Rajini, Sujatha and Existentialism

In the latest Vikatan coulmn, Sujatha writes on existentialism and Jean Paul Sartre, a popular philosopher of existentialism. He also mentions G Nagarajan’s Naalai Matrumoru Naaley as the first tamil novel based on existentialism. Incidentally, existentialism was something that I was attracted to. I have to say I was attracted to a ‘theory’. I had mentioned some of the best books of Sartre and Nagarajan’s in my book tagging post. More than a theory, existentialism enables you see life with a different perspective. Stop. With this hyped up definition of existentialism if you frantically google or grab a book by Sartre, you would come to kill me. Like many …isms, existentialism has its own influences. There are critics who argue that existentialism is nothing but nonsense. After reading a couple of books on the subject, I don’t agree with them. Stop, again.

Now when Sujatha goes on explain existentialism in a popular magazine like Vikatan, I immediately send the link to a friend who introduced me to Saatre. I knew by diluting the heavy existentialist theory, Sujatha will be cursed by those who know about it. It happened. Ravi Srinivaas, in his blog, writes a letter to Vikatan editor that Sujatha has mis-guided people on the theory and has blacked-out some facts on existentialism. Following him, Venkat, in his blog mentions that Sujatha has been doing this for long and makes a mock of future Katrathum Petrathum column. Though I’m not sure if Venkat agrees with existentialist values but if Srinivaas does, given the way he details on the theory and how Sujatha has mis-quoted it, he wouldn’t have wrote that letter to Vikatan. That’s what existentialism[assumes that people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves is] all about.

Sujatha has been consistent since Kanayaazhi days in demystifying such grand intellectual /scientific theories that were possessions of the high-browed. Through his many columns and books [like Thalami Seyalagam] he has done this diluting to reach more people and not allowing the knowledge to be in the hold of a few. I personally feel this time with existentialism, his explanation was diluted and would certainly mislead many but also it might induce many to read more on the unheard word called existentialism. Having seen previous assaults on Sujatha, I have to say both Ravi and Venkat have thrown spite on Sujatha, many a times and it makes me feel this is one of those times, they got a better chance to do it.

On a related note, I’ve read Chaaru Nivedhita’s columns and I firmly believe many of his writings are written just to go six inches above your head. His recent review of Chandramukhi was a good better one. He compares the Baba failure and Chandramukhi‘s success of Rajini and goes on to say that Rajini’s recent trip to Himalayaas was just a stunt. While I could agree to some of them [ the so called vulgar jokes in Chandramukhi], I cannot agree that Rajini is having a pleasure trip to himalayaas. But even before laundry listing such vulgarities in Chandramukhi, he probably should be re-reading his novels and Konal Pakkangal. I can atleast spot a dozen silly stuff there like his list of Chandramukhi blunders. I may not because, I reverberate, that’s what existentialism[assumes that people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves is] all about. Thanks Ragu for the pointer.

28 responses to “Rajini, Sujatha and Existentialism”

  1. LG,
    Many of Charu’s points make sense to me, especially the point about contribution to Tamil cinema, collections notwithstanding. Indians, especially in TN, are suckers for religious chicanery


  2. Charu Nivedhita’s comments on Rajini makes sense in some ways. But to claim that his Spiritual search is all stunt is not easily substantiable.
    Charu does the oft repeated mistake of trying to make a statement about a man’s personal( spiritual life is the most personal of them all, i guess) life by quoting his movies.
    Rajini’s aim in making Chandramukhi was to regain his lost ground and make money. To believe that Rajini tries to spread spirituality and raise the spiritual and moral level of his fans is to make a fool of oneself.
    It all boils down to one thing again. We Indians have not learned to view private life and cinema separately. I certainly do not see any dichotomy between Rajini’s spirituality and Chandramukhi’s
    (so called) vulgarity.
    But many of the other points he makes,like comparing his contribution to the filmdom with Kamal’s( though why he calls Virumandi a crap movie is beyond me) and the events at his birthday bash make a lot of sense.


