Readers Write In #422: Is the magic of Rajnikanth waning?

Posted on November 3, 2021

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(by Gnanaozhi)

It is the launch of yet another Rajni movie tomorrow but the intense chatter that accompanied a Rajni movie release over the past 2 odd decades seem to be missing entirely this time and has been slowly reducing over the past few releases and has reached this stage.

Which begs the question, is it that the Rajni phenomenon is done and dusted? Or is it that he is prolific these days and the rarity of a Rajni movie is…no longer rare? After all the saying does go, familiarity breeds contempt. Or is it that his movies to put it in very eloquent terms just lame!? Or is it a combination of factors?

I personally don’t think it is just his being prolific, he went through that phase at the height of his career. Just imagine, from 1991 – 1995 he belted out Thalapathi, Dharmadurai, Nattuku oru Nallavan, Manan, Annamalai, Pandian, Yajaman, Uzhaipalli, Valli, Veera, Baasha, Muthu. These are his signature movies and I exclude half a dozen Hindi movies in which he starred. That is 12 mainstream movies in which he was the hero in just 4 years!

And yet, the well never ran dry, and if anything it built up to the crescendo that was Baasha. He then in short succession gave us Padayappa and Arunachalam before the tempo finally subsided.

We got Baba in 2002 (and by all the Gods it was a terrible movie, I remember watching it at 0530 in a thara ticket in Periyakulam – the theatre must have sold 2x its original seating capacity) and then came his post I would say Baasha tempo.

From 2002 – 2014 we got 3 movies (excluding Kushelan here as he was more of a Cameo) or an average rate of 1 movie every 4 years as opposed to his  4 movies every year at his peak.

Yet the phenomenon never waned in either of his prolific or spaced out phases.

Now, the tempo is increasing, we have had 6 movies in 5 years from 2016 on (Annathe included) and it seems as though the Rajni wave is finally ebbing.

Wanted to throw this open to the forum on why this is so, would love to start a discussion on this just a day ahead of Annathe.

My personal belief is that he needs to act his age, doing what he has been doing for 5 odd decades now is just running thin, a younger audience just don’t associate with it anymore and as time goes by, his movies would see an ever declining popularity. Time for him to do a Big B and pivot to character driven roles more suited to his age. For instance, Rajni bashing up a gazillion dudes and flicking his cigarette or whatever was cool in 1991, but not in 2021, yet if he does a say Taken Tamil ver of a dad / granddad with a particular set of skills hunting out people who hurt his child / grandchild might just as well draw audiences back to the theatre. Or would it?