Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth’s latest film Kaala set for release on June 7 is eagerly awaited by his fans and others to see whether its success will embolden him to take the political plunge by floating his own party. As Rajini is banking on his film popularity to succeed in politics, the stakes are high.
If teaser trailers are any indication, it is going to be a hit as it is yet another in the series of gangster movies which have always clicked with the masses.
Rajini, 67, is playing the role of Dhiravayam Naidu, a Dharavi slum lord much like Vardaraja Mudaliar or Vardha Bhai loosely based on whose life Mani Rathnam made Nayakan in which Kamal gave one of his career best performances.
As both the leading stars of Tamil cinema and are now political rivals, comparisons are bound to be made. But then, Rajini has his own style of acting and his own mass following.
It is the second time that Rajini is doing the role of a Mumbai don. The earlier one, Badshah, directed by KS Ravi Kumar, was a runaway success. Kaala will also be compared to Badshah.
But then Badshah was released at a time when Rajini teased his audience with so- called punch dialogues about his impending entry into politics, only to say later it was just a publicity stunt. Now that he has taken the decision to enter politics, but hesitating to formally launch his own party, the response to Kaala will help him know where he stands in public esteem.
It is said that even bad publicity is good publicity for a film. That way, Kaala has run into controversy over Rajini’s comments on Thoothukudi violence and on Cauvery.
His remark that the Thookudi mass agitation was hijacked by anti-socials, leading to violence and resulting in police firing in which 13 persons died, has angered the people, more so ultra-nationalist Tamil leaders like Vel Murugan and Seeman as well as Makkal Adhigaaram and Revolutionary Youth front. Even mainstream political parties, except the AIADMK and the DMK, have taken exception to his failure to condemn the firing and his assertion that he would not countenance any violence against uniformed forces.
Ironically, his innocuous remark that Karnataka should abide by the Supreme Court order and release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu has invited the wrath of Kannada chauvinist leader Vattal Nagaraj, who has threatened to disrupt Kaala’s release in that State. Of course, Rajini’s son and producer Dhanush has moved the Karnataka High Court and got an assurance from the State Government that it would provide security for the film’s smooth release. It shows Rajini is opposed by both Tamil and Kannada extremists.
As Kaala is the first major film of Rajini’s after his decision to enter active politics, there is so much hype. In the next few weeks Rajini will know which way the wind is blowing.