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For the first time perhaps in the history of regional cinema Sivaji -The Boss starring superstar Rajinikanth has managed to go beyond the Tamil-speaking audience and make its presence felt pan-India and beyond.

Though Sivaji is being screened without Hindi or English subtitles in north India, it has still managed 98 per cent occupancy in the first week for the 39 shows that it ran in PVR cinemas, grossing more than Rs 10 lakh in two weeks.

So has Rajinikanth broken the North-South divide? CNN-IBN discussed the issue on Face the Nation with a comprising Mumbai film distributor Nambi Rajan, film critic with The Hindu Sudhish Kamath, Head of Cinemedia, PVR Ltd Delhi, Gautam Dutta and film critic with The Indian Express Shubhra Gupta.

Beyond boundaries

Though reports indicate that Sivaji was more of an urban phenomenon, Nambi Rajan said that the movie was doing extremely well in rural Tamil Nadu as well.

Sudhish Kamath agreed. “The movie has a pan-India approach. In many ways it is Swades told in a comic-book format. Rajinikanth’s appeal goes beyond rural and urban sectors and has transcended international boundaries,” he said.

Shubhra Gupta, on the other hand, felt that we might be jumping the gun in saying that Rajini’s movies were truly cross urban and rural divide as well.

“Sivaji in itself is a brilliant entertainer but it’s not representative of all of Rajinikanth’s movies. But Rajinikanth does the entertaining in such a convincing manner that it does not matter if it is in Tamil. He just takes you over. He dances, he sings, he does everything,” said Shubhra Gupta.

To that, Vidya Shankar Aiyar pointed out that in her review on Sivaji in The Indian Express, she had written that the movie was ‘sublime nonsense’. “Yes, don’t try to find logic in the film,” she said.

Language no bar

Turning to Gautam Dutta, Vidya Shankar Aiyar asked what gave him the confidence to take on a Tamil film with no subtitles?

“People love Rajinikanth and he is a true superhero. Sivaji has a great visual appeal. You don’t really have to know the language. You can just sit back and let Rajini take you on a flight of fantasy. We were in fact surprised to see that kind of passion to watch the movie in Delhi,” he said. Source:ibnlive