Lingaa (2014)

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Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa (2014)
Rajinikanth's cool entry: A motorcycle zooms into view with no rider: the Boss is coolly lying on the seat, legs crossed. Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Rajinikanth's grand entry: The Boss leaps up from the motorcycle, making an unusual entry. Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa (2014)
Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa (2014)
Rajinikanth plays a suave, super-intelligent jewel thief in Lingaa (2014)
Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa (2014)

Please also see our flagship page Rajinikanth.

Box office earnings were updated every day for the first four days and every three days thereafter. The figures were frozen on 31 Dec 2014 and will be reopened only if authentic/ official figures come in.

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

See also

For more photographs from Lingaa (esp for Mona Gasolina/ Monaa Monaa) and for a complete biography and filmography of the Thalaivaa see the main entry Rajinikanth.

Sources include...

The Times of India <> The Times of India <> The Times of India

AP Today <> Prajakta Hebbar, IBN Live <> Shubhra Gupta | The Indian Express <> TS Sudhir, India Today <> Rediff.com <> Sudhish Kamat, The Hindu <> S. Prasad, The Hindu <> Zee News/ IANS <>

The sources of the box office figures given on this page include: Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times <> Nicy V.P, International Business Times <> Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times <> Andhra Box Office <>Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times <> Andhra Box Office <>Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times <> Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times<>IBTimes<> IBTimes <>

...and other sources mentioned in the body of the article.

Media and public reactions

Below is a detailed summary of the reactions of the audiences and critics writing for important media outlets.

i) Fans are happy. The film is successful in Tamil Nadu, the USA, Malaysia and among Rajini fans everywhere. However, it is not doing well in Kerala or even in AP-Nizam. Except for these two territories, Lingaa has created new box office records for a Tamil, indeed for a South Indian, film. In the UK it has not yet overtaken Kaththi. Box office collections everywhere started dipping after the opening weekend. (See 'Box office' elsewhere on this page.)

ii) The film is too long. Needed better editing. The middle section, the flashback to colonial 1939, when Sonakshi comes in, drags. In response to this widespread criticism, six days after the film's release the director of Lingaa decided to re-edit the film and trim 10 minutes off the middle to make it crisper.

iii) The climax has not gone down too well with audiences.Lingaa has to save the dam built by his grandfather from being blown away by the villains. If he can do so thousands of lives will be saved. Though the makers of Lingaa brought in a reported 3,000 extras for this sequence, audience reaction was one of indifference. People have criticised the pacing of this scene (‘too rushed’) as well as the poor visual effects.

iv) Superb box office response in the USA (see screenshot), overseas and in India.

v) 'The film is three hours of just Rajinikanth, Rajinikanth and Rajinikanth.' (But that's hardly a criticism--it is an incentive to spend hard-earned money on the film).

However, critics and the masses alike have commented on how all actors except Rajini himself are mere props for his heroics to be enacted against—and this includes Sonakshi Sinha, Anushka and even Telugu's most populr comedian Brahmanandam.

vi) AR Rahman's songs could have been better. Most critics liked only 'Indianey vaa' and the background music. Some liked 'Mona gasolina.' (The writer/ editor of this article found O Nanba lively.)

vii) Sabu Cyril's sets came in for universal praise. Indpaedia rates them the best in Indian film history.

viii) There is unanimity that Rajini saar looks fifteen to twenty years younger than his real age. The Hindu wrote, he 'hasn't looked so dashing in ages, and the swagger with which he carries his role, is a treat to watch.'

AP Today added,‘His screen presence, energy levels, style, attitude and dialogue delivery are simply superb. Its a treat to watch him back in action after many years and that's the biggest asset of 'Lingaa'.

Above all, because Rajini is known for style, in this film Lingaa, the young thief, has been given a way of twirling his hair every time he thinks up a new criminal plan.

ix) The villainy is weak. It is not as nasty as behoves a mega-budget mass entertainer like Lingaa. The 1939 British villain is a lifeless caricature. He sounds comical when he speaks accented Tamil. The modern villain, a Member of Parlament played by handsome young Jagapathi Babu, who acts as hero in Telugu films, is not evil enough.

x) Rathnavelu’s cinematography is a major highlight of this technically accomplished film.

xi) The friendship between Lingaa and the Santhanam character has been etched well and is entertaining.

xii) Chemistry between Rajinikanth and his two heroines is missing. Opinion is divided on which heroine he looked more comfortable with.

