It has been a few hours since the teaser of Rajinikanth’s Kaala was launched online. But the effect has been spilling onto social media — display pictures have been changed, statuses have been set, tweets sent. The euphoria is viral and it is contagious. In his trademark, inimitable style, Rajini says “Indha Karikaalan oda muzhu rowdy thana pathathu ilaye? Paapinga”. Amid the whistling, it got us thinking about the different ‘Rowdy Rajinis’ we have seen on screen. And here are the top picks.
A remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s Don, Billa saw Rajini play a different kind of a ‘rowdy’. He was a gangster and a suave one that too. Billa resurrected Rajini’s career and set the template for the Amitabh Bachchan inspired ‘angry young man’ roles he did later. Unlike his later films where the mass appeal is more snazzy, Billa’s style was relatively subtle. “Olagathula irukara ella naatu police um Billa kaga wait panranga.. but ivana yaralum pidikavum mudiyathu” — how is that for swag?
Rajini was just Ranga, he was ‘Avasara adi Ranga’. In a tale of separated siblings, Rajini plays a full-time thug who later turns over a new leaf on finding his long-lost sister. With a tinge of comedy, romance and of course, action, Rajini was the quintessential ‘thug hero’ in the film which was one of his huge hits as a star. Like Rajini’s several catchphrases, ‘Avasara adi Ranga’ still remains fresh.
Another film where Rajini pairs with Radhika, Nallavanuku Nallavan is about an ex-thug who quits hooliganism. After he earns the favour of his boss, he inherits his property as well. However, the film gives us some complete whistle-worthy moments. For example, an older, richer Rajini gets into a fight for his daughter. As he paces his steps with style, images of the younger Rajini is juxtaposed for the mass quotient. And what a moment it still is!
Any article about Rajini cannot be complete without a mention about this film. Similar to Kaala, Baasha is a gangster who acts as the saviour of the people. Stylish suits, fiery dialogues, memorable action — Baasha has it all. It is the Rajini film that still gets repeat views from people who aren’t crazy about the Superstar. “Naa oru dhadava sonna, nooru thadava sonna madhri,” says Rajini in this film. And we can’t get enough of it even if we see the film a hundred times.
Watch Kaala teaser here:
While the film might not have set the cash registers ringing, it still had several memorable moments that were truly Rajini. Kabali quietly walks out of his cell but not before he does a pull-up on the jail bars. Despite the mixed responses the film received, lines such as “Naa vandhuten nu sollu, thirumbi vandhuten nu sollu” made the fans go ‘magizhchi’. With Ranjith also helming Kaala, we can surely expect such memorable moments from Karikaalan as well.