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Rajni Mania Sweeps Boston

Ranjani Saigal

People traveled from as far as Albany, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to see their idol Rajinikanth’s latest blockbuster Shivaji which was screened courtesy of the Boston Thamil Center. “When the Sunday (Jun 17) 5:30 PM show ended, at 8:45 PM, the exiting audience combined with audience waiting from 8:45 show created major traffic jam on Trapelo Road, Belmont was frozen for few minutes. All shows in the first week were sold out (total of 8 shows). This was a first time ever for a Tamil cinema in Boston. Theater Managers from Entertainment Cinemas, West Newton and Studio cinemas were overwhelmed by the number of inquiries regarding Sivaji. They said that the phone calls that they received were more than any Hollywood blockbusters.

What makes so many people go crazy about this rather unlikely hero of Tamil Cinema? “It is all about style” according to a Rajini fan. Style is an understatement for his gimmicks like throwing a cigarette in the air and lighting it midway, his quick gun moves, his unique way of brushing his hair, and his ability to shuffle the things in his hand in rapid succession. It is this style that has captured the attention of millions of fans. “Rajini is a phenomenon.Even after 30 yrs in acting, he's got new style and mannerisms. New way to chew hum, flipping coins, using his fingers to play drums in his tonsured head, etc” says Srinivasan Shankar who was instrumental in screening Sivaji in the Boston area.

Sivaji is the most expensive movie ever made in India at a cost of whopping Rs. 85 crores ($21 million). Rajinikanth is the highest paid actor in the ASIAN region only next to Jackie Chan. His salary for Sivaji is close to Rs. 30 crores ($7.5 million)

For Rajini fans the appearance of the film seems almost spiritual. The world premiere VIP show on Thursday (jun 14) 9:30 PM was inaugurated with children serving sugar rock (Kalkandu). Several Indian businesses and establishments in the area (including restaurants) were closed at 8 pm. So employees could attend the world premiere on thursday.“Whether it be action or comedy Rajinikanth is simply unparalleled” says Subha who is a big Rajini fan.

In addition to his style , Rajinikanth is famous for his one-liners.

Naan solrathaiyum seiven, sollathathiyum seiven. (I will do what I say, I will also do what I don't say) - Annamalai (1992)

 Naan oru dhadavai sonna nooru dhadavai sonna madhiri (If I say it once, it's like saying it a hundred times) - Basha (1995)

 Naan eppa varuven, eppadi varuvennu yarukkum theriyadhu, aana varavendiya neratthil correct-aga varuven (Nobody will know when I will arrive, or how I will arrive, but I will arrive when I ought to arrive ) - Muthu (1995)

 Andavan solran. Arunachalam seiran (God orders, Arunachalam follows) - Arunachalam (1997)

En vazhi - thani vazhi. (My way is the highway) - Padayappa (1999)

 Khatham, gatham (The past is past) - Baba (2002)

Laka, laka, laka - Chandramukhi (2006).

“Rajini is bigger than Big B” says Ramanan another big Rajini fan.”Rajini is not only Indian superstar, he's an International superstar. ‘Sivaji’ is expected to break the record for being the most screened Indian-language movie in theatres across the world. He has the most fan clubs around the world. The movie was also attended by members of the Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam communities.

 “The movie is the biggest treat for Rajini fans across the globe” says Vijey, yet another Rajini fan..”Thailavur Kallakitaru!”

All funds raised from the screening of the movie in Boston will go towards building the Boston Thamil Center whose mission is to sustain the Thamil culture in New England.

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