India's Chuck Norris
September 28, 2010 6:39 PM   Subscribe

He is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch. "If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth." posted by vidur (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This article brought a good chuckle (as did the highly offended comments that follow it). I've been a mad devotee of Hindi popular cinema since high school, but after umpteen trips to the video store and several long residencies in north India, I still know next to nothing about the Tamil film industry. Never really hear folks in Delhi talk about Rajnikanth except in service to their jokes about "Madrasis", but now I'm thinking twice -- maybe I'll skip Anjaana Anjaani this weekend and go see this flick instead.
posted by artemisia at 6:53 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's the NEW middle age.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:14 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Woohoo! I get another quarter life crisis!
posted by notion at 7:35 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wonder if he has dreams where he is the Archangel Gibreel.
posted by UrbanEye at 8:04 PM on September 28, 2010

61 is not middle-age, is it?

Ha, and he's balding in the same way Homer Simpson is balding because he has those six hair squiggles left.

... I'll leave the pedant paunch snark to another.
posted by dgaicun at 8:10 PM on September 28, 2010

He's also big in Japan so there's some interesting cultural overlap. I can't find sources for this, but my uncle says that some Japanese folks flew to India in a private jet specifically to watch Sivaji on opening day.

As someone who grew up in the US watching Indian movies, I have a lot of reservations about the whole industry but I make an exception for Rajni. Sivaji was delightful and I recommend watching it if you have any interest in Tamil films.
posted by yaymukund at 8:15 PM on September 28, 2010

Wow. I must see one of these films.

"In the first scene of Padayappa (1999), he's asked, "Hey man, who are you?" and his answer is a four-minute musical number in which he plays the harmonica, flips through the air, oversees a massive martial-arts demonstration, and then morphs into a baby. At the end, the village chief says, "Padayappa, that song was excellent," at which point the music revs up again, Rajinikanth climbs a 30-foot-tall human tower and smashes open a clay pot, fireworks explode, and the director's credit flies out of it."

A self bability? Must. See.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:20 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

This reads like one of those parts in a Neal Stephenson novel where you roll your eyes and go, "Whatever, Neal Stephenson. Way to abuse my suspension of disbelief."
posted by No-sword at 8:27 PM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]

Also, from the comments:
One other thing that the post doesn't delve into is the political clout Rajni enjoyed at some point in time (not anymore, I dont think so) that he was able to tilt an election.
The TMC used a bicycle as their election symbol and used an image of Rajinikanth riding a bicycle from the film Annamalai in their posters. Rajinikanth said, "Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power." Rajinikanth wholeheartedly supported the DMK and TMC alliance and asked the people of Tamil Nadu and his fans to vote for that alliance. This alliance had a complete victory in 1996.
posted by yaymukund at 8:27 PM on September 28, 2010

Eager to learn more about this South Indian star, I came across the Rajinikanth joke phenom.

Rajnikanth can divide by zero.
Rajinikanth can slam a revolving door.
Rajinikanth destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
Rajinikanth has counted to infinity, twice.
Rajinikanth once got into a knife-fight. The knife lost.
Rajinikanth never wet his bed as a child. The bed wet itself in fear.
There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rajinikanth lives in Chennai.
Rajinikanth does not own a stove, oven, or microwave, because revenge is a dish best served cold.
Rajinikanth knows Victoria's secret.
Water boils faster when Rajinikanth stares at it.
Rajinikanth kills two stones with one bird.
Google won't find Rajinikanth because you don't find Rajinikanth; Rajinikanth finds you.
Rajinikanth can answer a missed call.
Rajinikanth can speak Braille.
Rajinikanth can dodge Chuck Norris' roundhouse kicks.
Rajinikanth calls Voldemort by his name.
Chuck Norris once met Rajinikanth. The result - He was reduced to a joke on the internet.
Rajinikanth’s calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Rajanikanth.
Rajinikanth grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.
Rajinikanth once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.
Rajinikanth doesn’t wear a watch. He decides what time it is.
In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Rajinikanth could use to kill you, including the room itself.
Rajinikanth knows what women really want.
Rajinikanth doesn't need a visa to travel abroad, he just jumps from the tallest building in Chennai and holds himself in the air while the earth rotates.
Archaeologists unearthed an old English dictionary dating back to the year 1236. It defined “victim” as “one who has encountered Rajinikanth”.
There is no such thing as global warming. Rajinikanth was feeling cold, so brought the sun closer to heat the earth up.
Rajinikanth's first job was as a bus conductor. There were no survivors.
Rajinikanth once ordered a plate of idli in McDonald's, and got it.
posted by nickyskye at 9:01 PM on September 28, 2010 [9 favorites]

