Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Review: The Name is Rajinikanth

Among the authors who have displayed ignorance on the central subject matter of their book, Gayathri Sreekanth displays maximum (in fact complete) ignorance. Her book 'The Name is Rajinikanth' is more idiotic than Rajini's super-flop movie 'Naatukku Oru nallavan'. I am not a fan of Rajinikanth, don't particularly like him. However, there are only 4-5 of movies of his that I haven't watched. With this as disclaimer, I say - This is the worst piece of writing I have read in any form of media. As far as I can recollect, I have not read such a poorly researched, poorly presented piece of work on any topic. To write about Rajinikanth without knowing anything about why people watch him is a tremendous achievement. In her preface, she says that her well-wishers asked her "Why write about Rajinikanth?". It seems her answer was "Why not Rajinikanth?". She then goes on to give a bucket full of clich├ęs - "I believe him to be one of the best human beings. Vices don't maketh a man, quality maketh. Habits don't make a man bad, only his attitude. Rajini hasn't forgotten his roots; he is still basic well-grounded Shivaji Roa and enjoys the company of his driver, conductor and depot friends (huh?). He is spiritual, hate hypocrisy, love simplicity..." - essentially she is saying "bla bla bla, bla bla bla - I don't know anything about his movies". What her well-wishers were probably trying to say was "but.. do you know anything about his movies?". She indeed didn't know anything. And given the fact that this book has seen the light of day, she never got around to realizing that fact.

If I was asked use purely this book as my only source of information and speculate/ stereotype Gayathri's background/qualification to write this book, this is what I would conclude; Gayathri has written this book for North Indian/ North American readers, she hasn't seen many Rajinikanth movies, probably very few in a cinema theater. She is not a Thamizh movie fan or an avid Thamizh movie watcher. She has no idea why Rajinikanth clicks, why he has the pulse of the audience. Although she may not really be - She resembles the stereo type of a 2nd generation South Indian who grew up in North with superficial knowledge of Thamizh movies. She is probably wealthy, is related to (or in the same social circle) as movie big shots like AVM Saravanan etc. The only reason she wrote this book was because she was well-connected and was the first one to think of seriously implementing this idea. The success of Sivaji probably made her, a 'peter' puluthifying 'i don't see taamil moovies' chic to become aware of Rajinikanth or at least made her think she could put her "high society English knowledge" to write a book about him for N. Indian audience. Nobody I repeat nobody would write this in a biography on Rajinikanth; "His first film as a hero was block buster Apoorva Raajmangal. K. Balachander, his mentor, again cast him as the main lead in a slapstick comedy Moondru Mudichu.". If she is blaming people for "nit picking" on this error again and again, then it is time for her to realize why nobody else would have ever made that mistake. And this is not the only mistake. Her lack of knowledge brilliantly shines throughout the book.

She has a "screenplay" for her book. And it does not add any value except serve as a masala piece. Even-numbered chapters describe Rajini's childhood and odd-numbered Chapters describe his life as a movie star. And it is not written in a style that biographies are usually written. She fills the gaps in her knowledge about Rajinikanth's childhood by creating fictional "this is what he must have said as a child" and writes this book like a fantasy-fiction novel. This makes the book really horrible and completely unreadable. And then she makes it even crappier. She has little child Shivaji Roa Gaekwad, growing up in slums of Bangalore, saying phrases/words that suburban kids in Ohio would say - "I want summmmmoooh" (I want some more) etc etc - and you get the point. Maybe she wrote the book with the intention that kids, North Indians or worse North Americans would read it. All 3 categories would definitely not touch this book. And North Indians don't like Rajinikanth. Many make fun of him. Somebody needs to tell her that. I have no idea what made her think otherwise or why she thinks this is so important an aspect to exaggerate upon. Her idea of using Hindi words like 'ghas poos' to describe vegetarian food, 'hai hai', and spelling Latha as Lata (first, I thought it was the Thanglish word - Late'aa?) was probably with this audience in mind. No Thamizh speaker residing in proper Thamizh Nadu would speak like this. Certainly not the characters she mentions.

