Book review – Rajinikanth – The Definitive Biography

Book review - Rajinikanth - The Definitive Biography Half a decade back, author Dr. Gayathri Sreekanth had released a book – 'The Name Is Rajinikanth'. It was 'paisa vasool' entertainment no less, just like Rajinikanth's films.

Since entire book was written in a cinematic style, one actually felt like reading a script as characters in and around Rajini communicated in flesh and blood with numerous scenes from his life unfolding. It was the 'dialogues' approach of 'The Name Is Rajinikanth' which gave the book a sharp edge.

Alas, that is not quite the case with Naman Ramchandran's 'Rajinikanth – The Definitive Biography'. Despite a more striking title, a better packaging and a good placement, the book turns out to be just an above average read with one thirsting for more even though it spreads close to 300 pages.

First and foremost despite the book being termed as a Biography, it doesn't quite turn out to be one since the man of the moment, Rajinikanth, is heard speaking only on and off. A major part of the book is either in the words of his friends and family, members of the industry or the author himself. This turns out to be a deterrent indeed since one expects a seamless dialogue with the man himself, something that doesn't turn out to be the case.

Moreover, even though there are ample details about the life and times of Rajinikanth, one feels that the real relevant ones have either gone missing or left untouched. On the other hand considerable time, space and energy in spent into certain aspects of (primarily) his professional life that could well have been shortened for a concise narration.

For example, many scenes from Rajinikanth's films from past and present have been picked and dissected not just from the script perspective but even an individual scene. A shot-by-shot breakdown takes up number of pages and one ends up wondering if this is a book that has primarily been designed as a biography or a filmography.

This happens not once, twice but for multiple times, so much so that after a film, one gets stoic to the print spread in motion and just moves on to the next chapter. Now that's an unpardonable act if one is reading the biography of a huge superstar indeed.
Talking about 'Superstar', it is amazing to see how repetition comes into play with repeated explanation on how the word SUPERSTAR has come on screen for various Rajinikanth films over the years. It may have been interesting to read (and know) a couple of times but when different techniques being used to bring this word of screen is explained in graphic details, one tends to get put off.

No wonder, even though quite a few anecdotes around Rajinikanth are actually shared in the book, they somehow get hidden in between many irrelevant pieces that dilute the show. Otherwise, how often does one read about Rajinikanth going on record about how he never shared personal or professional rivalry with Kamal Haasan and in fact respected him for the craft he brought on screen? Or how he was blasted by his mentor K. Balachander when he reported drunk on the sets? Or how he was forced to slap journalists who tried to shoot his pictures on his wedding day?

Sadly, there are other episodes in the book that mar the show. Detailing around the socio-economic status of Tamil Nadu during the years only takes the zing out of 'Rajinikanth – The Definitive Biography' that could otherwise have made for a delightful read, considering the fact that Rajinikanth has led an eventful career over the years. However (and even though the author warns about that at the beginning), almost the entire book comes across as a fan's tribute to the star who was more than happy to take a subjective view of the personality in question and didn't want to find himself on the other side of the fence.

Price: Rs. 699/-
Rating: **1/2

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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