Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth turns 67 today – giving his legions of devoted fans an opportunity to celebrate. The actor himself will stay away from the celebrations – spending the day out of town at a secret location.
Sources close to Rajinikanth said he opted for a low-key birthday following Cyclone Ochki, in which nearly 500 Tamil fishermen are still missing and 40 people had died. But this happens to be the third year Rajinikanth has chosen to stay away from the fan frenzy.
This time too, ahead of the D-Day, posters have come up in Chennai and elsewhere, urging the superstar to take the political plunge. Among the multiple posters designed for his birthday, one showed him carrying a sword. The accompanying message read: “We stand holding your hands, You come Thalaiva [Leader].”The buzz about Rajinikanth’s foray into politics have been around for the last two years. The the BJP has made overtures to him and the star met several leaders. Party chief Amit Shah said Rajinikanth was welcome to join the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met him during a visit to Chennai last month.
There were even expectations that he would launch his own party.
The 67-year-old has given out mixed signals. In May, he had said, “If God wills it, I will enter politics tomorrow,” triggering fan frenzy. As local BJP leaders immediately invited him to join the party, the actor gave a cryptic reply. “Whatever I had to say I said, now I have nothing more to say” he had said.
Speculation of Rajinikanth finally taking the plunge rose again early last month.
But the actor had stalled, saying there was “no pressing need for a foray into politics right now”.
Though some of his fans have expressed reservation over his political ambition, most others have shown their support. “There would be healthy competition. Rajini Sir should join another party than starting his own party,” says P Swetha. “People accept him. It would be great if he would say yes,” said M Rajeev.
Rajinikanth’s birthday is usually celebrated in grandeur with fans pouring milk on large posters of the actor, some of them as tall as a three-storey building, in a ritualistic way to show their deep respect. In 2016, the actor discouraged his fans from celebrating his birthday, days after former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa died in a private hospital. A year before that, the Chennai flood that caused widespread damage led Rajinikanth to call off his birthday bash.
This year, the actors fans have organised a series of prayer meetings for his welfare.
Rajinikanth is currently working on two films – 2.0 directed by Shankar starring Akshay Kumar, which is to hit the screens early next year and Kaala, a film by Paa Ranjith.