Rajinikanth's life and career have been passing through turbulent times in recent years. His long illness sometime ago that kept him in a Singapore hospital for weeks and the box office disasters of his last few films might have egged the southern superstar to do a serious rethink. It has just been revealed that he will work with a relatively young director, Ranjith, for his next venture.
Even before the financial storm over Rajinikanth's Lingaa has died down, he has announced his next movie, untitled at the moment. Rajinikanth's admirers are certainly wondering whether this is a right move at this stage of his career. Is he not too big and is it not too late in his professional life to hitch on to a young helmer?
Ranjith is certainly a newcomer, but has had a fair degree of commercial success with his last two films: Attakathi and more recently, Madras, with Karthi, a political plot set in the largely neglected northern part of the city (Chennai), where few helmers have dared to thread.
Ranjith hopes to wrap up the new movie with Rajinikanth in just 120 days, and will set his story in Malaysia, Thailand and Chennai.
Although the other members of the cast have not been zeroed on, it is quite likely that Ranjith will have on board music composer Santhosh Narayanan, cinematographer Murali and editor Pravin.
Rajinikanth's latest effort or 'gamble' may or may not work, but what the actor seriously needs to mull over is the choice of his roles. An extraordinarily simple man off screen who is gutsy enough to move around sporting a bald pate, he transforms himself to an incredibly unimaginable degree in his films. He often appears like a 30-something hero cavorting with heroines who might well be as old as his daughters. The list of these actresses is endless beginning with Aishwarya Rai to Anushka Shetty to Sonakshi Sinha.
At one point, working with Sinha in Lingaa, Rajinikanth was embarrassed, because she was the daughter of his good friend, Shatrughan Sinha. How was Rajinikanth going to do those romantic scenes with Sonakshi? Well, if one were to watch the movie, it is apparent that neither was comfortable together.
In the final analysis, one may conclude that it is time Rajinikanth thought on the lines of, say, Amitabh Bachchan -- who has slotted himself admirably into parts befitting his age and appearance. Look at Piku. Bachchan as a cantankerous old man is just grippingly marvellous.
Also, writers must bear in mind Rajinikanth's age before penning a character for him. There really is no point in placing a wig on his head and painting away the creases on his face in order to push him into playing a macho man! The ticket-paying public is not going to be forgiving any longer. His recent box office disasters are a clear indication that audiences are tired of the star's gimmicks. So what if they are performed with youthful vigour. The strain is clearly showing.