Monday, May 23, 2005

Rajni - India's Biggest Star..

Not Amitabh, not Shah Rukh, not Aamir, not Kamalhassan, not Chiranjeevi... Yes people, that's the truth. 30 years in the industry, with 36 Best Actor Awards between 1977 and 2000, I am talking about the one and only Rajnikanth. Though personally I'd like to forget Baba and Chandramukhi as his movies, the statistics remain that Chandramukhi has already grossed 10 million US dollars (yes.. I said it right.. DOLLARS). With that, Rajni overtakes all the above mentioned stars and has become the highest paid actor in India once again. He is probably the ONLY actor in India who has people of other nationality rushing to see his movies on the first day. I'm talking about the few Japanese who flew to Chennai to watch the release of Chandramukhi - first day first show!

Chandramukhi was my first experience of watching a Rajni movie in the US. And the experience was totally worth every buck I paid for it. Its been more than a month since this happened, but I guess I finally got down to writing about it only now. I was prompted to wake up from my slumber by a slide show on the IndiaTimes website.
Here's a link to the article.. Rajnikanth: Return of the King

Chandramukhi was the first Tamil movie to have a sold out show here in Denver in the last 5 years. Infact, it had two sold out shows! Ofcourse, you would've guessed by the time frame, that the last Tamil movie which had a sold out show here was Padayappa. The amount of excitement that Chandramukhi generated here in the Denver metro area was unbelievable. Every Tamilian I knew was excited about the movie. The movie ticket was bundled with a lunch buffet at the Denver Woodlands for a decent deal of 15$ (considering the fact that we usually pay 10$ for any Indian movie at the theater).

A bunch of my friends and I landed up at Woodlands at 11.30 sharp to have lunch quickly and get to the theater to get good seats. The movie was to start at 2.00pm. I walk into Woodlands and I walk into blaring Thalaivar music. They had actually got a Tamil DJ (didn't know one of those existed) to belt out some super hit SuperStar music during the entire lunch. Initially, We were seated in the waiting area. All I could hear around me were people discussing his previous hits and punch dialogues. After a few minutes, we made our way to our table. We were handed over a sheet of paper with a SuperStar quiz on it. We made our way to the buffet and voila.. I see tags on each dish which read something like "Chandramukhi Fried Rice", "Padayappa Poriyal", etc. etc.

After the sumptuous meal, we headed to the movie. The movie in my opinion was very ordinary.. However, it did perk up my interest in Manichitrathazhu. I'm sure that Mohanlal would've done an awesome job in Thalaivar's role without the superstardom affecting the role itself. And to me, Jyothika looked like she had an ants-in-her-pants probmlem, when she danced for Sarasuku Ra Ra. I can imagine Shobana sweeping the dance floor and holding the audience captive with her expressive eyes. A mental note made to watch Manichitrathazhu. The good thing about watching the movie is that I have really started liking the songs after watching the movie. Overall, the movie was ordinary, but the experience was a 'once in a lifetime' experience.

Another thing I noticed was that Rajni's voice seems to have changed a little. He sounded a lot older than himself in Baba. I think his age is starting to tell. What I'd like to see in his future movies, is him being a character artist doing cameo roles. He needs to age gracefully. He definitely needs to stop trying to lock lips with 18 year olds! :-).


Blogger Metlin said...


Come on, dude! I'm sure that the tamil version wouldn't be anywhere close to the original Malayalam version, Manichitrathazhu. In fact, I was probably in 9th or 10th when it came out, and we were in Trivandrum -- I was mesmerized by the movie. I dislike the fact that tamil movies stereotype things and make it into a masala movie.


9:54 AM  
Blogger Manu said...

Lol.. I say the same thing MNK. I totally agree that the Mallu version must've been 10 times better. I haven't seen it yet.. Thats why the mental note to watch it sometime..
Well.. what else can you expect from P.Vasu??

11:54 AM  
Blogger Somu said...

He is believed to have been paid 15 crores for this project... and even Shah Rukh... supposedly the biggest star in India gets around 5 crores... Read it in Rediff... so i believe the statistics is true !!!

As for Jo having ants in her pants... cant blame her. Just watch Vineeth and JO while they dance... There is some sort of serenity in his face as he dances effortlessly while Jo looks like she is wondering if her steps are right... Simran wud have done a good job, but then Jo definitely emerges a winner!!!!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Manu said...

I'm not sure if you're aware that Vineeth is an accomplished Bharathanatiyam dancer. I guess thats why they chose him for that role.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Somu said...

Yes MAnu, am aware which is why I said he was so effortless and not too concious of his steps... While Jo could not bring that kind of effortlessness in her performance. All said and done, her lakalakalakalak was mindboggling :o)

9:54 AM  
Blogger charanya said...

yeah man..he should defn quit acting with 18 ur old kids..i mean this heroine (oh lord..whoever decided she'd be a suitable match for rajni must be hanged!_ must have gone to school with his daughters..i think he should go back to where he started and do cool villain roles..he was a badass in those roles..

9:27 AM  
Blogger Balakumar said...

Nice photos and posts! On Chandramukhi, it was a pretty packed show in Portland Oregon too. And loved the crowd reaction to every screen. It was 3 boisterous hours. I dont care if Rajni is a very talented actor or not. I have read that debate numerous times. The fact is, he is one of the best entertainers there is. How else do you explain 2-year olds to 70+ year olds responding so enthusiastically to his movie. There was this 6-year old in the seat behind us screaming "Repeatuuuu" everytime it came up in Thalivar's song.

I saw the Malayalam version before I saw Chandramukhi. To Rajni's credit, he has not done too bad a job of copying it.

In summary, Rajni rocks!

6:09 PM  
Blogger Balakumar said...

BTW, I can only imagine what the effect must be like in Chennai!!!! :D

6:10 PM  

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