61 is not middle-age, is it?

It is if you live to 120.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2010

posted by wayland at 10:02 PM on September 28, 2010

If a bald tiger had sex with an old tornado and then their bald-tiger-old-nado baby got married to a fat earthquake, their offspring would be an old-bald-fat-kanth-iger-nado-quake playing the banjolele.
posted by pracowity at 10:04 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use to love these movies as kid, hate them as a teenager, and now I love them again. I hope he has some protoge to take over the campy movie reins.
posted by roguewraith at 10:41 PM on September 28, 2010

61 is not middle-age, is it?

Rajinikanth is 60, not 61.

According to his website, Rajinikanth was born on December 12 1949 in Karnataka, India. The Slate post makes this mistake also.
posted by andromache at 12:24 AM on September 29, 2010

"When I will arrive, or how I will arrive, nobody will know, but I will arrive when I ought to,"
... or ...
"I will do what I say. I will also do what I don't say."

Yeah, when you can't beat them, at least confuse them.
posted by sour cream at 12:51 AM on September 29, 2010

I worked at a software company in Chennai for a work-term in 2007. I was just dumbfounded by how popular he was. I even asked the women if they thought he was good-looking and they would blush every time.

As far as I understand, to correctly say his name it needs an exclamation point behind it.
posted by sirsteven at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2010

Somebody filmed the Sivaji audience reaction in New Jersey but what's hilariously likable to me is the way Rajini bounces the chewing gum chiclet off his hand into his mouth as an expression of coolness.

A fan blessing the Shivaji movie poster with milk and flower petals (as would be done for a holy statue in a temple).

It impresses me that the actor is bald in real life but the audience accepts him with lots and lots of hair in the movies.
posted by nickyskye at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2010

It is kinda cool to see someone who isn't 20, fit as a fiddle and thin as a rake made into a star, even if it is on the other side of the planet.
posted by Canageek at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2010

The one theater that was premiering Endhiran in the greater Portland, Ore. area was asking $40/ticket. They claimed that this was the standard ticket price nationwide.
posted by mumkin at 7:04 PM on October 10, 2010

I just saw Endhiran yesterday, and went looking on MeFi to see if there was any discussion of it, and found this thread.

Folks, if you can see Endhiran, do. And if you can't see it, then for the love of God, at least watch the trailer.

Admittedly, the trailer is a little bit misleading, because it focuses on the insanely inventive action stuff, most of which doesn't take place until the last hour. What happens in the first hour and a half? Let's just say that, instead of a super-robot forming a giant car-crushing snake, you get a super-robot applying henna to dozens of bridesmaids' hands at once, and then making a really good wedding dinner.

Which is kind of awesome in its own way, as long as you're prepared for that.

After the intermission, though, things get really crazy (in a good way) really quickly. And although it took me a little while to adjust to some of the broader acting and storytelling choices, by the end, I was really caught up in the story and characters. The Slate article makes it sound as if the only way for a Wester hipster to enjoy Rajinikanth is ironically, but he's actually a really charismatic and appealing actor.

I'm not sure it's worth paying $40 a ticket, but it's definitely worth seeing if you can see it for a non-insane ticket price.
posted by yankeefog at 3:45 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

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