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Life/Recliner | Sep 27, 2010 | 76327 views

Why Rajinikanth Rocks

If anyone can make Chuck Norris look like a one-roundhouse-kick wonder, it is the southern superstar Rajinikanth. He’s larger than life. His fans would have you believe, he created God when he smiled
Why Rajinikanth Rocks

I

t is not unknown for fans to fast before a Rajini release, as prayer to the Gods for success of his film. But, perhaps, in a part of the world that puts its film stars on very high pedestals, that’s not unusual. Try this.

If you could possibly wangle a first-day-first-show ticket to a Rajini starrer, you will witness something you won’t see in a movie theatre, ever.

Rajinikanth gets his very own credits styling. The screen will say ‘Superstar’, then his name will follow: ‘Rajini’ in English and then in Tamil, glowing in platinum. By the time your eyes adjust to the glare, you realise that you might also lose your hearing. Every member of the theatre audience is standing up, chanting ‘Thalaivar! Thalaivar!’ (which means ‘boss’ in Tamil). Then he will make his entrance: First you see the underside of his shoe; then dried leaves and debris will fly out of the way when the foot comes to earth. Then the camera moves above ground and pauses, looking up, as a supplicant would to the saviour. That’s when the noise in the theatre reaches a crescendo and… the credits pause. And you see, at the foot of the screen, the regional distributor, the multiplex manager, and a few other dignitaries, resplendent in crisp white veshtis, are standing with a priest, who begins to chant prayers. Which end with the men in veshtis holding out their right hands and performing an aarti by burning camphor on their palms.

Then the crowd will settle down and the film will continue. Chances are, you’ll see the signature moves: The finger pointing skyward, deft handiwork with the sunglasses (in older movies, you’d have seen the cigarette toss; he doesn’t smoke on screen now, though). You’ll see gravity-defying jumps and hordes of bad guys being done in. Through it all, nothing will dislodge the Superstar’s smile and sunglasses.

Rajinikanth’s story is straight out of the movies: Boy from the wrong side of the tracks makes it big. Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, he had a wild childhood and even wilder youth where his pranks got him into all kinds of trouble: He was thrashed by the cops for chasing girls and beaten by restaurant workers for trying to pass off an old six rupee bill for a table full of food that he and his gang had demolished. The tale of how he moved from bus conductor to stage to screen is too well know to retell. Suffice it to say that for all his hell-raising, there was a talent which his friends recognised and people noticed first on stage. His wild ways were temporarily tamed when playwright and director ‘Topi’ Muniappa offered him a chance to act in mythological moral plays. The story goes that he played the villainous Duryodhana so well, he was applauded by old men when he was ripping off Draupadi’s sarees.

Hindi cinema, which was yet to become Bollywood, was, like much of Indian cinema, entangled in social themes. South Indian cinema, especially, was dealing with morality issues, which was fantastic for a performer like Rajinikanth, because he played the villain with much glee (shades of this are visible even in his blockbuster hit Chandramukhi, where his demented, ‘Laka, laka, laka, laka’ still sends shivers down one’s spine). 16 Vayathinile (At the Age of 16) paved the way for unkempt villains who had a singularly disgusting laugh. Mithun Chakraborty ruled 80s Hindi cinema with the same brand of impossible heroics and made-for-the-front-row lines, and inspired similar devotion from his fans. But it took Rajinikanth to not just find the formula of punch-line-laden, impossible-action-packed movie persona, but to make it work for over three decades. And counting.

That he was talented was evident to the director K. Balachander, who offered him a 15-minute role as a drunkard in Apoorva Raagangal (Rare Melodies), a Kamal Haasan starrer. Rajini made an impact as the man who muddies the love story by announcing a prior claim to the affections of the heroine just before she admits her love to the hero.

This article appeared in the Forbes India magazine issue of 08 October, 2010
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Comments (32)
Salr Apr 12, 2014
Here comes another insane article about thalaivar. I am research scholar working in an analytics firm and I am following Rajni for 27 years. I strongly condemn the author's view. Oh, pls stop this nonsense articles. Pls media and publishing houses, first know what your authors are posting on your websites. It is actually degrading your brand value. I really had a good opinion about forbes but now I've changed my mind now. I do not rely brands which endorses such article.
Oops I wasted 5 mins posting comments after reading stupid artciles like this. People, reading this is seriously a waste of time.
LOL gravity defying stunts, then you should probably start writing about batman, superman lol..flying out of earth..LOL! seriously!
Srikanthm May 29, 2013
It is utterly disturbing to see the article written in this way. We love him and this article tickles some nerves.
Raj Feb 2, 2013
what is a "Southern Super Start"? Call him a "Indian Super Star". Why wouldn't you call Shaurukh khan a "Northern Super Star", why would you call him a Indian Super Star? Even Hindi is a local language, local to only 36% of the population. So just stop this branding of anyone south of Vindhyas as Southern people and all the others are Indian. What trash is this, and Forbes encouraging this because it thinks that Bollywood is "Indian Film Industry" and all the ones who are employed are "North Indians" and they are very conveniently carrying this ignorance about India.
Prakash Dec 15, 2012
have you ever watched all of his movies..... if you did, you would not have written this article in this way, no offences. the delivery of dialogue and the inner meaning of thoughts combined with charisma of thalaivar is un matched... he is not just charismatic in acting but its way of his life... if you don't know Tamil language learn it and watch all of his interview, you will know why he still stands as superstar even after 30 years and why there is so many fanfare for him... i still remember when i was searching my identity during the time i used to waste lot of time not concentrating on work.... on that time i have seen one interview of him in which he has said that "the one who waste time will never succeed " and how much that changed my life....
i would recommend you to watch
1) Thillu mullu
2) aril irunthu arubathu varai
3)guru sishyan
this is enough to tell you his acting skill
"When she realised who the mendicant really was, she apologised. Rajini, they say, kept the note as a reminder and as a reward for his acting skill." ..... thank for your genorisity in praising him but please keep it with yourself.
Prashant Sree Dec 11, 2011
Apart from his charisma, Rajni has become a phenomena thanks to helpful work done by the media too.

