I came across this post on Linkedin recently which got intrigued me to write this which brings me to ask this question how did Rajnikant overtake Kamal Hassan ? is branding all about repetition? is Rajni a better actor than Kamal? now if I answer this in front of a fan, I know I would be thrashed easily.
Let us take a dig at Rajnikant’s life – During the early 80’s Rajini was tinkering with a template trying to take over MGR’s mantle. The mantle of the “every man” rising from humble roots to superstardom in every single movie (Govinda replicated the same in 90’s Bollywood). MGR played only “humble characters” like a Rickshawallah (he had targeted this segment long before Kejriwal entered AAP) who rose to fame and fortune and we Indians love the “rags riches story”
Formula of this rags to riches story –
Poor guy –✔️
humble origins – ✔️
Betrayed by powerful people – ✔️
hence this worked in his favor.
Rajinikanth became the poster boy of Tamil cinemas, while Kamal is the prodigal son of Tamil cinema. Rajini’s goal has always been to entertain his audience with commercial and mainstream cinema many people follow a similar template like Vijay and Salman Khan (which works for their fan base)
Kamal’s is more of the urban audience mindset who appreciates art and cinema also some of his scripts and movies have been way ahead of their time that it didn’t get enough appreciation. He didn’t go behind the “mass” appeal.
I remember watching Nayakan and going, bro what did I watch now? his acting skills are a masterclass for aspiring ones. He introduced many new ideas into Tamil cinema. also did a wide range of roles and experimental movies which at his peak were critically and commercially successful. Kamal said in an old interview that both he and Rajini were clear on the path to go and would challenge each other to get better. Guess both played a crucial role in cinemas.
So coming back to my earlier question – does repetition work in branding? Hell Yes. But to what extent? Well, it depends (it worked for Rajini, in this case).
As someone who is in this domain for the past 6 years, I absolutely hate repeatation (If a new age brand does it, please move on. you are on the verge to kill your own brand)
I’m ending with beautiful interview from NDTV