Posts Tagged ‘Chiranjeevi’

What Rajni missed when he went out to smoke

12 December 2012

Photo Caption

On his 60th birthday, school children in Bangalore hold up notebooks of the City’s most famous cinematic export: Shivaji Rao Gaekwad also known as Rajnikanth.

The books were supplied by the Rajniji Seva Samithi (RSS).

***

The website First Post has published excerpts from a new biography of Rajnikanth by the film scholar Naman Ramachandran, with this passage of his relationship with Kamal Haasan.

“In the beginning, in 1975, just how big a star Kamal Haasan was, today’s generation does not know,’ says Rajinikanth. ‘He was an even bigger star in 1975 than he is now. Old or young, a new artiste had never shaken all of India like he did. I had just entered the cinema industry then.

Apoorva Raagangal, Moondru Mudichu, Avargal, these were all my guru K. Balachander’s films—I became a hero with these three films. After that the films that came, big films like 16 Vayathinile, Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu, Aadu Puli Attam, Aval Appadithan—these were all hit films.

“For those films, if Kamal had said, ‘Don’t cast Rajini,’ nobody would have taken me. I got Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu solely on Kamal’s recommendation.

“So I acted in all these films and then, after I became a big actor, one day Kamal called me and said, ‘Rajini, only if you act alone will you get your own space. If you say no, the cinema world will use us, and you won’t be able to grow.’

“I listened to all that he said. After that I worked on my own.

“Then, after I became a big man, Kamal called me again one day and said, ‘Rajini, you have to be cautious in Tamil cinema. I have seen from a young age—MGR and Sivaji, though they had no rivalry between them, the cinema industry separated them. And because the industry separated them, their fans also separated. That shouldn’t happen with us. The producers and directors I work with, you should work with them too.’

“I don’t know how to thank him.”

Rajinikanth adds, ‘In other industries, people like Mammootty, Mohan Lal, Venkatesh, Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan and even Dilip Kumar look at me and are amazed how I managed to make a name for myself as an actor in an industry where Kamal Haasan exists. The reason is simple. I grew as an actor just by watching Kamal Haasan acting. I had the good fortune of being able to observe Kamal Haasan from close quarters.

During the shooting of Avargal I was sitting outside when K. Balachander noticed this and got angry. He sent word for me to return to the set and asked me, ‘Did you go outside to smoke? Kamal is acting; observe him. Only then will your acting get even better.’

“From that time, when Kamal acted I wouldn’t go anywhere; I would just sit there and watch. This is the honest truth.”

Buy the book here: Infi Beam

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A stylish lesson in humility from namma Rajni

11 similarities between Rajni and the iPod

A hit, yes, but why does Rajni have such a hold?

The most testing day in the life of Rajnikanth

Don’t tell us you didn’t know this one about Rajni

How Rajnikanth caught the lion

CHURUMURI POLL: A Bharat Ratna for PVN?

29 June 2009

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao is one of the forgotten heroes of Indian politics. He had very nearly retired from active politics and returned to his home-state, Andhra Pradesh, when Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to the suicide bombers in Sriperumbudur during the course of the 1991 election campaign. PVN re-entered the “cesspool” to become India’s first prime minister from the South, eventually becoming the first from outside the Gandhi-Nehru clan to complete a full five-year term despite leading a minority government.

The slow, soft, measured “Chanakya” quietly ushered breathtaking economic reforms through Manmohan Singh that, at first,  rescued an almost bankrupt nation from collapse and then set it on the path of high growth, while beginning the dismantling the licence-quota-permit raj. Yet, it would be fair to say PVN, who presided over the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya paving the way for the BJP-led government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, has not got his due, either as a  prime minister or as a visionary.

Corruption charges swirled around the scholarly Rao and his family in his later years. He could not get a decent funeral in Delhi. And even to this day, there is only grudging acknowledgement of PVN’s role in India’s contemporary politics. At Rao’s birth celebrations on June 20, Chiranjeevi, the film star-turned-politician, floated PVN’s name for the nation’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna. Is it time for the nation to salute PVN’s role? Or has he already been consigned to the dustbin of history?

Also read: If all PMs are Bharat Ratnas, why are we like this?

CHURUMURI POLL: Anybody for the Bharat Ratna?

