Every movie of his is an event. Enough to get people working away from the state back home for days of celebration. His posters are bathed in milk and every time he makes an appearance on the screen, the crowds go insane. He is the phenomenon that few are able to describe in meaningful terms because the man himself is close to 60, without the physical build or the conventional good looks that people seem to swoon over. His appeal cuts across age groups as well as socio economic sections of society. Unlike Western stars who have a very well-defined set of fans, Rajnikanth has got the whole world in his grasp. His movies play in Japan and Malaysia and South Africa. The music, the mannerisms and the milieu are alien. Yet, he gets past all of them effortlessly and gets more admirers as people come to watch his films. May be some future anthropologist will be able to decipher what makes him work.
He has such a mesmeric effect on the economics of his films that all he has to do is to give his assent. The rest of the film just follows. The script is written after, not before. There are things he has to do - His entry is what the script writers labour over and what gets the whistles and adrenalin flowing in the theatre. It's like a climax within the first few minutes. From then on, he dominates every frame. Everyone else is just a prop. His fans just want a variation on the same theme, not completely different plots.
In Chennai, there were as many as a 100 shows a day in different theatres of his latest film , Sivaji - the Boss. You were lucky if you managed to catch the film in the first couple of weeks. His 'Fan Clubs' buy out tickets for months. And they keep coming back to see the film tens of times.
Rajnikanth's films are never negatively reviewed. No editor would dare to run down a film and face the wrath of his fans. If you Google for Sivaji, what you will get are not references to one of India's most famous kings but website after website going gaga over the king of celluloid - the superstar.
The actor has never endorsed a brand in his entire career. In a world where fame is transient, he seems to bend it to his will