Chennai: The Rajini craze hit Chinni Jayanth early in life. He grew up watching the superstar’s stunts on and off screen and started his career as a Rajinikanth mimic.
Soon, his imitation of the movie legend caught the imagination of the advertising world, and with the original virtually refusing to endorse any product, Jayanth played his part in the ad world with ease.
Today, Jayanth's a well-known comedian and has managed to grab a small part in the soon-to-be-released Sivaji, a reminder perhaps that even an imitation will sell. A reminder of the power of the brand Rajini.
Like Jayanth there are several others who cash in on the Rajini phenomenon. Rajini Rajha is one of them. A die-hard Rajini fan, playing the superstar has got him his share of ads and stage shows.
"They use me in ads because I can do what Rajini won't. I don't know if they get any profit out of it, but I do it as service as well as for money,” says Rajha.
In fact lookalikes and imitations became so common that Rajini himself warned people not to use his name for endorsing products.
But the warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears of the profit-osessed ad makers who believe anything with the superstar tag can work. And since the man himself won't endorse, they'll have to find unique ways to cash in.
“Whenever you use a Rajinikanth cutout, you make a direct connect with the people you cater to,” says Station Head of ‘BIG FM’ Zarin Menon.
But it's not just about money for the all Rajini look-alikes. It's also a status symbol and an instant claim to fame. But when it comes to the ad world, it's all about raking in the moolah, especially at a time when Sivaji has taken the Rajini fever to an all new high.