The Bharat Ratna adorns a gem from Gadag

CAMPAIGN:  A Bharat Ratna for Dr Raj Kumar?

In great IPL, what if Congress, BJP played cricket

25 April 2009

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E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: In a rare show of friendship and camaraderie amidst hectic campaigning, politicians of various hues got together and played a five-overs-a-side tennis ball cricket match in Mysore, thanks to the efforts of the district journalists’ association.

Never mind how good they were as players but they showed a bit of much-needed sportsmanship in a season of name calling and mudslinging.

In the great Indian Political League, what if the three main national formations played a cricket match?

***

In the Congress, only Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi would have batted all through without anybody getting a chance to bat since the kit belonged to them.

If one of them got tired and retired, Priyanka would continue the innings. In the mid-match “strategy break” as in IPL-2, the team would be shown a photo gallery of great Gandhis of yester year like Indira, Rajiv and Sanjay, and the future Gandhis in diapers.

Leaders like Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal, Jayanthi Natarajan et al would  run around the stadium all day fielding without as much as a whimper of a complaint. Manmohan Singh would be fully padded, ‘boxed up’ , and helmeted to take care of sudden bouncers from disgruntled elements.

Senior pro and coach Pranab Mukherjee would be present to make sure no one, not even Sheila Dixit, with her record, would be allowed to come near the wicket. Even the younger and talented lot like Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia or Milind Deora would have to start from scratch and learn to play second fiddle!

The slogan for the team would naturally be: “One for all (Gandhi) and all for one (Gandhi). Jai ho!”

***

How would it be in the BJP camp?

There will be plenty of interruptions with the designated opening pair L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi taking a lot of time for strategic consultations.

Ostensibly, the discussions will be with the coach on the ground, but in reality the non-playing coaches will be sitting in Nagpur communicating to the players through a secret mike.

Although the game is supposed to start at 9.30 am, neither Advani nor Modi will come out to bat till the rahu kaala is over. The match start is further delayed because of confusion within the team over whether Rajnath Singh should open the innings with Advani or Arun Jaitely.

When there is no resolution in sight, Sushma Swaraj says she is game too, but Venkaiah Naidu says: “Arre baba, this is a cricket game, not a ticket game. This is a time for tricks, not chicks.”

Finally, Jaswant Singh harrumphs that he will open and Modi, given his pathetic showing in a previous match, can come one-down. But Modi says his previous record doesn’t count.

The overrate is reduced to six an hour since there will be regular and routine disruptions to take arathi of Advaniji after every over by all the district Ram Mandirs in India and because Advani likes to wring his hands after every ball to show that he is a man of action.

The knicker-clad openers find it difficult to counter the pace and fury, especially Advani who insists on wearing a guard made symbolically of loh (iron). When Varun Gandhi bowls an all-beamer over, the PM-in-waiting takes a toilet break and rushes to the pavilion, to sort out the mess between, well, all the pretenders—and to adjust his dentures.

Their slogan: “We may seem to be fighting, but that’s the reality. Jai Shri Ram”.

***

In the case of Third Front, the match never starts as the Left refuses to take the ground, if anybody resembling Manmohan Singh is seen near the ground.

H.D. Deve Gowda always has an eye on the next pitch where the Congress is playing, waiting for a nod from Sonia Gandhi to drop everything and run there.

Both Jayalalitha and Mayawati have a bigger crowd surrounding them in the pavilion than those waiting to watch for the match to start.  Before he can get his eye in and start scoring, Chandrababu Naidu loses his concentration when he sees Chiranjeevi walking across the ground.

Sharad Pawar who was seen driving into the stadium in an open car to loud cheers, mysteriously drives off after being included in the team. Amar Singh finds yet another ‘lost and found’ brother in Munnabhai, who to most people was not sure whether he was shooting or sobbing.

The slogan of third Front was:  “Take us seriously and don’t treat us as extras; or else, jaya he.

***

It was evident in chasing a score of 543,  no party would be able to escape the follow on and in the second innings, there will be large-scale fielding and umpiring lapses, to enable one of the teams with the help of ‘ extras’ to emerge as the winner.

CHURUMURI POLL: Can Chiranjeevi do an NTR?

