Superstar Rajinikanth has had more of a chequered box office record of late. Darbar, Kaala and Kabali may have done decent business but haven’t done much to further the Rajini cult among youth, who seem to connect more with the younger superstars.
Rajinikanth has played characters much younger than his age in his last few films. However, industry experts (on condition of anonymity) say that Rajinikanth is not the same anymore; say the magic has gone missing though and he is definitely struggling to connect with the younger audiences.
Rajini starrer science fiction movie 2.0 (2018), directed by Shankar, had grossed over INR600 crore worldwide, but analysts feel that it was because of Akshay Kumar who helped capture the North Indian market. In Darbar, directed by A.R. Murugadoss, Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty plays the villain who is unable to command the same draw.
Read: Rajinikanth announces his political ambitions.
The youth (18-25 age group) do not see the senior actor as a superstar; many of them have only seen him play older characters, like in Kaala and Kabali. Then there are some who do not like the fact that he has remained mum on key political issues.
His last few films – Darbar, Petta, Kabali, Linga, Kochadaiiyaan – have not done much to further the Rajini cult among the youth. Over the past few years, actors such as Vijay, Ajith, Suriya and Vijay Sethupathi have emerged as the top draw among Tamil cine-goers.
As one analyst points out, “With Darbar or even Salman Khan’s Dabangg 3, the trend has changed and audiences do not want to watch big stars in mindless masala films.”
Having said that, there is no doubt that Rajinikanth, the Thalaivar is the biggest superstar India has ever seen.
Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna was the first superstar of Indian cinema. Then came Amitabh Bachchan. And now, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. But when it comes to Rajinikanth, National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan said it better. “Some may point to Salman Khan and his amazing run of late, in this era of Twitter and Facebook no less – but wait till he’s 60 and let’s see if he’s still sought after, if his audience still buys him opposite Ranbir Kapoor’s daughter.”
Rajinikanth is also known for his humility.
Here’s an incident narrated by Rajinikanth’s friend. Tamils are well aware of Rajinikanth’s short-trips to the Himalayas. During one of his trip, an anonymous lady mistook Rajinikanth for a beggar as the latter was dressed like one. She offered Rs 10 to Rajinikanth and he politely accepted it. However, Rajinikanth’s friends slammed her for having failed to recognise the superstar. When the lady apologised to him, Rajini said, “Don’t worry madam. It’s an act of God. Each time I’m blinded by stardom, he pulls me down and shows my real value. As of today, I’m of Rs 10.”
Also Read: Ram Gopal Varma calls Rajinikanth a ‘bad looker’
Here’s Why Rajinikanth is the Most Sought After Celebrity Brand
You may think that someone of Rajinikanth’s stature is obviously going to be one of the biggest celebrity brands in India. While that’s true to an extent, the real reason that Rajini sir happens to be the most sought after celebrity in India is because Rajinikanth consistently refuses to endorse brands.
Hundreds of thousands of people in India flock to cinema to see his latest films, and his movies make tons of money as well.
However, unlike the other big stars in India, Rajinikanth doesn’t endorse brands. Ever seen Rajini endorsing a toothpaste, or a juice, or any other product?
And this is why most companies go to any lengths to somehow get associated with Superbrand ‘Rajinikanth’.
It means associating with his movies, his fan clubs, the multiplexes where his movies are featured, tying up for the promotion of his film, looking for advertising opportunities in his movies.
Malaysian carrier Air Asia (they operate in India as well now) were the official partner of the film ‘Kabali’. Air Asia made a Kabali-themed aircraft (decked with the superstar’s image) to flow Rajini’s fans from Bangalore to Chennai to help them see the first day, first show of Kabali in Chennai.
Date of Birth: Tuesday, December 12, 1950
Time of Birth: 23:50:00 (11:50 P.M.)
Place of Birth: Bangalore
Name of Spouse : Mrs. Latha Rajinikanth, Principal, The Ashram
Names of Children: Aishwarya & Sowandarya