Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why is Rajini The Superstar? {one hundredth article of this blog}


     Astronomically, stars are ‘balls of gases’ and they glitter, transmit light,heat  and energy, and reflect different shades of colour depending upon how they are and what they are made of. Prominent persons in their respective fields are called stars, mostly because of their brilliance of character display and level of achievement, as well as, their quality of performance. In this way, we can say, there are stars of humanity shining independently, or forming a galaxy in every sphere of human activity.
    More than in other fields, in the larger-than- life sky of the world of cinema, there are stars shining from time to time, passing on their grandiose stuff to many, with whom they come into contact, through the big screen. These stars are generally distinguished language-wise, because it is through what they say and how they say it, they transmit their inherent and acquired degree of energy. Besides,it is their so called self - styled body language, that affixes on them, a status of individuality and distinct appeal.
   While world cinema is diversely rich and vast with its infinite cluster of stars,Tamil cinema has super imposed its position by the transmission of immeasurable quantum of emotional energy, periodically generated and perfectly delivered,by a good number of invincible actors to their passionate recipients.There were once two high energy transmitters like MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. One became a leader of the people and the other became the historic monument of acting. 
    But Tamil film audience has never acknowledged any one as a Super Star, until the emergence of Rajinikanth. So the questions here are, why Rajini alone could attain this title and what is special about him that made him a superstar, when his own contemporary,a world class actor and one time team mate on screen, Kamalahasan, is not called so, despite his amazing variety of talents and creative magnificence .
   Well, right answers to these questions are difficult to find, because it is a mysterious phenomenon and one cannot easily reason out the inscrutable determiners of an individual’s providentially fortunate position.There could be as many interpretations as possible, from each one’s imagination and understanding. My own understanding of this colossal actor, makes me equate him to the Sun, the closest star to the earth that transmits immense light, heat and energy and becomes a life preserver on this planet. 
     Rajini is called the superstar because,he has the unusual charisma and gusto, to stimulate and sustain warmth and love in those who watch him on the screen.It is an inspiring kind of charm that will penetrate into the psyche of the audience and remain there for long.From milkmen to auto drivers, the spirit of Rajini has beautifully permeated into their emotions and comfortably settled down with them as a part and parcel of their routine.
   The inextricable magnetic appeal in his look and demeanor, the never- seen -before body language, the electrifying vibration in tone, the charmingly  peculiar Tamil accent in dialogue delivery, the stunning levels of speed and agility in performance and the overall animating mode of acting, have carried him closer to the vast majority of the Tamil audience, irrespective of age,gender, community and religion.All these characteristics put together in a grand scale, made him a hero of special category and it is this special placement that made him a superstar.
    One who is loved by most children,deserve a special place in society. Jawaharlal Nehru  beyond his statesmanship and politically high position, found solace in the company of children and his consummate love for children transformed his birthday, into Children’s day. In a different way, Rajini is an actor enjoying the genuine love and affection of toddlers and grown up children, to a great extent. Rajini himself, with his innate flair for clean humour, exhibits a child -like temperament and may be, this attribute of innocence displayed beautifully on screen quite often, makes him spontaneously establish a rapport with children.The emotional bond between  Rajini and children, has perhaps continued when the last generation’s children became adults.
     The equations that Rajini has constantly reinforced with teenagers, adults and senior citizens,have reflected multi layers of frenzy, appreciation and patronage by way of natural responses. Rajini’s off screen image of himself being what he is, only improves his star status, in an impressively contrast mould. As a person, he is not bothered about his complexion or appearance.Whereas,as an actor, every time he is physically reborn with greater charm and juvenile vigour. The difference between a modest,true- to- life person and a sparkling splendid actor, exists at so massive a level, that one could hardly believe if it is Rajini the man who transfigures himself into that gigantic stature.
