Why Rajinikanth's 'Annaatthe' is lacking in buzz

Lack of buzz around Rajinikanth's 'Annaatthe' isn't surprising

Rajinikanth and Keerthy Suresh in 'Annaatthe'. The film releases on November 4.

The overall social media presence of ‘Annaatthe’ has been poor despite the film’s trailer making noise on Twitter on Thursday. Despite several click-bait articles on the film, the trademark buzz around a ‘superstar’ Rajinikanth film is missing.

A decade ago, a Rajinikanth film release was akin to a grand festival. Today, his ‘Annaatthe’, even if it’s touted as a Deepavali treat for the veteran actor’s fans, isn’t a sure-shot box-office success. The Siva-directorial releasing on November 4, will face a stiff test from Rohit Shetty’s multi-starrer ‘Sooryavanshi’, which will hit the screens on November 5.

The current generation’s lack of interest in his films is an indication of Rajinikanth’s waning aura. Youngsters, who have access to several streaming sites, no longer care for old-school ‘masala’ capers as they are exposed to content with world class production values and versatile narratives. 

Earlier, Rajinikanth would carefully plan his releases. There was a conscious decision to work extensively on one project. But ever since his multiple health scares, he believes in wrapping up films on small schedules. In the last decade, we have witnessed seven Rajinikanth films, snuffing out the excitement of waiting for a ‘superstar’ film. His success rate doesn't help either. Only two ('2.0' and 'Petta') out of the seven have been hits.  

The veteran actor’s reputation as a confused politician has affected his films. His flip-flop statements on his political journey have dented his credibility.

The actor will turn 71 in December yet his commitment level to each film is praised by many. While this is admirable, his physical struggles are visible on screen.

For example, even though he isn’t a gifted dancer, Rajinikanth would look extremely convincing on screen thanks to his remarkable style. Now, with him physically less stable, the strain in his performances is hard to ignore.

This is evident in the ‘Chumma Kizhi’ song in his previous release ‘Darbar’ (2020). In the SP Balasubrahmanyam’s dance number, Rajinikanth is seen doing repetitive steps to handle the high tempo of the song. While his eyes are sharp as ever, his dialogue delivery lacks his trademark energy.

Irrespective of the eventual results, every time Rajinikanth decided to collaborate with new-generation directors like Pa Ranjith ('Kabali' and 'Kaala') and Karthik Subbaraj ('Petta'), he raised hopes. But Siva isn't known for flamboyance or unconventional filmmaking.  

He has a knack for making watchable old-school, village dramas that attract the 'B' and 'C' centres. He owned the genre in ‘Veeram’ (2014) and ‘Viswasam’ (2019). ‘Annaatthe’ too is set in a rural region with the sister sentiment — Siva’s pet theme — being one of the main aspects of the story. His over-the-top fight sequences are cringe-worthy though.

The lukewarm promotions from the film’s team can be a blessing in disguise for ‘Annaatthe’. The catastrophic hype for 'Kabali' (2016), caused by extraordinary promotional techniques, backfired as people were left massively dissatisfied with the film. If you keep your expectations low, the film could turn out to be a decent entertainer. Strong word-of-mouth around the film could attract the family audience.

Keerthy Suresh, Nayanthara, Khushboo, Meena, and Soori form an ensemble cast. Rajini had silenced his critics with the success of ‘Petta’ (2019). The old warhorse could do it again as he has had several comebacks in the past.

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