Home » Book review » The name is Rajnikanth

The name is Rajnikanth

I’m not going to attempt to write a review of the book ‘cos its simply not worth it. I finished reading the book a couple of hours ago and the impact is fresh in my mind.

To begin with, I’m a fan of Rajnikanth and am looking at it from a fan’s perspective. According to this interview, Gayathri Sreekanth decided to write Rajnikanth’s biography ‘cos of the hype that surrounded Sivaji. She doesn’t seem like a fan and frankly, her book lacks passion. Her preface sounds too much like a blog rather than the prelude to the biography of a man, rather a superstar, who has crazy fan following world wide. At lots of places in the book, its very clear that the seriousness of the task she undertook never really hit her. Or maybe she assumed that this book was for the elite audience that admired Rajni and not the masses. Whatever the case maybe, its completely unacceptable that she’s got her facts wrong. She’s got names of movies, directors, heroines, years all messed up. There are even spelling errors in the book! Did the publishing house flush their brains down the toilet? Let alone the publishing house, what happened to the veterans like Lata Rajnikanth, Cho, and even Soundarya who have endorsed this book! Apparently, Lata was the one who gave the go-ahead for this book.


After some pings and comments that I got, let me cite the most glaring error that features in the first few pages of the book itself.

“He began to get noticed in Tamil cinema. His first film as a hero was the blockbuster Apporva Raajmangal. K. Balachandar, his mentor, again cast him as the main lead in a slapstick comedy Moondu Mudichu. And after that there was no looking back to the gradual rise to super stardom.”

1) The name of the movie is Apoorva Ragangal.
2) He wasn’t the hero, he appears for less than 10 mins on screen.
3) The name of the movie is Moondru Mudichu
4) He wasn’t the lead of that movie, Kamal was. He was the villian.
5) Its not a slapstick comedy. Its a very serious movie about a man who will do anything to be with the woman he lusts though she’s with his best friend.

Just the tip of the iceberg!

As long as we’re still on the topic of the publisher, this is Super Star’s biography and I expected the cover to be a lot more sensational. Not the same old boring “vella moonji” still from Sivaji that’s been flashed in the media about a million times.

A lot of people spoke about the “rare” photographs and posters in this book. I didn’t find that very impressive either. I’ve seen all the pictures in this book circulated around earlier. In short, it seems like she went and sat in a library, made a list of the major events in Rajni’s life, traced newspaper articles, got paper clippings of everything, put it together in the form of a book. Even there, you feel like she starts talking about a certain event and then abruptly switches to something else. Is she trying to be politically right or doesn’t she have all the pieces of her puzzle? Her contribution to the book seems to have to stopped with her interpretations of why Rajni is successful that have graced the preface. She has twisted around a few quotes and formed her conclusions from it. Again, this is where her lack of passion clearly mirrors through.

The one thing I liked about this book is the way she’s sequenced the events in his life. Its makes it slightly more interesting that its not chronological. But then again, the hitch is that, she kinda re-quotes people in the same context in two different parts of the book and that doesn’t aid the flow of the book.

As a fan, what I would’ve liked to see in Rajni’s biography is a passionate account of this man’s life with more input the man himself. This thoughts, his feelings, his passions and his ideas. Not some ophthalmologist’s half baked enthusiasm.

In Rajni’s words, time waste, money waste, everything waste!


22 thoughts on “The name is Rajnikanth

  1. @gaya: avalo kevalama irruka?

    @arun: I’f gaya’s got the tags on this one right then we could see some traffic and many “how dare you” type comments…

  2. Arun > thalaivara pathi pesadha, mandaya odappen 😛

    Mayur > romba! There are some very very glaring errors that make you want to demand your money back.

    CM > Money and negative publicity for sure. This book is certainly not a tribute to the star!

  3. Mullum malarum, a slapstick comedy?? Nallavela naan ippo thaan indha book aa vaangalaamnu irundhen. Unnmayaana comedy ‘ The name is Rajnikanth’ thaan. Anyways I’m not really worried, thank god it’s Rajini’s biography and not Ulaga nayagan’s biography.

    Anbe Sivam

  4. Maxdavinci,
    I sort of expected it too. But these people….

    U can’t support u’r thaatha like that.

  5. Gopi > Thanks for dropping by.. I’ll read you piece and leave a comment 🙂

    Ela > I know, periyava sonna kekanum! My mom also said the same thing.. 😀

    Arun > unna defame panni post ezhudha vechudaatha.. no thatti ezhupify the singam thoonging inside me!