  3. IFor me, rajni is a Very Popular Prson, a High Box Office Spinner, very high from kamal’s collections. But not an very good human or a holy human. In that case, kamal, the human, is far better than rajni, But this is the only statement which rajni fasn wont accept, but its good that they has nothing to justify their statement

    His Spirituality is a personla thins, yes, its above from comment, only if he had that in his pooja room. once he brouught that in films, with different forms of gods like Raagavendhra, Arunaachaleeswarar, nnaamalayaar, Padayappan, Babaji, Kaaligaambaal, and Perumaal Thevuda, surely ots for public comment

    Then i beleive rajni projects himself as an spritual person. But with many years of saying this, with so many gods’ listed above, what rajni wants to say, in the bottom line????

    My bottomline is that, Chaaru is 99% right


  4. Lazy,
    Though I have not read Sujatha’s latest “post” on existentialism, I have long held the opinion that in his quest to simplify matters, he does oversimplify.

    His past columns on quantum physics and relativity are apt examples.


  5. Cool post,
    slightly deviating from the topic…Check out The Stranger by Camus…It is based on existentialism….also bhagavad gita touches upon this concept…a long before Camus and jean paul satre !


  6. who is this rasigan,
    why the heck should every topic deviate to a kamal vs rajini.And strangely all these guys who seem to stir up a contraversy seem to be annonymous.


  7. Chenthil, I can agree with parts of his review. Some are BS.

    Bala, I don’t think what Rajini does is religious chicanery.

    Mutrupulli, Bang on. Thats exactly what I wanted to say. To take one part his life and attach it to the movies he makes simply beats me.

    Suthar, Thanks for the link.

    Anoop, Kalakarra Po.

    Rasigan, I am not with you ;-(

    Nilu, True. I agree. But someone has to tie the bell and take things to masses.

    Phoneix, Good pointer. Haven’t read that book before. Will do in future.


  8. Sujatha might be diluting the stuff just to take it to the masses. get them intrgued, and go on a “Thedal”. I would say Sujatha is the Ilaiyaraja of Tamil Writing World – taking things to masses!!!


  9. Haven’t read much on existentialism, though aware of the theory. At times wonder how close/far is it with “Aham brahmasmi”?


  10. lazygeek,
    you have tried your best to balance views on existentialism, rajini and chandramukhi…I guess not without much success in your blog. your comments on charu’s site and its contents look like a counter to his review of chandramukhi!! we must understand, that whenever people praised chandramukhi in this blog (including yourself) or the commentors, nobody ventured to redirect the criticism to the content of the blog site(or the literary or personal life of the bloggers) or the blog site of the commentors. by the same decent token, it does not make sense to re-direct the critical enery to charu’s website, when the issue at hand is a honest appraisal of chandramukhi as a film, and rajini as as “so-portrayed” super-star with spiritual qualifications…!!

    I would agree with someone, who said, that spiritual matters are personal as long as they are not publicised deliberately with largest selling tamil magazines…and not funding magazine writers with photographers to the spiritual journey, which rajini did… If it was just his personal spiritual quest we would not even know about it, may be we would know, by some scoop or papparazzi..both these are out of question in the case of rajini, who obviously uses the media to prop his image both at a personal level and in the celluloid….

    coming to existentialism, it is sad to note, that after all the details in ravisrinivas’ points, you still chose to hold sujatha’s over-simplified views….from your view point kurumboor kuppusamy de-mystified crime scenes, pattukottai prabakhar, suba, rajesh kumar, rajendara kumar de-mystified detective & investigative agencies.. for that matter vairamuthu completely de-mystifies physical sex in all its details for the benefit of tamil masses!!!
    again this is meant as a decent blog comment, a democratic right to post comments, the purpose and spirit of blog..
    hope this will remain for view, and encourage more comments.


  11. Is this Charu guy obsessed with taking pictures of himself???? Every page has a different picture…in different poses :P…and he is not good looking either ….hehe


  12. Kabbadiwala, I agree to your first paragraph that I shouldn’t have qualified Chaaru’s site in the first place as writing pseudo intellectual stuff. With the context of Chandramukhi, it needn’t have been there. But having read him for sometime now, I wanted to tell about his ego-tripping. Though I agree, it shouldn’t have been in this post.

