Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rajnikanth

(This post is the 4th post in the one-month challenge I gave myself.)

Ok. I know I won't finish this before 12 tonight, seeing I started it at 11.45 pm and might have to take couple of breaks in between. But we will see.

Rajnikanth is someone I can write a lot about. Rajnikanth is almost a phenomenon in Tamil Nadu. Maybe the almost is not required. I grew up watching Rajnikanth movies and I could go on talking about why people like him, whether he is worth being liked, and so on. But today I choose to talk about something that's less serious but more ubiquitous- Rajnikanth jokes. 

Most non-Tamilians I know have only one form of appreciation of Rajnikanth- mockery. They want to watch an entire Rajnikanth movie just to make fun of it. And then to send me forwards of Rajnikanth one-liners and jokes. 
For the record, I am not a diehard fan of Rajnikanth. I like his movies, but mostly because they remind me of my childhood and are otherwise very light. There are very few actors I am really a fan of and he is not one of them. However, he does what he does well and has his plusses. So I am not one of those people who cannot listen to a Rajnikanth joke and laugh at it.

Then why the previous paragraph? Because I have been the victim of some very very bad Rajnikanth jokes. Now, in an ideal world I would just tell the person it's a bad joke. But what usually happens is just because I am a Tamilian, people assume that if I don't laugh at their joke, I am being defensive of Rajnikanth. (The number of times I didn't smile at a Rajni joke and people told me I am not a sport would probably cause a memory overflow.) Or even worse, they think I am hurt. And interestingly, I find THIS part really funny. Me being hurt for someone mocking some complete stranger would be a ridiculous thing to happen. But anyway, because of this completely baseless assumption people make about me, I am forced to actually smile at their joke or say "Ha ha good one" even if it was the worst joke I ever heard in my life.And almost all of these jokes are Chuck Norris jokes where somebody did a string replace of Chuck Norris with Rajnikanth. Which really pisses me off. No self-respecting Chuck Norris joke would like to be reused with Rajnikanth and then with whichever next Super/Ultimate/Gethumax star Tamil Nadu chooses to have. It makes me want to start a Society for Prevention of Misuse of Chuck Norris jokes (SPMCJ - like Hermoine's SPEW).

I think that the real problem I have with Rajnikanth jokes is this- most of them are sad excuses of jokes and follow a specific formula: 

Template 1: Rajnikanth did A, then A backfired in some way. (When Rajnikanth logs into facebook, fb updates its status msg. When Rajnikanth writes a cheque, the bank bounces. And so on.)

Template 2: Rajnikanth did something exaggerated. (Rajnikanth's rough note is now Wikipedia. Rajnikanth purchased a road roller to iron his clothes. Rajnikanth struck a match and it is the sun.* etc.)

Template 3: Rajnikanth did something that is impossible. (Rajnikanth saw the Dead Sea when it was alive. Rajnikanth has counted to infinity, twice. Rajnikanth knows Victoria's secret and can strangle you with a  cordless phone. Rajnikanth has seen the face of the lady in Tom & Jerry.** And so on.)

Template 4: (Variation of template 1) Rajnikanth doesn't do X. X does (something else). (Rajnikanth doesn't wear a watch. He tells the watch what time it is. Rajnikanth doesn't pay income taxes, the government pays him. And so on.)

Template 5: Rajnikanth is so strong/invincible that... (This is mostly stuff like- when Rajnikanth shows you his fingers, he is telling you how long you can live. Rajnikanth's calender goes from March 31st to April 2nd because noone fools Rajnikanth.)

I guess you get the idea by now. And then people say his movies are not original. Oh, the irony! (Especiallly when you think about how dumb/unoriginal/exaggerated any average Indian commercial movie is. I don't see any difference between any of their plots anyway. And I really like Rajni's dialogue delivery.)

Which brings me to another point. While I don't think Rajni films are good cinema or anything, I do think that he has excellent voice modulation. Excellent is an understatement for what he can do with his dialogues. And this is something most non-Tamilians don't get. The reason people repeat "Oru dhadave sonna nooru dhadave sonna maadhiri" is not because it is the best line ever written. It is because of the way he said it. The same thing in Hindi (or any other language) makes me want to puke. I actually tried watching "Shivaji" in Hindi and it's a "medical miracle" that I am still alive. And if this is what people saw from his movies, I can almost understand why they make such lousy jokes out of him. 

Anyway, I digress. The reason I wrote this post was to ask people to tell me only the jokes which don't fall into any of these templates. Geeky ones that fall into this template are still pardonable (Like the ones in this link- an article that I completely relate with and which made me finally pen down this post..) But if you expect me to actually appreciate a Rajnikanth joke, please make good original ones. And until then, I will continue to work for SPMCJ.

*I made this one up as I typed the sentence. Though it probably exists in some website somewhere.
**This is the only Rajnikanth template joke I ever liked.
 


Tomorrow:Wild Card. That is, no ideas yet on what I should write, We will see.

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