Rajinikanth meets Thotsakan

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In the 3rd and concluding performance for the Pavilion Without Pavilion, Bangkok Biennale 2018, I made an impromptu photographic action on the 3rd of September at Wat Arun. This action was premised on the conflation of two gargantuan Dravidian icons that have attained global currency, Demon King Thotsakan (Dasakantha or Ravana) and contemporary SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth. They are both unquestionably giants of global Indic culture, one from the historiographical past of Farther India and Suwannaphum, and the other from the more immediate realm of  Kollywood.

Thalaivaa!!

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The SUPERSTAR hoardings are back. Kaala, the ‘man in black’ is walking tall on cinema walls all over Chennai.  It seems that PA Ranjith’s second collaboration with Thalaivar is doing fine at the box office regardless of controversies in Thoothukodi and in Karnataka. There were relatively poor advance bookings and even now there are mixed reports about the first days takings but at least one heralds an all-time record take across Chennai cinemas and cineplexes of 17,000,000 rupees which is over 250, 000 USD. Reviews suggest that Director has struck a better balance between the SUPERSTAR persona and the serious social and dramatic ambit of his work.  Ranjith is an outspoken champion of the left in Tamil Nadu. By left I mean Periyar’sDravidian movement, whose colour is the black of Kaala, and Ambedkar’s Dalit movement, whose blue is equally prominent in the film. While the pairing of actor and director pairing holds up well in the fictions of Kabali and Kaala, there are signs however that this unity of actor and auteur is unraveling. How Rajinikanth will square this new politicized SUPERSTAR persona with his, apparently not so slightly saffron tinged (saffron being the colour of the Hindu right) real life ‘spiritual politics’ remains to be seen ….

Image: http://www.kinkylittleboots.com/bollywood/this-is-how-fans-celebrated-rajinikanths-kaala-in-mumbai/

http://www.zeebiz.com/india/news-kaala-box-office-collection-day-1-rajinikanth-creates-history-earns-this-massive-amount-of-rs-176-crore-50212

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/thoothukudi-rajini-proves-why-kaala-pa-ranjith-film-not-superstar-one-82214