    Neither me, you or anyone knew what exactly happened during Rajini’s trip. So I take a stand-point which I believe is right, so do you and others. But either one of coming to conclusion isn’t appropriate. That aside, do you think joining rajini’s spiritual journey and his movie, comparing and contrasting the jokes of the movie to the journey itself wasn’t taking the argument forward. I agree some places the jokes went a little hayward but Mr. Kabbadiwala I’m think you must have read Chaaru’s posts before and you know the extreme vulgarities he proposes.

    On demystifying stuff, your examples seem little out of place. By demystifying, I don’t mean to say making it cheap. It is meant to simplify. Sujatha didn’t make existentialism seems cheap. He made decoded the tougher jargons like existence and essence in a understandable format. If you give references to where Vairamuthu demystified sex, we can take it from there.

    I am not a vairamuthu/sujatha appointed blogger and hence don’t support anyone without reason.

    Moreover, this blog has seen better flames and your comment will never be removed from this blog. You can be rest assured.


  13. chenthil,

    happy if u , he and all leaves kamal Vs Rajni here. Personally what i feel is, rajni has rights to keep his money wherever he wants Afterall its his money, Same goes for his spritualism,

    Trouble starts when he(indirectly) and his fans directly start portraying himself as a divine pure holy person. It Contradicts a lot there. And i also want to point rajni’s speech in the Thiruvasagam function…”My film ran 2 weeks, iam happy……4 weeks i iam happy but i need Peace, iam searching for it” Blah Blah………….I too read the rajni’s trip related articlein Vikatan, at one point he said…..” There is a Siththar in one cave who has lot of diciples, he didnt speak for past 80 or so years ?!? I went in the cave, he opened his eyse…….. he called me in…. he wished me…..i came out, all the disciples surrounded me, said iam the only lucky to be blessed by him after long time……. ” Tooooooooo Childish. Iverellaam oru aanmiga Vaathiyaa? If i try to follow rajni’s aanmeegam, then i will forget the real aanmeegam which i try to follow now.

    I wish rajni shall keep quiet regarding aanmeegaam too and he can continue to speak publicly only an cinmeas, which he knows better, always he can go to funtctions like gilly and make silly compare like Rajni = Vijay & Kamal = Vikram, and those silly guys can feel proud. Atleast these absurds are allowable.[Apart, i feel comparing vijay to rajni a horrible one]

    rajni, when giving a public speach, touches two topic regularly.

    1)Politics, Thank got he had decided to skip that completely

    2)Aanmeegam, Heck what he is coming to tell….. for a long time he uses to Ularify something on aanmeegam in public and for BS the public too was carried over sometimes. I saw ppl having BABAji Bags after the BABA Reeased. What the hell it is, suddenly a Lord called Baba was introduced, and some ppl too worship…….finally I understood well why rajni succeeds and survies in TN greatly…


  14. This is with respect to the comments by k’wala and Lazy’s reply to the same this is just an observation and to support my views on either one of you….

    The true nature of existentialism is to express once views as he feels…Be it this post, the comment by K’wala or the comment by lazygeek or anything for that matter people are free to choose the cause except that they are responsible for the consequence…

    My intent of this comment is to touch up on existentialist nature around us and not to point at anybody or anything personal !


  15. Rasigan wrote: Trouble starts when he(indirectly) and his fans directly start portraying himself as a divine pure holy person

    LG, this is what i meant as religious chicanery. I or anybody else has no right to sit in judgement of Rajni’s personal life. No two ways about it. However, what i’m trying to get at is this image-propelling speaches and the public obliging all-too-willingly. When he is making these statements on a public forum, its no longer personal and he’s fair game 🙂
    That said, i think the points about the pleasure trip, tying the vulgarity to his personal life, contribution to thiruvasagam were all BS.

    BTW, wasn’t aware of this existentialism thing… sounds interesting….