    The other indisputable fact is that Rajini is not just the Superstar but a great actor of depth and dynamism.His first appearance in Aboorva Raagangal would not have certainly made any one think that he would next appear as an anti hero and strike every body’s fancy with an unexpected,fitness and  force of performance in Moonru Mudichu. K.Balachander his mentor, tapped his hidden levels and caliber of acting in negative roles, in films like Avargal,Thappu Thaalangal and Netrikkan {in dual roles, of course}.The same director could also trace the humour fountain in Rajini and capitalize it in Ninaithaale Inikkum and Thillu Mullu. 
     Though later on, Rajini acted in a number of films of K.Balachander's Kavidalaya Production house, the film Raghavendra {Rajinikanth's one hundredth film} that depicted the superstar in the title role of that spiritual character, deserves a special place among Tamil movies,in terms of genuineness in appearance and veracity in portrayal, without causing any desecration to a holy man's life history.Besides, Rajini fitted himself into that character with utmost authenticity and dedication.
    As rugged manliness and rough and tough exterior were an inspiring source of attraction of Rajini, many film makers exploited him during the early years of his career.Some of them did it conventionally and others used him meaningfully.After Balachander, it was S.P.Muthuraman who understood Rajinikanth inside out, as an actor.Like P.Neelakandan who had directed the maximum number of films of MGR, S.P.Muthuraman takes the proud position of directing Rajinikanth for maximum number of movies. J,Magendran,Barathiraja,Rajasekar,P.Vasu A.Jeganathan Manobala,and K.S.Ravikumar are the other great makers of Rajinikanth films. All these directors could be said to have rightly understood the intrinsic quest in Rajini, for solid role performance. 
    Among the earlier Rajini films, the most notable ones {other than Balachander’s}were, Dharma Yudham, Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri,'Engeyo Kettakural, Aarilirundhu Arubathuvarai, Mullum Malarum,Jaani and Murattukkaalai. His ruggedness continued to dominate in these films as well as his other moderate success shows like Kaali, Kazhugu, Raanuva Veeran, Ranga, Anbukku Naan Adimai, Tahimeedhu Sathiyam, and Thai Veedu. The last four in the list and the most popular Annai Oer Aalayam and Dharmathin Thalaivan, were from the Devar Films Circuit.
    People who were watching Rajini’s stable growth and sterling performance in these movies as well as in other films like Nallavanukku Nallavan,Naan Mahaan Alla and Naan Sigappu Mandhan were simply overwhelmed by a combined show of Sivaji Ganesan and MGR in one actor and at times, he would try to surpass them too, by his refreshing style of acting.As years passed, the number of films increased. Big banner production houses like the AVM Studios,Sathya Movies and Sujatha Cine Arts continued to enroll him in most of their movies. I do not think any other hero would have staked a voluminous claim of roles in films under the AVM banner, like the Superstar. 
     Again it was the song ‘Super Staaru Yaarunnu keitta Chinna Kuzhandhaiyum Sollum’ in AVM’s Raja Chinna Roja that endorsed and propagated his image in this regard. Apart from Nallavanukku Nallavan, the other fine films of Rajini under this big production unit were Murattukkalai,Paayum Puli, Mr.Barath, Manidhan,Ejamaan and the latest Sivaji. Similarly the most successful films of Rajini with Sathya Movies were, Moonru Mugam,Raanuva Veeran, Oorkaavalan, Thangamagan and the blockbuster film Baashaa and Panakkaran.K.Balaji under whose Sujatha Cine Arts Movies,Rajini acted in the most celebrated film Billa,{which was later remade in two parts with Ajith as hero} chose him regularly to play the lead, in other films like Thee,{Amitab's blockbuster Deewaar}and Vidudhalai [a remake of Hidndi Qurbani}
    While director Suresh Krishna brought out the fire in Rajinikanth in his action-cum family dramas like Annamalai  Baasha, the other powerful film maker [late] Rajasekar focused on both the humour and gravity components of Rajini’s roles in films like Maaveeran,Thambikku Endha Ooru,Maappillai,Padikkaadhavan and Dharmadhorai {the last one carried a tragic undertone and reestablished Rajini’s power of role delivery}.Rajini has also worked with the two top most directors of the new generation like Manirathnam and Shankar. His characterization in Thalapathi was poignant and gracefully impressive, on account of its simultaneously breezy and powerful narration.
