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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#Superstar: Award-winning Rajinikanth tribute 'The Rajini Effect' to have UK premier

A story about a chubby Japanese guy who wants to emulate India's biggest and kitschiest film icon has got to rank pretty high in history's long list of outrageously quirky film ideas.

That's exactly the premise behind 'The Rajini Effect', a hilarious independent feature that puts a whole new twist on the enduring, global - not to mention slightly  befuddling - appeal of south Indian megastar Rajinikanth: a man with, erm, 'unconventional' good looks, fake hair and marginal acting and dancing skills who is nevertheless widely considered to be more popular and more widely loved than the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

'The Rajini Effect' is written and directed by London-based brothers Nelson and Kuvera Sivalingam - both ardent fans of the actor, simply called 'The Superstar' by his multiple millions of adoring devotees.

The film, independently financed and produced by the brothers, will have its UK premier on 29 May following a successful run of Festival screenings  including the 2013 Stuttgart Indian Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Film.

The Sivalingam's say they happened on the idea for the film after discovering Rajinikanth's huge popularity in Japan, a country better known to be enamoured with Anime Characters, Western Boy Bands and Big-Haired American metal groups. 

But, according to the producers, the 63-year-old Superstar, who wears an elaborate and enormous wig for his roles and romances actresses half his age on the big screen, has an ardent sea of followers in the Land of the Rising Sun.

"Strange but true.  They love his films.  If you YouTube Rajinikanth in Japan, you will see what I mean", Nelson says.

"When we decided to make a film about Rajinikanth, we wanted to capture this. Rather than just making a documentary, we decided to fuse it with some fiction and that's how this idea came about".

The brothers began filming in 2010 soon after the release of the actor's 'Enthiran' (The Robot) a slightly ludicrous, $22 million techno-thriller in which Rajini plays the dual roles of a scientist and his andro-humanoid robot alter ego.

'The Rajini Effect' on the other hand was a two-year-long labour of love produced on a shoe-string budget.

"It was tough. As it was funded by ourselves, we faced all the challenges indie-filmmakers all over the world face.  As all the cast and crew had day jobs so most weekends were filled with shooting long hours."

The film stars Jonathna Truong in the lead role of Taiho, British Tamil actor Ramesh Vethanayagam and British Indian actress Mandeesh Gill among a host of other talent.

Intriguingly, The Rajini Effect's UK premier coincides with the international release of Rajinikanth's hugely-anticipated and much-delayed new Motion Capture epic 'Kochadaiiyan'.

- The UK premiere of 'The Rajini Effect' takes place 29 May at Cineworld O2.  For tickets, visit www.therajinieffect.com.

 

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