Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Rajnikanth unlikely to give up films for politics anytime soon

Rajinikanth’s new film titled Darbar, will start rolling from today in Mumbai

By Sreedhar Pillai
  • Published 10.04.19, 7:35 PM
  • Updated 10.04.19, 7:35 PM
  • 3 mins read
In Darbar, slated for a January 2020 release, Rajinikanth will play a rough-and-tough cop with infinite shades of grey

It wasn't long ago that south Indian cinema's most durable superstar Rajnikanth was being hailed as the would-be real-life political giant who would lead Tamil Nadu to a new tomorrow. In the event, Thalaivar, as he's fondly called by his millions of fans worldwide, has stayed away from parliamentary elections even though he had formed his political party in December 2017. Rajnikanth insists that the party will be a force to be reckoned with for the 2021 elections to the state assembly.

But for now, Rajnikanth has thrown himself back into the thick of onscreen action. He had a mixed year in 2018 and his first release Kaala turned out to be an average grosser (by his standards). But he more than made up for that with the super-hit 2.0 directed by Shankar. That was followed early this year by the mass entertainer Petta, directed by Karthik Subbaraj for Sun Pictures, which quickly became pure gold at the box-office. Rajnikanth proved that at 68 he is the Tamil film industry's numero uno star whose films can rake in more than Rs 200 crore with all the worldwide theatrical and other rights.

Now, he's making it abundantly clear once again that he isn't about to abandon the screen for politics in the near future. On Tuesday director AR Murgadoss announced on Twitter that Rajinikanth’s new film titled Darbar, will start rolling from April 10 in Mumbai. The film being produced by the biggest production house in Tamil cinema, Lyca Productions, is directed by AR Murgadoss and has top actress Nayanthra as the heroine. It will have music by hot and happening music-maker Anirudh and camerawork by Santosh Sivan. The film is slated for a Pongal (January 14) 2020 release.

The outlines of the story are already clear. In Darbar Rajinikanth will play a rough-and-tough cop with infinite shades of grey. The movie poster's tagline says: “You decide whether you want me to be good, bad, or worse”. Some of his fans are already interpreting this as a reference to his reluctance to enter the murky world of politics. It's clear that he will be a larger-than-life policeman tangling with a grubby, dirty system in Darbar. A police dog, several guns, swords and Mumbai's Gateway of India are also shown on the first poster.

For AR Murgadoss who made Ghajini in Hindi with Aamir Khan, this will be his first project with Rajinikanth though he has a proven track record of making blockbusters with big south Indian stars. Darbar will star Nayanthara in the female lead, while Anirudh Ravichander, who composed the music for Rajini's last film Petta, will be joining hands with Thalaivar once again. Nayanthara is said to be Rajinikanth’s favourite heroine and he considers her lucky. It’s Nayanthara’s fourth film with the superstar after Chandramukhi, Kuselan and cameo appearance in Sivaji.

A source close to the production says: “Darbar is a catchy title and is relevant in all languages – Tamil, Hindi and Telugu -- in which the film will simultaneously release . It will be a typical AR Murgadoss mass entertainer made on a big canvas with a larger-than-life hero and punchy political dialogues.”

Rajnikanth may have backed away from the world of politics. But his close friend and star Kamal Haasan is busy campaigning for his party MNM for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. MNM is contesting the elections on its own and all eyes are on Kamal Haasan’s future moves even though political analysts don't give him much chance in these elections. But even if he doesn't have beginner's luck in the world of politics, Kamal already has his onscreen plans ready. He has announced that a film titled Indian 2 directed by Shankar will start rolling soon, However, there are indications that the film is currently stalled. Both Indian 2 and Darbar are being funded by Lyca Productions.

So, when will Rajinikanth move forward on his political journey? Currently, he is keeping equidistant from all political parties including the BJP in Tamil Nadu. But the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu are annoyed that he welcomed the BJP's interlinking rivers promise in its manifesto. The DMK and Congress see it as Rajinikanth subtly supporting the saffron party. Rajinikanth said: “I have been pushing for inter-linking of rivers. BJP in its manifesto has said it would form a commission for inter-linking of rivers. It’s welcome.”

Once Rajinikanth finishes Darbar he is likely to move on to his next movie which will possibly be with an upcoming director. What about politics? Like any other good citizen he will be flying down from Mumbai to Chennai to cast his vote for the Lok Sabha polls on April 18.

Sreedhar Pillai is a Chennai-based freelance journalist