Anil Gote, a BJP MLA from Maharashtra, on Tuesday demanded that Rajinikanth, whose film "Kabali" was recently released and is running successfully all over, be conferred the Bharat Ranta — the highest civilian honour in India. He said this should be done with the help of a resolution that would be passed by the members of the Maharashtra assembly urging the central government to confer the award on the actor.
The MLA from Dhule City — from where he has been elected to the state legislature twice — also demanded that Rajinikanth be awarded the Maharashtra Bhushan, the highest civilian award of the state, because the actor hailed from the state.
"The Maharashtra Bhushan should be awarded to superstar and "son of the soil" Rajinikanth. He is from Kolhapur," Gote said in the state assembly on Tuesday, and added: "The release of his movie 'Kabali' in 8,000 screens around the world is proof of his stature in Indian cinema."
Rajinikanth was born Shivaji Gaikwad in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. He shifted out of the state in search of greener pastures and worked several jobs, including that of a bus conductor, before going on to garner great praise and worldwide acclaim with his films. Incidentally, this name was used by director Shankar in Hindi film "Nayak" as the full name of the lead protagonist, played by Anil Kapoor.
The release of Rajinikanth's "Kabali" was marked with huge hype and fanfare, with fans treating the actor as nothing less than a deity, using milk to bathe huge posters of him. The release was marked with two interesting developments that somewhat cemented his demi-god status.
For one, several corporate offices declared a holiday on Friday, July 22, when the film was released, leading to jokes that Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan release their films on holidays, but when Rajinikanth releases a film, the day becomes a holiday.
The second was the torrent site Kickass Torrents and all its entities being taken down from the internet and then its purported owner being arrested, which came within a very short span of time of pirated versions of "Kabali" hitting the web. Although the two were not connected, fans of the actor saw this as yet another sign that their idol was omnipotent.