Cinema

‘My thalaivar hasn’t aged at all’

I’ve been Rajini sir’s fan right from Moondru Mudichu (1976) and I can proudly say that there isn’t a single film of his that I haven’t watched multiple times. I associate a lot of my childhood memories with Rajini films, so when I watched Superstar’s 1980s portions in Kabali, I was transported to my younger days, growing up a Rajini fan. While watching those scenes, I felt that my thalaivar hadn’t aged at all in these years, even when I’ve grown so old.

Remembering how far he’d been when I first saw him, it’s really a blessing that I’ve been able to get so close to him now. I first saw him in 1979 when I chose to take a shortcut from Ellis Road to reach Mount Road. As I passed Devi Theatre, I could see a crowd and a lot of commotion. Curious, I made my way through the crowd to see Rajini sir at a distance with a baby elephant next to him. He was shooting for Annai Or Aalayam then and I was sure I would meet him again.

I continued my activities as a fan and I was a part of the Kazhugu Rajini Rasigar Mandram, an association from the Triplicane area. By 1984, I had been promoted as Joint Secretary for the Madras district and this meant that I could meet him more often, almost every day.

Back then, Rajini sir would make it a point to meet all his fans in the morning before he left for shoots. Our job as members was to manage the huge crowds that would assemble outside his house and enable their meeting with the Superstar. I too got an opportunity to meet him then. He clicked a picture with me and in our first interaction he said, “First take care of yourself. Then take care of your family. After that, when you get free time, you engage in fans’ activities.”

30 years on, I continue to remain his fan. It’s through Rajini sir that I started working in Kalaipuli Pictures with Thanu sir, my first ever job. After I became a PRO, I was given the opportunity to represent a Rajini film in which he’d not just acted, but also written, produced and distributed. That was Valli in 1993. Even after my stint as a talent manager and journalist, I returned to becoming his publicist from 2010 after Enthiran. Not a lot of fans get that lucky.

- Riaz K. Ahmed, Publicist

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:04:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/%E2%80%98My-thalaivar-hasn%E2%80%99t-aged-at-all%E2%80%99/article14492742.ece

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