Rajnikanth: A true blue ‘Superstar’

MUMBAI: Indian megastar Rajnikanth’s Tamil movie Sivaji: The Boss is releasing on 15 June and fans across the globe are waiting with baited breath to see their idol light up the silver screen.

Fans of ‘Rajni Sir’ (as he is addressed by people in the film industry) have been lining up at theatres from 3 am ever since the advance booking of the movie opened on Sunday, 10 June. The star is idolised and hero worshipped not just in South India but across the world (even Japan).

According to reports, the tickets of the movie, which is to release after another four days, have been sold out till the end of this month in cities like Chennai and Bangalore. Fans can’t wait to watch their ‘Thalaivar’ (leader) donning various garbs and performing his inimitable antics in the film.

Karthik, a fan of the actor, says, "It has been like a tradition turning up at the theatre to watch a Rajnikanth film. After watching Chandramukhi four times, I want to watch Sivaji: The Boss at least five times."

What’s more, Adlabs Films managed a coup of sorts, by roping in the 58-year-old swashbuckling actor for a 3D animation feature film based on his life, which is aptly titled Superstar and is slated for a 2008 release.

Another case in point of a superstar is the late south Indian film icon Rajkumar, who passed away in April last year. Following the actor’s death, chaos prevailed in South Indian cities like Bangalore etc. All commercial and recreational activities came to a standstill across South India. People committed suicide, ran amok on roads… the result was that eight people died including a young policeman when the cops had to resort to teargas and gunfire in order to control the mob.

So what is it that makes the likes of Ranjikanth true blue superstars? His acting skills makes you sit up and take notice (remember him as Jaggu in the Sridevi – Sunny Deol starrer Chaalbaaz!?). From a bus conductor to becoming the highest paid actor in the country, Rajnikanth seems to know the pulse of the masses and that’s one of the main reasons why he’s adored. That apart, whether he essays a positive or negative character in his films, people just love to see his histrionics on screen.

If one were to count the ‘superstars’ in the Indian film industry today, the fingers on your hands would be a tad too many. Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna are probably few of the many actors, who commanded such attention during their prime. Today, actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, have a global fan following no doubt. The senior Bachchan even has a temple in his name, which is run by the Amitabh Bachchan Fans Association and so does south Indian actress Kushboo, who has a temple built in her name in Tamil Nadu. Madhuri Dixit’s birthday is religiously celebrated every year since the mid-90s by Jamshedpur based Pappu Singh. He offers puja for the actress in his shop at midnight with flowers, fruits, lighting of incense sticks and even cuts a cake.

These stars may have won the hearts of people but their movie releases don’t necessarily generate mass hysteria like in the case of Rajnikanth.

Businesswise too the movie has been the cynosure of attention amongst industry buyers, who have said to have paid exorbitant sums of monies for various rights. ‘The Boss’ will light up the screen this Friday and the rest as they say will be history.

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