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Is Rajnikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan jinxed?

 | May 9, 2014

The new release date is May 23. But many are sceptical about this schedule as well.

FEATURE

kochadaiyaan1-sep9Some movies in India are jinxed. Some actors are as well.

Many years ago, Indian actress Vidya Balan was part of a South Indian movie that failed. For a long time after that, Balan was literally shunned by producers and directors. They had concluded that she was a bad omen.

But bad times pass and Balan is much in demand today. And why not? She is a very fine actress.

It now seems that Tamil superstar Rajnikanth is passing through a storm. His much anticipated Kochadaiiyaan has again hit an air pocket.

The film will not open on May 9 as announced.

This has hugely disappointed Rajnikanth fans, whose numbers have grown by several more thousands during the past few days when the Tamil superstar, nay demigod, began tweeting for the first time in his life.

Eros International, the movie’s global distributor, said late on Wednesday evening that there were still some more technical glitches to be resolved before Kochadaiiyaan could hit the screens across the world.

The new release date is May 23. But many are sceptical about this schedule as well.

The question now is, is the work jinxed.

It was to have opened as early as January – to coincide with the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal. It did not, and we were told that it would be in the theatres in mid-April – to herald the Tamil New Year. The date passed by with no sign of Rajnikanth and Deepika Padukone in a new 3D technology that gave them a somewhat cartoonish appearance in Kochadaiiyaan. The trailer revealed this.

Apart from fan frustration, the innumerable delays in Kochadaiiyaan’s release have led to inconvenience among cinema owners and film producers/directors. While some of them have been keeping their pictures on hold – not wanting to be swallowed by the big fish — one theatre in Tamil Nadu has already sold 13,000 tickets for Kochadaiiyaan, and the management has now said that these can be exchanged for any other movie.

But who is game for this? People have bought tickets to see Rajnikanth, not somebody else. In a state where stars are literally worshiped, temples built for them and their wooden cutouts anointed with milk and honey, it would come as a poor choice if people were asked to watch some other actor. It could also lead to destructive anger.

With Rajnikanth playing multiple warriors in Kochadaiiyaan, helmed by daughter Soundarya, the film has been causing popular imagination to run riot.

koHowever, as much as producers, most of whom are said to have borrowed heavily from the market, and distributors/exhibitors may be inclined to share popular perception about the Rajnikanth work, they are also, at the same time, apprehensive about how well the movie will do.

(A Times of India report says that a public sector bank has moved the court demanding that the producers repay the huge loan they have borrowed before Kochadaiiyaan can open.)

Let us not forget that the new technology – also adopted to ensure that Rajnikanth did not have to strain himself beyond a point because of his recent (undisclosed) illness that kept him in a Singapore hospital for weeks, thus delaying the Kochadaiiyaan shoot – gives the film the look of an animated feature. Which producers and others fear might not appeal to audiences in South India.

Also, Indians are now familiar with Hollywood animation, which is far superior to what India has been producing till now. From the trailer, I feel that Kochadaiiyaan treads a middle path. It is neither animation nor live action. Both Rajnikanth and Deepika look strange in their new avatar, sort of glossy, painted and puppet like.

But with Rajnikanth on the screen – dam the way he looks – popular adulation certainly in Tamil Nadu may be beyond any conceivable imagination.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at [email protected]


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