Chiranjeevi to Rajinikanth: Will Southern superstars ever retire?

Chiranjeevi to Rajinikanth: Will Southern superstars ever retire?

Five weeks after it was formally released worldwide for universal exhibition on August 10 and a week later after it was unveiled on OTT, Rajinikanth’s...

Five weeks after it was formally released worldwide for universal exhibition on August 10 and a week later after it was unveiled on OTT, Rajinikanth’s ‘Jailer’ continues to make waves. All for the right reasons this time. Having collected Rs 600 crore worldwide and amassing a huge Rs 200 crore in Tamil Nadu alone, if box office figures in public domain are to be believed, the Superstar starrer is nothing short of a sensational hit.

In fact, writing about the long weekend in August prior to Independence Day, the media had quoted the initial collections of three films other than ‘Jailer’ which included one of Megastar Chiranjeevi and Akshay Kumar and had hailed it as a unique phase for Indian cinema as it had not seen such a rousing response to its films from the patrons ever. It must be a double treat for both Rajini and his director Nelson who were hammered after their 2022 releases crashed badly at the cash counters, inviting sustained and sarcastic memes for a long time even after it disappeared from the silver screens.

Whether it’s a media creation or a sensational leak spread by interested parties, Rajinikanth is presently seen competing with the younger crop of stars, a few years older than his own daughters. It has made his long-term fans unhappy and the recent crop of gimmick-loving youth charged up for a fresh phase of social media warfare.

After a clear no-no to state politics, Rajinikanth is content donning the greasepaint and continuing to keep himself busy, basking in the assembly-line adulation which he has been once again receiving from his legion of followers across generations. His onscreen competitor and offscreen pal, Kamal Haasan seems to be flexing his non-existent political muscle and aspiring to enter Lok Sabha this time, with Congress allowing him as a possible alliance partner. The state has also been seeing the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between ruling DMK and BJP, whose leader is combating the barbs thrown by the Dravidian party.

Unhindered by all these developments, Rajinikanth seems keen to get going and beat back the surging competition to snatch the Superstar title from him. His failing health, repetitive mannerisms and a token change of acting style can merely keep him a step or two ahead, given that he is running 72 and already a decade into encountering health issues.

Amitabh Bachchan, too, has been a not-so-healthy one-man industry for more than three decades now, with reports regularly appearing about the delicate situation he is in. However, he is still unmatched and would remain one as he has cleverly stayed on the right side of the cinema business. This has meant steady endorsements, regular roles in big banners and respect and awe all over the film zones of India and abroad.

Chiranjeevi in Telugu and Rajinikanth in Tamil seem incapacitated in breaking free from their own, self-imposed reel routines and the audience pays a heavy price for trusting them, as and when they launch their eye-popping, heavily funded ventures. It will be a while before someone decides to call it a day and history reveals the public will have the last laugh once again.

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