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The Last Superstar

hese final years of Rajinikanth’s career are historic in their import, for never again will we see the likes of him.
Rajesh Khanna is usually called the first superstar. Never before, we hear, was an actor known to cause such frenzies among fans. Rajinikanth, then, is the last superstar. Never again will an actor rise to such heights of popularity, inspire such depths of devotion. These are the days of stars, certainly, but the sustained aura around movie-going that gave rise to the cult of stars is not there anymore. Our time is too divided. There is too much to do apart from watching movies once, twice, several times, and brag to friends that we were there first day, first show, etching ourselves into the only kind of history available to mere mortals. And superstars of the magnitude of Rajinikanth need that aura. They can be fostered only in eras where movies conflate into myths. What we have, these days, is mere excitement surrounding a new release. When a film is released in hundreds of screens, and when, if you don’t get tickets in one theatre it’s always possible to dream of seats in another, a small stake is driven into the bloodlust of the fan. Today’s stars are commodities stocked in a chain of supermarkets. They can never be superstars.

Rajinikanth himself may be never know how and why he became a superstar. Others were better looking, better enunciators of dialogue, better performers, better dancers, better clotheshorses. His transition from villain (or at least, a grey-shaded character) to hero is possibly one of the great mysteries of the cinema. He seemed so right as the bad guy. He carried such a charge, he left the hero in the dust. Of Rajinikanth it could be said that he would have become a superstar even if he hadn’t made the transition to hero. There was such excitement when he walked across screen. It felt alive. We often say that an actor has charisma, and we often struggle to describe what it is, what singular aspect constitutes this charisma, but with Rajinikanth you could point to Moondru Mudichu or Avargal and say, “That is charisma.” Science has taught us that two negatives make a positive, and it appears, in Rajinikanth’s case, that all those negatives combined into an electrifying positive. You cannot plan this. It just happens.

http://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/the-last-superstar/

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Utkal

53 COMMENTS
  1. jealous hater of srk

    i am lucky to be in south india to c stardom of The rajnikant he is god fr his fans
    He doesn’t need promotion his fans carry out 30 day rally befr film releases

  2. ank_16n

    Rajnikath is a South Indian Superstar whose name became known to North,Central and eastern India only after Robot when the jokes related to him got Viral…
    before his movie robot his Reach was limited…

    in similar stance NTR was a bigger superstar than him as far as i have read and Known..!!

    Similar can be said for Chiranjeevi during his prime some 5-10 years ago..was bigger than Rajni sir..!!

    They all are not superstar in Whole of INDIA..!!

    u can’t compare Rajnikath with Rajesh khanna who was a Superstar in whole of India not limited to a south state or couple of states..!!

  3. ank_16n

    its not only the depth of Devotion but also the Reach of Devotion which matters which mr Rajnikath lacks..!!

    1. jealous hater of srk

      ank jst ask japan people thier fav star frm india u wil get ur answer
      His reach is beyond ur imagination

      1. ank_16n

        do u know that prosenjit a bengali Superstar is most famous in Blangladesh so does that mean he is the biggest superstar of India…

        Superstar of India 1st shud be a superstar in India not in Japan or bangladesh..!!

  4. suprabh

    ank,

    Not true. The overall recognition(by the northern states also, since in south he was a huge star already) of Rajni being a star started in late 90s to early 2000s. However the real recognition of Rajni being a massive superstar , megastar or whatever came at the time of Sivaji in 2006-2007. That was the time, when all hindi-english news channels covered the Rajni mania, and that how people in south India were crazy about him; started showing the collections of his films etc.

    1. jealous hater of srk

      Its true dat in north india gav recogintion nly aftr shivaji bt rajni the phenomenon had gone wen his baba flopped in south india he was fading star bt he redefind himself in superstardom and demi god status by chandramukhi which was biggest hit in india at dat time

  5. rockie_Dabangg2

    Rajni Sir is BAAP of all Indian Superstars … including Amitabh Bachchan ….. :P

    @ank – What part of N India do you stay mann?? :D
    seriously …. do you stay in N India … or somewhr in China?? lolzzz…

    1. ank_16n

      read my comment 1st it also include East India and Central india

      visit any of these part u will know what i mean.. :)

  6. suprabh

    Rajni is a superstar but not for the whole country. Barring the southern states, 90% of the people can’t even name 10 films of Rajni , let alone having seen them. Same is not true for stars like Amitabh, Salman or aamir. Maybe even Srk. Most of the south Indian audience would have easily seen 10 or more movies of each of these stars. The percentage will increase to 95, if the number of movies considered is 15 or more, and so forth. A pan India superstar is the one whose considerable amount of work is recognized and appriciated. Having just a couple of movies known outside of home (favorable) territory does not make one a pan India star. Most of the regionalists, who defend Rajni so much will go to wikipedia/ google if they are asked to just name 10 films of his.

