Rajinikanth's 'Jailer' In Double Trouble: A Quirky Clash of Titles & Superstars

Here's why Rajinikanth's 'Jailer' has sparked a twin film clash and superstar debate.

South Cinema
5 min read
Hindi Female

Lights, cameras, and a whole lot of commotion! Superstar Rajinikanth is the talk of the town, captivating audiences for two compelling reasons.

Firstly, the anticipation for his upcoming Tamil film Jailer is reaching a fever pitch as it gears up for a pan-Indian release with dubbed versions in multiple languages. However, excitement meets controversy as a Malayalam film, also named Jailer and directed by Sakkir Madathil, boldly shares the same title, setting the stage for an epic showdown. Like never before, these two films with identical titles are gearing up to storm the silver screen on the same date, 10 August.

As if this wasn't enough, Rajinikanth's speech at the audio launch event has set tongues wagging. The Jailer star touched upon the esteemed "Superstar" title bestowed upon him by his adoring fans and spoke about the poor reception of Thalapathy Vijay's last film, Beast, leading to speculation about an indirect dig at the actor.

So, what are the controversies surrounding superstar Rajinikanth and his film Jailer all about?


Did Rajinikanth Take an Indirect Dig at Actor Vijay?

At Jailer's audio launch, Rajinikanth recalled the online abuse director Nelson received after his previous Tamil film, Beast, starring actor Vijay, hit the big screens.

Rajinikanth said that despite receiving calls from distributors urging him to change the director for his next film, he stood firm in his decision to work with Nelson, emphasising that Beast was not a commercial loss for distributors or the production house, Sun Pictures. At the event, Rajinikanth reportedly said:

"If a subject (of a film) doesn't have a proper casting, it might fail. But the director never fails."

During the launch, the veteran actor also mentioned that he had requested the removal of the 'superstar' tag from the video of the 'Hukum' track composed by Anirudh Ravichander in Jailer, pointing out that it has always been a problem for him.

Producer Kalanithi Maran of Sun Pictures, a fan of Rajinikanth, emphasised that the actor's fan base spans over five generations, making him a record-maker. He asserted that until other actors can attract producers as Rajinikanth does, even at 72 years old, he remains the "only true superstar of Indian cinema".

However, Maran's view on the title 'Superstar' and Rajinikanth's remarks about the poor critical reviews for Beast and how the director Nelson is not to blame but rather the casting choice were seen as an indirect dig at actor Vijay. Netizens, who have already been discussing who the next superstar of Tamil cinema might be, found contentment as Rajinikanth's comment sparked debates and speculations about a subtle rivalry between the two stars in the online realm.

The Much Discussed 'Superstar' Debate

Rajinikanth, the superstar of Tamil cinema, has achieved iconic status throughout his illustrious career. With an unparalleled screen aura and a trailblazing journey in the film world, Rajinikanth has carved a niche that few could ever hope to reach. His larger-than-life persona and timeless performances has earned him a devoted following that spans generations.

While Rajinikanth has held the title of 'Superstar' for over four decades, a debate over who would be the next superstar emerged in January 2023 during the promotions of Vijay's movie Varisu. The catalyst for this intense discussion was Varisu producer Dil Raju's bold assertion that Vijay had surpassed actor Ajith in stardom. Raju called Vijay a bigger star than Ajith. However, as the debate unfolded on social media, with fans waging online wars in support of their respective stars, it soon transcended into a bigger question: Is Vijay's popularity now rivalling that of the legendary Rajinikanth? Is Vijay bigger than Rajinikanth?


'Jailer' Vs 'Jailer' Controversy

Now, let's come to the controversy surrounding the film's title, Jailer.

The similarity in the titles of two upcoming South Indian films, one starring the iconic Rajinikanth and the other featuring the talented Dhyan Sreenivasan, has sparked a legal battle, leaving fans eager to witness this unprecedented event unfold.

Sakkir Madathil, the director of the Malayalam Jailer, claimed to be the first to register the film's title with the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) bench back in 2021 – long before the announcement of the Tamil film's title.

Seeking resolution, Madathil reached out to the producers of the Rajinikanth starrer, Sun Pictures, requesting that they change the title for the Malayalam release of Rajini's Jailer, dub the film in Malayalam, and release it separately to avoid confusion.

However, Sun Pictures declined the request and decided to proceed with the original title. In response to the brewing controversy, Sun Pictures approached the Madras High Court to address the issue. Madathil, determined to defend his film's title, filed a counter-petition in court, leading to an intense legal confrontation. The hearing in the case is scheduled for 2 August.

According to an India Today report, Sakkir Madathil made an emotional plea to the makers of Rajinikanth's Jailer team, revealing the immense personal sacrifices he made for his Malayalam film. Reportedly, he invested Rs 5 crore in the project, mortgaging his house and his daughter's jewellery.

In addition, he sold his car and took loans from both the bank and outside sources. Struggling with the burden of high interest rates, Sakkir expressed his hope that Rajinikanth would comprehend his situation and come to his aid. He even admitted to having wrestled with thoughts of desperation due to his film's clash with the superstar-starrer.

But should Sakkir truly be concerned about the clash? According to experts, the answer is a resounding no.


Shambu, a film officer from Kerala, said, "Rajinikanth-starrer is expected to be a visual spectacle, while Dhyan Sreenivasan-starrer is anticipated to be a realistic Malayalam film. Although these two films might share the same title, they hail from entirely different industries, offering diverse cinematic experiences to their audiences."

He added that the films will share screens only in Kerala, as Sreenivasan's Jailer is released only in the Malayalam-speaking state. "I do not see any major negative impact that the two films will have on each other," he said.

Trade expert Ramesh Bala agreed and added, "The maximum effect that could happen is confusion at theatre counters or booking portals. However, anyone wanting to watch a film will be clear about which film they want to see. They will certainly look at the posters and the language of the film before booking their tickets. This may not be a significant problem."

Entertainment Industry Tracker and Writer Sreedhar Pillai, however, had a differing opinion. He pointed out that big Tamil stars' films are typically directly released in Tamil in Kerala, where people understand the language. Rajnikanth's film is certainly expected to dominate the box office due to its widespread reach and star power. However, the relatively smaller film, Sakkir's Jailer, stands to benefit by piggybacking on the popularity of Rajinikanth's big film. In fact, it could potentially boost ticket sales for Sakkir's film, as those who miss out on Rajini's movie might opt to watch the other one", he said.

Regarding the possibility of this trend becoming more common in the future with the release of pan-Indian films amidst local films, the experts expressed doubt, suggesting that such occurrences are mostly unlikely.

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Topics:  Rajinikanth   Actor Vijay 

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