A very dark man with a beard and with a clumsy hairstyle pushing the gates open, not kicking, but with a force nevertheless, as if he’s saying to the whole world – Here I am! Look at me! Watch me when I take each of my steps, for I am here to stay!
The camera angle of that shot, showing that dark man entering through the gate, straight into my heart, in that very scene when I watched him at the theatre – was taken by the one and only thespian of Tamil industry – the KB. KB has an uncanny knack of creating stars, probably would have guessed that the man he came across in the film institute is a gem, but never would have dreamt that he will create history and will become the living legend to his legions of fans.
A director has to be innovative and must have the belief in what he does and KB stands tall at that, for he continued casting Rajini in three movies. Rajini as an actor was born. Rajini as a style mannan was given to the masses. KB molded who the initial Rajini is, for all the actors enact the way KB shows them to act. A star was born and how Rajini took that opportunity forward and created a remarkable world; will remain as the standing example that anyone should aspire upon.
The relationship between Rajini and KB is not just as a guru, it’s a bond that one would fail to express in words. How could anyone forget that interview played between Rajini and KB. The way Thalaivar sat in front of KB reminds me the way I still sit in front of my dad. It isn’t fear, but a huge respect one has for the other, where one believes that we are nothing without the other, irrespective of what one might have achieved.
History is filled with incidents about how KB has molded Rajini. Thillu mullu. Who would have imagined the angry young man of Tamil to do a full length comedy role?! This is where innovation side of KB comes again. It was a treat to watch Rajini doing the humorous role, his timing, the dialogue delivery and the script – though it might be a remake of a hindi movie, but the way KB had presented the other side of Rajini made it to become an evergreen classic of Thalaivar.
Thappu thalangal was another classic in Rajini’s career. No other director could have developed that character the way KB has done. The song 'ithukku poye alattikalama' was fantastic and remained on the lips of the youth during those times. He converts laughter into a cry in the climax scene when he murders Soman and what a performance that is, which only a director par excellence could have delivered.
There was another incident when Rajini had gone into depression, eventually leading to a nervous breakdown while acting Ninaithale Innikkum. He couldn’t come to terms with the success he was facing at that time. He was working 18 hours a day and at the rest of time, he hardly slept. Those were the dark days of his life. KB got him admitted and Rajini was hospitalized for six months. It was KB who not just as a guru, but more as a father, advised Rajini to take only few films, only those that he really wanted to act and gave him the formula of one-film-at-a-time that our Thalaivar followed religiously. That’s how the second phase of Rajini’s life started consisting of films like Billa, followed by a row of hits like Pokkiri Raja, Thanikkattu Raja, Naan Mahaan Alla and Moondru Mugham began.
When Rajini became a super star KB graciously accepted and as mentioned in that interview, he always look upto his prodigy in awe! KB continued to produce Rajini movies under his home productions, and one among them - Nettrikan remained a milestone in Rajini’s career.
From a Villain, to a Hero with negative traits, to the Czar of Tamil filmdom, today Rajini the Thalaivar has grown beyond unimaginable heights. But it’s still that humble gate opening scene that will remain etched on all his admirers, be it they are young or old. That belief on a young man who wasn’t fair in colour, who had seen the power of his eyes, who had guided him to become a start on his own right and might … KB sir, we will remain indebted to you, not just as the Thalaivar fans, but as the fans who loves wonderful movies!
Rest in peace!
- Rajkumar & Prince Raj