    1. sanjeev-dabangg2-beats-ETT

      I too agree with you.

  7. utkal

    “eriously …. do you stay in N India … or somewhr in China?? lolzzz” Even in China or Jpan he would have heard of Rajnikanth. I have lived through the mdness of Rajesh Khanna as a film-crazy teenager. But that is nothing compared to Rajini in his later years. Our office boy with a salary of Rs 2,000 saw his Basha 12 times. And so did the engineering graduates from IIT.

  8. rockie_Dabangg2

    Pan India … yeah we have read about these arguments earlier as well… :)

    Well offcourse we cannot name 10 movies of Rajni Sir …. because he don’t work in 10000 movies every year like Big B does ….
    well recently Big B has also slowed down ..

    Rajni Sir only does 1 movie in 2-3 years … and that movie collects more DS than 3I …. that too only earning in 3-4 states …. so you can see the DEPTH of his stardom …

    Tell me 1 Big B movie in today’s time which can challenge Rajni Sir’s Robot’s collections??
    Forget Rajni sir …. Big B can’t even compete with his own son … Jr B who has a 100cr in Bol Bachchan … :P

    1. jealous hater of srk

      Its true we cannot name any 10 becus in last decade he Had 4 to 5 releases jst bt-
      can amitabh create even 10% of mass hysteria in any of state in india wat rajni sir creates at present stage though nly in south india
      Can amitabh jst come fr jst 1 press confernce fr a 200cr movie as a promotional event audio launch and cn he make it collect 300cr+
      Is there any state in india wer we treat amitabh as god no bt jst come to south india here rajni sir is next to god fr south indians
      This is y Rajni sir is the real ‘SUPERSTAR’

    2. rockie_Dabangg2

      Yes Rajni sir might have 190 movies but most of his mediocre movies came in his earlier -struggling days … when he was not a superstar.

      While Big B on the other hand is doing all mediocre and sub standard movies after becoming a superstar.

      Big B could not maintain his stardom while Rajni Sir’s stardom in on an exponential increase. His movies also create HUGE hysteria in overseas markets like US, Japan Malaysia.

      For instance …. I bought a ticket of tamil version of Robot by paying 40$ …. have not payed more than 10$ for any BW in my 5 yrs stay in US.

      This is called as HYSTERIA …. of a SUPERSTAR ….

      —- Most of Bachchan movies dont even release here in US … apart from few big cities … why wud they release it here …. when most of his movies go empty houses in India itself ….. lolzzz…. thats superstar for you … with Pan India appeal … :P

  9. ank_16n

    suprabh—-
    rajni did got recognition after Shivaji but by English media not by Hindi media….

    I still Remember Cnn-Ibn going gaga over Rajni’s stardom during Shivaji….
    but at that time also they used Southern superstar not indian superstar.

    and there was no word of Rajni in hindi media at that time also..!!

    Even Robot the so called 150 cr movie having the biggest superstar in india….opened to just 6-7 cr in Hindi versions in rest of india except South….
    that too in a national holiday around 2nd october 2010..!!

    and just wait for his next kochicooram(if spelling is wrong i m sorry) u will know his reach and devotion in Whole India Except South India..!!

    and as far as South India concerned even in Andhra pradesh Chiranjeevi’s son Ram charan have more popularity in Andhra pradesh…
    as his Madegeara grossed(not nett) 85-90 cr and Racha grossed(not Nett) 60 cr
    while Rajni’s Robot his biggest hit Grossed(not Nett) 70 cr

    though i do agree Rajnikath is biggest superstar and phenomenon in Tamil nadu and rest of South India(except Andra pradesh)..
    :)

