There can be only one Baasha

Twenty years later for a Rajinikanth fan its Baasha forever
Features Superstar Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 05:30

In the year 1995, twenty years ago Rajnikath’s ‘Baasha’ was released for Pongal. A movie that went on to become Rajnikanth’s most successful film not just at the time, but probably in his entire career. By the 1990’s Rajnikanth the star was already a commercial success, so it was nothing new that ‘Basha’ would also go the same path. Rajnikanth was already such a phenomenon, money spinner and a star cherished by the masses that the film’s producer Veerapan wanted to drop one of the fight scenes where Rajnikanth gets beaten up as he felt that people may not want to see their ‘superstar’ being beaten. It was only after Rajinikanth and the director insisted that the scenes were not deleted. Rajnikanth also offered to bear the cost of re shooting the scene if the producer did not like it.

‘Baasha’ went on to become one of the all time biggest grosser at the time and ran for an astounding 185 days in theatres in Chennai. But it was not the commercial success that made ‘Baasha’ what it was. ‘Baasha’ became a cult as it was quintessential Rajinikanth, a character that captured the viewer’s imagination so much that it would be no exaggeration to say ‘Baasha’ became Rajnikanth’s identity. Commercial success of the film was just a small part of the phenomenal success that ‘Basha’ was and still is. If the film where to be re released in theatres twenty years since its first release it would go on to become a blockbuster.

In fact on January 11th of this year, a theatre in Madurai ran a screening of the movie and it was received with the same fanfare as any of his much more recent releases. The punch dialogue from the movie ‘Naan oru thadava sonna, nooru thadava sonna madhiri’ which translates to ‘If I say it once, it’s equal to me saying it a hundred times’ is as iconic as the movie itself. It is such a popular dialogue that a vast majority of the people who have heard of the dialogue, but maybe never knowing which movie it was from, have used it in their day to day lives at some point or the other.

From husbands telling the same to wives, and wives to their husbands, from managers warning subordinates in boardroom meetings and even children to their parents - it has stood the test of time amongst a host of other so called punch dialogues. Since the release of ‘Baasha’ Rajnikanth has acted in ten Tamil movies including a small role in the 2008 release ‘Kuselan’.

As a fan, every Rajnikanth movie till date has been an experience (some a tad disappointing) but none in comparison to what ‘Bashaa’ was – and when I say this I speak for a lot of others out there like me. After watching many of Rajnikanth’s movies since ‘Baasha’ at the theatres I have spoken to a lot of other fans and the answer has always been the same “Good movie, good entertainment but not like Baasha”. It’s the same reply many fans enunciate, whether it was after watching ‘Muthu’ which was released after ‘Baasha’ to the more recent ‘Lingaa’.

I have since made peace with the fact that there will never be another ‘Baasha’ and this has helped me in just enjoying the ‘Rajinikanth’ experience. Twenty years and many producers, directors and actors have tried to incorporate the ‘Baasha’ experience into their movies. The most recent 2014 Suriya release ‘Anjaan’ directed by Linguswamy also claimed that the movie was similar to ‘Baasha’. To end with a cliché, similar to the iconic dialogue from the movie itself – You can make a hundred movies like Baasha, but there will be one and only one Baasha…… Baasha now and Baasha forever. 

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