Don't expect a commentary on his movies, the movie phenomenon called Rajinikanth, why he decided to make a movie with xyz story Vs a movie with abc story, how he built his image, his 80s movies, his love stories, action movies, his 90s image-based movies. Don't expect to read anything regarding his movies in this book. Expect to read on Latha's father Rangachari, how handsome he looked, how he adhered to the 11-day 'vriddhi theetu' after Latha had a child and some such nonsense. Gayathri has got connections. That makes her aware of gossip - the kind that appears in Vaara Malar's thunukku mootai, Dhina thanthi, Rani and Devi. So she writes about why Rajini was not friendly with Khushboo or Sripriya, the fact that he slept around, how he almost divorced Latha (or should I say Lata), how K.B influenced his personal life, how Kamal influenced his personal life, Cauveri issue Raj kumar kidnapping issue, Aishwarya Rajinikanth's crush on Simbu, Rajini's psuedo foray into politics, relationship with Jayalalitha/Karunanidhi etc etc. Of course she also spends a few mandatory chapters on the boring oft-repeated topic of his spirituality, his gurus (some *.nanda is his guru), his good-hearted’ness and bla bla bla. Yawn!

Maybe, due to some irony, this bad book befits Rajinikanth and the legacy he will leave behind. The book indirectly leaves an impression that one cannot write a book on Rajinikanth with extensive details about his career/professional/onscreen life. While a biography typically touches on personal aspects of the person, it is irritating that this book does only that. Rajinikanth's fans will probably cringe on reading this book. On the whole - it is shocking that this book was not reviewed by Rajinikanth, his family members or any cine person this author "profoundly" thanks in her book. Should one be surprised that Rajinikanth will let such a poor book be called his biography and endorse it? It also tells me that if you have money, publishing a book is like publishing a blog post. This book is hastily written, poorly formatted, unedited, and has not been proof read extensively. Miraculously, at any point in time prior to it getting published, this book about a movie star has not been vetted with a person who knows or understands movies very well. I hope she never writes a book on Kamal Hasan. I have been duped. I want my Rs 500 back.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, you have been duped. You WONT get the Rs.500 back. That's the point about duping, really.

karthik sriram said...

Hawkeye,

Leave this scumbag of a book... Have you booked tickets for Dasa? Its releasing 12th June (they sold me tickets for 5th June and that useless 'Aascaar' Ravichandran postponed the date, once more!!)?

LKS

mis j said...

And I'm sure there will be a thousand other better pics of Thalaivar for the Cover page than the one in this book!

And you forgot to add about the quiz she makes us take before the actual "writing" starts...

Mukundhan said...

Enna nanba Rs 500 Gandhi kanakkukku poacha?
How different is this Gayathri from that idiotic woman who wrote the Sivaji review on IBN live or that idiot "confused" who wrote a blog on Rajni phenomenon on Desipundit. She joins the growing list of people who are not fully qualified to comment on Rajni (as they knwo nothing of him or his movies.

Sowmya said...

Nanna thittitayee...you got your
RS 500's worth.

madras chick said...

Oh.. was it that bad?!

Growing up, I've read that Rajini was so crazy about Amala, and that she was fondly called Anni by all his fans.

So that we can be spared from buying that book to read all the *gossipy* details, can you please fill in on why he was not friendly with Khush or SriPriya? Did they refuse to sleep with him? They don't look that type though :-D

Anonymous said...

You love stereotyping, don't you?
"high society English knowledge" to write a book about him for N. Indian audience
Slightly unrelated, your writing indicated tremendous hatred towards N. Indians. Did N.Indians molest you anytime?

Anonymous said...

You love stereotyping, don't you?
"high society English knowledge" to write a book about him for N. Indian audience
Slightly unrelated, your writing indicated tremendous hatred towards N. Indians. Did N.Indians molest you anytime?

Hawkeye said...

/* Slightly unrelated, your writing indicated tremendous hatred towards N. Indians. */

yes! pointing out that the target audience for the book could be n. indians indicates severe hatred.

one of my specializations in college was 'stereotyping and over generalizing'. I got 92 marks in that subject.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the other 8 marks? Damn.. i thought you were perfect.

Hawkeye said...

/* Damn.. i thought you were perfect. */

don't over generalize.

Venkat said...