18 August 2008

The political arangetram at 2.38 pm on Sunday, August 17, by Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad alias Chiranjeevi, in Hyderabad, marks the entry of another film star in the “cesspool of Indian politics”. Quoting B.R. Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the 53-year-old “megastar”, son of a police constable, pledged to dedicate the rest of his life to Dalits, the downtrodden and the backward classes. And to turn Andhra Pradesh into a happy and smiling State.

Chiranjeevi’s political ambitions, as Andhra Pradesh enters an election year, alters the poll paradigm in much the same manner as the entry of another thespian 25 years ago: Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. NTR’s Telugu Desam Party went on to sweep the AP polls ten months later, but does Chiranjeevi, a Kapu, have the same appeal as NTR, a Kamma? Does Chiranjeevi have the draw to romp home or will he only end up eating into the votes of the TDP and the Congress?

Above all, does a film star really have the solutions to the ills of a large State? Or are gullible voters only living their celluloid fantasies, expecting their on-screen demigods to sweep the stables clean?

On the eve of the 33rd anniversary of Emergency

25 June 2008

The dictionary defines “atrocity” as “the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane”. If that is an acceptable definition, what constitutes an “atrocity” against the scheduled castes and tribes?

Is a Lok Ayukta raid against a corrupt SC/ST official an “atrocity” against dalits? Is sacking or suspending an incompetent SC/ST employee an “atrocity” against dalits? Is questioning, criticising , shouting slogans against, or burning an effigy of an SC/ST public figure an “atrocity” against dalits?

Can the media dispassionately write about or comment on individuals and institutions of the scheduled castes and tribes, as they should any other community, without attracting the charge of “harassment”?

In other words, are dalits above the laws of the land? Or are the scheduled castes and tribes taking advantage of the special status that the Constitution of India confers on them?

The answers are blindingly obvious to most, but to the Congress government of Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, they are not so. Last night, AP police swooped down on the offices of the Telugu daily, Andhra Jyothy, and arrested its editor (K. Srinivas) and two journalists (N. Vamsi Krishna and N. Srinivas) under section 3 (1) (x) of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.

Section 3 (1) (x) reads:

“Whoever, not being a member of a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe… intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a scheduled caste or tribe in any place within public view.”

Their crime?

The Maadiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) president Manda Krishna Madiga had lodged a complaint with the police on 28 May 2008 that the staff of the newspaper had abused him by his caste when they had taken out a protest march the previous day. According to one report, Krishna Madiga “showed the photos where the editor and others were present when the agitators were beating his effigy with chappals”.

The reason Andhra Jyothy staff had taken out the protest march?

Activists of the MRPS had attacked the offices of Andhra Jyothy in Hyderabad, Warangal and Vishakapatnam on 27 May 2008 and vandalised them in protest against an article it had published on 26 May 2008. Two cars were also damaged.

Without naming any Dalit leader in particular, the article in question referred to “hired leaders” and “saleable commodities” who  were only pandering to their interests rather than working for the interests of their community.

MRPS leaders claimed Andhra Jyothy had published the news item “with the specific intent of tarnishing the image of leaders who were crusading for the uplift of the weaker sections for decades”.

Almost a month later, on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of the Emergency, the police came knocking and took away the editor and the two contributors. The charge against the reporters was that they had burnt the effigy of Krishna Madiga and slapped it with chappals during the rally on 27 May 2008.

A police officer is quoted as saying, prima facie, there is “clinching evidence” against all three.

The arrest of the Andhra Jyothy staff comes in the middle of a surcharged media atmosphere in the Congress-ruled State, and the journalists’ bodies are smelling more than a rat.

Ramoji Rao, the proprietor of the State’s largest daily Eenadu, has been the subject of a sustained legal and financial scrutiny. The chief minister’s son, Jaganmohan Reddy, has just launched a multi-edition, all-colour newspaper called Saakshi to take on Eenadu and Andhra Jyothi. And the film star Chiranjeevi, whom Andhra Jyothy is seemingly backing, is slated to announce the launch of a political party soon.

Photograph: Andhra Jyothy editor K. Srinivas being taken away in a police jeep upon his arrest (courtesy Andhra Jyothy )

Also read: ‘A disgraceful assault on media freedom

Cross-posted on sans serif


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