On a dull morning like today, with no evidence of the shining sun and the newspapers underlining the oil price rise, I desperately needed a break. Television. What else.
It was Rajini in Arunachalam dancing and singing Athaandaa Ithaanda Arunachalam Naanthaanda in KTV. While we know that Rajini takes special care for the introduction song, this one is a very special one. Many Rajini fans like the intro numbers from Annamalai and Baasha. This Arunachalam song went a little unnoticied because the movie itself wasn’t a rocking hit. Those tight close-ups of Rajini, I should say made him look younger. Thanks to the nice wig. On watching it, I was prompted to write this note.
Over the years Rajini has evolved, like everyone else. For him the growth has been exponential in terms of films, fame and fans. If only he does a qualitative analysis, he may not be accepting his growth. It was indeed not his fault. Blame it on his producers, the directors and finally his fans who were content with Rajini as a typical kollywood hero. In the process of manufacturing such commercial masalas, the actor inside Rajini has exited. Rajini was much better an actor than one could think of.
The early 1980’s were the golden era of Rajini as an actor. Thanks to Mahendran for the fantastical Mullum Malarum and Johnny. If Balachander got out the actor in Rajini with Moondru Mudhichu and Thillu Mullu, Mahendran shaped the diamond. Though, Kaali of Mullum Malarum has been widely accepted as one of Rajini’s best, my favorite has been Johnny throughout. During its release, Johnny was widely advertised as an action movie due to various compulsions. Mahendran known for his visual style of telling a story had two amazing roles for Rajini in Johnny. Both of which, Rajini hadn’t even attempted before. Johnny had the best of everything from music to photography to romance. Even today it is regarded as the best of Illayaraja‘s movies.
Since then, we have had him play a playboy in Netrikan, a classy cop named Alex Pandian in Moondru Mugam, the nicest father in Nallavanukku Nallavan, a sentimental brother in Padikaathavan, an angry young man in Bashaa and so on. The actor in him was slowly getting disappeared.
Those school/college days when I used to be a frantic Rajini fan, I missed out to identify the versatility in him. I’ve grown over the years, understanding the language and the medium of cinema. Today when I applaud at some of the best actors of cinema, I feel the Rajini factor could have been a great force. We all have a collective responsibility in edging out the actor in Rajinikanth. To cry over spilled milk would be a inappropriate. Heck!! Not much can be done now. I hate to finish this on a negative note. But to be true, the films that follow will have the IMAGE of Rajini. The other face of actor, just like the pic above, will go unnoticed. The actor will be spotted no more until someone challenges the so-called-formula. The only solace is that, he still acts.