Back on track

hale and hearty Rajinikanth’s cameo role in Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Ra.One’, is the talk of the town.

His shooting schedule also extends towards two other projects, currently in the pipeline. Just as we clap and whistle when Rajini, the Superstar, marks out a triumphant punch in the climax of his movies, his real life battle also deserves an equal amount of praise.

Rajini fell ill while working on Rana, on the first day of the shoot in fact, and was immediately taken to St Isabel’s Hospital in Chennai. The news of his sickness soon spread, and panic found prominence in the hearts of many fans. Any relief that might have swept over his fan base upon his discharge did not last very long, as Rajini found himself in the same hospital again, with a kidney ailment that needed attention. Soon, Rajini was heard reassuring his fans of his return, hours before boarding his flight to Singapore, where he would continue his treatment. Released as an audio clip, Rajini said, with usual optimism, “Kanna, naan seekiram vandhuduven, ungalai ellam santhosha paduthuven.”( I will make you all happy, I will return soon). Clearly, he kept his promise.

Says a source close to the star’s family, “Rajinikanth’s life has always had a close resemblance to his films. Just as how a poor protagonist would make it to the top in most of his movies, Sivaji Rao Gaekwad, a bus conductor from Karnataka, climbed the ladder of success in Kollywood and became Rajinikanth, a name whose mere utterance is enough to make fans jump with joy.”

Confirming Rajini’s return to movie-making and acting, Soundarya Ashwin, his younger daughter, adds, “Yes, Appa is fine. He will start working on Rana as soon as possible. Expect an official announcement soon. Also, plans are on to revive Sultan The Warrior, the animation film which I had planned with him.”

Soundarya also explained that the Sultan project has been given a fresh lease of life, with the Rana director, K S Ravikumar, taking charge of the movie’s story and screenplay departments too. She also mentions that the current name, Sultan The Warrior, will be changed to something that comes across as more powerful.

On Rajini’s cameo in Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra One, Soundarya, who had personally edited the scenes in which the Superstar appears, says, “It is a special appearance which has come out very well. Everyone associated with Ra One, especially SRK, is happy about it.”
Also under ‘construction’ are plans for a sequel to Rajini’s biggest hit, Enthiran/Robot. “Shankar himself will direct the second part, preliminary works are currently on,” say sources close to the project.

Although Rajini returned from Singapore (to a warm welcome from thousands of fans who had surrounded Chennai airport), he had chosen to stay away from the limelight until recently. He politely turned down requests from his friends and peers who had invited him to attend film-related functions and other events.

His absence from our TV screen has been further explained by a prominent member of tinsel town who had met Rajini over his recuperation period — “Though Rajini was completely all right and 90 per cent back to his old form in August, there were still some symptoms of illness in his body. So, he chose to remain behind doors and take rest by meditating, exercising and playing with his grandchildren.”

In the third week of October,  Rajini made his first public appearance — he was seen offering prayers to Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati. Never one to forget the people and forces that helped make him a hero, Rajini expresses his gratitude by
saying, “I am thankful to all my fans who prayed for me while I was undergoing treatment. By the grace of God, I am fine now and took part in the shoot of Ra.One recently. This is a thanksgiving visit to the Lord for answering our prayers. I will start shooting (Rana) soon.”

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