  6. When we see people with out much info writing biography… I think I will start writing a biography of annan “Goundamani”.

    Gayathri.. Rajini oda unmaiyaana biography dhairiyama ezhudhanumnaa adhu onnu Rajini ezhudhanum illa neengha ezhudhanum 😛

  7. Prashanth > Goundamani anna is a great man! if you write nonsense about him, I’ll thrash you also 😀

    Solitaire > hehe.. I guess so

  8. Agree with you…the cover pic could have had a better pic.There’s a portion of the book that says “Baasha released in the year 1992….”

  9. Hmmm

    I think Sivaji is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I mean really. It wasn’t bad enough to be good (like Gunda).

    I wonder why people like it. Is there something I’m missing?

    I don’t have a complete picture of Rajnikanth’s work, and I’ll stop myself from commenting on him.

    Could you suggest a good movie starring him?

  10. My friend also said the same thing about the book.

    BTW, check out http://www.desipundit.com on April 18th. Tried to get the link for the post (to put in desipundit) and was very difficult and finally had to mail the post to myself by clicking on the envelope icon and then use the link from there 😐

    @ Alok,

    Dude, check out Aval appadidhaan, Bhairavi, Avargal, Thillu Mullu and then try to say what u’ve said once more. At the time when Kamal Haasan and RK were acting together, RK consistently was the better actor than KH. If that doesn’t mean something, then nothing will!!


  11. Karthik,

    Thank you for those suggestions. Will surely check them out.

    Better than Kamal Hassan! Hmmm that surely says a lot. Lemme see.

  12. Gayatri:
    To her defence, Ms. Sreekanth acknowledges the typos.

    From an article in The Hindu, last week,
    There are typographical errors. But one of the main reasons for that is the short time we had for editing the book. My editor had to undergo a heart surgery just a few weeks before the launch so it was a hectic job proofing the book in within a few days for us”, she reveals.

    So, I don’t know. As a fan, I’d be pissed. But there is only so much you can do about typos, particularly if the book runs into the problems she is talking about in the Hindu article.

    Alok: Echoing what Karthik said above, there are two distinct phases of Rajini’s career – one the early phase pre-1985 where each and every one of his movies were critically acclaimed. The other phase is post 1985, when you saw a shift towards the masses. Where that was calculated is something only he can answer, but it remains that Rajini is a niche and no one can take that away. And with every niche, you can say that either you will like it or you won’t and it is only snarky fans like some in this comment section who will go to great lengths to beat him down. And most of these fans are the ones that haven’t seen any of Rajini’s older movies. I won’t go as far and say Rajini is a better actor (I’d be lying), but as Karthik said, in almost every movie that Rajini and Kamal acted in (which is a good measure for comparison), Rajini did something of note. And Kamal was not the heart-throb that he became post-1980. And Rajini deserves none of the derision that most Kamal fans seem to heap on him.

    Coming back to the book, I think she did not have much to work on it budget wise. If a bigger publisher had stepped in, she could have, but because most of the bigger publishers, being based out of TN, she would have faced same problem of convincing that such an effort was going to be financially viable.

    For non-Tamils, sadly, the only exposure that most of them have gotten is through the weird forwards that seem to be as common as those with Sardarji jokes. So the market was going to be limited to TN and Tamils, unless it was marketed properly. Remember how SRK’s bio was splashed everywhere last year (or was it in ’06)?

    So in the absence of that kind of money, she could go only to an independent/small time publisher, in which case these problems were to be expected.

    (P.S: Sorry for the long comment. Thalaivar a pathi pesa aramicha, I usually have a tough time stopping 😀 )

  13. Karthik > Thanks! 🙂

    Anantha > Acknowledging her mistakes doesn’t justify it and you may be right about the domestic markets. But think about how this would’ve created a flurry in the US and Japan if they’d just got the dynamics right. This is where we come back to the lack of passion bit. If only she’d marketed her book to the right people, this might have turned out to be a completely different story.

  14. The book is such a huge disappointment, the main typo being SIVAJI constantly typo-ed as SHIVAJI

    Read the vikatan publication book (in tamizh) on rajnikant titled SHIVAJI RAO mudhal SIVAJI varai. Lovely articles from people who have worked with Rajni – S P Muthuraman (director), Sundaramoorthy (makeup man), Dhanu (producer) and many others with on-location stills.

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