On May 9, when Rinku Rajguru arrived in Kavthemahankal area of Sangli district for a function, 7,000-10,000 people turned up to have a dekho at the 15-year-old actress who has overnight become a big sensation. So much so that police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge to control the crowd of desperate fans outside her residence Akluj, a small town of around 70,000 people in drought-hit Solapur district. And when Rinku left the place, 50-odd motorcyclists trailed her for a good 30 kms.
Some of the fans who could not capture her on their cellphone drove for around 150 kms and landed at her residence the next day. There was, however, disappointment in store for them as their “Archie”, who won a special mention at the National Film Awards last week, remained out of bounds, busy promoting her film Sairat.
“Young fans from across the state have been flocking to our colony daily to meet Rinku,” says D B Dahinje, a neighbour. “We have kept a register at the gates where scores have registered their presence, conveying best wishes and wanting to know when Rinku will be back.”
After Sangli, when Nagraj Manjule and his team arrived in Kothrud in Pune, they could not get down from their vehicle as fans were surrounding them.
Rinku’s father Mahadev Rajguru says. “Everybody wants to see Rinku. But even we do not know her whereabouts. She doesn’t carry a cellphone and most of the time we cannot even contact her unit members,” says Rajguru, a primary school teacher. Rinku’s uncle Ashok Rajguru, also a school teacher, says, “Be it political parties, social organisations or youth groups, everyone is eager to felicitate her. Given the craze, we don’t know what will happen the day Rinku arrives in Akluj…”
That Rinku has driven Maharashtra nuts, or “yaad laglay”, as actor Reiteish Deshmukh puts it in a tweet, was evident when state’s Industries Minister Subash Desai was flooded with calls for two days when someone put his cellphone number on Rinku’s Facebook page.
An exasperated Desai berated callers, “I am not Archie… I am Subash Desai.”
Manjule says Rinku’s Facebook page had actually been blocked by hackers and Desai’s number was found posted on fake Facebook page created by fans.
Like Reiteish, actor Aamir Khan also tweeted, “Please watch it (Sairat) if you haven’t already.”
Sairat has already collected Rs 25 crore in the first week of its opening, which industry pundits say is the highest for any Marathi movie ever. After 11 days, it raked in Rs 41 crore, surpassing the record held by blockbusters like Natsamrat. It is currently being shown in over 400 movie theatres in Maharashtra as also many across the country.
Sairat tells the story of an upper caste girl falling in love with a poor fisherman’s son. Rinku Rajguru, with a devil-may-care attitude, portrays the role of a feisty village girl who rebels against the society to marry her love. The movie highlights the scourge of honour killings in the caste-ridden Maharashtrian society.
Encouraged by the success of the movie, the Maharashtra government on Thursday said it was planning to appoint Rinku as a brand ambassador for promoting inter-caste marriages.