As the world waits for Rajinikanth’s Kabali to release, we decided to look back at some of the Superstar’s films that didn’t do too well. The Quint republishes an old article of Rajini’s films that failed to draw the audience. Yes! That happens too!
Superstar Rajinikanth, who turned 65 today, has had his share of failures and even though they don’t make much of a difference in his illustrious career, these films have been a huge disappointment to his fans.
Take a look at some of the over-hyped Rajinikanth films that failed miserably at the ticket window.
This 1992 action flick, a remake of Kannada film Bombay Dada, released alongside Kamal Haasan’s critically acclaimed Thevar Magan. Although it managed to have a successful theatrical run, it failed to rake in the moolah. It was directed and produced by SP Muthuraman, with whom Rajini had worked on several occasions. Rajinikanth worked in the film without taking any remuneration and had planned to use all the earnings for the retirement fund of Muthuraman and his crew. This was also Muthuraman’s last film with Rajinikanth.
Suresh Krishna-directed 2002 fantasy-action film Baba, a colossal flop, left its distributors and exhibitors up in arms. Rajinikanth, who had produced and sold the film for an exorbitant price, was forced to bear the heavy losses incurred from his own pocket. Upon release in cinemas, the film received lot of flak from local politicians who condemned the superstar for endorsing heavy smoking on screen. It turned out to be the biggest flop in the actor’s career.
While many may argue that the 2008 film Kuselan, directed by P Vasu, can’t be considered a Rajinikanth film as his role was brief; it sure was promoted as the superstar’s film. The Malayalam original titled Katha Parayumbol is a heart-warming tale about friendship between a reel superstar and his childhood friend. The film was remade as a tribute to the superstar’s real life friend Raj Bahadur who, against all odds, encouraged Rajinikanth to become an actor and stood by his side through ups and downs. Despite turning out as an average grosser, the film was considered a flop. It was also remade in Hindi as Billu by Priyadarshan.
This highly anticipated 2014 animated film featuring Thalaivar in the titular role released amidst a lot of hype and anticipation. Tipped to be India’s first film to be made using motion capture technology, Kochadaiiyaan, which was directed by Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya, turned out to be a damp squib and proved why audiences don’t like to see their matinee idol in any other form. Strongly criticized as a cartoonish attempt to recreate the mania associated with a Rajinikanth film using computer animation, the film managed to rake in over Rs 100 crore at the box-office but still was declared a dud.
KS Ravi Kumar’s Lingaa, which was Rajinikanth’s second release last year, faced the same fate as Kochadaiiyaan and Baba. This big-budget action entertainer failed to appeal to audiences and critics alike. Following the film’s poor run, which resulted in heavy losses, the distributors literally begged for compensation and protested in front of Rajinikanth’s residence. The failure of this big budget venture forced the superstar to reinvent his career, which has paved way to his collaboration with a filmmaker (Pa. Ranjith) not even half his age in his next outing Kabali, which will hit the screens next year.
(Karthik Kumar is an independent film critic and journalist. He actively follows and writes on popular South Indian cinema and covers independent films too.)