Indian superstar Rajnikanth has been ruling the movie scene in South-India, and the hearts of many all over the nation. He is out on a roll again with a new gangster-avatar in ‘Kabali’, and is up for very particular milk offerings.
India is a land of many traditions, beliefs and… stars; and an ancient tradition connecting them all- offering of milk at prayer, to gods’ idols and sometimes even silver screen idols.
Milk is used in religious practice for its purifying qualities. When it transcends religion, it becomes a part of a person’s diet, food business and even the milk revolution (Operation flood), and in this case, an offering to the posters of superstar, Rajnikanth, right before the release of his movies!
Rajinikanth, born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1959 is way more than just an actor – he is almost considered as a God, especially when it comes to his huge fan following in South-India, where he hails from.
Rajnikanth, who was born in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), in Karnataka, rose from a humble background by taking up a number of odd jobs, including being a carpenter and a coolie, at the beginning of his career. He later worked as a bus conductor with Bangalore Transport Service (BTS).
Afterwards, he began to take part in stage plays and was eventually offered a part in Kannada playwright and director, Topi Muniappa’s mythological plays. He then went onto taking acting classes and debuted in Tamil cinema with ‘Apoorva Raagangal’ (1975). This is how the journey of the ‘God-star’ began.
Not only villainous roles
Between 1975 and 1977, Rajinikanth took up a number of villainous roles in films like ‘16 Vayadhinilae’, ‘Moondru Mudichu’ and ‘Avargal’ and towards the end of the 1980s, gained immense popularity down South.
He played a double role in a movie called ‘Billa’ which was a huge commercial success. The movie was followed by a row of hits like ‘Murattukaalai’, ‘Pokkiri Raja’, ‘Thanikattu Raja’, ‘Naan Mahaan Alla’, ‘Pudukavithai’ and Moondru Mugam.
In 1983, Rajinikanth made his Bollywood debut with ‘Andha Kanoon’ along with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini, two of India’s most admired actors. The film was well received and went on to become the highest-grossing movie at that time. Although the actor has worked only in a handful of Bollywood movies, he is among the few to have achieved country-wide stardom in the southern Indian languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, since those movies were translated in several Indian languages.
He has also worked on a film titled ‘Kochadaiiyaan’, which was directed by his daughter Soundarya and also with in a techno-thriller called ‘Enthiran’ with another superstar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
The actor, who still romances women more than half his age in his films, and is the country’s highest paid film-star, will be back on the big screens with his new movie titled ‘Kabali’, due to release on July 22, 2016 in India. The tamil-language, gangster-drama is written and directed by Pa. Ranjith and is his third directorial venture.
Movie release and workers’ relief
Going back to the star’s frenzy, the tradition of offering milk to Rajinikanth’s hoarding cut-outs and posters has become a cause of worry for the milkmen association of Tamil Nadu, a Southern-Indian state, where the ‘tradition’ is followed most coherently- with the release of every movie of the star.
It is being worried that milk worth INR 2 million will be wasted during the first day of the movie if the tradition is continued. Thus, the milkmen association is strongly urging the fans to give up this practice starting with Kabali.
Since some sections of the society cannot afford milk, the association feels that this practice is highly unethical. So instead of wasting milk, fans have been suggested to organise blood donation camps at theatres, where thy could also sign a form for the donation of their eyes after their demise.
There is more to the fandom of the super-star, who is the recipient of Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.
A holiday has even been declared by some companies in Chennai and Bengaluru on the day of Kabali’s release. This was after the spread of the hoaxed information of many employees planning to take an off in the name of sick-leave. Thus, some companies issued a notice in this respect and some have even volunteered to provide free tickets in a bid to contain piracy.
Indian cinematic scene has many great actors who are looked up-to by their fans, but hardly anyone can fit the shoes of the boss of Tamil movies.