  10. VED-Z

    Sorry Utkal and rockie dabangg 2

    I am also from India (Northen India). its true that Rajnikant might be god in South. But he is not a superstar in Whole India ( Centre, East & North or even west)

    Agar aaj bhi koi Rajni ki taarif karta hai, even his fan, to yehi kehta hai ” Rajni is the god of south or Biggest superstar of SOUTH. nobody says India.
    howeer he is considered as a big star here… but not something like last superstar…. uske liye badi badi se badi compliment main bhi word SOUTH included hota hai.

    baaki rahi baat Japaan China ki to koi Canada par apna hak samajh kar beha huya hai, ambassador ban kar , koi berlin pe to koi UAE main dabanggiri karta hai

    who cares after all average overseas net for big movies is less than 20 % of Domestic net inspite of lesser rupee value.

  11. VED-Z

    Utkal

    sorry for being offtopic, but I would like to discuss just a small topic , we had last year, about Nadeem Shravan, usage of Shehnai in his songs and Was it ever good or not.

    but would like to do it some another time, thnx

  12. suprabh

    wow,

    So the fans of superstar Rajni themselves say that most of his 190 movies are mediocre and that he’s just the superstar of last 10 years..and the funniest part is, even out of his years of superstardom they cant even name 10 movies…hilarious!!!

    cherry on the cake: They can name AT LEAST 10 SUPER HIT movies of Amitabh but can’t do so for their Super star Rajni …..hahahahaha

  13. suprabh

    Comparing sensless mentality of paying $40 for a ticket for hysteria !!! If you buy a porn DVD for 500 bucks, then Sunny leone must be a bigger (naturally :P ) star than Rajni or even tom cruise… LOLzzzzz

    1. rockie_Dabangg2

      Offcourse you will feel it senseless … afterall you are a “Typical INSECURE – N Indian”.
      How can you find sense in achievements of S Indians??

      N Indian’s will never appreciate achievements of S Indian’s. They have this complex that they are better than S Indians.

      But FACT is FACT …. Rajni Sir is biggest superstar in India ….
      Big B with his PAN India appeal … should take some tutions from Rajni Sir … on how to maintain Stardom …

      BTW .. I dont even remember 10 movie names of Big B ….. ab itne saari flop films ke naam kaun yaad rakhega??

    2. rockie_Dabangg2

      And if you pay 500 bucks for pon DVD’s then you need some GK ….
      There is plenty of good quality free stuff available on internet …. :D

  14. sanjeev-dabangg2-beats-ETT

    All u people are right. Rajnikanth is big in south but if u take whole India he is not as big as Bollywood superstars. I know lots of people who don’t even know rajnikanth. I myself knew him after Robot. I knew chiranjeevi n mahesh babu before rajnikanth.

  15. Dino

    Only superstar bigger than Rajini sir is Sallu Bhai ab khush.?

  16. suprabh

    rockie,

    No, I dont have any complex against south Indians. In fact I have appreciated most things about south Indians and criticised North Indians much more. To be really honest, my fav Indian actor is a South Indian (Kamal Haasan) and number 2 spot goes to a Bengali actor, while my fav filmmakers are from Bengal too. I have seen more regional cinema than most people do, only to enjoy it and not to bash it. Moreover, I have said it time and again, South Indian or any other regional cinema should not even give a damn to bollywood recognition (the same way bollywood should not give a damn to oscars, venice etc). But having said all that one cannot deny that actors like Amitabh, Salman which is bigger than Rajni’s appeal which is limited to 1-2 states…Rajni is not as popular in Karnataka or Kerela, like in Tamil Nadu.

    Your argument , on the other hand, is completely born by the fact that you want a North Indian- Amitabh to be shown less than another actor. You for a FACT, can’t stand that a UP ka bhaiyya came to Maharashtra and made it bigger than anyone else.

    I know, like every time, you will find some reason to refute this claim with your arguments, but its high time you acknowledged your insecurities as a regionalist rather than trying to prove mine. I mean it.

    1. iitianWay

      rajni(shivaji …something) is also a maharastrian bhau who made it big in madras..

      1. ank_16n

        @iitianWay–u just hit the bullseye….. buddy…..

