After premiering last year at the Stuttgart Indian Film festival and scooping the prestigious award for best film voted for by the audience, The Rajini Effect is finally ready to grace the screens in the UK.
The film is a quirky comedy about a Japanese guy who wants to become an Indian movie star like his boyhood idol Rajinikanth. The film has been produced by Barking Mad Productions and written/directed by the brothers Nelson and Kuvera Sivalingam, who are both big fans of the South Indian Superstar.
“A lot of people do not realize how popular Rajinikanth is. He is the biggest movie star in India. Bigger than Amitabh Bachan. Bigger than Shah Rukh Khan,” said Nelson Sivalingam. “We wanted to introduce the magic of Rajinikanth to those who are yet to know of him.”
Rajinikanth is 63 years old and has been in the film industry for over 35 years; acting in over 150 films, across different Indian regional languages, as well as one film in English. What is fascinating about Rajinikanth, fondly referred to by his fans and colleagues as ‘The Superstar’, is that he still plays characters half his age, who romances much younger leading ladies. In his last film (sci-fi epic The Robot) the leading lady was none other than former Miss World and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai. In his next film Kochadaiiyaan, India’s first live action animation film, stars the reigning queen of Bollywood Deepika Padukone. With his films regularly smashing box office records, as well as consistently featuring in the top 5 of the UK box office, Kuvera Sivalingam shares something interesting with us.
“Rajinikanth has a big following in Japan. Strange but true. They love his films. If you YouTube Rajinikanth in Japan, you will see what I mean! So when we decided to make a film about Rajinikanth, we wanted to capture this. Rather than just making a documentary, we decided to fuse it with some fiction and that’s how this idea came about.”
The Rajini Effect is an independent film made on shoe string budget by the brothers; under their production house Barking Mad Productions. As all the cast and crew had day jobs, the film nearly took two years to complete with most weekends filled with shooting long hours.
“We actually started shooting on the day Rajinikanth’s last film The Robot came out, which was over three years ago! It was tough. As it was funded by ourselves, we faced all the challenges indie-filmmakers all over the world face. But in the end, after experiencing the audience reaction at the premiere in Germany, it was all worth it!” said Nelson Sivalingam.
“It was an incredible experience. More than we ever imagined. The screening was sold out. It was nerve racking at first. We sat at the back, watching the audience as they watched our film. But from the moment they broke out into a laughter at one of the early scenes, we relaxed a little and enjoyed the experience!” said Kuvera Sivalingam.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would win the award. There was stiff competition but when our film was announced as the winner, it was unreal! Completely unexpected. The hard work of our cast and crew had paid off,” said Nelson Sivalingam.
Since its premiere in Germany, the film has travelled the world, garnering rave reviews and labeled by critics as an outrageously funny comedy with a heart. After popular demand, the film will finally have its UK premiere at Cineworld at The O2 on the 29th of May. We asked the film makers how they are feeling about the imminent screening in London, which coincides with the release of Rajinikanth’s next film Kochadaiiyaan.
“Well the nerves are back! This will be the first time the cast and the crew, as well as our family and friends will be watching the film. Hopefully they like it! If not, I am sure we will hear about it,” said Kuvera Sivalingam.
“It is important all independent films do well, not just our film. With Kochadaiiyaan coming out too, this month is really going to be about The Rajini Effect,” chuckles Nelson. “Hopefully there will be a good turn out and I am sure everyone will enjoy the film!”
Tickets to the UK premiere can be purchased at www.therajinieffect.com.