If there is one star in the country who has managed to keep up a clean, unstained public image, it has to be Rajnikanth.
Sachin Tendulkar got embroiled in the Ferrari issue, Amitabh Bachchan got tangled in the Bofors scandal. Kamal Haasan is regularly in the news for a variety of reasons, choosing to lead his life as a strict individualist. It is only Rajnikanth who has maintained a blemish-less image of himself.
In fact, only APJ Abdul Kalam shares the kind of universal love and affection that Rajini does. Both their stories, are the archetype of Indian rags to riches – started off in impoverished backgrounds, made their way to the top through hard work, remained humble and affectionate all through their lives.
However, over the last few years, as a viewer, I have been terribly disappointed with Rajnikanth.
Rajnikanth started off by setting the screen on fire. He chose films with bold topics, he experimented with his acting, he worked with path-breaking directors, chose scripts that made you sit up and take notice. In short, he was a man who worked with passion.
But in the last few years, he has only been doing safe projects. He continues to play the superstar that he is, and undoubtedly every role of his is the same – a larger than life demigod who can do anything. Let’s take a look at his last three films:
Released on his birthday last year, Lingaa starred Sonakshi Sinha and Anushka Shetty as his heroines. The film got mixed reviews, and pandered to the same old image of Rajnikanth. The film offered nothing new in terms of script or visuals, and for most viewers, it was a KLPD – khade linga pe dhoka.
An animated film that looked like it was a Hollywood production from two decades ago, Kochadaiiyaan was directed by his daughter Soundarya Rajnikanth. In spite of the abysmal graphics, even the story wasn’t fresh. Also starring Deepika Padukone (who was designed as shorter than Rajnikanth!), the film failed to set the box office on fire.
Co-starring Aishwarya Rai, Robot was a gigantic success all over the world. But analysed purely on the basis of the story and screenplay, Robot was just another Shankar-Rajnikanth movie. Thanks to the graphics, the film ran successfully, but it wasn’t a totally fresh concept.
Overall, why do we have to continue seeing Rajnikanth as the superhero dude? He is 64 years old. How long are we going to make him dance with actresses 30 years younger to him?
Rajnikanth is a unique actor, with fan devotion that no other actor in the world can boast of. He has fame, wealth, and fortune – why does he have to keep churning out the same kind of films?
It is doubly ironic when you see new-age Tamil cinema. No other industry is as dynamic as the Tamil film industry. In the last few years, actors like Vijay Setupathy have proven that a fresh concept is going to click in Tamil. Tamil cinema today is a thriving ecosystem of new, fresh cinema, something that other industries envy.
Why does Rajnikanth have to keep making superhero films? As an audience, are we so selfish that we will force an old man to keep doing what we want from him? Why can’t we let him work on experimental, adventurous films? He certainly has nothing to lose.
At the end, I still haven’t found the answer to my question.
Why do Rajnikanth films have to be so terrible?