During the audio release of his last blockbuster Enthiran/Robot, Rajinikanth while addressing the star-struck audience raised his right hand and twirled its index finger in air saying, “once one reaches the top, one has to come down. That’s life. If you remain right there, there’s every chance you will disappear” and signed off with that staccato laughter. A good measure of what he said seems to apply to the great man himself today. His popularity has reached stratospheric heights, but his movies are apparently taking the fall for him.
If Rajini were to be stationed high above this lonely planet, in the stratosphere, how would a conversation between him and ground control look?
Rajini: Ground control, I have a situation.
Ground control operator to his colleagues: Oh my God!!! Anbu, Ilamaran, Umaa seekiram vaanga inga! Guess who’s on the line from stratosphere? Enga thalaivar da! Rajini has called.
Anbu: Comedy pannaadha (don’t kid me)! Speaker le podu, let’s hear
GCO: I’m serious! Thalaiva, is it really you?
Rajini: Aamam da kanna (yes dear), it’s me! Now listen, I don’t have forever to talk. Up here, I’m alone and getting really bugged. Can you get me back on earth?
GCO: Impossible thalaiva. You shouldn’t have gone so high up. We have never had anyone reach such heights, and don’t know how to deal with it.
Rajini: Dammit, I’m stuck! OK, here is the real deal. My movies are not keeping me company
Ilamaran: What happened thalaiva?
Rajini: You bloody well know. Last five years, none of my movies have done well
GCO: Very true annai. You should choose good scripts
Rajini: Dei, you think I’m doing time pass? We need to keep evolving, yes? I can’t keep warning every baddie who comes my way with my finger and pack him off with a punch line. So I try to do something different these days
Umaa: Sir, we want you to give us movies like Baasha and Padayappa
Rajini: Ayyoo, the ghost of these movies will continue to haunt me even in my grave, I’m sure! Can’t you ever get over these?
Umaa: That’s difficult sir. But we also like different movies….
Rajini: Where? I try an animation flick, that too motion capture, and you say ‘kuppa padam’ (trash), ‘bomma padam’ (doll movie). I try some history and add amusement, and you say it’s too long and boring. I play a gangster again, just for you, and you still aren’t happy. What shall I do?
Ilamaran: We understand thalaiva. I feel you need good directors
Rajini: You fool! KS Ravikumar has given some of my biggest hits. You call him a bad director? Ranjith is young and promising and critically acclaimed. That’s also a mistake? I’m getting tired I tell you
Ila: Shankar, sir. See how good Sivaji and Robot were
Rajini: I can’t book Shankar for a lifetime, can I? Anyway next year 2.0 is coming. Working with him 10 years now
Anbu: Why do you worry so much annai? We will continue to love you anyway
Rajini: (to self) When will these jokers understand that a string of flops is not good for a superstar. My resume is starting to look pathetic anyway. I don’t want to end up like Rajesh Khanna.
(to the kids at ground control) It’s for your sake I’m trying different roles guys! Today you watch movies from around the world and choices are varied. I need to give you something that matches international quality
Anbu: All that I agree. But you are special, you see! You are bigger than your movies.
Rajini: Karmam! (all my doing)
(to self) no point in discussing with these kids!
(to the team) ok guys! I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for your time, nice talking!
Then to his accounts manager, “do you think I will do fine even if I announce retirement?”
Accounts: Yes sir. You can also endorse some brands on TV
Rajini: Kanna, I will never come on TV! Understand? You better understand!