A small sized software company with a good work force had a new recruit to their team. He was curious, ambitious, fierce and had unique way of executing his tasks. He was loved by everyone in the team. The team grew with him and revenue of the organization increased because of the creativity and productivity of the team. He became a hit among the whole organization. Everyone loved him. As is the curse of human race, with huge success came jealousy. The team lead, a close ally to the manager, was wary that the new kid might grow above him in the ranks of the team. So he started ill advising the manager with negative feedback about the new recruit and that he will overthrow him as the manager of the team. Now they started devising plans to demean him. Whenever anyone in the team made mistakes they accused him of not educating them with required knowledge though his job was just to code and not to train. The manager formed allies with other team managers and stared accusing the poor guy for grave errors made in other teams. He was baffled but still continued to work with his mouth shut. This accusation went to bizarre levels. His colleagues started accusing him for their own poor appraisal though all they did was drink coffee 5 times, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner all within office timings, gossiped and worked a little between all these. After all this as well he spent all energy on his work. One day the manager entered office seemingly worried. With great concern the guy asked manager for the reason of his worry. The reply stunned him “Morning i opened the tap in my house and there was no supply of water and i know you are the reason behind it”.
Isn’t this the story of RAJNIKANTH, the super star. The accusations against him have reached a level where whenever there is no supply of water in any of the houses in Tamilnadu, few are condemning him saying “oru Tamizhan veetla thanni varala adhuku Rajini kural kudukala”. It wasn’t until the late 90’s we started identifying him by his origin and place of upbringing rather than his name. Until i was well into my teenage i never knew he was from a Karnataka or his mother tongue was Marathi. Can’t we see the reason? The political parties were afraid and jealous of his growth. They felt insecure. They knew he is a man who can topple their legacy to take over the reigns of Tamilnadu. Cunning enough what did they do? Instill in our minds that he was from a different land. They questioned his Tamizh-ness.
Race, Language, Country, Religion- People are from different versions of these i.e, different race, different language, etc and as a native we have affliction and pride in being associated with one category of each. It should have been just that but politics won’t let us live in peace. They divide us with the above mentioned differences. They provide thrust and fodder to our pride which then becomes a ego from where there is point of no return. Same was done to Rajni. To neglect his growing force few started identifying him as a Kannadiga and Maharashtrian. And now we start questioning him for every single thing that happens in Tamilnadu.I know Rajni used punch dialogues in his movies that generated political ambitions among his fans which in turn increased his business. I too felt cheated that he didn’t go on to become a politician. But isn’t it his choice. He understood he was not ready or was not suitable for that position. Even most of us wanted to become IAS or Doctor and serve the society at a very young age. But what have most of us become? Software engineers. So we all have rights to make our own choices and so does he.Not just for Rajini’s sake but for sake of humanity don’t fall prey to these politics.
The most important question – What has he done to Tamizhans? He has been acting for more than 40 years and has been ruling the box office since 1980, the year that saw the release of movies like Billa, Murattu Kalai and Polladhavan. So in 35 years of being a box office king has he been the only one who made money from his movies? The small brain that i have tells me that it would have benefited atleast 500 families for their livelihood including producers, directors, distributors, theatre owners to light men, office boys and snack vendors in theatres. This is a direct contribution. Consider the growth of Tamil cinema just because that man of style brought smiles and happiness and craziness to the millions of fans he has. People took up cinema as their profession because of him. Tamil movies have become a globally saleable product because of him. Look at the compounding effect. Industry grew->Business grew->More talent to industry->Direct beneficiaries are the stars and producers->Indirect beneficiaries are the families associated with the movie industry. It didn’t make them millionaires but it indeed gave them the livelihood. Can we snatch it from them just because Rajni was not a born Tamizhan?
Next consider people calling themselves savior of Tamil language. Moving away from the topic slightly, “naama onnum Tamizha kaapatha theva illai. Thamizh ku theriyum thanna nilai niruthika. Pala latcham varusham munnadi Tamizh mozhi uruvachu nu soldranga. Adhu unmaya nu theriyadhu aana oru 1000 or even 500 varusham munnadi pesina Tamizh ippo naama pesala. Adhunala Tamizh azhinjiduchu nu arthama enna? Tamizh marugum, urumarum, thannai ubayogipavargal ku aerpa inangi varum aana azhiyadhu. ” People calling aloud that they are the ones who promote the language- How many non-Tamizhans have you made to speak in Tamizh? Most of us including me who educate non-Tamizh friends for the first time, do we teach them Appa, Amma. No, we teach them ngotha, ngomma. And we call ourselves savior of Tamizh. Modi after becoming PM visited Japan. CNN IBN was covering his visit and was interviewing few Japanese locals about Modi. One man while asked about Modi turns up saying “I am from Rajni fan club Japan. He is thalaivar and “enaku konjam konjam Tamizh theriyum.” Who made him speak Tamizh?Me? You? It was a Marathi from Karnataka who made a Japanese speak Tamizh. There are such many instances of Tamizh reaching to non-Tamizhians through him. Can we threaten them to stop using the language just because Rajni made them speak the language?
