On Saturday evening, unveiling the trailer of `Comali’, his Independence Day release, actor Jayam Ravi tweeted : “A movie I had a blast working in..fun-filled ride. Hope u all like it”. But in just a few hours, one large group in Tamil Nadu had expressed its displeasure, blasting Ravi for insulting Rajinikanth.
To know why, you need to understand the storyline of the comedy film that also stars Kajal opposite Ravi. It is the tale of a man who wakes up after having been in coma for 16 years. Jayam Ravi’s character is stuck in the time he went into a coma and is unable to come to terms or comprehend what’s happening around him today. From the trailer, it is obvious that the film takes a dig at encroachments in Chennai, fashion and moral values of the 21st century.
In the trailer, his childhood friend to make him believe that it is 2016, shows him the news bulletin that has Rajinikanth saying his entry into politics is certain. Immediately Ravi’s character perks up and contradicts him saying “This is 1996”.
The 1996 reference is to Rajinikanth’s criticism of Jayalalithaa before the elections that year. He had then said that even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa is elected back to power. It was widely believed then that Rajini will step into politics but he did not till two decades later.
In their enthusiasm to incorporate a Rajini reference, the makers of `Comali’ have erred. The 2016 reference is wrong because the footage of the Superstar that is shown is from December 2017 when he made the announcement.
Rajini fans took to Twitter to register their protest. But it is a fact that speculation about Rajinikanth’s political entry has been around for over two decades, particularly after his statement in 1996. Ravi’s character has gone into coma a few years after 1996 which is why he thinks the news clip is from that year.
When Rajinikanth announced his political entry, many commentators and analysts pointed to the fact that Tamil Nadu has been waiting for this moment since the time he made that political statement. So frankly, there is nothing to really get very touchy about this dialogue. In fact, Rajini fans should ask their Superstar why he is off regular political activity in Tamil Nadu or has not started a full-fledged political party 18 months after the announcement.
Venting their ire on a film would only increase the curiousity factor around the movie. Rajini fans believe Ravi is riding on the Superstar’s popularity. That may be a tad unfair because the movie trailer even without the scene and the dialogue, looks quite interesting and riveting.
There were a few voices asking Rajinikanth fans to drop the #BoycottComali campaign.