Lingaa for Rajinikanth's 64th B'Day - Most Important in Superstar's career

Superstar Rajinikanth will be turning 64 on 12 December, 2014. Since it’s a Friday, producer Rockline Venkatesh is planning to release his Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa directed by hit maker KS Ravikumar on his birthday.

Lingaa has an impressive star cast of Rajinikanth in a dual role along with Sonakshi Sinha, Anushka Shetty, Jagapathy Babu, Santhanam and others with music by AR Rahman.

The audio launch of Lingaa last Sunday in Chennai’s Satyam theatre was a big red carpet affair. There is a huge buzz around the film as it is Rajinikanth’s first live –action release in four years after 2010 blockbuster Enthiran (Robot in Hindi). It is the first film which was shot in a record eight months, after his recent illness. Rajinikanth at the audio launch said: “I never thought I could return to acting after my illness. I think I need to thank my fans for giving me the energy to continue acting.”

Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiyaan directed by his daughter Soundarya which released earlier this year was an animation film using performance capture technology. The film was a commercial failure and dismissed as an animation film by fans who were looking for his famous punchline dialogues, dance movements and stylish live action scenes. In fact Rajinikanth himself admitted that he lost a lot of money on Kochadaiyaan, but said it was a lesson learned.

Lingaa is Rajinikanth’s comeback vehicle, as he knows that in tinsel town you are recognised by your last hit at the box-office altar. So he chose KS Ravikumar who had given him blockbuster like Muthu and Padayappa, which are considered by critics as his best films.

So when Ravikumar narrated a story, Rajini could smell a hit. Ravikumar said: “When I met Rajini sir, I told him my long time associate Ponram had a story that suited his image and it would work commercially. After he listened to my narration, he said –‘ Let’s start the movie’. He had only one condition that the film should release in 2014. I’m happy that we completed a big budget film which has a period flashback portion in less than 150 days.”

Meanwhile Lingaa is in the final stages of post-production and will be submitted to the censor board by the end of November. The film produced by Rajinikanth’s close friend and Kannada producer Rockline Venkatesh has been sold to Eros for all world rights for a rumoured and whopping Rs 160 Crore.

It is said to be the single biggest deal for a Tamil film which will also be dubbed into Telugu and Hindi and will have a simultaneous release with the original version. The satellite rights have been procured by Jaya TV. Shankar who directed Rajinikanth’s Sivaji and Enthiran said : "I've been told the business of the film ('Lingaa') has already surpassed 'Enthiran'. I am sure it will do much better than any of Rajini sir's films.”

The trade buzz is that Rajinikanth was paid Rs 60 Crore for the film, which was made for around Rs 100 Crore. It is said to be the highest ever amount of money paid to an Indian actor for a film. Please note Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan make films under their own banner and even if they work outside, nobody has got this kind of salary.

For Rajinikanth, Lingaa has become the most important film in his career. The film sold to Eros has to become a blockbuster if it has to recover the cost it was sold to the buyers. Rajinikanth will be 64 by the time the film releases, so he is no spring chicken. KS Ravikumar himself said Lingaa took over 100 days to be completed as he did not want Rajinikanth to exert himself. So he shot the actor‘s portions for only three hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

A lot is riding on Lingaa for Rajinikanth. He has to prove that he has the same kind of clout at the box-office, as he had at the time of Enthiran, which released in 2010 and is reported to have made nearly Rs 200 Crores from theatricals, domestic and overseas and all other rights. The big question is – Can Lingaa surpass Enthiran at the box-office? The answer to that will determine Rajinikanth’s future moves.

-Sreedhar Pillai for FP


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