Enter ‘The Boss’

Style Mannan Rajnikant in Sivaji.

Style Mannan Rajnikant in Sivaji.  

A Rajni film is not just another film, a Rajni fan is not just another fan and ‘Sivaji – The Boss’, slated for release tomorrow, is definitely not just another film for the superstar’s fans in the city, as Prema Manmadhan discovers

Kalaiselvan cannot wait till June 15 dawns. He has already booked a ticket, along with his friends, at Shenoys, Kochi, to see ‘Sivaji, The Big Boss’, starring Rajnikant. On June 16 he will see the same movie with friends at Coimbatore, and the next day, at Pollachi. “I did not get leave for more than three days, so I cannot go to Chennai and Salem to see Rajni Sir’s film there,” says a despondent Kalaiselvan. He works for a reputed private firm in Kochi and is a member of a Rajnikant Fans’ Association back home in Coimbatore. He saw Pasha 12 times and Baba only three times.

Fans’ views

What if ‘Sivaji…’ disappoints him? “How can it be bad? It is enough if Rajni Sir just walks a few times on the big screen. I will be happy and fully satisfied,” this big fan of the super duper Tamil star says.

The movie opens in Kerala along with other centres tomorrow. “It will be released in 80 theatres in Kerala, the highest number of prints ever for a movie in the State. Usually it is not more than 50 prints,” says Johnny Sagariga, who is the distributor for the movie in the State. He has bought distribution rights for Rs 3 crore, the amount required to make a big budget Malayalam movie. Johnny is confident of the movie’s success, for the hype in the media and the posters, including cutouts have made Sivaji the talking point of Keralites all over. “No, it is not only the Tamil population in the State that will see the movie, Malayalis are also waiting for its release,” adds Johnny.

This Shankar- directed Rajni starrer has A. R. Rahman songs and a Mallika Sherawat item number plus Nayantara in a guest role. The director himself appears in one scene, reportedly. The subject matter of the movie will be of great interest to Malayalis and highly topical. It is about capitation fees in higher education and the rot that has set in. The hero comes back from a foreign country and wants to set up a private college, with fees no higher than that of Government colleges, but the bad guys will not allow that.

The bad guys are of course those who run colleges and fleece people in the name of capitation fees. The highly guarded storyline gives few other details. That Cochin Haneefa acts in the movie is of special interest to us.

What can be the reason for this kind of an unprecedented noise in Kerala over a Tamil film? Says actor-director-producer-distributor Lal, “The technical perfection of a Tamil film has always attracted Malayalis.

Malayalam films which are made with a budget of Rs 2 plus crore at the most (as it has a small territory coverage) cannot compete with Tamil films which can have big budgets and therefore a high degree of technical perfection. It is not the Tamil population alone in Kerala that is waiting to see ‘Sivaji…’, Malayalis also love Rajni.” He is right for there are different reasons why Malayalis see Rajni movies. “I cannot help admiring this man who is often seen publicly, with no make up, wearing a jubba, balding and dark, nearing his sashtiabthapoorthy. But look at him on screen and he is a totally different character, who can carry off a scene, waltzing with girls quarter his age. Truly, he’s remarkable,” says Sreenivas, a mediaman who is an avid fan of the star. Schoolkids who cannot understand Tamil are also waiting. Pat and Shubham, who are north Indians love the way he flips his shades, purses his lips and other mannerisms.

Mahalingam, another fan based in Kerala says, “That he has come from a common family like us and worked his way up is what I like about him. On the film set, he eats the same food and sits with the others though producers give him special status. I like that and his style, the way he pushes back his hair and the way he walks.”

Thus the enigma that is Rajnikant continues to make headlines and films.

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