Voices Thursday, June 05, 2014 - 05:30
Dhanya Rajendran| May 6, 2014| 7.20 am IST Rajinikanth started a Twitter account on Monday and almost everyone literally went crazy. Jokes and welcome messages flooded Twitter as the superstar got more than 1.5 lakh followers on the first day. The account is managed by a PR agency and on the first day there were just automated tweets, but even that kept many fans happy. Rajinikanth has announced that he will interact with fans directly through his Twitter account. The brouhaha aside, what has made the otherwise reticent actor who has never felt the compulsion to interact enter social media? The answer has two layers to it, but both are seemingly connected. The urge to see his daughter successful and the financial compulsion to make his upcoming movie Kochadaiiyaan a success seems to behind the superstar√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs nod to enter social media. A senior film journalist once told me that Rajinikanth is the most secretive actor EVER. In the last 30 odd years of his career, his personal and business life has been completely closed to media or public scrutiny. The only stories that have been leaked and told about Rajinikanth are about his philanthropy, spiritualism and humility. Over the years the actor has chosen to stay away from any publicity stunts for his movies. While other actors tour the country addressing press meets before a movie√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs release, Rajinikanth seldom speaks about his movies. As Kochadaiiyaan√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs release comes closer, Rajinikanth can no longer afford to live in his shell. The family wants Soundarya R Ashwin, Rajinikanth√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs younger daughter who makes her directorial debut with Kochadaiiyaan to become successful, extremely successful. Soundarya R Ashwin has been trying to make a mark in the film industry for quite a while now. Some years ago she started Ocher Studios, a company that was touted to create high end digital content for Broadcast TV, Commercial and films. In 2007, she started making plans for an animated movie with Rajinikanth titled Sultan, but the movie got shelved due to issues in production. The making of Sultan was crossing estimated budgets, money was borrowed and finally the project was shelved. In 2011, Reliance Films, the co-producers, dragged Ocher Studios to court for nonpayment 0f 11.59 crores of outstanding dues. But trouble didn't end there. Soundarya√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs next production Goa was also mired in controversy with financiers dragging Ocher to court. In 2010, Rajinikanth took the script of Sultan to his friend and director K S Ravikumar, and eventually Rajinikanth√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs next movie Rana was announced. Rana which was to be jointly produced by Eros International and Ocher Pictures Productions was also shelved later as the superstar fell ill. Ocher Studios was quietly shut down amidst murmurs of non-payment of salaries to employees. But Soundarya was quick to bounce back with an announcement about her new venture Kochadaiiyaan in 2011. Soundarya has not just co-produced a movie that has been made for more than Rs 120 crores, but has invested almost four years into the making of this movie. The success of Kochadaiyaan is vital for Rajinikanth√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs family. Rajinikanth√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs charisma will lead lakhs to the theatres, but that is not enough. The movie is an artistic experiment at many levels, and no one can predict if his loyal audience would accept an animated Rajinikanth. Some of his previous experimental movies like Baba that did not portray Rajinikanth in his superstar avatar has not done well in the box office. For big budget movies it is imperative that the flow of audiences coming to multiplexes is steady, and to ensure this Rajinikanth will need to interact with fans beyond his fan clubs, beyond Tamil Nadu. Soundarya definitely seems to have her dad's spunk, but just the family name hasn't assured her success till now. So now it looks like her family, superstar dad included has decided that Kochadaiyaan should be Soundarya's first big hit!

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