Karthi Sivakumar should consider himself a lucky man. As his Pongal release Alex Pandian finally hit screens on Friday, it wasn’t just his fans and those of his brother Suriya who made their way to theatres. Quite a number of die-hard fans of Superstar Rajinikanth felt duty-bound to watch the film as the name ‘Alex Pandian’ was immortalized by the character he played in the blockbuster film Moondru Mugam. Released in 1982, the film that went on to become one of Rajini’s best grossers of that decade, saw the actor play three roles — of upright police officer Alex Pandian and his sons Arun and John.
“There is only one Alex Pandian - our thalaivar,” explains Satish Raman, who heads a Rajinikanth fan club in South Chennai, “But we know very well that Karthi is a great fan of his and has always respected the Superstar, so we decided to watch the film first day first show,” he adds. Normally, this is an honour that the actor’s die-hard fans reserve only for him. More than 30 of them watched the movie at Rohini multiplex on Friday morning.
The movie’s producers have undertaken one of the most aggressive promotion campaigns for the film, seen in recent times - plastering buildings, using hoardings usually reserved for political rallies and disseminating stickers with Karthi’s face, throughout the city.
Sadly, initial reviews of the film were anything short of promising as “poor” to “unwatchable” comments made their way online. Alex Pandian is apparently the perfect ‘mass’ film, which sees Karthi kidnapping the CM’s daughter, falling for her and then battling baddies to save her life. “It was nowhere close to a movie by Rajini, but we are happy that today’s heroes respect him so much to name their films after his characters. It is a great gesture - if only the film had matched up to it, it would have been nice,” said G Ravi, an office-bearer with the Federation of Rajini Fan Clubs.
Whether the film has a good ‘harvest’ or not, one thing is for sure - Alex Pandian can still draw crowds, even after three decades.