Here is an excerpt of an interview with an ophthalmologist Dr Gayathri Srikanth, author of yet another biography on
superstar megastar Rajnikanth. This one is called, ‘The Name is Rajnikanth’.
Why did you zero in on Rajnikanth and not Kamal Haasan for your first book?
I felt he was the obvious choice because he was the superstar, and the hype surrounding Sivaji was so immense. When I searched for him on the Internet, I found out that he grew up motherless as a child, and had a very bad childhood. Later on, he had to work as a coolie, then a bus conductor and lastly became the superstar. I found the stories had so many gaps. But I thought the rags-to-riches story of Rajni was very fascinating. So, I decided to write a biography on Rajnikanth and started my work in March 2007.
How did you begin your work? Did you contact Rajniknath first?
No, I couldn’t contact him. He was shooting for Sultan in Holland. So, I met his wife through a common friend. I told her, ‘Ma’am I want to write a book on your husband’. She said there are a million books on him. She first thought I was yet another fan. When she came to know that I was an ophthalmologist, she was amused and gave me permission to go ahead.
I went to Bangalore and the first person I met was Bahadur. He then helped me meet all of Rajni’s school friends. I also met his brother, a very simple man. I think simplicity runs in the family. Then I went to Mumbai to meet the friends he had befriended as a teenager but they wanted to remain anonymous
The book was launched at Taj Connemera in Chennai last evening. Soundharaya Rajinikanth was the only person who was there from Superstar’s family. It was already known that other family members including Superstar would not be there since it would look like self-proclaiming. Soundharya too didn’t speak much in the event. Just a small speech, “I am proud to be the daughter of a great man.’
Veteran journalist Cho S Ramaswamy handed over the first copy of the book to the superstar’s daughter Soundarya Rajnikanth. Cho was being mischievous, ‘Rajnikanth is a believer in spiritualism but he is not a spiritualist, an observer of politics but not a politician and an actor but not a showman.’
Megastar Rajnikanth was a spoilt brat when he was five-years-old, bullied people when he was 10 and tied cycle chains around his neck at 20…Rajni, along with his friends, used to play marbles and if anybody else other than him won the game, he used to beat him up.
Here are the exclusive pictures from the event.
The 34-year-old doctor turned writer said, “Another reason I decided to write on Rajnikanth is that there are so many books on the north Indian counterparts of the star like Amitabh (Bachchan) and Shah Rukh Khan, but none on the southern stars.”
It is surprising that Gayathri completed research and writing of the book without meeting or interviewing Rajnikanth even once. Perhaps it is only a compilation of already written information floating around.
“After completing the book, I presented it to Rajni sir in November. He didn’t say a word and just took it. What unnerved me more was that for next 10 days I didn’t get any response from his side. And then a letter arrived,” she said. The letter said:
This is a result of extraordinary effort made by Dr. Gayatri. She has gone through many trials and trouble to put together this book. She has woven together numerous incidents into a kind of screenplay, which is stylish and beautifully presented. I am overwhelmed with the book. I hope readers would enjoy it.
“The first edition(384 pages, 100 pictures- priced at Rs 495) would see nearly 20,000 copies in English hitting the bookshelves across the country March 6. By year the book will be published in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi and Japanese. ,” said publisher Ajay Mago of Om Books International.