Postponement of virus-hit ‘Annaatthe’ may delay Rajini’s politics debut

Since Rajini is reluctant to launch his party before the release of Annaatthe, speculation is rife that his political plunge may get put-off till February-end

Rajinikanth, Baba re-release
Following the failure of Baba at the box office, Rajini for the first time compensated the losses suffered by film distributors by repaying them from his own pocket

The testing positive of several crew members for coronavirus during the shooting of Rajinikanth-starrer Annaatthe in Hyderabad, has ramifications for the Tamil film industry, but more importantly, could also further delay the superstar’s plans to launch his own political party.

Rajnikanth was initially scheduled to return to Chennai on December 28 and announce the name of his new party on December 31 while also indicating his schedule for formal launch of the party in January 2021.

Only those close to the actor were aware that he had made plans for the party from January after ensuring the release of Annaatthe, which is being produced by Sun Pictures. He did not want political factors to come into play before the release of the film as he did not want to cause any hardship to Sun Pictures, especially its managing director Kalanidhi Maran.

Rajinikanth was aware of the fact that the film’s release could result in complications for Kalanidhi Maran, who belongs to the DMK family as his brother Dayanidhi Maran has been the party’s MP and Union Minister in the previous UPA government. Therefore, he wanted the film to be out of the way before he could make a political entry. Shooting had resumed for the film from December 14 in Hyderabad and there was hope that the movie might be released during the Pongal festival, around mid-January, 2021.


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However, with coronavirus hitting the crew in Hyderabad, the production unit had hurriedly arranged tests for the entire unit. At least four members have tested positive. Though Rajinikanth has tested negative, the actor has virtually gone into self-quarantine, not wishing to take chances.

Medical opinion is varied on whether he should stay on in Hyderabad, taking necessary precautions, or return to Chennai.

Sun Pictures has indicated that the shooting may not resume for at least a month. The Pongal release is definitely out of the window. With shooting likely to pick up again only in January, the movie might get a release only in February.

Since Rajini is reluctant to launch his party before the release of Annaatthe, speculation is rife that his political plunge may get put-off till February-end.

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This decision might earn a fresh wave of jibes from his critics who still believe that Rajini will not begin party operations before the assembly elections which is likely to be held in early April. With only a little over a month’s time from Annaatthe’s release till the state elections, the actor will have very little time to conduct a large-scale campaign across the state.

Rumours suggest that Rajinikanth is not really keen on entering the political arena at this stage when the coronavirus threat looms large and his own health is not at its best, and that he was under extreme pressure from BJP higher-ups to launch his party. If this were to be true, the actor may use the postponement of the film’s shooting as an excuse to further delay his political plunge.

The film industry had pinned its hopes on a revival of sorts with expectations of a major windfall through Pongal releases, triggered by Annaatthe’s impact at the box office. A Rajini hit would fill the coffers of several downstream companies. The virus-hit industry may have to fall back on a Vijay-starrer to boost its sagging fortunes. Though theatres have reopened, the drop in footfalls has caused concern in the film industry. And Annaatthe’s postponement means extension of the dark period.

On the other hand, what keeps hopes alive for Rajini’s supporters is his famous one-liner “Naan late-aa vandhaalum latest-aa varuvaen (even if I am late, I will come as the latest).”

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