  16. What if, you’ve been forced to be this way thanks to American propaganda? What if your experiences of american media – sitcoms, news, news sites, books, music etc has made you this way? No offense. Great blog, visit my blog – deviance – http://abberanti.blogspot.com


  17. Charu Nivvy is a confirmed narcissist! Look at his postures as a “thinking” sigamani. The location is probably parangimalai. He hasnt said anything that has not been said before. Rajni and anmeegam has been in the news everytime rajni goes to himalayas. Who is nivvy is give advice on how someone else should spend their money? Rajni did not get it in a lottery. He has fought his way thru this industry and we all know it. Thats why he is the SUPERSTAR. He has a story, a history. Nivvy prob has nothing. LG, please dont attach importance to such people and link them in your blog. I request you to evaluate the quality of an external link in future. btw, in today’s Hindu Sreedhar Pillai has called Vijay Super star..kadavulee…idha yaarum kekka mateengala??
    – Superstarin – Ko.Pa.Che.


  18. lazy,

    yes, nice to see that we must set tasks aside. like take up and review good tamil blog site and then really look at what they have.
    Yes, charu is quite narcisstic, like his ego trips, photographs in berlin standing beneath a dilapidated building etc..but he can sometimes be right! we have to give him the benefit..we want to write how crazy he can get, with his little writing and achievements, yes, we can rubbish him by tonn loads…as you agreed NOT NOW, later….

    looking at all the blogs and comments, it is surprising nobody ever wrote about the marketing and brand skills of Rajini in making chandramukhi a success commercially! in fact I think, that each scene and screenplay was planned with definite crowd pull and dollar realisation rates! Now, that is something I would admire about the remarkable ability of Rajini, to sense the market, hold its pulse, and pull out the dollars from peoples’ pocket without them realising it for seeing the movie!!! that is real brains man!!! Hats off Rajini on that…but all other criticisms are valid….

    the only point i wish to make on sujatha’s article is sometimes oversimplification can lead to wrong results..yes taking a positive side, ofcourse, we got to discussing existentialism,becoz sujatha happened to write wrongly or right about it. But, I beleive given the type of people we are, we would have eventually got around to discussing existentialism and every other isms, even if sujatha did not write in Aavi!..

    happy to note, there are more rounds of discussion…that is the only reason i chose to put in the comments!!!!


  19. (Diggression)

    After reading comment from Kabbadiwala, on Rajni’s Marketing Skill, i feel pity for Vasu the director who did the AMichitra thaaz story for TWO times!!

    I know Rajni added LakaLaka Content apart, the screenplay by Vasu, Yes P.Vasu, is gripping and i think rajni may added some nuances but surely he is not the real contributer. when comes to screenplay andstory, and on screen directorial skills, Rajni is very poor, as seen in Valli and baba, the films he penned on his own.

    The success of the film equally depended on story and the ppl who were behind the screen but it is pathetic that all credits were “Foreced” towards rajni


  20. K’wala, I am sure Rajini is aware of his value among the TN public but you claiming it to be Rajini’s marketing skills may not exactly be true. WE are trying to force that on Rajini and even if it is true, don’t you think every shot of every film is planned with something on mind.

    Otherwise, films would just be stream of conciousness and real-time happenings. Every shot and a cut is planned based some factor. And a commercial movie like Chandramkuhi is no different in that matter. Rajini never proclaimed that Chandramukhi was for the intellectual upliftment of the society. It is for business and ofcourse for entertainment values. Now, if we are trying to judge the value system of these film makers, we have to take a bigger look at the value system of many people in the media/entertainment and politics. I hope you guys would agree with me on this.


  21. First off, this author is not “religious” about any of the factors involved in the following discussion – Charu, Rajni, sprituality, existentialism etc.

    This author has been reading Charu’s posts ever since he has been writing in Vikatan.com. This author was one of the earliest readers of Charu’s first book.

    Having said all of this, writing about what the author is writing here, could be highly controversial and that is not the reason why this post is written in an anonymous name.

    Three accusations have been made on Rajni. None of them are new – nor they have orignially come from Charu.

    a) “Rajni does movies that does not spread sprituality and he has not done any movies to spread sprituality”.

