Monday 25 July 2016

Watching Kabali in Goa

I cannot say that I am a fan of the Superstar Rajinikanth but I like to join in the excitement that surrounds him and his films. Having been in Chennai for the better part of my life, a Rajini release did not incite any excitement in me. I did have friends and acquaintances who went insane over tickets and detailed planning on first day, first show matters but I remained aloof from all of them.

Then marriage happened.

Along with marriage, change of location happened.

Then Rajinikanth became one of the synonyms for home and Chennai.

It is always said and largely believed that one starts craving for home in different ways, some of which are quite unusual and one of those was Rajini. Heaping praise for the superstar and getting a high talking about him were aspects of me that baffled me. Very easily, I could turn from a demure teacher to a crazed fan of the Superstar when my students criticised him. I was always a fan of good acting and films that were close to reality. But Rajini was beyond the circumference of my usual like of films. He is a phenomenon worth studying - a vortex that one gets pulled into willingly.

But for the first time catching a Rajini film after two days of its release was something I did not expect that I would end up doing (I guess earning and having one's one own money in addition to living out of Chennai does that!) I JUST WATCHED A RAJINI FILM YESTERDAY!

Watching Kabali was an entirely different experience in Goa. The theatre was housefull (what else!) and almost the entire hall was filled with Tamil speaking people. It was definitely a joy to behold Tamil Nadu in Goa! But alas! my joy was short-lived because many of the Tamils here were only Tamils by birth and not spirit. The children were not as fluent in the language and hardly knew the charisma and wonder of Rajini. They sat there placid and unmoved while I was jumping and hooting in glee. I was quite sad that I was not able to whistle otherwise I would have shrieked with full power. The claps and hooting were only present when Rajini first made an appearance in the film after which the spirit slowly ebbed away. I was quite excited and beside myself and could hardly contain myself whenever the superstar crossed his leg or uttered, "Magizhchi," (translated joy) but everyone around me were unmoved.

For me Rajini is not Rajini but my years of growing up in Chennai, my memories of school, sightings of huge cutouts of superstar when any of his films were released, friends bunking classes to watch first day first show of Rajini's films - In short HOME. Home means many things to me but on this occasion, home was Rajinikanth and Chennai. This explains why I was a bit low when I did not spot any cutouts, life-size posters or any merchandise of the superstar - In Goa and for Goa, Kabali was just another film (from South India). I went to watch the film not because it was a Rajini film (I also watched Mani Rathnam's O Kadhal Kanmani on the second day of its release) but because I wanted to vicariously experience the spirit of my growing up years and memories of distant teenage.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the film - the complete package with popcorn, hooting, clapping, standing up and applauding the man and also shedding copious tears when the superstar misses his wife whom he assumes to be dead.

Thalaivar - magizhchi!


  1. 'Home sweet home'. Rajini, the star, brought to you in Goa the best of Chennai,your previous home. That happens to all of us. We never really get free from the hug of our native home.

  2. make me so tempted to fly out to goa to just watch the movie...minus all the hype and hoopla which people have invested it here....

  3. Well said Susan. When I was in Pune, I managed to catch FDFS on Sivaji... It was insane. The cinema staff at Inox were stunned and most of them came inside the audi to see what the noise was all about. I totally relate to what you are saying. Magizhchi.

  4. Hey Susan, I really enjoyed reading your post about your feeling of watching Kabali in Goa. I watched it with my family in Delhi. Like you said, one of the things that I sense these days is that most of us are who we are, moulded by sophisticated cityscapes, than the people we originally were. For example, these days most Malayalis I interact with take pride in saying they cannot speak Malayalam nor can their kids. This leaves me mortified because I speak, read and write fluent Malayalam because I love the language - its my mother tongue! And I grew up outside India till Class 11! People make choices and I respect that but we lose our sense of who we really are when we choose to let go of the soil and the language that is borne in our blood. Happy to know you enjoyed Kabali and that it brought back memories - really enjoyed this refreshing post.

  5. I have got the VCD of Kabali. But could not see it due to print quality. It was pirated.
    I remember how crazy it was during college days. Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Prabhu. And music maestro, Isaignani Ilayaraja.



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