The man behind the Superstar

Posted on November 15, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here:

A few thoughts on Rajinikanth’s Deepavali-day interview on Zee Tamil, an “event” that possibly rivals 2.0 because the Superstar so rarely meets the media.

As he walks in, he looks like a benevolent family elder, bald and smiling and with kind eyes. He looks like he should be squeezing that slender frame into an easy chair, and disappearing behind The Hindu. Instead, he’s the star of stars, a super star, the Superstar, whose aura shows no signs of dimming. Amazing. Something tells me we’ll never see the likes of him again. Big stars, yes. Perhaps even bigger stars. But like him, no!

The host, Archana Chandhoke, begins by saying she wants to look at him like a fan. “Rendu kangal pathaathu,” she squeals. Two eyes aren’t enough. I am reminded of Papanasam Sivan’s composition that says he needs billions of eyes to gaze at the Lord. I don’t blame Archana. This rare interview by Rajinikanth is like a divine visitation.

The first question is surprisingly businesslike, about 2.0, the film he (He?) is out to promote. Apart from the characters, he says, there’s nothing similar between Enthiran/Robot and 2.0. There’s an “excellent message,” apparently. Because that’s why we go to Shankar movies, right?

At first, the film was planned without songs. Then, one title song was deemed necessary. Then, one “background song”. AR Rahman, then, said an album needs at least four songs. But the segue to Rajinikanth’s favourite song is more interesting. It’s Ponaal pogattum poda, from Paalum Pazhamum. I’m not surprised, given the star’s well-publicised spiritual side. It does make sense that he’s partial to this genre that was once called thathuva paadal (philosophical song). But this is the part I find most fascinating. He (being a Maharashtrian from Karnataka) had to find out the meaning of the song from a Tamil friend. How odd is that? I mean, he must have been drawn to the song only through the visuals and the music, then. Suddenly, an anecdote takes the form of a legend.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2018 Film Companion.