Hawkeye,

for a guy who doesn't like Rajni, you're a walking contradiction - having seen most of his movies and now reading a book on him.
BTW, I agree with most of the stuff you've said on the book though. Gayathri Sreekanth wrote the book to make money 'period' riding on Rajni's popularity and Sivaji's recent success all over.
On that count, your fears on her writing about Kamal are unfounded

Anonymous said...

//// "His first film as a hero was block buster Apoorva Raajmangal. K. Balachander, his mentor, again cast him as the main lead in a slapstick comedy Moondru Mudichu." /////

After reading this u shud have burnt the book... poor u had to spend 500 bucks... enough said. :-) . if she has an email or something u shud forward this to her...

- Ganesh

Ruchi said...

I agree with the anonymous that your writing shows prejudice against N. Indians. The author is ignorant about Rajnikanth because she is brought up in N. India ? How does it reason with your another crib that she did not do enough research for the book. So, only people who should write a book on Rajnikanth are the ones who have grown up on healthy dosage of Rajnikanth movies. I really don't know how an incompetent writer equals with "brought up in N. India "?
Also this debate about "Lata" and "Latha". Both are ok to use as both are incorrect in depicting the actual spoken sound. It comes back to common prevalent acceptable usage. I hate people who want to prove that one spelling is better than the other. They just want to have fun with the N.Indian vs S.Indian stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

///The author is ignorant about Rajnikanth because she is brought up in N. India ? How does it reason with your another crib that she did not do enough
research for the book. So, only people who should write a book on Rajnikanth are the ones who have grown up on healthy dosage of Rajnikanth movies. ///

of course mate. what the hell do u think? What is rajinikanth famous for? acting in tamil movies right? so whoever writes about him should defineitely have a decent exposure to his career in movies not how he refused to sleep with actresses or any other mumbo jumbo crap. would you hire some one for an accountant's position who has no background in math or numbers...


///I really don't know how an incompetent writer equals with "brought up in N. India "?////

This is precisely why hawk has said north indians are not so intelligent.. oops.....sorry mate... get real...

//Also this debate about "Lata" and "Latha". Both are ok to use as both are incorrect in depicting the actual spoken sound. It comes back to common prevalent acceptable usage. I hate people who want to prove that one spelling is better than the other. They just want to have fun with the N.Indian vs S.Indian stereotypes.//

Maybe that has to do with numerology... :-)

-Ganesh

sundar said...

/* In March 2007 I was one of the contestants in the hot seats on the KBC show with Shahrukh Khan hosting. I didn’t make it to the final but something about writing a bio of SRK came up. That’s when I thought: why not write a biography of Kamal or Rajini */
From her behindwoods interview:
She is quoted to have been inspired from 'Still reading Khan' and decided to do one on Rajini. That's sad. One cannot write a biography on Rajini inspired by a biography of another person who is a world different from him. And she also says "I am not a die-hard fan of Rajinikanth". That explains why there's nothing related to movies in the book.
/*This had to be not Rajini’s point of view, nor mine but a third person’s objective narration.*/ - indicates confusion. A biography should always have a clear writer's point of view. Isn't it?
Thanks for the heads up, you did help a lot of people not lose their Rs. 500 by that post ;)

Anonymous said...

you did ave 500 rs for us? But to complete that altruistic act, you must mention the reasons why shriya or khusboo refused to sleep with rajni? Or, rajni didnt like them for other reasons?
Dammit, Rajni-Sripriya were an item at one point so even the gossip 'facts' seem to be wrong in the book. neways, save us 500 by publishing the list of women rajni slept with ;-)

Hawkeye said...

ruchi,

/* The author is ignorant about Rajnikanth because she is brought up in N. India ? */

could be.

/* So, only people who should write a book on Rajnikanth are the ones who have grown up on healthy dosage of Rajnikanth movies. */

yes. duh!

/* I really don't know how an incompetent writer equals with "brought up in N. India "? */

even i don't know how. please point me to who ever said this.

/* Both are ok to use as both are incorrect in depicting the actual spoken sound. */

i disagree.

/* It comes back to common prevalent acceptable usage. */

precisely my point. nobody in thamizh nadu uses Lata.

/* hate people who want to prove that one spelling is better than the other. */

you mean if some one says 'going' in better spelt than 'goign' - you would hate them?

