Right off the top, I have to thank Mr.M for adding his first comment to my yesterday’s post. As soon as he registered his support for my blog I could see the traffic to our blog climbing up a notch. If he keeps this up, which he has promised that he would, there is no limit for our reach. Soon, more will see the light and join us and we shall spark the revolution that will lead the masses to our promised land. I salute you, brother.
One of my all-time favorite heroes, on film and real life, is Superstar Rajini Kanth. He is experiencing some health issues at this time and I hope he gets better soon to continue the work in his new movie Rana. I have been a fan of him as long as I can remember and I don’t see any reason why that would change in the future. I say that I am a fan of ‘him’ rather than just his movies, which I am of course, because he is one of those individuals who tends to live by example. He has had a life that most would call a fairy-tale – He was a middle class child in Mumbai, grew up to become a bus conductor who used to do stylish routines while on the job. Not much to look at but he had enough charisma to be spotted. He started with simple supporting roles in the movies initially and slowly moved up to comedy and villain roles and finally to lead actor. He had a good fan following, but he was a brash young man who gave in to all kinds of vices. Career wise he was a rolling stone and as it gathered momentum his darker side caught up to him and everything came to a crashing stop. He became an addict, got into trouble with political hustlers and pretty much lost his mind. Upto this point in his life he lead what is typical in movie industry. A new kid comes in, has talent, but is too wild and raw, shows promise and then crashes out.
The part that is most significant about his life, is the way he turned it back. He sought help, medical and spiritual, and made himself better from the inside. There was discipline and focus in his work and there was no time for frills. Personal failure has its way of teaching some remarkable things in life, and in the process it makes people stronger. He became stronger and there was no stopping him now. Virtually every movie he made in the 80s and 90s were block busters and he has continued that streak into the 2000s. He has been the highest paid actor in Asia, second only to Jackie Chan. His movies are now released to a world-wide audience.
More than his success in career, its his success in life that has been most impressive. His fans span across generations. He dresses in simple clothes and sports a genuine smile. He shows great respect to the people he works with and his simplicity in film sets are legendary. Every year he spends an enormous amount of money for various charity activities. He never preaches his spiritual beliefs onto others even when publicly challenged but his commitment to the inner journey has been never ending. Many have have tried to imitate him in movies but only come off as dupes. He wields massive influence in the public’s opinion and his endorsements have changed election results more than once. If you see him on the streets you would never guess that this white-bearded, bald guy dressed in black is second only to God in many people’s lives.
My friend Kamal asked me why I call him ‘Thalaivar‘ (which means leader in Tamil) over at Facebook. I made a wise-crack at that time, but I thought about it and I knew why. Growing up I had a few people I admired, but all of them were already dead. They were already immortalized and, at that time, I did not know any bad stuff about them. For all I know, they were the epitome of a great lives lived. I liked Rajini as a hero in the movies, but when I came to know of his ugly past, that is when I became a fan. And every time I learn something negative about him from his past, it only reinforces my respect for him because he was the first guy who showed me failure is just a routine stop in your life’s journey. People take great care to hide their failures for fear of judgment from others. He shows its possible to lay it all bare, even in an industry where celebrity-dom is premier to everything, and still set a great example. You can fall to the bottom of the pit, but still come back up intact. You don’t have to make excuses, you only need to be honest with your self and, as he often says, the rest is in God’s hands. And that is why I call him Thalaivar.
14 down. 351 more to go. See you tomorrow.
(I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or cash)