It's very flattering to note that my two earlier articles have drawn so much attention. My second article 'You Are Not Mr Rajinikanth's Real Fans' has brought in so much positive feedback and compliments. At the point of writing, I have received 56 emails, out of which about 45 have been positive reviews. The rest are as usual - but I would rather view them as people who love Rajini so much but are unable to articulate their feelings in a more pleasant manner. There was also a death threat by a 'die-hard and kill-hard' fan. No worries about that.
Coming to think of it, I guess there are some things that can never be changed at least within an era. There will be die-hard fans who would never tolerate the smallest criticism, and there will be die-hard fans who would criticize till kingdom comes. In the final analysis, the apparent truth is that fans will do anything to show their love.
I have no issues whatsoever with fans offering prayers, shaving their heads, conducting poojas, etc for their favourite actors. I have no issues if they party all night when their actor is cured and returns healthy. All of us need the prayers and well-wishes of our loved ones. I am sure fans of Ajith or Vijay would do the same.
My only contention is that fans should move on from mere emotional rhetorics to the higher grounds of film appreciation. To do that, one needs to evaluate one's associations, affinities and judgments. Cinema is a science that can be understood; so seek to understand. Film stars are humans too; so be more reasonable and compassionate. Know the potential you posses to influence the industry to move forward.
Back in the late 70s, there was a legal situation in a European country which made it difficult for low-income earners to buy houses. Unless one earned a certain minimum wage, the law prevented them from owning houses. The banks were happy because only the high income earners could qualify for loans and also had the ability to repay them. But at the same time, low-income earners had to rent houses and landlords preyed on them. Cries to the government went unheard. A group of cinema-loving commoners felt what they couldn't achieve with their protests could become reality through cinema. They approached a film director, told them of their plight, and a year later a movie was made highlighting this very issue. When the government realized that this movie was causing a revolution of sorts all over the country, they amended the law and instructed the banks to be more poor-friendly. Very soon, everyone could buy a house based on what one could afford. All it took was a small group of cinema fans to make a nationwide impact.
As I had said in the previous article, fans keep the industry going. I would liken fans to parents. A father who chastises a child does it not out of hatred, but because of great love. He is passionate about how his child would turn out to be in years to come. Invariably, the outcome affects the family. In fact, a father who does not correct his child, but blindly defends the child doesn't deserve to be called a father. He is in fact a perpetrator of great injustice to his child.
There is no shortage of talent or technology in the Tamil film industry, but there is a massive shortage of film critics, and who better than fans could fill that need?
Dear Tamil cinema fans, if you love an actor, director or any film personality so much that you would go to any lengths to defend them, then do them the biggest favour you can. Praise him when he does it right, guide him when he goes astray, and scold him when he messes up. Don't just stay away from the theatres for that only impoverishes the industry. Watch the movie, find fault with it, make a fuss about it and most importantly publish it.
The biggest voice in the film industry is the voice of the fans. If fans choose to close one eye, shut their ears and keep their mouths sealed, then it simply means the sooner than expected demise of the industry, and when that happens, where will your beloved star be?
Think about it!