Happy Birthday Thenisai Thendral Deva : A tribute to Vetri Nichayam

For all the 150 plus films Rajinikanth did with other directors I don’t think anybody would be able to replicate what Suresh Krishna did with two fabulous films – Annamalai to Baasha. So much has been written about Baasha. But for me Annamalai is a notch above all the Rajini films because of what it did to the masses and to Rajnikanth himself. 

The song itself comes at an interesting point in the narration. Until that point the film decorates itself with Rajini’s innocence. A trait which leads to his fall. His world is in shambles as betrayal shows it’s ugly face. He must let go of the one trait that defined him and hold onto the burning anger within him.  It’s relentless rage as he prepares himself for an unlikely one on one.

Slowly you realize that the song is not about the film itself. It is a glimpse of the transition of Rajnikanth from dark skinned underdog to the man of the masses. The tone of the film shifts and the song aids the shift beautifully. There’s a seamless transition in less than 5 minutes. Time passes too. But we don’t mind at all. We don’t mind the grey hairs of our ageing hero. The depth of the song, SPB’s soaring energy, Deva’s understanding of Rajini’s stardom and the Superstar’s irresistible presence keeps us hooked. The rush of adrenaline is undeniable. We feel the surge within us. 

One particular line always fascinates me. ” Imaiya Malai Agamal Enadhu Uyir Thoongadhu”. The Hero’s towering rise from the ashes. Quite fittingly the subsequent scene after the song is glorious writing. The passing of the baton from MGR to Rajini on screen as the Superstar. He walks in slowly but surely as Rajini’s best BGM plays in the background to claim what is rightfully his.  The president’s chair becomes the rightful throne of the box office king. Give me one song or sequence which beats the high of Annamalai then we can talk.

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