Mahesh said...

some people just want to take offense. I don't know how anyone would assume this blog post had a anti north indian bias.


People are extremely dumb.

Zero said...

On the point about making fun of Rajnikanth, here's a very interesting take on that.

I don't want to get mixed up in a north India vs. south India (or Tamil) debate (as I don't really hold an opinion on that matter), but here's my question. Just tell me how many Curry Westerns did Rajni star in. (If it is Jaishankar, I understand!)

Incidentally, Sadanand Menon has reviewed this bummer of a book too.

paruppu said...

why no post on the 'dark knight'?

Hawkeye said...

mahesh/zero,

This time i genuinely surprised with a north vs south debate.

i said 2 things

1. A s.indian by virtue of growing up in north does not become a rajinikanth or thamizh movie expert

2. this book was targeting n.indian audience.

apparently, this is hatred and bias.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching the video of the book release function - and one of the speakers in that event, ex-cbi chief karthikeyan pointed out the many mistakes in the book.

if you had seen it, it would have saved you rs.500. :)

on a side note, anupama chopra wrote a very good book on shahrukh/bollywood. wish we had someone like her to write such books.

varun

Pradeep said...

Un Logic super appu.. Nalla kizhi kizhi kizhuchitte..

Superb logical reply to Ruchi BTW.

Hawkeye said...

(lets screw the n. indian s s. indian debate. if people are smart enough to understand what is said then I dont have to reiterate anything)

anon,

/* Dude, you have been duped. You WONT get the Rs.500 back. That's the point about duping, really.*/

duh! If I haven't been duped, why would I ask for my 500 back?

LKS,

i dont think its releasing in seattle.

mis j,

you are right. that quiz was nauseating. the cover page indicated the contents.

mukundhan,

she eanred tons of money and unnecessary respect (from people who didnt read her book). that is really annoying.

Sowmya,

I agree. nalla thittradhu is very satisfying.

Madras Chich,

/* I've read that Rajini was so crazy about Amala, and that she was fondly called Anni by all his fans.*/

Amala was called anni by many other fans too :-) notably nagarjuna fans.

/* can you please fill in on why he was not friendly with Khush or SriPriya? */

this gayathri went and asked them. They said that rajini was simply not friendly with them after the movie got released.

venkat,

thats ok. contradiction is good. i dont like him because i have seen his movies (and now read his book). i dont know why gayathri likes him enough to write a book w/o knowing anything about him.


ganesh,

she is counting her money. And may write anoher book. Soon she will be in TV panels and shows as an 'expert' on thamizh movies.


Sundar,

I shoul have read that before buying the book. my god. my stereo type of her wasn't very far off the mark.

zero,

/* Just tell me how many Curry Westerns did Rajni star in. */

I am confused. why ask this question?

I vaguely remember a movie where he calls himself 'michael dsouza. true christian' which was sort of western ( i am not very sure). I dont remember Rajini making "modern theatres" kind of movies. I have to see the list of his movies to really remember.


btw links ask for registration.

paruppu,

what dark knight released?

varun,

ya! I saw only fotos in behind wood. didnt see it.

pradeep,

danks. :-). i still don't get where I offended n. indians. i am quite happy to apologize if I did. but i dont know for what i should apologize.

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye,

I'm Ross MBA candidate class of 2010. I came across your blog through a ramdom websearch. I'd like to ask you a few questions about your MBA experience. Could I get your email address pls?

Thanks
-J

Hawkeye said...

anon,

hawkeyeview@gmail.com

Vijay said...

I like Rajani movies and dont mind watching at my available time, but pay Rs 495 for a book with free DVDs? don't think so. Checkout http://thehindu.com they are trying hard to cash in on this phenomenon. The Dr. tag in the authors name, also adds value and gives authenticity! Well today anyone can get one from Belford Univeristy for a cost! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belford_University

Blogeswari said...

Hawkeye,

Latha.. lata irukkatum

it is Tamizh / tamizhnaadu and NOT thamizh /tHamizhnaadu -incase you didn't know

Anonymous said...

