Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Is Shankar crippling Sivaji?

Superstar Rajinikanth usually gives a break of at least a year between two films. But this time, he chose to announce Sivaji even when Chandramukhi was chugging along nicely in the race to box office success. While this raised many eyebrows, Rajini's close sources stated that he did so to mainly pacify his fans. The fans wanted him to make an announcement about his political intentions especially after Vijayakanth launched his own party. But, when thalaivar postponed the decision, they were vexed. So, he declared the film just as some consolation to the fans. While it did have the desired effect, it seems that Rajini who always knows the pulse of his fans and does everything to keep them happy, has turned away this time on another issue.
Rajini
Fans unaware of the proceedings

From the day of announcement itself, fans have started discussing about Sivaji. Their discussions centred around the story, cast, songs and the looks of their thalaivar. Sivaji has been generating such curiosity ever since it was announced. Besides superstar himself, the big banner, big ticket director and other hot shot technicians of Tamil cinema are associated with the film and therefore all eyes are on the project. Every minute move with respect to the film has been avidly followed.
Right from the choice of the team down to the locations, there was widespread speculation among fans at every stage. Such speculations were floating around mainly because not much was being divulged to the press and other media persons.

After the first set of launch stills and a promo ad the Sivaji unit closed the doors to the outside world. Shooting is progressing at brisk pace and fans are restless because they do not know what is going on.
First leak

When Sivaji shooting was held at Chennai Central station a few months ago, an eveninger carried the shooting spot photographs which created tremors in the production house. As a result, security at the shooting spot was tightened up and the director and the producer had put in strict measures to prevent any kind of personal recording by individuals who stood as bystanders during shooting here. Even mobile phones were banned at the spot.

In such a scenario, another set of shooting stills were leaked and we were the first to provide those image gallery photos. But when AVM Productions requested us, we removed those images immediately. Many magazines later published those stills and the producers requested that no further stills from the movie should be published in any form.
Rajini
Rajini
Exposed Spain episode

Now an interesting incident has happened during the unit's recent visit to Spain for shooting a song. Rajini was quite relaxed as he was not being mobbed by hysteric fans. He did not have hordes of people jostling about to get a glimpse of him. At the location, there was a crowd of pedestrians watching the shooting. For them, it was their first experience of how an Indian film song is shot. Some of them shot the scenes on their mobile phone cameras.
One gentleman took in scenes that were shot that day on his personal camera which showed Rajini's personal style statement for the film. He also took a photograph of him and Rajini together.
He uploaded it on his personal blog site and lo and behold, it received unprecedented hits that day. Rajini's fans site also carried the images which spread like wild fire or should we say Spanish bull in a china shop? Fans just lapped up the stills that they were yearning to see. When news reached Chennai about this development, the producers did nothing. Fans site was requested to remove all the images it had uploaded and given links. And one of the assistant directors of Sivaji was made to contact the Spanish gentleman and he was also requested to remove the stills from his blog.
Rajini
Rajini
He was quite surprised about all the ado surrounding the issue. He heeded to the request of the Sivaji unit. He raised a valid point by saying that any film gets publicity only when people know how it is being made and what are the things that go into the movie. There is no need to maintain suspense and even if the producer and director want the surprise element, just a few stills do not make much difference. People do not stay away from a film merely because of its stills.
It is another story that the news hungry film journals in Tamil Nadu are carrying those images now and come up with exclusive cover stories on those stills.
For whom is the Sivaji being made?

The question that fans are raising is: for whom is the film being made? It is the fans who make or mar a film. In the case of Rajini, expectations about his new look and style are high especially after the runaway hit of Chandramuki. They point out that during the making of Chandramukhi, there were friendly vibes and the media was not shunned. The producers did keep certain things under wraps even then.
Rajini
But this time, the producers and director have joined hands in forbidding the media. In that case, the fans are furious that the film is probably meant only for Shankar and AVM. Would it be enough if they alone watched the movie? Would it be fine if the people forgot about the film and at the time of release there was just enough enthusiasm? Besides, in Chennai their controls could work but once they step out of the country, such silly attempts do not work. Fans need to know the latest development on the film especially because Tamilians now live in all corners of the world and a majority of them are die-hard Rajini fans. Would it not be rude on them to deprive them of this happiness?
Rajini
Boss is not there

At the time of the launch itself, Sujatha who is also the dialogue writer for the film had suggested launching a website to give wide coverage to the happenings in the making of the film. The site is still in making and frustrates those who try to log on ( www.sivajitheboss.com). If the site was launched but not updated what is the use? There is also another thought that Shankar and the AVM family would have planned a grand marketing blitzkrieg once the film reaches near completion.
Then, the press and other media would be feted and treated to all inside information. This suspense would then be built up at the time of release. It is the ploy used by marketing gurus called the
'teasers' technique.
Shankar – too cautious?

There is also the fact that Shankar is a tech-savvy director and he could have some dazzling technical elements in the film. He could be wary about how the fans would react to such a thing, if they felt that it overshadowed their thalaivar? He could be keeping everything under wraps just to keep everyone guessing. The producers have handed over all the responsibilities to the director and they are only keen on the production side. This probably made Shankar doubly cautious about his responsibilities in the project?
Rajini
Rajini
Ok for X. Not for Rajini

We have already said this and we do not mind saying it again. As long as it does not disrupt or disturb the film's making and within the confines of responsible reporting, the public needs to know how a film is being made. In Hollywood, several short strips on the making of a film are made regularly. Why even Kamal Hassan makes sure that his movie stills are given enough to media each time and a separate cd is given to each publishing and media house.
Therefore, this attempt to maintain secrecy about Sivaji is quite surprising especially in this age of rapid communication. Many contend that it is the will of director Shankar that it should be this way. Maintaining secrecy about some x actors' film can be positive. But it is not wise in a Rajini's movie since it is being discussed by millions daily. Shankar believes in maintaining exclusivity but Rajini fans think of their thalaivar as one of their own. So, fans complain that Shankar's stubborn attitude in this regard could backfire. Relax, Mr. Shankar, we would definitely back you. So, please give positive consideration to the murmur heard in media circles over your stubborn attitude. If you stretched a rubber band too much, it would snap. Remember the Baba fiasco?