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24 Jan 2021, Edition - 2021, Sunday

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Coimbatore

A book that sold like hot cakes- Superstar Rajni effect

Harsha V.H

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Superstar Rajnikant always has a mesmerising effect – on and off screen.

The word ‘Rajni’ does the magic on the silver screen and the rage catches up even before his movies hit the theatres. Its a universal secret that tickets for all his movies sell like hot cakes – 10 times more than the original cost and people take pride in paying such a high price. Rajnikant drives everything in his movies.

His recent release, Kabali was no exception. Trailers with Neruppuda and the classic punch words – Maghizhchi, Kabalida – became mantras of daily order thanks to social media.

Rajni as Kabali is the protagonist in the movie who fights for the rights of immigrant labourers in Malaysia. In the opening scene he is shown as a prison inmate engrossed in a book when the officer informs him of his release.
Neruppuda… he comes out and the fire catches.

Coming to reality, the book thalaivar is shown reading My Father Balaiah by Y.B. Satyanarayana, a retired Chemistry professor from the Osmania University Engineering College.

Satyanarayana is a Dalit activist and co-founder of Centre for Dalit Studies. The book became a much sought after one and the copies just vanished from the stands.

The reviews and ratings it received were astounding.

My Father Balaiah is a story of a Dalit family in South India that gets a 50-acre land from the Nizam to his father, Narsiah, for making a pair of silver sandals for him (Nizam). Unfortunately he loses the land to a feudal lord and he moves to Vangapally, his ancestral village in Karimnagar, carrying the body of his wife on his shoulders, and his three-year-old son, following him.

His shifting to his village proves to be a significant event as it frees his family from caste oppression. It also saves his son Balaiah from a life of humiliation and bonded labour. The book talks about the inhumanity of untouchability.

“A story of great hardship and greater resilience,” said a review.

Suddenly Dalit oppression became very significant to the readers, who felt that the superstar helped them in discovering the ‘great book’.

Book sellers too endorsed their views. Says Karthikeyan, chief executive of Sapna Book House: “The sale was average before the movie was released. The scenario just changed after Kabali hit the screens. The demand was so high that we were just running out of stocks most of the time.”

According to Gokul Kumar, senior manager of online sales department at Harper Collins, the book was initially promoted through Amazon. “It was promoted under the Kabali store section that was launched for the promotion of the movie. It was merchandise in which the book was added. However, after the release of the movie, the book was on demand on Amazon and Flipkart. Leading book stores even got special bulk orders for the book. A good number of copies were sold within a month of release,” he added.

In a nutshell Kabali (read Rajni) has taken the book beyond academic circles. The book has received great attention ever since the movie was released.

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