First day mania

Even if for only one day, 11 Dec 2014, Lingaa was at no.1 at the US box office. Lingaa earned $206,850 from 91 screens. It beat even Jennifer Lawrence' latest Hunger Games episode, Mockingjay Part 1, which earned $190,000 from 1583 screens. Later in the week Lingaa might drop a few ranks on the US box office but, as we can see, its per-screen average might be hard to beat.
True Rajini fans will use a magnifying glass to read the first line at least.
This is a grab from Remtrak's Box office essentials

The day began early with 9am screenings of the Thalaivaa’s latest magnum opus in most parts of Tamil Nadu. Indeed, Lingaa mania was evident in Mumbai and Hyderabad as well. Prajakta Hebbar of IBNLive.com caught the 8.45am show in Pune, a town with no significant Tamil population. In Chennai many theatres had started screening the film at 1 am on Friday. Fans left the hall at 4am to catch such sleep as their excitement would allow them.

After all it was the first full-fledged, live action in four years (since 2010’s Enthiran) of the actor with the world’s biggest—and most emotionally committed fan following.

Tamil-speaking Puducherry did what has perhaps not happened anywhere in the world. All seven screens in the city and all five screens in the suburbs—meaning all 12 screens in the state—screened just one film. No guessing which one. Even the biggest of Tamil films never got shown on more than three screens before. Only seven months before, in May, Kochadaiiyaan, in which Rajinikanth’s animated avatars play the two main leads, was released on two Puducherry screens. On the opening day every screen showed the almost-3 hour Lingaa at least five times.

Puducherry’s urban theatres sold more than 60,000 tickets in advance for the opening weekend. Where did the extra viewers come from, considering that the state’s own population in 2011 was only 12,44,464. Tourists from Bengaluru and Chennai thronged to this seaside, French-heritage town, combining a weekend out with easier-to-get tickets.

Prajakta Hebbar’s initial tweet echoed what was happening in South India and many parts of the Tamil-speaking world, ‘Can barely hear the dialogues with all the hooting and cheering.’ And Pune, as we said, is hardly Tamil-speaking. Then she decided, ‘Might as well join in!’

Critics’ Ratings

Bharti (Sonakshi Sinha) is a village belle who lives in a drought-stricken village in the Rajinikanth starrer Lingaa See how emaciated she looks.(2014)
Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Lingaa: O Nanba/ Vo Rabba Rabba
Lingaa: Mysore Palace: lavish sets. Unmai Orunaal/ Sathyam Shivamu
Lingaa: Unmai Orunaal/ Sathyam Shivamu
Lingaa: En mannavva/ Vo Manmadhaa: Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha
Lingaa: En mannavva/ Vo Manmadhaa: Sonakshi Sinha
Lingaa: En mannavva/ Vo Manmadhaa: Rajinikanth
Lingaa: Indiane Vaa/ Indiany Raa: Rajinikanth

(Out of 5)

IANS 3

IBN Live 3

India Today 3.5

The Hindu: Drama minus the punch/ Thalaivaa doesn’t disappoint

The Indian Express 3

Rediff 3

Fact file

'U' censor certificate without cuts.

Running time: 174 minutes

Languages: Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.

Year: 2014

Birthday offering

It would be the first time ever in superstar Rajinikanth's 40 year career, that his movie is releasing on his birthday. 12th December.

In anticipation of this confluence of dates, the film shows Lingaa blowing a candle, cutting a cake and his friends singing Happy Birthday.

Crew

Produced by Rockline Venkatesh

Directed by KS Ravikumar

Writers: Pon Kumaran, K.S. Ravikumar

Music: AR Rahman

Camera: Rathnavelu.

The film is directed by KS Ravikumar, who had earlier given hit films to Rajini like "Muthu" and "Padayappa". Rathnavelu's cinematography and Anthony's editing.

A.R.Rehman has composed music for Rajinikanth for the 7th time in all while it is the third time to give the music for the combination of K.S.Ravi Kumar and Rajinikanth.

Cast

Rajinikanth is in a dual role because the film straddles two generations. There is a Rajinikanth for each generation. According to rumours he was paid Rs 60 crore for the film

Heroines: Sonakshi Sinha and Anushka Shetty.

Jagapathi Babu is in a lead role.

Prabhu Ganesan makes a cameo appearance in the film.

Superstar comedians Santanam & Brahmanandam are in important roles

Title of Lingaa

Apparently, the film has been named after Rajinikanth’s grandson Linga, who is the son of actor Dhanush and Rajinikanth’s elder daughter Aishwaryaa R Dhanush. (Indian Express)

The 'leaked' storyline

Apparently the Boss plays the scion of a princely family and his mission is to build a dam for his people. Radharavi plays a crucial role as father of the Sonakshi Sinha character.

Was the ‘leaked’ story true?

Only partially.

In May 2014, around a week after the shooting of Lingaa commenced, Andhra Headlines and Chennai Online claimed that the film’s plot had been leaked, and that the following was a synopsis of the film’s contents:

“Linga movie is about how a society gets rid of its age-old superstitions. A city has a river and an 80 year old dam built by Raja Lingeswaran in Kodaiyur (Tamil Nadu).

