If there is a human being on earth who is worshipped after God, it is probably the one and only Thalaiva.
Thalaiva means Boss or Leader.
Thalaiva is Rajnikanth and Rajnikanth needs no introduction.
If you still need an introduction though, Rajnikanth is the most popular star of the South Indian Movie Industry, if not the world.
When a Rajnikanth film releases in Chennai, it is nothing short of a festival.
Albert Theatre on Mount Road is considered Rajnikanth’s ‘Official Theatre’. The first day, first show screening of each and every of his films are viewed by his family there.
Every major theatre screening his film is decorated with lights, flowers, banners and his cut-outs. A Paal Abhishekam (bathing with milk) is performed on his Cut-outs. It is rumoured that 50,000 litres of Milk is used for this exercise.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I would like to attend a 4 o clock theatre screening of his last movie, and needless to say I agreed immediately. When I asked where would we be having dinner, post the film, withering looks came my way. Deep sighs and eye rolls preceded the information that the screening was scheduled for 4 AM, and not PM. Yes, that is a special timing chosen , most probably due to extreme impatience, to watch their beloved Thalaiva on screen.
What never fails to impress me is that Rajni has managed to attain this cult status despite being an ‘outsider’. His original name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. What is even more impressive is that he used to be Bus Conductor with the Bangalore Transport Service, before he joined the Madras Film Institute to pursue a Diploma in Acting. From a Conductor to a Super Star!
His gestures and mannerisms are legendary. From flicking his sunglasses dramatically in the air and have them miraculously land on his face, to beating up a dozen goons single- handedly without moving a muscle, it’s all believable when ‘Rajni Saar’ does it.
The roar and whistles that go up in the theatre when Thalaiva makes his first appearance on screen could make you go deaf. Better wear ear plugs when he delivers his famous one liners, a popular one being ‘Pera kettaale chumma adhirudhulla!’ (Doesn’t everything quake at the mere mention of my name?’)
For someone revered thus, the man is the most unassuming and humble human being in person. With his trademark white beard, he is almost unrecognisable as himself. The perfect example of when a tree is laden with fruit it bows down more.
Written for the theme