  17. dr.nick

    i agree rajni is not a pan indian superstar.his movies are screened in delhi,but even in delhi his movies are only watched by the tamil diaspora.may be other south indians as well.but he cannot be compared to pan indian superstars like amitabh,salman and srk as their movies are watched by everone be it marathis,punjabis,gujaratis,harayanvis,kashmiris,northeastern people,bengalis and even by south indians themselves.amitabh,srk and salman are indian superstars in the truest sense.rajni,however idolised he may be in the south will only be a regional superstar.

  18. therealdon99

    The biggest superstar ever in indian cinema is Amitabh Bachchan! For me there is no doubt. Superstardom is not only boxoffice but also includes, fame, popularity around the world, respect of collegues, iconic status, starting trends, etc etc. The below are some facts i want to share. These are not my opinons but facts..

    1) Amitabh is the first star to open doors for actors doing stage shows abroad, he was the FIRST movie star from india to do this. He sold out famous venues like madison square garden (new york), Wembly Stadium (london) In the 1980s.

    2) First indian movie star to have his wax statue made by a foreign country. UK. Madame Tussauds. He opened doors for other stars. today we have SRK, salman, aishwariya who have had wax statues made but AB was the first star. (rajnikanth?? to this day no foreign country has ever made a statue of rajnikanth) fact.

    3) First movie star to go into televison. KBC broke all TRP records and today we have all stars going into televison. Again this trend was started by AB.

    If we use the whole of india 1.2billuion as a barometer and try to determine fame. Amitabh will be miles ahead of rajnikanth. Rajnikanth will not be known to 90% of the country. India is a country of 1.2billion people. I think around 1billion will not know him. (200million is the population of south india) Stars like srk, salman, aamir, akshay will be much more famous than rajnikanth in india! Anyone that disagrees with this is just lieing or is very ignorant!

    Boxoffice: People that talk of rajnkanths boxoffice appeal ignore 1 big factor. TAX!! His movies which are released in tamil nadu have almost zero tax. Hindi movies have around 45%-50% tax. 3 idiots record of 202crores net is the same as 404 crores gross. Compare this with robot 150crores? Hindi stars are much bigger than south stars in terms of gross revenue! there is simply no comparison!

    We can all lie and make up stories but facts will always be facts… please lets not try to change them.

    In terms of iconic status no actor comes close to AB in india! He dominated indian cinema (pan indian appeal) from the mid 70s to the early 90s. No actor has had pan indian appeal like this.

    So in my eyes AB will always be the biggest superstar ever based on the above! Rajnikanth will be the biggest south star, he does not have pan indian appeal.

  19. FS

    Take it easy guyz… Language is the barrier… Hindi is our National Language and second most common language spoken by Indians apart from Hindi is English or may be in todays time English is more popular and spoken than Hindi in India. South indian population consists quite a sizable population whose mother tongue is hindi/urdu/Hyderabi and most population are quite well versed in Hindi language. So language barrier is not much of a problem to south indians and hence they see more of Hindi movies/serials etc.. where as North its quite opposite… Hence North/Central/West/East can only recognize the power of these South Indian Superstars but can’t recall their films as they have hardly seen them… Rajnikanth is famous coz he has done many hindi films as well or else in South Rajnikant, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi and RajKumar had equal fanbase or all had once demi god status …. right now rajni is ahead and it is also because of his philanthropist activity down south.

    1. ank_16n

      FS—Rajnikanth last Substantial role in a hindi movie was about 15-17 years ago….

      i think u don’t know people in North, central know Kamal hasan more than rajni bcoz of Kamal’s Godse(biggest controversial movie ever) and for ur kind information kamal has given more bigger hits in Hindi than Rajnikanth.

      1. FS

        Read properly… People knw kamal more agreed coz of him doing main stream hindi cinema until recently but most knw who is more popular down south between the two… One is cherished for his acting n other for his Superstardom…

  20. rockie_Dabangg2

    Okay if Big B is such a big superstar … why are most his movies BO duds in past decade??
    Why has the so called superstar not delivered a single 100cr grosser?
    He has to first compete with his flop son who delivered a 100cr movie this year.
    —-

    On the other hand Rajni Sir’s so called “REGIONAL” movies are competing with BW biggies like 3I…
    They are doing HUGE collections in overseas as well…

    ——
    @sup: “Your argument , on the other hand, is completely born by the fact that you want a North Indian- Amitabh to be shown less than another actor. You for a FACT, can’t stand that a UP ka bhaiyya came to Maharashtra and made it bigger than anyone else.”