I understand how much Sania Mirza would have felt hurt whenever the media questioned to prove her Indian-ness after getting married to Shoaib inspite of playing and achieving such heights as an Indian. Same applies to Rajnikanth. Where does he live? – Chennai. Where has he built his marriage hall?-Chennai. Who has he donated it to? – People of Tamilnadu. In which language movies does he act in? – Tamizh. Who donated 1 crore for linking of rivers in Tamilnadu – Rajnikanth. Yet he has to prove his Tamizh-ness. We all support Sania but question Rajnikanth. If Sania can prove her Indian-ness by carrying out her professional duties by playing for India then so does Rajnikanth by acting in Tamizh movies. He has done much more services to Tamiladu than just acting.We celebrate the success of Sundar Pichai as a Tamizhan. He left not just our state but our country 25 years ago yet we identify him with our ethnicity but question the man who has lived, loved, worked and donated a part of his earnings to the Tamil society. The reference to Sundar Pichai or Sania Mirza are not in any intention to demean them or belittle their achievements, success, hardwork or personality by any means. It is just to draw a comparison. Such are our expectations on him that whenever he makes his ambitions clear, he fails our expectations. When we understand the difference between his ambitions(which is acting and not politics) and our expectations, the matter will be put to rest. How does politics and standing up for social issues related? They are not related but Rajni and Politics are. Anything he does will be politicized. When his punch dialogues in movies can create such expectations of him entering politics, imagine him raising his voice for social issues. Remember his stage appearances for Kaveri issue and Neyveli issue? How extremely politicized those instances were? Him raising voice for social issues again will create huge expectations of him entering politics and again he will say “No” which will again be bashed by us and he has to go through all the drama one more time.Moreover when he is involved, he is highlighted more by media than the issue itself. He has stood up for the issues in his own capability and within his own limits and we should respect him for that rather than expecting him to be involved in all issues.
The people who question and hate him always tell his die hard fans that – “Treat him as an actor and not as a real life hero”. The irony is that the fans, their craziness, their love, their celebrations are all for his appearance in movies. We slog for tickets and lose our sleep if we don’t secure fdfs tickets for what he does on screen. We go just for the entertainment. The man entertains us like no one else does. We pay the ticket price for that alone. We don’t judge him for what he is off-screen. It is the haters who has so much expectations from him off-screen who hates him for not meeting “THEIR” expectations. The haters are the ones who want him to be real life hero but the fans adore him just for the reel life presence. He is a theist, almost saint like but not all his fans are believers of God. He smokes and drinks but not all of his fans does so. He is humble after so much success but most of his fans celebrate fixing a single bug as scaling Mount Everest. He doesn’t care to appear bald headed in public but most of his fans curse the entire hair stylist family when he reduces the length by 1 cm more. It is not that he is a perfect man off-screen and it is also not that we fans implement all his better practices. But the magic he brings on-screen and the way we could relate with him is beyond words. It is an all together a different level experience. Who doesn’t have expectations? We give money to the priest, donate for religious institutions, pray for sometime and believe God will answer all our prayers. Like wise we spend money to buy tickets->We expect our thalaivar to deliver->And when he does we go crazy. And on a personal note my dear Super Star has a better hit ratio than the God i believe in.
He is aging and aging fast. Let us celebrate him as much as we can while he is still doing movies. Let us respect him for what he has done. Forget all the political expectations being failed, stop questioning his contribution to the society and start enjoying his movies. Give him the space to enjoy himself. Let him live in peace for the rest of his life for all the happiness he has given us through his movies. Those even who question him now would have loved and adored him at some stage of your life for the charisma, for the screen presence, for the style, for the acting – try enjoying them one more time. You will not be disappointed.
And i will be going crazy on 22nd July around 12.30 along with millions and millions of his fans when my thalaivar makes an appearance . Crazy in the craziest sense. The throat will go soar,happy tears will flow down my cheek, sweat will give away all my body liquids, hands will ache with clapping, papers will fly but my energy wont drop one bit for the 150 mins i watch thalaivar on screen. Because that is what give his fans PERUM MAGIZHCHI.