Muthuraj. P. C. Sreeram was the film’s cinematographer and editing was done by Anthony.
The visual effects were designed by V. Srinivas Mohan through Rising Sun Pictures. Weta Workshop had worked on the digital and prosthetic make-up and background arts for the film. Principal photography commenced on 15 July 2012. The filming lasted for two years and eight months, during which shooting was done extensively in China. Further schedules were filmed in locations in Chennai, Bangkok, Jodhpur, Kodaikanal, Pollachi, Bangalore and Mysore. The film was dubbed and released in Telugu and Hindi along with the Tamil version.
The film, released on 14 January 2015, tells the story of a body builder turned supermodel, played by Vikram, who after being deformed, exacts revenge upon those who were responsible for his predicament. Critics praised Vikram’s performance, the technical aspects of the film – especially the costume design and makeup, and A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack and score but criticised the ‘wafer-thin’ writing and screenplay and the film’s excessive length (188 minutes). However, the film was a commercial success, grossing ₹2.25 billion (US$35 million) worldwide, becoming the fourth-highest grossing Tamil film and Vikram’s highest-grossing film at the time. Vikram won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil for the movie.
Lingesan (Vikram) is a bodybuilder from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, whose main ambition is to become Mr. India. He wins the title of Mr. Tamil Nadu, which gives him direct entry to the Mr. India pageant. He is infatuated by Diya (Amy Jackson), a leading supermodel. Diya is soon blacklisted and all her advertisement film contracts are cancelled by John (Upen Patel), her co-star in all her advertisements, after she constantly rejected his advances. To save her career, Diya decides to replace John with Lingesan, whom she had earlier met at one of her shoots, as her co-star for her next advertisement. The shooting is to take place in China at the same time when the Mr. India contest is to take place, but Lingesan agrees, sacrificing his Mr. India ambitions in the process.
Lingesan is given a makeover by Diya’s stylist, a transgender woman Jasmine (Ojas Raja). The shoot initially does not go well as Lingesan is shy and awkward around Diya. On her director’s advice, Diya pretends to fall in love with Lingesan so that he would loosen up and perform better during the shoot. The plan proves successful and gradually both excel in the modelling industry as the lead pair. As time passes, Diya reciprocates Lingesan’s love for her and they soon get engaged.
In his journey from a bodybuilder to a top model, Lingesan makes many enemies, including John, whose modelling career was ruined due to Lingesan’s rising popularity; Osma, who was infatuated by Lingesan and proposed to him, only to be rejected; industrialist Indrakumar (Ramkumar Ganesan), whose company suffered losses when Lingesan refused to endorse their soft drink as it was reported to contain pesticides; and another bodybuilder Ravi (M. Kamaraj), who also competed for the Mr. Tamil Nadu title but lost to Lingesan. These four people conspire to take revenge on Lingesan and destroy his fame and modelling career.