Monday, June 18, 2007

The lure of the Super Star

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rajnikanth lives in Chennai
~ old tamil proverb

A man who almost invariably plays a fool for most part in all his films, a hopeless romantic, rooted in the traditions of culture and family, with two left feet, a face that would probably be called attractive by a good natured liar, an average physique and not so flattering features. A man, who, save South India is treated with good natured contempt elsewhere and bracketed with lowbrow B-movie stars. His pedigree is at best humble and its been more than a decade since he crossed fifty. You wouldn't bet big on a man like that would you?

Why is it then that Rajnikanth is more bad-ass than all other stars of this country put together and then some? He is cooler than a pre-global warming arctic glacier, he is hipper than Jimmy Hendrix on marijuana and oozes a brand of style that makes James Bond look like Razzak Khan. My favorite part in all of Thalaivar's films is the credits at the beginning. Its like the DC or Marvel logo at the start of a superhero film. Accompanied by the rhythmic shouts of "Hey! hey! hey!" in the background you get "SUPER STAR RAJNI" in huge letters (see pic). What it tells you is that this is a Rajnikanth film. No one else in this film matters. Everyone else is just there to fill in the blanks that Thailavar leaves. If you are the female lead thou shalt be wooed and rescued, if you are the dialogue writer thou shalt give Rajni bad-ass "punch" dialogues to mouth, the story writer shall give Rajni insurmountable odds, the director should see to it that Rajni surmounts them in style. If thou art the baddie, then even God cannot save you.

As I stood outside the Fame Cinema Screen 6 at Inorbit mall this Sunday with tickets to the big Sivaji opening, I couldn't help but eavesdrop into some of the conversations of other people. There was a bunch of guys in the midst of a scholarly discussion on Rajni's "entry" scenes in movies, a genre unto itself. They say Khan is king and AB is emperor. But only Rajni Rules!

A few light years before Wachowskis made Matrix, Rajni had already perfected the art of flying stunts. Remember Guru Sisyan in which Rajni tells the baddies, "ungley yair le parandu parandu adikka poren (I am kick going to kick your ass and levitate simulataneously)" and promptly engages all ten in aerial combat, not once putting feet on the ground. Beat that Neo!

The man has grown old and it shows. They say they had to digitally alter his jawline to make him look younger. His reflexes are slower in the fight scenes and that shows too. He plays, of all things, a 'sofware systems architect' (sic) in this film. But he still wields absolute control over his dominion. To his kick-ass, others merely manage to prod-buttock. To all you non-believers go watch Sivaji- The Boss and tell me if you've seen better WTF scenes. And then try explaining to yourself that Sivaji is expected to top 140 crores in collections.

sixxucu appron seven da, Sivajiku appron yeven da ~ old vivek saying

Was watching Baasha on DVD the other day. The day this dialogue - "yen pare Manickam, yennuku innoru per irukku" fails to give me goose flesh will be the day I win a Nobel Prize in molecular gastronomy.