    I take it this way …. Maharashtra gave him a chance to become what he is ….
    which UP failed …
    UP did not have an opportunity for him to do anythg … so he had to migrate to Maharashtra …. and MH gave him a chance .. or else he would have been nothing but a bhojpuri filmstar ….

    Wohi to hamara rona hai ….. UP waale Govt kuch karte hi nahi ….. UP waalon ke liye bhi Maharashtra ko karna padta hai …. :(

    On the other hand …. look at S India … they dont have to depend on Maharashtra to create Superstars…. they have the ability to create their own superstars … bigger than BW superstars …

  21. rockie_Dabangg2

    @sup:
    You can call me regionalist … I agree that I am … atleast I don’t make FAKE claims of being non-regionalist and then keep on undermining S Indians and their achievements.

    Here is simple example … when I said people are ready to pay 40$ for Rajni Sir movie whereas for BW movies 10$ is maxx…. then you say that is “senseless” argument. That itself shows your insecurities.

    —-
    Also there is nothing bad in being regionalist …. I want UP and Bihar Govt to work for their people …. but N Indians will keep on blaming Maharashtra and keep on fighting with us … instead of asking your Govt why are they not doing anythg for their people??

    Central Govt gives maximum funding to UP ….. kya hota us paise kaa??
    Why the localites still have to migrate to MH for good life??

    Instead of fighting with MH guys … you should fight with your leaders who are fooling you.

  22. suprabh

    rockie,

    Your are still debating on a region basis. I told you this would not make any effect on me. I have no problems facing the fact that UP for most of the post independence era had been pretty much a fucked up state. I do not consider myself limited to one part of my country. So I have no qualms in appreciating or criticizing any particular parts. ..Maharashtra’s achievements or disappointments are my achievements and disappointments …and same way for UP or any other part. Its such a big desperation on your part that, for the lack of points you try to twist the argument on a region basis? Cmon yaar, dont be so narrow. For once, I Do want you to admit your jealousy and hatred ;) Aisi dushmani bhi kya dushmani jo khulle aam batayi bhi na ja sake.. :P

    Btw, why don’t you tell everyone, one of the major reasons for you loving Salman and RajniKanth :P

    (shhhhh one of them is born to a marathi mother and one of them is a born Marathi :D )

    1. rockie_Dabangg2

      Jealousy .. please … why wud I be jealous of them who have to leave their own place just to find a decent job?
      I am jealous of Americans because they don’t have to go anywhere to get good life.
      —-

      Also the main issue is N Indians keep on bashing MH folks whereas they should be fighting their leaders. So hatred is from other side that too without any reason.

      —–

      And to be honest I am Salman fan from my childhood from the times when I didnt even know his mother is Marathi.
      Abt Rajnikant …. yes he is Marathi … but I consider him a S Indian.

      And my respect is more for him …. because of his respect to his Karmbhoomi.
      On the other hand look at that – Jaya Bachchan who earned evethg in MH talks shit abt MH folks.

      This is the difference in the upbringing …. we MH folks respect our Karmabhoomi on the other hand these Bachchan’s will not give up a single chance to downgrade MH ….


      Bachchans should really take up tutions from Rajni Sir … professional life as well as personal life.

  23. rockie_Dabangg2

    “I have no problems facing the fact that UP for most of the post independence era had been pretty much a fucked up state. I do not consider myself limited to one part of my country.”

    WOW … bas badi badi bataaa… :P

    Then why don’t you relate to issues that MH folks have … that time suddenly you remember the constitution of India …. and that any Indian can stay anywhere in India ,.. and all that .. :)

    ye sahi …. when we talk abt problems in UP …. you say its India’s problem
    but when we talk abt issues that MH folks face …. that time “suddenly” that is not India’s problem … but only the problem of MH folks ….

