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Rajnikanth’s prance into the past

 | January 30, 2012

Rajnikanth can be a good performer. He was one till he got sucked into fairy tales where kings and robots rule.

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Tamil superstar Rajnikanth never thinks small. His recent films have been larger than the halo he has around him — movies like Sivaji and Endhiran, for instance.

But at 60-plus, a bald Rajnikanth requires elaborate face touches to be able to do the kind of roles he loves. They are often parts that are physically arduous, and cosmetically challenging.

It was, therefore, not surprising at all that his Rana, a historical thriller with an array of stunts in three different avatars, had to be put off after the actor reportedly underwent a kidney transplant in a Singapore hospital.

Months after this very secretive sojourn, Rajnikanth is now set to shoot Kochadaiyaan (an eighth century Pandyan ruler), again a part that will weave into it all the trappings of stardom, while being exhaustively tiring.

To be helmed by daughter Soundarya, the movie will be photographed by Rajiv Menon, set to music by AR Rahman and acted out by among others Katrina Kaif, Shobana and Prithviraj. As someone quipped, Kochadaiyaan will be larger than anything that Rajnikanth has attempted till now.

It will be in 3D and in “performance capturing technology”, its debut in India. James Cameron’s science-fiction Avatar and Steven Spielberg’s animated thriller The Adventures of Tintin were made with the same skill.

Hopefully to hit the screen this August, Kochadaiyaan will see Rajnikanth essaying the long-haired Pandyan king, celebrated for his valour. In body suits with reflective markers on them, the star will cavort with a much younger Kaif mostly in front of coloured screens.

While Rajnikanth has never made an attempt to hide his real physical self – bald pate and somewhat haggard look – in public, he has been exhibiting a strange desire to play parts infused with youth, good looks and a sense of virility.

Aiding and abetting him now in this is Soundarya.

A waste of talent

Although, Rajnikanth has a fan following that is miles ahead of even Amitabh Bachchan’s, and the general impression that his publicists spread is that audiences want to see the actor in magical, make-believe, swash-buckling heroism, this seems like such a waste of talent to a film critic like me.

For, Rajnikanth can be a good performer. He was one till he got sucked into fairy tales where kings and robots rule.

As a cruel husband in the 1975 Apoorva Raagangal, as a humble servant out to take revenge for his sister’s brutal death in the 1978 Bairavi, in Mullum Malarum and so on, the star played actor and was widely lauded.

But that seems like history now.

It is quite possible that Rajnikanth nurses a strange craving to delete his dreary days as a bus conductor in Bangalore that only followed a tragic childhood of death and loss.

And, maybe, it this longing that pushes him to walk tall (too tall) across the frames, hiding behind an attitude which takes him far, far away from the real world.

Which appears to be getting murkier for the man with his daughters, Soundarya and Aishwarya, allegedly in a power struggle to get to Rajnikanth’s wealth, and with his son-in-law, Dhanush (the guy behind the immensely popular, though blood curdling, lyrics of Kolaveri Di or Murderous Rage), reportedly romancing Kamal Hassan’s daughter Shruti off screen.

Given this, Rajnikanth is probably in a mood to vanish into the Pandya land of the hoary past!

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic, and can be contacted at [email protected] . He is an FMT columnist.


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