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When Rajinikanth wanted to do the role of ‘Bharathiyar’

The maestro Vaali once wrote about superstar Rajinikanth in a famous magazine some years ago. In the magazine, he revealed that Rajinikanth wanted to do the role of Bharathiyar in a theatre play which was written by Vaali. 

The words of Vaali is roughly transcripted here: 

During the 80s, I did a theatre play. I bought the original rights from the writer and did the show. The story goes like this: When Bharathiyar stayed in Pondicherry, he broke a few stereotypes and made a man named Kanagalingam to wear the sacred thread. Kanagalingam’s granddaughter is Kannamma. 

Kannamma lives in Triplicane and her husband is an alcoholic. So, in order to meet the expenses, Kannamma sells flowers. Before going to work, she visits Bharathiyar’s statue at the beach and she treats him first. She talks to him daily. So, one day, Bharathiyar comes to visit Kannamma. What happens next forms the crux. A few dialogues made people laugh as well. Mrs Manoramma did the role of Kannamma and ‘Nair’ Raman did the role of Bharathiyar. They lived as the characters and gained a thunderous response from the audience. The name of the play was ‘India To Day’.

One day, I received a phone call by 10 at night and it was from Rajinikanth. 

He said: “Anna, I watched the play at the Music Academy, it was fantastic. The dialogues were hard-hitting and did something to me. I want to do the role of Bharathiyar, what do you say, anna?”

I got shocked because Rajinikanth was already a superstar at that time. He was acting in ‘Annai Oru Aalaiyam’. He called me to his home and said: “I will change my schedule according to the theatre play. I want to act as Bharathiyar. I will learn Thamizh without any glitches from you”.

Though he insisted, how can I stop ‘Nair’ Raman without any reasons?

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. 

From the archives of Vaali’s column in Anandha Vikatan magazine.

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