Tamil superstar Rajnikanth tasted unprecedented box-office success with his latest science fiction film, Endhiran (The Robot). Playing a serious research professor who has no time even for his ravishingly beautiful girlfriend, essayed by Aishwarya Rai, he creates an android robot that is a carbon copy of him. Rajnikanth, flush with money and public accolade, has now decided to get even more ambitious. His next movie, Rana, whose shooting will begin shortly, will see him in a triple role, a notch more adventurous than his Endhiran, where he portrayed a human being and a robot.
Although the star has been a critic’s nightmare for many years, his popular appeal has been only soaring. He is undoubtedly a phenomenon that is hard to explain through rational reasoning or logic. He has followers whose numbers are far, far higher than even Bollywood icon, Amitabh Bachchan’s, and Rajnikanth’s fan clubs are significantly more than even those of the late M.G. Ramachandran, a onetime Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who as an actor effectively used cinema as a platform to propagate his political philosophy.
Though, Ramachandran or MGR, as he was usually called, endeared in a majorly way to the masses of his native Tamil Nadu, a southern Indian State, Rajnikanth’s allure appears far more spectacular. Every time, a film of his opens, the celebration is frenzied. Giant wooden cutouts of the 60-plus actor are anointed with hundreds of litres of milk and honey, and adorned with fresh flower garlands. Pujas are performed and crackers burst, and the first show begins at 12 midnight of the opening day. There is a mad scramble for tickets, chaos and confusion, but sheer joy and solidarity.
Rajnikanth is revered beyond reproach, and he is a friend especially to the poor. Every poor rickshaw driver or bus conductor or vegetable vendor or coolie looks up to him for inspiration. The desire in them to transform themselves into Rajnikanth is obsessive to the point of madness. So, if a character that the star portrays in a movie dies, the theatre concerned will not survive. It will be burnt down or damaged. So complete, compelling and compulsive is the love for the man, who is now balding and quite unattractive to look at.
The downtrodden masses see in his a remarkable success story, a fairy tale, in fact. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in Bengaluru (Formerly Bangalore) to Marathi parents, Rajnikanth lost his mother when he was barely five, and spent much of his boyhood working as a coolie and later as a bus conductor in that city. Later, a friend and co-worker helped Rajnikanth get admission in the Madras Film Institute in the early 1970s. He got his first break in 1975 with a K. Balachander film, Apoorva Raagangal. It was only J. Mahendran’s 1978 Mullum Malarum that gave him the star tag.
Yet, years later, when P. Vasu made Kuselan in 2008, which was a remake of Katha Parayumpol, a Malayalam movie, it crashed at the box-office. So too some of his earlier works like Baba. But failures never seemed to diminish the brightness of his halo, and one reason for this is his magnanimity. Every time, a movie did not do well, he offset the losses of his producers, distributors and exhibitors by paying them from his personal funds. So, they were always willing to accommodate him.
There is another reason for Rajnikanth’s immense popularity. He is extraordinarily modest and utterly unpretentious. He does not care how he looks off the screen: all that he wears is a simple dhoti and shirt, and never hides his bald pate. This is in direct contrast to most cinema stars in India: will an Amitabh Bachchan or Kamal Hassan (another Tamil hero) ever be seen in such unflattering light? Most actors are obsessed with how they look. They have to be impeccably turned out at all times, and Rajnikanth’s humility and his ordinary appearance have helped him be one among the crowd. His admirers and others find it easy to identify with their “hero”, and this is a significant reason why Rajnikanth, despite average skills, has been able to rule the silver screen for years.
There is yet another factor working for Rajnikanth. While MGR was the face of Tamil Nadu Dravidian political ideology – which was founded and penned and propagated by the present Chief Minister of the State, M.K. Karunanidhi, and an earlier Chief Minister of the State, the late C.N. Annadurai – Rajnikanth symbolises the current disillusionment of the masses with political governance. He is disappointed with the prevailing institutional and democratic solutions, and tries to find answers outside the system. Yes, on the screen.
And, what is more, off-screen, he exhibits the disappointment by his steadfast refusal to join politics. He has for many years resisted the temptation to join a political party unlike many others of his ilk, like some Bollywood stars -- Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha and so on.
