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20 lakh to 50 cr: Rajni’s meteoric rise in Tollywood town

20 lakh to 50 cr: Rajni’s meteoric rise in Tollywood town
Highlights

Even though, Rajnikanth could trounce his arch-rivals like Kamal Hassan and Vijayakanth and attain superstardom in the late 80’s, he took a decade more to make inroads into Tollywood.

Even though, Rajnikanth could trounce his arch-rivals like Kamal Hassan and Vijayakanth and attain superstardom in the late 80’s, he took a decade more to make inroads into Tollywood.

It might sound incredulous but there were actually no takers for Ranjikanth’s dubbed movies for some time, until the release of his action drama `Baasha’ in 1995 which changed the trajectory of his career in T-town.

“It’s true that Telugu viewers preferred to watch the dubbed films of Tamil stars like Kamal Hassan and Vijayakanth but Rajni was never in the reckoning till the early 90's. In fact, even for his most-talked about film `Baasha’, big producers were reluctant to dub it in Telugu.

However, a few distributors shelled out around Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh for the Telugu rights of the movie and it turned out to be a blockbuster,” says producer L Subramanyam, who describes the rise of Rajnikanth as meteoric and unprecedented. "His angry-young man role earned him a big chunk of Telugu fans and his career didn’t look back ever since,” he adds.

Gradually, Rajni expanded his market in the land of the Telugus, as his films were acquired at increasingly larger prices: ‘Muthu’ (Rs 80 lakh), ‘Narasimha’ (Rs 1.2 cr), ‘Chandramukhi’, (Rs 4 crore), followed by `Sivaji’ (Rs 13 crore) and ‘Robot’ which touched a new high when it was acquired for more than Rs 22 crore.

“Shankar-directorial ‘Robot’ was one of the biggest hits in Telugu and with new generation audiences also adoring Rajni's style, mannerisms and unique dialogue delivery, viewers spanning age groups from 6 to 60 became the market for Rajni as he swept them off their feet to become a household-name among Telugu viewers,” says director P Vasu.

The superstar’s charisma touched its peak when his much-hyped latest release `Kabali’ had sensational openings eclipsing his bad run at the box-office after duds like `Lingaa’. Now his next, ‘Robot 2’ has been reportedly traded for Rs 50 crore. “Only Rajnikanth can it pull it off since his fan following is growing by the day.

His simplicity in real-life and larger-than-life roles onscreen developed an aura around him,” says producer Shobha Rani, who is also in the contention to buy ‘Robot 2’ rights. “We have made an offer too. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” she said.

Huma opposite Rajni

Actress Huma Qureshi is all set to star opposite superstar Rajinikanth. Huma, who last starred in Akshay Kumar's Jolly LLB 2, will play Rajinkanth's 'love interest' in the yet-untitled film. "The makers were looking for someone with a strong screen presence as it's a performance-oriented role. She is really excited and will start prepping for the role soon, said a source. The film will go on floors later this month in Mumbai.

Rajinikanth's daughter Aishwaryaa, who is married to actor Dhanush, is the producer of the film. Rajinikanth, 66, has recently featured opposite Bollywood actresses like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone. His upcoming film 2.0, which is currently in the post-production stage, stars Amy Jackson in the lead role.

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