Joined: 01 March 2008
No wonder they are the icons of South Cinema. They were stars in the age of bell bottoms, made a mark in the Tamil film industry in the seventies and eighties, dominated the field in the nineties and still continue to rock. What makes this possible for 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and 'Ulaganayagan' Kamal Haasan? It is a host of factors, say industry experts.
Those in the industry observe that Rajinikanth and Kamal symbolise two very interesting identities in our culture.
Rajini's humbleness and good heart had made him great while "Kamal Hassan" is genuinely pursuing cinema as a stream of study and brings out new things to the Indian Cinema.
Rajini, has the image of being 'one among us'. Fans tend to associate his looks and complexion with a Dravidian identity. His hairstyle, walk, physique and attire have never been those conventionally valued.
Kamal on the other hand is an all-rounder who is constantly reinventing himself. His films are, in some ways, expected to fulfil some intellectual requirements of fans.
With Kamal's Manmadhan Ambu releasing soon, social networking sites have groups of young fans discussing and speculating. Similarly, on the day Enthiran hit the cinemas, schoolchildren could be seen eagerly waiting at the theatres. Many in their early twenties had missed college or work to catch the film. This grandfather of two is no bicep-wielding hunk, yet in his veshti-clad avatar manages to make even women, who have crossed the half century mark, whistle with vigour.
Teenaged twin brothers Ajay and Vijay could hardly wait for their 11 a.m. show at Kasi theatre. Biting his nails, Ajay declared himself an ardent fan and quickly listed his favourite films of Rajinikanth. "Both of them are staunch Rajini fans — just like I want them to be," said their father P. Rajasekar, with evident pride about the second-generation fans in the family.
The actors have been evolving their styles according to fans' tastes.
"My son and I love Rajini, but for very different reasons. I admire his style, they like him playing the villain. When Rajini says "cool", it is something," says a middle-aged father.
Industry experts highlight the degree of involvement of the two actors is something younger actors should strive for.
"They did not believe in superficiality. Kamal, for instance, is forever thirsty for more knowledge on cinema. Rajinikanth puts in tremendous amounts of hard work even today"
"Both Kamal and Rajini are assets to Tamil Film Industry. I still remember in the early 80s, that we used to get up and end the day talking about them. They've become part and parcel of our lives.", quoted by a bank manager.