With his off-screen image flawless, Rajnikanth has been making serious efforts to get rid of a tag that has stuck to him: all style and no substance. Some have called him a clown, but perhaps a beloved clown, who has learnt to camouflage his professional weakness through gimmicks. A trendy one is the way he flicks his cigarette in the air to catch it with his mouth, and tricks like these have grabbed the heart and imagination of the front-benchers.
Admittedly, Rajnikanth is trying to come out of that. In his latest work, Endhiran, reportedly made at Rs 150 crores (or more?), the costliest ever in Tamil cinema, Rajnikanth, wiser after the crippling losses some of his earlier films like Baba suffered, appears, at least partly, without much of his trademark gimmickry, something that made him much less of an actor than what he probably was. As scientist Vaseegaran -- engaged in a decade-long struggle to create an android robot that will not only look exactly like him, but also feel the most basic human emotions, such as love, anger and revenge -- Rajnikanth impresses to a degree. There is a lot more expectation from his next, Rana.
--- Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times
[This speech was delivered by President Bill Clinton at the annual White House prayer breakfast on Friday, September 11, 1998, assembled in the East Room]
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the White House and to this day to which Hillary and the vice president and I look forward so much every year. This is always an important day for our country, for the reasons that the vice president said. It is an unusual and, I think, unusually important day today. I may not be quite as easy with my words today as I have been in years past, and I was up rather late last night thinking about and praying about what I ought to say today. And rather unusual for me, I actually tried to write it down. So if you will forgive me, I will do my best to say what it is I want to say to you - and I may have to take my glasses out to read my own writing. First, I want to say to all of you that, as you might imagine, I have been on quite a journey these last few weeks to get to the end of this, to the rock bottom truth of where I am and where we all are. I agree with those who have said that in my first statement after I testified I was not contrite enough. I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned. It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine: first and most important, my family; also my friends, my staff, my Cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness. But I believe that to be forgiven, more than sorrow is required - at least two more things. First, genuine repentance - a determination to change and to repair breaches of my own making. I have repented. Second, what my bible calls a ''broken spirit''; an understanding that I must have God's help to be the person that I want to be; a willingness to give the very forgiveness I seek; a renunciation of the pride and the anger which cloud judgment, lead people to excuse and compare and to blame and complain. Now, what does all this mean for me and for us? First, I will instruct my lawyers to mount a vigorous defense, using all available appropriate arguments. But legal language must not obscure the fact that I have done wrong. Second, I will continue on the path of repentance, seeking pastoral support and that of other caring people so that they can hold me accountable for my own commitment. Third, I will intensify my efforts to lead our country and the world toward peace and freedom, prosperity and harmony, in the hope that with a broken spirit and a still strong heart I can be used for greater good, for we have many blessings and many challenges and so much work to do. In this, I ask for your prayers and for your help in healing our nation. And though I cannot move beyond or forget this - indeed, I must always keep it as a caution light in my life - it is very important that our nation move forward. I am very grateful for the many, many people - clergy and ordinary citizens alike - who have written me with wise counsel. I am profoundly grateful for the support of so many Americans who somehow through it all seem to still know that I care about them a great deal, that I care about their problems and their dreams. I am grateful for those who have stood by me and who say that in this case and many others, the bounds of privacy have been excessively and unwisely invaded. That may be. Nevertheless, in this case, it may be a blessing, because I still sinned. And if my repentance is genuine and sustained, and if I can maintain both a broken spirit and a strong heart, then good can come of this for our country as well as for me and my family. (Applause) The children of this country can learn in a profound way that integrity is important and selfishness is wrong, but God can change us and make us strong at the broken places. I want to embody those lessons for the children of this country - for that little boy in Florida who came up to me and said that he wanted to grow up and be President and to be just like me. I want the parents of all the children in America to be able to say that to their children. A couple of days ago when I was in Florida a Jewish friend of mine gave me this liturgy book called ''Gates of Repentance.'' And there was this incredible passage from the Yom Kippur liturgy. I would like to read it to you: ''Now is the time for turning. The leaves are beginning to turn from green to red to orange. The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter. For leaves, birds and animals, turning comes instinctively. But for us, turning does not come so easily. It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we have been wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change. These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday's ways. Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.'' I thank my friend for that. I thank you for being here. I ask you to share my prayer that God will search me and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any hurtfulness in me, and lead me toward the life everlasting. I ask that God give me a clean heart, let me walk by faith and not sight. I ask once again to be able to love my neighbor - all my neighbors - as my self, to be an instrument of God's peace; to let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and, in the end, the work of my hands, be pleasing. This is what I wanted to say to you today. Thank you. God bless you.