Btw, a correction in this article. "Idhu eppadi irukku" means "How is this" and not "How are you".
Ryan Pinto Jul 7, 2011
After a long break, Rajni is now back in the limelight with his all new action sequence. Click here to find out more http://bit.ly/irJOpa
Keerthivasan May 11, 2011
Rajini always acted for the comfort of public, he can give quality acting, entertainment acting, only the public should understand, that is his motive. Kamalhasan, on the other hand, is a ego person, and he always entertained his group of limited fans. That is why, he is No. 32 in the world, and super star is no. 1 in the world as far as popularity of actors is concerned. You can complain when Kamalhasan turns no. 2.
Response to Keerthivasan:
Karthik May 13, 2011
Hello Brother/Sister. Please refresh your brain. Your assumption is totally mistaken. Kamal Haasan an enormous Big Giant who knows more and better than Rajinikanth. Where in the world you stay? Kamal haasan has limited fans ? he he. I am a great admirer of Superstar Rajini
Response to Karthik:
Keerthivasan Jun 12, 2011
Even though you are a great fan of super star, you tell that kamalhasan is giant. In what way he is giant? by knowing technical thing, you cannot be a giant, you should communicate well with the public, then only you are giant, otherwise you are upma actor.
Response to Keerthivasan:
Karthik Jun 13, 2011
Hi. Please turn on your brain or learn by yourself. What you know about Kamal haasan ? Kamal is not communicating well with public? Shows you're a child.
Ragini Apr 19, 2011
RAJINI will HAVE 7 heroines in RANA

1. Deepika padukone
2. Anushkha shetty
3. Sushmita sen
4. Trisha
5. Vidya balan
6. Ileana
7. Sneha
Anitha Oct 2, 2010
"Cheap tickets"? Have you any idea how many highly educated and well bred south Indians idolize him? Seriously! Live abroad in any country and you will explicitly see what i mean. Such SHOW OFFs.

So many south Indians, after having achieved so much, live without commotion. What is the problem, we admire humility and honesty more than fake skin.

Do we ridicule Bollywood movies and actors? Why cant we all live peacefully without imitating or irritating others? It's quite astonishing how so many north Indians (have REAL exp with them) think that South Indians feel inferior to them. Being quiet is not feeling inferior. It's called growing up.
Dharam Oct 2, 2010
There was a movie where there's a village on fire and then Rajini has had too much to drink and then he douses the fire by urinating on it ..... oh wait .. that was Gulliver's Travels ..


