An A class actor who rules the masses, it’s not just superstar Rajinikanth’s mass image that has won him this superstar status. He is an all-rounder in acting; he started by doing villain roles, then struck gold with lead roles, and today, he is the unbeatable No. 1 actor in Kollywood. Much as we love his punch dialogues, we equally admire his sense of humour, performance and timing in his comedy sequences on screen. Let’s recall a few unforgettable comic sequences in which he was in his element…
K. Balachander is the man to be credited for discovering this gem that adorns Tamil cinema. And it is in his movie Thillu Mullu that we get to experience and enjoy the humour in our superstar. The remake of the Hindi film Golmaal with Amol Palekar in the lead role, Thillu Mullu is an absolute treat and Rajni’s acting is simply superb. There are a number of sequences in the movie that have you in splits. The interview scene, for instance, is full of laughs. Likewise, when Thengai Srinivasan meets Chandran’s non-existent twin Indran, the meeting is quite entertaining. But the best parts are the ones with Sowkar Janaki teaming up with Rajni and trying to fool the boss. Absolutely hilarious. All of them performing with straight faces have us cracking up with laughter.
Even in his serious movies, Rajni loves to be a part of the comedy track. Take Mannan for instance; his pseudo-cool behaviour in the bus sequence with Khushbu and his comic meanderings with Koundamani are all very well done. His fans may love him for the way he reduces the baddies to pulp, but when he dumps his warrior image to play the naive guy next-door, he’s bound to get you smiling, if not shaking, with laughter! He’s the guy who gets shell-shocked after seeing a lady in her birthday suit, and he’s also the guy who gleefully crushes the adversary who wounded his mother’s feelings! We are talking about Annamalai, of course. The movie was a blockbuster, and not just because of the revenge theme; its success had a lot to do with the ‘Kadavuley Kadavuley’ comic sequence! Though Janagaraj was the comedian, Rajni managed pretty well for himself, as he always does.
A snake was his prop to milk comedy out of a situation in more than one film. In Annamalai, it’s the snake in the ladies’ hostel he supposedly chases out of the bathroom window, leading up to the famous ‘Kadavuley’ comedy. Again, in Pandian, there is a sequence when a snake slips into his room; Rajni goes ‘Pa pa pa’ and even shrieks hysterically, making incoherent sounds. With absolutely no inhibitions that he is superstar, he enacts the scene with finesse, screaming and crying like a little child. Then a snake appears in the chase sequence in Muthu, where he first boldly wields it like a whip to chase away his pursuers. But when he realizes it’s a snake, not his whip, he is stunned; then it’s up to Meena to help him recover his senses. There are also the fleeting moments in Padayappa where he dares to put his hand into a snake’s hole and one of the onlookers from Neelambari’s camp pesters him throughout the movie asking him how he did it. In Arunachalam, he uses the reptile along with a few other repulsive creatures to threaten a guy who is getting on his nerves.
In movies such as Dharmathin Thalaivan, Guru Sishyan and Rajathi Raja, he needed no help from man or animal to make us laugh, His body language and voice modulations were sufficient. He can be the macho saviour of mankind or the completely funny guy whose every movement has you laughing your head off. Other movies in which he teams up with the comedian to make us laugh are Mapillai, Veera, Ulazhaipali, Chandramukhi, Sivaji and just about every other movie he has acted in. While most of our heroes these days want to inherit Rajni’s superstardom by imitating his style and punch dialogues, they should first realize that he has many, many more skills.