Superstar Rajinikanth turns 67: A low-key birthday, but massive plans ahead for films and politics

Sreedhar Pillai

Dec 12, 2017 09:08:32 IST

December 12 is marked in the Tamil Nadu calendar as the birthday of superstar Rajinikanth. For the last two decades, fans of Kollywood and especially those of the reigning superstar eagerly look forward to 12/12.

This year, with Rajinikanth’s imminent entry into politics being one of the most talked about debates on television, all eyes are on Poes Garden, the star’s residence in Chennai.

Rajinikanth. Image from PTI.

As per national media he was supposed to make the big decision today, on 12 December “to float his own party and plunge into politics”.

But it looks to be a quiet birthday, with the superstar keeping a low profile and his fans celebrating online with common display pictures and offline with huge wall posters. There are the usual sponsored birthday specials in Tamil publications.

A source close to the superstar revealed to Firstpost: “The superstar is out of station for a day today. Fans may be celebrating the birthday with prayers, functions, and few are holding a special screening of sir's iconic films. As of now he is scheduled to meet his fans before the year ends.”

The latest buzz is that Rajinikanth, who turns 67 today, will take a call on politics only after the 18 December results of the Gujarat polls are announced. He also wants to keep away from Tamil Nadu’s keenly contested RK Nagar by-poll, which is to be held on 21 December.

In the last few months Rajinikanth kept a studious silence, with one-time arch rival Kamal Haasan hogging the headlines with his sensational statements and open war with the state government. So far he has restrained from making any remarks on EPS led ADMK government in Tamil Nadu, and has also not commented on Vishal’s botched up entry into politics.

2018 is going to be the most crucial year in his life. He has two biggies coming up for release back to back – 2 Point O on 27 April and Kaala on 15 August. The release dates are tentative and may change. Meanwhile Kollywood trade sources have warned Rajinikanth that with nearly Rs 600 Crore riding on him with 2 Point O (Budget Rs 450 Cr) and Kaala (Budget Rs 150 Cr), it is better that he keeps his mouth shut regarding politics.

They've pointed out the case of Padmavati to him, which is still undergoing release pangs due to political opposition. Trade sources are keeping their fingers crossed regarding Kamal Haasan’s Viswaroopam 2, which is now getting ready for release in the first quarter of 2018.

The buzz is that after it became clear that 2 Point O was likely to get delayed due to time consuming VFX and special effects, Rajinikanth went silent. He met a few Tamil Nadu distributors of the film at the Dubai audio launch and told them the film will release in April.  He also assured them that he will not be doing anything like jumping into politics and risk his film career. The trade buzz is that till Kaala releases, he will not form or join any political party and is looking more at the big picture – 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

As of now Rajinikanth has stopped listening to new film stories or holding  discussions with directors.

A source close to Rajinikanth said: “Superstar Rajinikanth is still the number one because he knows the importance of the box-office from where he derives his strength  and he will not do anything to upset the apple cart. He has been able to keep Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi in good humour for the last 25 years at the peak of his career, something which Kamal Haasan or modern day heroes aspiring for a political career could never do. It is a very thin dividing line between politics and cinema in Tamil Nadu.”

Senior political journalist GC Sekhar, who has been tracking Rajinikanth since 1996, says – “It looks like after waiting all these years, Rajinikanth is in no hurry to take the plunge immediately. Last time he met his fans he asked them to be prepared for war. And when he meets his fans again I’m sure he will review the preparations. The actual declaration of war – a political party – will come just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. By then Kamal Haasan and Vishal might have got exhausted by their sprint. Rajinikanth meanwhile will be ready for the marathon – which is what politics is about.”

For the third year in a row, Rajinikanth has chosen to keep away from the fan frenzy on his birthday. His spokesperson said Rajinikanth opted for a low-key birthday following Cyclone Ochki, in which nearly 500 Tamil fishermen are still missing and 40 people have died.

Dhanush has come out with the second look poster of Kaala, wishing his father -in-law on his special day.

Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 11:24:20 IST