A star who can be described with nothing but the grandest of adjectives; an actor whose star value is only overshadowed by his legendary humility; and this year he is the man with the birth date that will not occur again in a 100 years. Students of Periyar EVR Government Arts and Science College discuss the phenomenon that superstar Rajinikanth is

In the thirty six years since he stepped onto the silver screen a lot might have changed for Rajinikanth and his fans, but the few things that propelled him to superstardom remain intact: he remains till date the man who redefined style, as the actor with a charisma that leaped off the screen, and as the star who embraced simplicity with an unmatched grace.

From the bus conductor, who stood out with his unique mannerisms when director K. Balachander came looking for his next muse, to Kollywood’s irreplaceable foreman, Rajinikanth’s meteoric rise has set the tone for what the audience expected from a hero. “He was neither obviously good looking nor born with inside connections, but marked his rise with an inimitable style and acting prowess,” said K. Simiyon, while M. Gowri thought his birth date this year (12.12.12) was a cosmic confirmation of his unique stature.

In the discussion that followed, the students and ardent fans talked about the changes age might bring into Rajini’s choice of scripts, the difficulties in seeing him portrayed as anything but the hero (or superhero) and the difference between his fans and those of other actors. And of course, their favourite Rajini punch dialogues!

Sabha Mutharasan, III Year, B.Sc. Mathematics: Right from the beginning, Rajini’s sway over youngsters has been unmatched. We want to ape almost everything that he says and does: both onscreen and off screen. He taught the youth in the 80s how to suffuse even the most routine of actions with a sense of style and for today’s youth he stands as the ultimate expression of humility.

N. Geethanjali, II Year, B.Sc. Statistics: Even if his age played any role in Rajini’s decision to venture into the animation movie format, I think that is better than seeing him play anything but the hero. There may come a time when he becomes too old to be a dashing hero and directors cannot find another mould for him. I think he should then retire and never be anything but a hero to his fans.

M. Yogeshvaran, I Year, M.A. English: I think it is his rejection of political power, in a state that is known to make leaders out of cinema stars, that has nailed him onto the superstar pedestal. Even without a political platform, he is a leader who commands such a loyal following. His recent slip into critical illness and the agonised reaction it evoked from his fans shows a relationship built on love, not money or power.

M. Gowri, I Year, M.Sc. Physics: While I cannot imagine Rajini playing anything but the hero character, I do wish he would delve into direction. It is always a complete high to see him onscreen, but a movie directed by him could open a window to the sharp mind behind it all. And while he is still playing hero, it would be great if he teamed up with Mani Ratnam and Illayaraja once more.

K. Simiyon, II Year, M.Sc. Geography: For fans of other stars, there seems to be this compulsion to take digs at a rival star. But that is hardly the case with Rajini, who practically has no match! Also, his illness has made a number of fans devote their energies towards social service when there is a cause for celebration. All this is in spite his steadily maintained low profile, even amongst his fans.

B. Mahadevi, III Year, B.A. Tamil: Unknown to the public, Rajini has helped many talents surface in the industry; he continues to be an actor bent upon trying new things and pushing his limits; and he is an artiste whose reverence for his profession has helped him stay grounded in the face of unbelievable public adoration. Simply put, Rajini is the phenomenon without which Tamil cinema’s history cannot be written.

Periyar EVR Government Arts and Science College, Tiruchi.

Established over forty years ago with the money and land donated by social reformer, Periyar E.V. Ramasamy, the college has been offering higher education to first generation learners from the socially and economically backward sections of society. The institution was made autonomous and a co-educational environment in 1998-99 and it today spans across an area exceeding 50 acres of land. Besides existing courses in arts and science, the college has over the year added a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses to its list of programs. Several departments in the college also offer full time and part-time research facilities as well.