Superstar, Thalaivar, Rajni or Rajni Sir turned 58 on Dec 12th. Rajni's stature in Tamil Cinema is common knowledge to everyone - Chinna kozhandhaiyum sollum! He is perhaps THE most popular, charismatic, highest-paid actor in Indian film industry. To celebrate Rajni's birthday, instead of listing my favourite Rajni (as hero) movies or memorable Rajni scenes or the all-too-famous Rajni (punch) dialogues or Rajni songs- I'll list the unforgettable villain roles played by our Superstar.
Style, charisma, his own distinctive-trademark dialogue delivery and his characteristic on-screen mannerisms are the attributes that makes Rajni the mass hero that he is. I am a Kamal fan and I consider Kamal numero uno in terms of acting. I know many die-hard Rajni fans may refute that even though in the back of their minds they know it is the truth. Come on...you know it. But hey, whenever I see Rajni's finger swish followed by a punch dialogue or his trademark intro scene/song, even the 'Rajni-Superstar' musical intro played in the beginning of the movie - I get goosebumps. If I am watching the movie in a theatre, I join the crowd with the claps and whistles. His style, his magical presence just sweeps me off my feet.
Coming back to the topic, before Rajni appeared in hero roles he played villain in many films. I watched most of his villain movies recently. Previously, Raghuvaran, M R Radha, Radha Ravi, Sarathkumar (Pulanvisaranai), Sathyaraj (Amaidhipadai), Prakash Rai formed my top villain list. Now, after watching villain roles mentioned below, Rajni is my favourite detestable villain - any day.
Vettaiya Raja, Chandramukhi.
Yep. I know his screen time as Vettaiya Raja was just for the Ra Raa song. But didn't he bring out despicableness of the character? Pure Rajni magic!
A rich, arrogant, promiscuous father. Just watch the first scene of the movie. Theeratha velaiyattu pillai!
?, Moondru Mudichu.
A jealous, egoistic, sadistic husband who tortures his wife, not with a whip, but with words.
Ramanathan'na vettanumpola kovam varala?!
A village villain. Rajni redefined the imagery of a village villain in this role. No handlebar moustache. No Veecharuva. No loud dialogues. Just a very cunning and wicked rowdy. His dialogues had style and lustful sarcasm. To top all this, the famous "idhu eppadi irruku" to add more venom to his villainy.
So, on his 58th birthday, my only request to Thalaivar is: Please do more roles like the above or roles performed in Aarulirindhu Arupathu Varai or Mullum Malarum or Thillu mullu. We realise you have the a specific image to adhere to; the burden of expectations from fans and Tamil cine industry. We also realise mass-entertainers, ridiculously hero-centric and illogical gibberish like Sivaji and Kuselan are inevitable. But, we know what you are capable of. So just give us one more Parattai or a Ramanathan before you quit acting...something in the shades of grey. You teased us by playing Vettaiya Raja. We are hooked, again!
Happy Birthday Superstar!