Maybe somebody will quote this in another article ..
Anurag Oct 1, 2010
Here we go... one article .. and north Indians.. South Indians... Tamilians all have started appearing... :-(
I would like to see Rajni "Spiliting a bullet in two" in next movie if he has not done it yet.
What I know is he is a great entertainer and this is what is required. PERIOD. Might be by Luck or Hard work. God Bless ALL.
Prathap Sep 30, 2010
I wish the authour does some proper research,get the facts right
Sandy Sep 29, 2010
This article has North Indian Bollywood ego... Manisha.. "idhu eppidi iruku" .. how is it. And in the last paragraph, you mentioned the incident which actually happened years ago. But you wrote as if it happened on the day you wrote this. There are lot wrong references all over the article. Coming to your Bollywood ego, do you know who won the most no of international awards, whose movie is screened in lot of int'l film festivals? It's Manirathnam, do you who is highest paid director in india.. its Shankar.. do you know to whom hrithik surrendered himself completely in a stage.. its prabhu deva..
Do you know by whom Bollywood's top directors want to handle the camera.. its rathnavelu.. or nirav shah.. And india's top editors also from south india.. all your Khan's and Kapoor's movies are edited by them and will be.
And music.. I dont have to say..
Response to Sandy:
Muddy Oct 2, 2010
Of course for music .. its Bappi Lahiri
Vinoth Sep 29, 2010
Very poorly researched. There is no movie of Rajini where the "splitting the bullet" scene appears. And neither the "outrunning electricity" scene. The first image has a subtext, mentioning Sivaji followed Baba. It's not. It was Chandramukhi, where he came back big after the Baba debacle. Writing with a sarcasm is up to the author. But should get the basic facts right.
Srinivasan. Sep 29, 2010
Rajini is a named Superstar cause he gave continuous 38 blockbusters... He EARNED it... I see many people mocking him... His movie Robot/Endhiran would answer all those who do so...
The BoSS Sep 29, 2010
Hah, another North Indian author with a bias. One would assume that the author would take a bit more responsibility and put in some hard work researching a subject before writing on it. The running faster than electricity scene is by Dharmendra in a bollywood movie and the using a knife to split bullets thing is just some internet troll, never in any movie. Why don't you back up your facts with the movie names.
Candida Sep 29, 2010
Honestly people, I saw no criticism at all. I thought it was funny
Karthik Sep 29, 2010
Its unfortunate that this article has a tone of mockery in it... Tamil Nadu is the most urbanized state in India, 4th highest contributor of GDP. And the highest number of engineering colleges in the country. People in Tamil Nadu are not insane to simply be mad of a person.. Rajinikanth is a phenomenon, he has a charisma around him that no body in India has... Your article seems to be from a north indian stand point and biased.. No offence intended..Its just my personal opinion...
PS: I am a hardcore Rajini fan, none of his movies has this faster than electricity scene.. its totally misleading innocent audience...
Shahul Sep 29, 2010
Ithu epidi iruku is - How is it? not How are you?
Nathan Sep 29, 2010
Manisha - your article has an underlying tone of mockery aimed at some of his mannerisms and movies.

Why can't some of you people accept that he is the biggest star in this part of the World (probably) the world? We are all well read and some of your lines such as "worked hard to ensure cheap tickets applause" wont go unnoticed. If you are genuine in your appreciation and understanding and write an article that is genuine to your credibility and journalistic capabilities - everybody will surely appreciate it wholeheartedly.

Else, through this article, I can sense an urge to write about Rajini but demeaning him subtly but still garner enough page hits and visits to your journal and post.

I have no animosity towards you but this is just my impression after your article. And, this comment shall be published un-edited, if you respect freedom of expression.

Thanks,
Nathan
Charlotte.
What The Heck Sep 29, 2010
And the most popular myth resurfaces. There is no movie of Rajini's where he splits the bullet into two with a knife, nor is there any movie showing him outrun electricity. The author needs to stop plagiarizing cheap stale forwards to churn out a cliche article such as this, that in the name of praising thalaivar is simply making a mockery out of him!
Sara Sep 28, 2010
Rajini always rocks!!!!!!!!!!
Vignesh Gobinath Sep 28, 2010
Super Star is Superb. He will not go into political way but political persons don't come into his way! Better understand babe.
Pooja Sep 28, 2010
Excellent perspective and capture of the Rajni mania, Manisha. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise! all the best
Sitharth Sep 28, 2010
I think the author needs to do more research on the subject.. and some of the points noted are simply wrong such as the kamal-rajini thing.. Anyway this is one of the very few articles written by a North Indian journalist in good spirit about "Thalaivar". Most of the others bring in their king sized EGO of Bollywood's so called greatness into the article and trying to belittle the greatness of "Thalaivar" or trying to make fun of him as if their movies are the epitome of logical screenplays. Long live "Thalaivar" !!!
Jimmy Mathew Sep 27, 2010
Its a nicely written piece - beg to differ with the comments above me -- I think it celebrates Rajnikant - the phenomena and just to put things in perspective - in the north, west or east OR in Bollywood no one can afford to laugh at him -- everyone celebrates him - even the biggies in bollywood can but only dream to create a frenzy like Rajni -- so what Rajini cant no one can :)
Pavan Madhini Sep 27, 2010
Why is it that I didn't even have to scroll up to see the author's name to know that it was a north Indian who doesn't understand the phenomenon that Rajni is? Does the author even know what she is writing about? Looks like a mish-mash of rumors lifted straight off facebook and twitter.
A journalistic article of such low quality is not expected of a magazine as reputed as Forbes. Such condescension flows from the words, as does ignorance.
Especially what conspired between Kamal and Rajni is portrayed in such a false light! All they decided was to not act together after a string of double hero movies in the late 70's. What's written here is pure Bull
Govind Sep 27, 2010
Typical North Indian style editorial, trying to blemish the Tamil cinema. Being obsessed with Hindi cinema and living in delusion that only Boolywood is face of Indian cimena, the author has explicitly exposed her shortcomings. Has not the author ever seen any illogical, irrational, impractical acts from Amithab, etc...north Indian actors. This article is nothing but another piece of north indian ignorance, incompetence and jealous.
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