Donning a dual role along with lead stars Sonakshi Sinha and Anushka Shetty, Rajinikanth‘s Lingaa is considered as one of the most important films in the Superstar’s career and is produced by his old friend, Kannada producer Rockline Venkatesh. Sources report that the world rights of the movie were sold at Rs 160crore to Eros International, an Indian motion picture production and distribution company. Music of the film is scored by AR Rahman and the satellites rights were procured by Jaya TV, known as a mouthpiece of AIADMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu.
Lingaa, a period film set in the 1940s, is to be released simultaneously in about 2,500 screens on Friday including 600 in state of Tamil Nadu alone, said a Tweet on thursday by Soundarya Rajinikanth, his daughter. It also gives details of schedule of releases in over 1,000 screens abroad and nearly 400 screens in north India, 750 in Andhra Pradesh, 250 in Kerala and more than 200 screens in Karnataka. With Lingaa trending on social media, Twitter handle of the distributor was flooded with stories of Rajini fans that went viral, including that of a Tweet showing the screenshot of a ‘Lingaa leave letter’ by one of his fans, an engineer (who had applied leave for Friday citing the reason as Rajinikanth’s Birthday.)
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While several such Lingaa memorablia flooding Twitter from Tamil Nadu and buildings being splayed with Lingaa graffitti art works on houses of his overseas fans, the Superstar who turns 64 admitted last day that he is no more a spring chicken. Addressing a curtain raiser event of Lingaa held at Hyderabad on Tuesday, he said doing duets with two girls, Sonakshi and Anushka, were the toughest job he had ever faced in his career. Recalling that he knew Sonakshi since her childhood and that she grew up as contemporaries of his daughters, Aishwarya and Soundarya, Rajinikanth said: “I was sweating when I had to do duets with her. I did not feel so tensed even while doing the first take of my first film. If God is to punish an artiste, it is by letting him do a duet after the age of 60.”
Besides the fact that a fortune has been invested in Lingaa, the major challenge before the Superstar would be to prove his support base has not eroded since the release of his previous flick. Enthiran, which released in 2010 was his last live action project, which had reportedly collected nearly Rs 200 Crores from collections across the world.
Like most other blockbuster Tamil movies, Lingaa also found itself mired in a plagiarism controversy, obviously for its similarities of plot grounded in local realities and social issues while working within the commercial paradigm with that of a small time writer. K R Ravi Rathinam, the petitioner complained that the producer and director had stolen the story of his movie Mullai Vanam 999. On Thursday, the Madras high court ordered the producers of Lingaa to pay Rs 5 crore deposit and Rs 5 crore guarantee in the court, before the release of the movie on Friday.
Lingaa, like all the other Superstar movies, rides entirely on Rajinikanth’s exalted screen personality and expects to recover the whopping investment put in. It is rumoured that the remuneration of the superstar accounts for a good portion of its lavish budget. If sources are to be believed, Rajinikanth was paid a sum of Rs 60 Crore in this Rs 100 Crore-movie.
The release of Lingaa also gains a major significance with reports resurfacing about his possible entry into politics. During the audio launch of the movie last month, however, Rajinikanth said he hesitates to join politics because he understands what exactly politics entails and that he is not scared but hesitant to take the plunge.
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However, few dialogues in the movie may be picked up by the political antennae as one of his dual characters reportedly has similarities with that of a chief engineer Colonel John Pennycuick, a man considered as saviour of farmers in southern Tamil Nadu where they still offer prayers before pictures of Cuick before sowing and harvest as he was the one who constructed Mullaperiyar dam that helped the arrival of Periyar water to the farm lands in Cumbum valley.
A leaked portion of dialogue doing rounds in the social media from a scene in which Rajinikanth asks people to join him to construct a dam for his village says: “I don’t need a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Chettiyaar, Naadaar, Mudaliar. Those who call themselves an Indian alone can come with me.” Sources close to the production house refused to comment on this.