    While Shankar’s Sivaji was a mammoth display of style,humour, emotion and social awakening, his Endiran resurrected old memories of Rajini’s exceptional flair for villainy. K.Bala- chander’s Production house continued to patronize Rajini for films like Pudhukkavidhai, Siva, Velaikkaran,Annamalai, Mappillai and Muthu. While K.S Ravikumar gave the two hits Muthu and Padayappa, Sivaji  Films  can be proud of its Rajini starring hits such as Mannan and Chandramugi, both directed by P.Vasu who has also made Rajini's other popular films like Panakkaran, Uzhaippaali and Kuselan.The other remembered  films of Rajini are J.Magendran's Kai Kodukkum Kai,Naan Adimai Illai of Dwarakish, Sundar C's wonderful Arunachalam,Kodi Parakkudhu from Barathiraja, the Silver Jubilee hit Rajathiraja of R.Sundarajan,P.A.Arts Productions'Guru Sishyan  and Suresh Krishna’s Veera and Baba.
    Almost all the heroines were a perfect match for Rajini though actresses like Ambika, Radhika, Radha,Kushbu and Meena{who had once acted with him as a child artist} have frequently been paired with him.His most favoured actor to do the villain in his movies would perhaps have been the uniquely talented[late]Raguvaran. As far as character actors are concerned, Vijayakumar seems to have always formed part of many Rajini films followed by V.K.Ramasamy. Rajini appears to have enjoyed a fellow feeling with all the prominent comedians starting from Goundamani down to Santhaanam but he has obviously been more at home with Janakaraj who has joined his company in a lot of films. Rajini himself being endowed with a top class comedy sense, his team spirit vigorously revealed with Goundamani in Pathinaaru Vayadhinile,Uzhaippaali,Mannan and Baba, with Janakaraj in Rajaadhi Raaja,Baashaa, Annaamalai,  Padikkadhavan, Veera, and Arunachalam,with Sendhil in Muthu, Arunachalam and Padayappa,with Vadivelu in Chandramugi and with Vivek in Sivaji,needs a special mention.  
    Rajini as an actor, has a stuff like the Himalayas and a major part of his acting potential still remains underutilized. It is the proven success formula of a Rajini movie that keeps selling, in the hands of quite a number of eminent directors.Catchy Rajini brand dialogues have considerably added great significance to the audience cherished title 'superstar'. However,very often, prolific film watchers like me, would earnestly long for the reemergence of the stunning depth and power of role performance of Rajini, witnessed years ago, in his qualitative films directed by J. Magendran or K.Balachander.Today, no doubt, Rajini has reached an  astronomical  height, having thrown and tackled challenges of all kinds, during an acting career spread over a period of a little less than four decades.His image, primarily as a valued human being and then as superstar remains perfectly intact.
   Be it a cigarette or a cinema villain, Rajini can handle anything or anybody, in a way that he alone can do it. Any one can imitate him in voice and style, but no one can equal him. He is the grandest star among stars and that is why he is the Superstar. Also,he is the Superstar because he has conquered human imagination at home and abroad, with an indefinable spell of possession and possessiveness, the reason for which, he himself may not know. Before I conclude, I should record this known fact.Tamil is not the mother tongue of Rajinjkanth;nor was it the mother tongue of MGR.One ruled the Tamil emotions as an actor and an astounding political leader.The other, glows in the hearts of the Tamils, as their one and only Superstar.  


1 comment:

  1. Sivaji Ganesan and Rajini always attracted the public with variety of roles, unless MGR, who created a good natured fellow in all of his movies. Rajini and Sivaji are far better than MGR