    – Has Charu seen “Ragavendra” – Rajni’s 100th movie? After this movie came, Matralaya has gotten so popular that that place has become one of the busiest spritual destinations for millions of people every year. Note: this writer has visited that place before and after the movie came in the 80’s.

    – Has Charu visited Thiruvannamalai lately (pre and post Rajni following Ramana’s teachings?).

    – Who in the hell can classify what is spritual and what is not. What is spritual to someone is not for somone else.

    b) “Rajni’s movies show vulgarity. Chandramukhi in particular has 4 vulgar scenes”.

    – Vulgarity – Eh?? Has anyone read Charu’s books? Showing a joke with a friend’s wife with some suggestive sounds is better than writing about a son wanting to screw his mom. Note: This author is neutral about Charu’s writings.

    c) “Rajini does not invest his money back in movies. Kamal does and acts/makes superior movies”.

    – This is a classical argument against a successful person. A few questions : Does charu invest all his money in literature? Why does he keep writing about sponsorship to European countries in his blog?

    – Making a successful movie and making it profitable to all the parties involved is far more important than investing a little money back into the movies. Count the number of movies Rajini had lost money and count the number of times he has repaid the distributors. Note: This author is not a Rajni “fan”.

    – Kamal and Rajini have two different styles of movie making. It is like telling Charu not to have his mustache since Ashoka mitran does not have one.

    – Telling Rajni not to make the kind of movies he makes (and the accusation he makes it to become richer) is like telling that Charu should not write in the internet and he does it only to make money. Note: This author has no problems in Charu writing his blogs in the internet.

    – Since when did Charu become the chief accounting officer or the tax consultant for Rajni. His point about Rajni’s marriage hall cracked me only to know why in the name of literature people stoop to such low levels in India to count against somebody’s personal income? Also, if Rajni is richer, what bothers Charu.

    – Does Charu know all of Rajni’s charity/donations to make a statement about 100 Rs donation on his birthday?

    – Any queue or any charity where there is a crowd would result in stampede. This has nothing to do with Rajni. For all this crying out loud, tell me any religious/theatrical/political public event where there is huge crowd in lines then I will count the number of stampedes and deaths in that event.



    > Mixing up personal prejudices and biases against a popular person in the name of literature and review has been one of the syndromes of Tamil literature in general. (This author is not unaware of the over-generalization he makes here. The author can show a dozen such biased writing in the past one year).

    > Writing about a successful person and imposing an elitist view and accusing the successful person not have lived upto arbitrary standards is plain wrong. There are no ways about it – even if this becomes from a successful writer.


  22. Somebody,
    > Kamal and Rajni have two different styles of > >movie making. It is like telling Charu not to have >his mustache since Ashoka mitran does not have one.
    Even Mani Ratnam and S.A Chandrashekar have different styles of movie making (even assuming that Rajni “makes” movies). Do you mean to say an author cannot call S.A.C’s works as trash? Pray, tell me, what are blogs/articles/books/critiques all about? Waxing eloquent about Rajni’s 10 feet flight to knock off a tea cup?
    [I’m only referring to Charu’s dismissal of most of Rajni movies as trash and NOT to the other BS that Charu has dished out]

    P.S: I agree to some of your other points and i must admit this is the first time i’m coming across this Charu fella, so can’t opine on his works…


  23. LG, please dont put this type of charu links and waste our time.

    A man to reach a top position has to overcome many such types of “baacha” comments from some tom,dick and harry. Look at the article.

    charu says that rajini has several crores but shows off simplicity just by wearing hawai chappals. But i wonder why charu took those photos by wearing a 20 dollar jerkin and putting up without any shame in his web site. Is this he thinks a intellectual person will do ? and oh god see how he looks ?

    some body wants to mention Mr.pancake as something similar in position to manirathnam?
    ha ha ha and rajini as chandrasekhar.

    u mean to say chandrasekar is paid and recognized more than manirathnam. ha ha

    Nice comparison but a joke.

    if u say quality, then put another ha ha