How do you feel when you meet a person of your hometown at a faraway place, the feeling of oneness, the feeling of belonging touches our heart and make us feel at home, and more comfortable in sharing our thoughts. In simple words we feel relaxed and more confident in speaking out our minds. They never misguide us, and we always feel more free and comfortable when we talk with someone from our home town when compared to someone from outside. But only few stand up, to help us and guide us far from home.
Dr. Priyananda Nongmaithem from Keisampat, Imphal, Manipur has been running a dental clinic here in Delhi at Jeevan Nagar, New Delhi-14 for almost three (3) years. He has named his clinic as ‘Nongmaithem Dental Clinic’, Nongmaithem, which is his surname, he has named it so that the people living here from Manipur became aware that someone from their hometown is here to listened to them and, help them in all the possible ways he can. A multi special dental clinic with all the modern equipments, specialist in crown and breeds and all other dental related problems from fracture to surgery cases. For his dedication and superb work as a dentist he has been sponsored twice by Colgate Palmolive. He is also planning for providing free dental checkups here at a regular basis.
Not only as a dentist, he has also contributed in many sport events both as a player and as a non-player as well. He has played football, sampak takrou and badminton at both state and, national level, and at present he is representing as Sampak takrou referee for Delhi state. He has also help a lot of players from his hometown by providing accommodation and financial help as well. He has also contributed by providing free dental checkups. Being a dentist and a sport person is far way different, when asked about this, he answered that his dream was always to become a great sport personality, he enter medical line to earn a lively hood as there is very less opportunities for earning a lively hood as a sport person in Manipur. Manipur in spite of one of the most sport loving state in India cannot provide all the required facilities to the players, so the players have to struggle on their own. At this point how can it be changed or improved to provide all the modern equipments and facilities, his answer was very simple,” It can only be improve when the central government supports and provides all the required facilities and encourage them as well, not only this, there are other major factors which largely make’s life harder for the players, the present chaotic atmosphere, the present law and order system all contributed a lot in crushing the players down. Economic blockade, strikes, curfew, you name it and you will find it in every corner here”. In spite of all this threats, Dr Priyananda is still trying hard to uplift the players in all possible ways, back at home(Manipur), he conduct a badminton tournament every year in his grandmother name; as ‘Leibak Leima Memorial badminton tournament “ and at present he is also trying to groom young players in all possible ways.
Well, these are all he had done so far, what’s his future plan? Is he still going to stay arm to arm with both his clinic and love of sport? He is hoping to open a sport academy at his home town Manipur that also under the supervision of the central government and, wants to provide free medical checkup to all sports person and sponsored them as well. He also wants everyone to be aware of all the dental problems and its important in human body, he said that “Our teeth is one of the most important part of our body as it helps in digesting the foods we ate, which give us energy, so everyone should at least go twice a month for dental check up”. But many people don’t have enough time to visit the dentist, so what can they do in their day to day life which can helps in protecting their teeth? “it’s easy, what you have to do is follow only six steps, which in dentist term is known as ‘Six basic knowledge’, 1; brushed your teeth twice daily, once before sleeping and once after breakfast, 2; Avoid junk foods,3;Eat fresh green vegetables,4;Don’t used tooth picks,5;Proper diet and fresh fruits and6;Gurgle and massage your gums and teeth. Well this are all that we can do on our own in our daily routines, but we should visit a dentist at least twice a month to make sure our teeth are healthy enough.
Finally, any message for the upcoming young sport players; “yes, well never lose your heart even after facing defeats, instead think for trying harder next time, never used any unhealthy stuffs, try to know your weakness and keep on improvising there, always maintain discipline, practice regularly on time and try to remain fit and healthy”. Well that was the multi talented Dr.Priyananda, hope to see more of his unending and superb skills and his love for sports as well as his love for his state in the coming days.
Excerpt from the interview taken by President [Chingangbam Prasanta]