Meet 15-yr-old Rinku, aka Sairat’s Archie: Maharashtra’s latest film sensationhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/regional/meet-15-yr-old-rinku-aka-sairats-archie-maharashtras-latest-film-sensation-2808540/

Meet 15-yr-old Rinku, aka Sairat’s Archie: Maharashtra’s latest film sensation

As the film industry and the state is abuzz with the rising talent, Sairat star Rinku; her family says 'Archie' will pursue both films and education.

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As the film industry and the state is abuzz with the rising talent, Sairat star Rinku; her family says ‘Archie’ will pursue both films and education.

On May 9, when Rinku Rajguru arrived in the Kavthemahankal area of the Sangli district for a function, between 7,000 and 10,000 people turned up to have a dekko at the 15-year-old actress who has become an overnight sensation in Maharashtra. Desperate fans clashed among themselves to get a close look, many a times the police had to take charge. Those who missed out, travelled around 150km the next day to her residence in the Shikshak Colony area of Akluj, a small town of around 70,000 people in the drought-hit Solapur district.

But to little avail, since their beloved ‘Archie’ — who won a special mention at the National Film Awards — is out promoting her film with Nagraj Manjule-led Sairat unit. She’s been away for days. The youngsters refused to leave until her family pleaded with them with folded hands. “Such scenes have become common. Young fans from different parts of the state are flocking to our colony everyday to meet Rinku,” says DB 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.”

Also read: Why Bollywood should be scared of Marathi film ‘Sairat’? 

After Sangli, when Manjule’s team arrived in Kothrud, Pune, there was a sea of fans waiting, and they couldn’t get down from their vehicle. Rinku’s father, Mahadev Rajguru, throws his hands up: “Everybody wants to see Rinku. But even we do not know her whereabouts as she is busy promoting her film. She doesn’t carry a cellphone and her unit members are not contactable.” Her uncle, Ashok Rajguru, who is also a schoolteacher, says: “Be it political parties, social organisations or youth groups, everyone is eager to felicitate her. But this will be possible only after she arrives here. Given the craze for her, we don’t know what will happen the day Rinku arrives in Akluj…”

Also read: Aamir Khan praises Marathi movie Sairat

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That Rinku is the latest obsession in Maharashtra — “yaad laglay” as actor Riteish Deshmukh put it in a tweet — can be gauged from the fact that State Industry 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.”

Like Riteish, actor Aamir Khan also  tweeted, “Please watch it (Sairat) if you haven’t already.”

Sairat, which is playing in theatres across Maharashtra had collected Rs25 crore in the first week of its opening, which industry pundits say is the highest collection for any Marathi movie ever. After 11 days, it raked in Rs41 crore, surpassing the record held by blockbusters like Natsamrat. Latest estimates indicate the collection may have crossed the Rs50-crore mark. It is currently being shown in over 400 theatres in Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. The film is also likely to be made in other languages.

Sairat is the story of an upper-caste girl who falls in love with a poor fisher man’s son. Rinku Rajguru, with a devil-may-care attitude, plays the role of a feisty village girl who rebels against 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 has announced that it plans to make Rinku the brand ambassador for promoting inter-caste marriages.

Yesteryear actress Usha Chavan says the appeal of Rinku’s character ‘Archie’, a strong-willed teenager, “lies in the feisty role which is so unconventional in rural areas of Maharashtra”. The Rajguru family — overwhelmed by Rinku’s success in her debut — is not worried at the scale of popularity, and her future. “She has cleared class 9 with 81 per cent marks and will be doing her Class X next year…We haven’t decided whether she will do it from the same school or a different one, but she will surely pursue her studies… Rinku loves education and films, both will go hand-in-hand,” says Mahadev, a primary school teacher.

Meanwhile, at her school Jijamata Kanya Prashala, a girl’s school, Rinku is admired for being a down-to-earth, polite and one who freely mingles with everyone. The day after the National Film Awards were announced, she calmly appeared for her final exams. “In fact, after the exam, she sought my blessings by touching my feet,” recalls principal Manjushree Jain, adding that Rinku has been among top five students every year.

Her classmates describe her as outgoing and friendly. “At times in the movie, one gets the feeling that she is impolite. But she is not. She is very polite and in fact loves to crack a joke or two,” says Selvi Kotmire, who shared the last bench with her in Class 9. “Even when she used to return from her shooting schedules, there was no trace of arrogance but she politely pleaded with us to watch the movie whenever it is released,” says another classmate Vaishali Kumbhar. Rinku especially wanted her friends to watch her ride a bullet and a drive a tractor — which has been lapped up now by cine-goers.

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Since she is taller than other girls, says her classteacher Vilas Kate, Rinku on her own preferred to sit on the last bench. “But I never found her not showing interest in studies. She focuses hard and is good in math.”

Till March, Rinku always cycled to her school from a maze of traffic from her residence — which took her 10 minutes. It was only during her exams in April, she was seen riding a scooty. Rinku mouths the one-liner, “Should I tell you in English? Once too often in the movie. “That is because,” says her classmate Selvi, “she wants to speak English as they do on television channels or at public gatherings.”

With no film background, how did Rinku land Archie’s role? Her father explains: “Manjule was conducting auditions in Akluj. I happened to go there on first day to meet Manjule as he and Rinku’s maternal grandmother are from the same village. When I told him about our daughter, he said bring her tomorrow. Next day, he saw her from a distance walking in and asked her to mouth a dialogue and was mighty impressed.” She was selected, but was asked to work on her personality. For a whole year, Rinku would get up early, jog on the streets and take care of her diet.

In Akluj, which gets drinking water after every four days, residents do not seem to be hassled or frustrated by their plight.

There is a spring-like ebullience in the air and a buzz around town. “Are you looking for Archie? Go straight from here to Shikshak Colony… But you won’t find her there..we are also waiting for her to arrive,” says an autorickshaw driver. Everyone — from an autorickshaw driver, a handcart vendor, a paanwallah, to students and working professionals — has apparently has seen the movie at least once. “Ek dum zakas ahain…fakt end barobar nahin…(The movie is great but the end is not good),” says Kishore K, a meat seller. Even Aamir Khan tweeted,”The end broke my heart.”

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Her family, however, plays down the end. “It’s a movie, after all…,” says her father.

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