Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Of south Indian movies and a phenomenon called RAJNI

SUPERSTAR RAJNI’S Sivaji released on Friday….preceded by a media blitzkrieg never seen before for a south Indian movie……of course the Yash chopras and karan johar’s have managed to use the media to their advantage and make sure they are guaranteed a grand opening for their movies…but hey this is south India…and this kind of media coverage happened for the first time.....the nation watched in shock as they discovered that what Rajni gets paid is roughly about ten times what amitabh bachchan commands (and the poor guy is hounded by the IT dept) ….south Indians are far more conservative in the way they do things….for the producers, its all about business, for the directors and technicians…its all about being picture perfect and embracing the best and latest technology…..for the actors, it is work…..the movie business is business as usual for the people involved in it this side of the Vindhyas….Except for the breed of people called FANS……..they will build temples, stand in queues from 3.00 AM and perform abhishekams to the cutouts of their favourite star……..and we aren’t talking of just any big movie star….we’re talking of the SUPERSTAR RAJNIKANTH

His stylized action, peculiar tricks with pens, cigarettes and just about anything(following a ban on showing cigarettes, its chewing gum in Sivaji)…..cutting one liners and a success ratio like no other have made him the highest paid, most revered film actor India has seen in a long time…of course for a nation that cannot see beyond bollywood when we talk of movies….this was quite a revelation…..and the country got more than its share…..every news channel worth its salt ran specials on rajnikanth and sivaji….newspapers and magazines and websites……I was surprised to see financial newspapers also featuring specials on Sivaji and its making for a whole week before the release…such was the money involved…with it being the most expensive movie ever made in India, the financials involved made for a great case study…………

Its an experience like no other to watch Rajni’s movie in Tamil Nadu ….the frenzied fans, hoots and whistles at dialogues, dances and jigs at the songs and sometimes even arti being performed when he comes onscreen is to be seen to be believed……….he is the closest we’ll ever get to a rock star…..and the man himself is humility personified….in an interview before the release, he said he hoped the movie would do well now that it was hyped so much and that he was tensed about it……….he has nothing to worry…..with 850 odd prints being released across the world, the movie is well on its way to being a super duper success…………..

Of the movie itself…it has the best working on it…Shankar…the scriptwriter, director has an impeccable track record of every one of his movies hitting the bulls eye and being money spinners…his movies are also lavishly shot, exotic locales (a song in one his movies jeans was picturised at the seven wonders of the world), he is known for his larger than life, social cause addressing entertainers which have a strong social and moral message……the music by AR Rahman has been on the top of the charts since its release more than a month ago….every technician working on the movie from art direction to costumes is the best in their line….so naturally expectations were sky high…..and they all deliver and how!!

Shankar, with sivaji has given to Tamil audiences a Rajni like never before….a younger, more stylish (if that’s possible), fantastically clothed Rajni who actually dances in many of the song sequences…..the sway he holds over your senses cannot be explained…and to hell with a storyline!! Of course there is one and a pretty ok one to be fair….but that isn’t what you go to a Rajni movie for…..in fact fans went into an angry fit over a dialogue exchanged between Rajni and Suman, the film’s villain where the latter asks him to beg……..I cant remember a single Rajni movie in recent times where he has got beaten by the villains!! Shriya Saran (I always liked her) is the heroine of this movie and has nothing much to do except look homely in the scenes and glamorous and sexy in the songs…and boy!! She looks hot, is a great dancer and has some of the most fantastic costumed worn by a heroine in recent times!!

The overall experience of the movie wasn’t all that we’d have wanted …. Firstly K and I were rather disappointed that we couldn’t get tickets in Chennai for the movie…..they were all sold out or priced sky high…..so we didn’t get to experience the frenzy like we’d have wanted…secondly we watched the telugu version…so the impact of the punch lines and dialogues which is the blood that courses through the veins of a Rajni movie were diluted…..and lastly the multiplex isn’t the place to watch a movie of this kind…..with antiseptic surroundings and well behaved audiences….i got glared at for screaming and clapping!! So the experience we had was so watered down that I wanted to cry!! But I was so desperate to see Sivaji that I kept pretending we were amidst the fanfare in Tamil Nadu…….it was a poor poor substitute, but a substitute nonetheless…………..

1 comment:

Lulu said...

hi arundathi,
just discovered your blog. thanks for thr write-up on shivaji. i too am amazed by how much coverage rajini is getting in the bombay press!
dying to see the movie but don't think i can get away from baby ruhi for three hours at this point. will wait to catch it on dvd, i guess!