    —-

  24. suprabh

    rockie,

    again, when did I ever say, that I dont understand problems maharashtra folks face…If you go back and read my comments, I have always acknowledged MH problems. The only thing I did not agree with was, Raj Thackrey’s way of dealing with it. The issue was a major one and there should be a proper way of dealing with it rather than bashing people’s heads.

    and again, you can have anything against Bachchans, I could care less about that, but the problems is in your thinking, where you expand one person’s image to the whole strata. Have you ever seen me saying you Marathis have narrow mentality just because I find your mentality narrow? I always stick to the one I am talking about but you always make one person’s thinking as the whole community/ region’s thinking.

    1. rockie_Dabangg2

      If you find my narrow minded then thats because you are not ready to see other side of the coin. You are just turning a blind eye to problems that MH folks face.

      The issue that MH folks face is major but the atleast we know what our issue is…. on the other hand UP folks don’t even know that their Govt is their main enemy who is doing nthg and just playing the “Constitution of India” card to fool them and not solve their problems.

      The way you call me narrow minded … I think you are insecure abt achievements of S Indians … its even … :)

      1. suprabh

        Rockie, as I mentioned I never said, MH folks problems were small or no issue..I was always against Raj Thackray’s way of handling it. I was thinking for once, you’d try to have a reasonable discussion on this topic, but looks like you are more interested in finding my insecurities. Good for you. :)

      2. ank_16n

        rockie_Dabangg2—so its all about a marathi manoos Rajnikanth a.k.a Shivaji..

        wah re wah keep on doing the good work..

  25. dennycrane1

    at present no bollywood superstar can compare to the depth of rajjni’s superstardom..salman comes close to it…

    but when it comes to reach of his stardom..it’s strictly confined to south

    as for amitabh bacchan..during his peak he had the depth to match rajni’s craze and reach that went beyond any superstar…obviously right now it’s not the same fo him though..

    comparing amitabh at present to rani at present is unfair as amitabh’s peak was decades ago whereas rajni’s peak is now…

    if we want to compare we should compare rajni’s peak now ith amitabh’s peak then

  26. iitianWay

    south indians treat him as their god ..and rest of indians knows him as god of south india.
    So, when a north indian visit south india..he respects local god…but will always invoke his own god for salvation..
    33 crore hain ..sabhi ka apna apna maalik :)

  27. iitianWay

    anyway welcome back suprabh…is sabbatical mein kya kya kiya?

  28. Action

    Rajnikanth jokes are more popular than his movies in India except south.

  29. rockie_Dabangg2

    @ank_16n:

    Yes I will keep on doing the good work … I anyways don’t expect you guys to appreciate the phenomena called as “Rajnikant” ONLY because he is from S India.
    He is delivering 100cr blockbusters even in his 60′s.

    You keep on blowing the Trumpet of big b … who is struggling to give a single 100cr movie whereas Tushar Kapoor has also delivered one in G3.
    Bas naam ka superstar …. !!

    1. ank_16n

      “”I anyways don’t expect you guys to appreciate the phenomena called as “Rajnikant” ONLY because he is from S India.””

      for ur kind information my fav cricketers include Rahul Dravid Sachin and Anil kumble..

      and
      do u know that there are more South Indians living in Delhi than in Mumbai and Pune put together..

      so u might be dividing people on the basis of Region but still 2 of my close friends still include south Indians(one from Andhra pradesh and other from Kerala) and both still thinks Ram charan and Mahesh babu are bigger superstar in Andhra pradesh and Mohan lal is still bigger superstar in Kerala..!!

  30. sanjeev-dabangg2-beats-ETT

    These are not my opinion but mere facts:
    1. All Time: Compared to their respected places, Rajni is bigger than AB.
    2. All Time: In whole India, AB is bigger than Rajni.
    3. Today: Compared to their respected places, Rajni is bigger than AB.
    4. Today: In whole India, Rajini is bigger than AB.
    5. Peak time: debatable: ( I think 50/50)

    So overall looks like Rajni is bigger. This is actually a surprise for me. But this seems the truth.

    1. sanjeev-dabangg2-beats-ETT

      Biggest superstar in India: Rajnikanth
      Biggest superstar of India: Amitabh

      I think everyone agree now.

  31. VED-Z

    Correction

    Biggest superstar in South India: Rajnikanth
    Biggest superstar of India: Amitabh

  32. Alfa.one

    May be God in south India but not more than a kala peela joker in rest of India and a part of Japan !

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