No one can split bullets like Rajinikaaaan...!
I watched, speechless. The projectionist had paused the film. A few lights came on, the entire audience rose to their feet, and there was a deafening applause. I wondered if the movie stars were present and were to be garlanded. But the bald man turned around and explained, “Sutti podu…how do you say in your North, ‘nazar utaarna’.” I watched as they performed the ceremony to the paused frame with my jaws touching my knees. They stayed that way for the rest of the movie. In fact, after fifty-three of his many hundred movies, I probably need medical help from a glazed eye and surprised jaw specialist.
I know now. I am in love with Rajinikant movies. He makes a better entry than Sly Stallone. His sambaar kung fu is far better than Steven Segall’s. He dances, sure, he does. But not once do we forget that he is very mensch (well, the moustache helps). He is Sooperstar!
At first, my gal pals, who have seen me drool over Johnny Depp, thought I was playing a huge trick on them. The boys, who have patiently watched me rewind Bruce Lee flicks to the frame, thought I had lost it.
“Rajanikant?” they exclaimed, “Are you serious?!”
“Yes, yes, Rajinikant!” I corrected. “His Billa makes Shah Rukh look like a sad imitation in Don.” At this point, several girls of the Shah Rukh fan club, found me unworthy of presidentship, left the party. The husband checked if I had imbibed more than a fair share of the Green Island Rum. I read his mind just as Rajini does in Chandramukhi, and told him I’d had but one glass to drink.
I continued, “Even Helen chose Rajinikant over Shah Rukh, she dances the equivalent of ‘Yeh mera dil’ in Billa! And his sneer iz faar more yeefective…” The boys ignored my rapidly thickening accent were persuaded to watch Billa on DVD. Then Ranga, then Muthu, Veera, Annamalai, Dharamayudhdham, Chandramukhi, Padikkadhawan, Thee, NaanMahanalla, Naan Sigappu Manidhan, even Dhalapathy…
Rajinikant is one of a kind. (Sorry, that’s the understatement of the decade!) When he drives an autorickshaw in Baasha (that’s Manik Baasha to you!) he makes heroes out of the little people. He just has to swish his little hand towel back and forth around his neck to make madras checks fashionable. I lost my fascination with the nun chaku after watching that swish. Oh come on! Don’t tell me you’ve seen any movie star light cigarettes the way Rajinikant does. Well, perhaps Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns, but give me Rajini’s taair-saadam fueled fights any day. He flicks chewing gum in the air and the whip-the-sunglasses trick for kids. He walks through hoards of baddies with a smile on his face as he makes his trademark entry in Chandramukhi (I am still searching for sneakers with red sole, by the way). He sticks his hand into a snake-hole and conquers Ramya and Soundarya at one go in Padaiyappa. Who am I to stop him from becoming a part of my DVD collection?
Of course, you can look him up on the Net. No one movie star has more sites dedicated to him than Rajinikant. Rajinikant runs faster than the electrical current to save his lady love. Rajinikant brushes the dust off his shoes (after beating scores of villains) by jumping into the air and clicking his heels. Rajinikant throws a Muruga spear and splits the bullet into two (yeah, you’ve heard about that one, but have you seen it?!) He wears satin green and red and black churidar kurta with matching Lawrence of Arabia headgear, and still gets the heroine to sing, “Style, style da!” There are temples and fan clubs in his name. He’s the only super star to have Japanese fans create manga comics and collectibles in his name. Politicians quake in their veshtis (and sarees) with the thought of Rajinikant entering politics.
If I could I would simply release his films everywhere with Hindi subtitles (or for that matter in any language), even the morning shows at multiplexes would be filled to capacity. He rules YouTube.
No more lusting after Johnny Knoxville’s lower abs, or Matthew McConaughey’s torso. Rajini’s churidaars are tres cool now in my book. And his sooper dialog delivery, accompanied by a half smile and a cocked head. I shall unashamedly watch Padaiyappa again and again and repeat with him, “En vazhi, thani vazhi!” (“My path, is a different path!”)
(by the by, i am verry haapi to be posting this on the superstar's birthday, december 12!)