Dear Rajni Sir,
Lets just say that I have a dream.
Visualizing this dream has always left me reflecting on a truckload of memories and yearning for the vintage ‘Rajinikanth‘.
That magical moment, when you opened the gate, as a haggard in rags, seemingly stricken with a terminally ill disease and smoking a beedi, simply refuses to go off my mind. If I remember right, the Sanskrit term ‘Shruthi Bedham’ appears precisely at this point on the frame, and the off screen voice only added on to make it seem like THE most inauspicious start to any debutante’s first screen appearance.
The film Apoorva Raagangal itself was thick in controversy, and nobody took notice of the young newcomer, who was on screen barely for fifteen minutes, muttered a few apologetic words to the wronged woman and ultimately died an unsung, non-heroic death.
No one in the audience, even in his wildest imagination, would have thought that this nondescript man, who had the least attention in the film would go on to win millions of hearts in India.
But it happened. Following some sterling performances in films like Mullum Malarum, Ninathale Inikkum, Padinaaru Vayathinile, you were made a star. Star became Super Star. Super Star became Darling of the Masses. Emperor of the box office. And above all, our very own ‘phenomenon’, that we take pride in. The obvious reasons: your passion for the industry and unflinching hard work. Nothing less. Nothing more.
I totally enjoy your films and your flair. But there is something else I badly miss. In fact, not just me, its something many more people like me pine for. Yes, we miss the talented powerhouse performer in you.
The gifted artist in you did show his face now and then in masterpieces like Thalapathy and Enthiran, and on a rare occasion even in well made commercial films like Baasha. The kind of cinema that happens, when your talent is instigated by a brilliant director at the helm of affairs, was laid bare for the world to see. But then, this was not the norm, but only an exception. In reality, there is no denying the fact that you were made a victim of commerce, where you had to sacrifice your talents and technique for playing to the gallery.
And therefore as you complete nearly three decades of ruling the box-office, I thought I will tell you about my dream on the occasion of your sixty fourth birthday.
My dream is to see you rule the screen with your astounding screen presence and charisma, taking up sensible and powerful roles that suit your age and health, starting now
My dream is to witness your immense talent and the mystical ease with which you keep millions of eyes glued at you, being put to intelligent use for making some quality cinema.
Just a fleeting thought of the kind of awesomeness that could be unleashed on us, if you choose to be a bit more brave and start collaborating with the best creative minds of our industry, promptly gives me the ‘goosebumps’. But definitely not, when your dupe is jumping off a cliff to the top of an air balloon or thrashing goons on the roof of a CG enhanced train. It might have, a decade ago. But now, we do expect more from you. Shouldn’t we? And ‘more’ need not be necessarily physically taxing.
Yes, we would rather prefer the real deal. If you are lead to believe otherwise, its the fault of the self-conferred ‘industry pundits’ around you. Believe me. The magic lies in you, and not in the double somersault that your dupe does. And I am sure I saw glimpses of that magic in the character of ‘Raja Lingeshwaran’. But why be satisfied with ‘glimpses’, I say!
And so, I sincerely hope that the Lingaa experience channels your infectious energy and efforts in a new direction. Yes, I know that its easier said than done, and cinema at the end of the day is essentially a business model. But you, being you, can certainly give it a try. We, the audience, are a matured lot. You got to trust us. Yes, the people who really know you and your capabilities would vouch for me that a quality film of yours, however experimental it is, cannot simply be a failure.
I feel you are at a stage, where you have the liberty and authority to open the gates for some true-blue aboorva raagangals. If you will.
One film Sir. All I am asking is one. Where you are yourself. The one and only ‘Rajni’. No dupes. No lip gloss. No boots and coat. No romancing a thirty year old in lavish sets. No messing around with comedians. Just YOU. And your awesomeness, Because you deserve it.
I will continue to hope. Because hope is a good thing. And no good thing ever dies.
Lots of love. And Happy Birthday.