"duh! If I haven't been duped, why would I ask for my 500 back?"
Annatha, its like this.
I want Rs.500 from you. So, I dupe you and sell a dummy to you. You buy it. Then I have precisely achieved what I wanted - namely to extract Rs. 500 from you. I have done it through legal means so no way can you get it back from me. Which was my objective in the first place. If you dont want to lose Rs. 500, dont get duped. Illaina, tholaichittu chinna pulla maadhiri, I want my lollipop back-nu azhadhe. Pirinjidha?
I'm not Gayatri Srikanth, btw.

Sriram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sriram said...

varamalar thunukku mootai - i bow before thee. Also can I buy the book from you for half the price? That way you get to lose only 250/-.

Hawkeye said...

blogeswari,

/* Tamizh / tamizhnaadu and NOT thamizh /tHamizhnaadu -incase you didn't know */

disagree.

anon-going-on-about-duped,

just answer the question.

sriram,

its so on demdn. 3 people in my house have to finihs it and then its being posted everywhere. i feel sorry for these people now.

'thunkku mootai' - :-). That was a fun 15 minutes on sunday morning.

Jillu Madrasi said...

better not forget me in that list..

Anonymous said...

athuku thaan indiaglitz check pannanum.

-varun

rakesh said...

whatever!!!.....I like the comments than the blog post....8 marks..

Jillu Madrasi said...

addukku dhaan varun blog post paananum:

http://jillumadras.blogspot.com/2008/04/name-is-rajnikanth.html

Anonymous said...

answer - because safeguarding your lollipop is your responsibility. If you lose it, you wont get it back. Azhudhu polambi piryiojanam illai.purnijidha?
idhu kooda puriyalina, unn soul-brother sabnis-ai kattikittu azhu.

Hawkeye said...

anon,

now that we have firmly established your stupidity. Let me tell you this;

there can be two questions.

1. The question which I actualy asked.

/* If I haven't been duped, why would I ask for my 500 back? */

2. The question which you imagine I have asked. And I think currently you imagine I have asked a question like "why should one not get duped" or some such..

You know the answer for some questions other than question #1 above. So like a retard please keep giving answers to those irrelevant questions. Its very amusing.

stupidity is has been kuthagaikku eduthufied by 'anonymous' commentors. you have the right.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply offended and hurt that you mention only N.Indians make fun of Rajinikanth. What about the S.Indians from the non TamiL Nadu States? They probably love Rajinikanth as much as Tamil movie fans do. Why does the conclusion of your speculation say that " Gayathri has written this book for N.Indian/N.American readers and not N.Indian/non-TaimiLian/N.American readers? You probably think that Madras/Chennai/TamiL Nadu = S.Indians. Ignorance or arrogance?

While "This is probaly she must have thought while writing the book" seems to be the central theme of your 2nd para, you immediately go on to criticize Gayathri's "this is what he must have said as a child" way of writing. Brilliant!

Hawkeye said...

your 2nd para mightve been a good criticism if she hadnt earned so much money doing it. you read my steretypingfor free. i paid 500 rs to read hers.

your first para is very confusig. are you saying the telugus, kannadigas and mallus love rajjini or hate rajini?

Anonymous said...

Rajnikant(h) movies are for kids. And Tamil people probably like them because of their juvenile mental state. Comes from being close minded and ultra conservative, and generally oblivious of the world around them.

Anonymous said...

hawkeye - embi embi a padichirukkannu prove pannitta. You are way off the mark. En answeruukkum un assumed kelvikkum sambandhame illai. But I know your trick. By trying to weave around circles, you try to distract the main point I raised. Gaurav Sabnis technique dhaane adhu. Avanum MBA dhaane. Idhellam solli kuduppanga pola!

Nee Gaurav Sabnis-ai evvalavu veruthalum, he is just a reflection of you. Konjam yosicha unakke adhu puriyum. Idhai nee public-a othukattalum, I am sure you realise it and I am sure it bothers you.

Sridhar Visvanath said...

It also tells me that if you have money, publishing a book is like publishing a blog post. Aptly put.

But I do not agree to Lata vs Latha debate. Hell, I have used Lata more than Latha...long before I moved to USA...

But all other points, spot on...

Anonymous said...

Its a big comedy that somebody from Tamil Nadu commenting on spelling and pronunciation. that too for 'Lata' and 'Latha'.

ur writings u say actual
brabhu brabhu prabhu
prasath prasad Prasad
piriya priya or briya priya