“The villagers of Kodaiyur witness many accidents near the dam, A probe is initiated to look into reason for the accidents and it reveals many untold things about the dam and its history.

“A village that opposes the dam construction insults the laborers and the laborers in turn curse the villagers. Rajini happens to be son of a construction laborer and villagers seek apology of the laborers. Another Rajini comes in here. He befriends the laborer son Rajini in order to bid an escape from the police and investigates the reason behind the dam mishaps and reveals the same to the village people.”

Apparently Lingaa contains a flashback episode that is set in the 19th century. Chennai Online claimed that one of the female lead is an IAS officer. (Not likely: IAS officers are not clad the way Anushka Shetty is.)

The film’s heroine Sonakshi Sinha revealed the storyline of the film thus: The story is spread across two generations and Sonakshi will be a part of the former one. She said “I am part of the 1940s generation and I play a girl who helps Rajinikanth. The look and the setting are completely new.” All India Youth

The real storyline

This is a summary of the film Lingaa's story.

Spoiler alert Those who read this summary might be deprived of surprises if they see the film subsequently.

The ignoble present

The film begins with a nameless man being murdered on a dam. He tosses a rudraksh bead into a venerable Shiva temple because he knows that he is about to die. King Lingeswaram (played by Rajini) had built the dam.

It is 2014 and things begin to go wrong in Singanoor/ Solaiyur village. The people of the village want to reopen the 70-year-old Shiva temple. But only a descendant of their much loved King Lingeswaram, who had also built the temple, can open the temple's doors (apparently they are gene-o-metric). A village elder informs other villagers that if they want to save themselves they have to find the maharaja’s descendant.

TV reporter Lakshmi (Anushka Shetty) is given the task of finding this descendant.

The maharaja’s grandson, Lingaa, too, is played by Rajini. He has a heart of gold but he is a petty jewel thief. However, he makes a grand entry into very opulent sets with expensive cars and posh looking female attendants. How come? It’s a dream sequence.

Sheer entertainment follows for the next half-hour or so. Lingaa, accompanied by his ‘boys,’ played inter alia by Santhanam and Karunakaran, launch small heists.

Among the reasons why this part is entertaining are the comedy scenes, unusual for a Rajini characater; and the imaginatively conceived jewellery theft.

Now Lakshmi is given the task of getting Lingaa back to the village. She tries persuasion and then bullying. And succeeds.

Flashback to 1939

Once in the village, Lingaa is told the story of his selfless grandfather, in a long flashback that critics and audiences alike feel should have been edited more tightly.

The i) Cambridge-educated ii) collector of Kurnool, Lingeswaran (Rajinikanth) was actually iii) the Maharaja of Gadwal who was v) a civil engineer by training. (Those are only five of his 500 faces).

As Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu points out, ‘He makes it clear that while Gandhi follows a non-violent path and Subhash Chandra Bose the armed method of fighting against the British, he is trying to implement welfare schemes for people by being part of the administration.’

However, he has serious differences with the British colonial government.

He knows that a dam has to be built to pull the villages out of the misery caused by a drought. However, government funds are not forthcoming. So he funds the dam through his own resources and reduces himself to poverty in the process.

In the village he meets Bharati (Sonakshi Sinha), the best educated woman in the village —with as many as four years of schooling.

The village has been hit by a drought. Some of them commit suicide to escape starvation. (However, most of the villagers, especially the well-endowed Bharti [Sonakshi Sinha], look anything but emaciated.) All the same, the area is arid and desperately needs water, for which a reservoir has to be constructed to change the fortunes of the village forever.

Nobility and sacrifice

In what is a visual treat, we get to see the Maharaja’s opulent palace with lots gold and boxfuls of jewellery, stylish sunglasses and vintage cars.

However, he gives up all his ancestral wealth and, in the noblest of traditions, does not let anyone know about his sacrifice.

The nobility of the character that Rajini plays, and his method of converting enemies, is shown in a scene in which he serves delicious homemade food to enemies. Their eyes well with tears of remorse as they eat it. (MGR’s characters had used similar noble methods of reining in prisoners without chains.)

Of course, such is our hero’s moral stature that he merely has to stare at a snake and the snake comes under his control.

When questioned about his huge sacrifice, the Raja says, that a person with a happy heart will be happy forever. To huge applause from the audience, he adds that happiness is not a state of wealth but a state of mind and heart.

It is implied that the Raja might have lost his wealth but not his self-respect or will power.

Back to the present

The British colonial rulers let Collector Lingeswaram down and force him to leave the district. The film goes back to the present. Lingaa is outraged when he is told about the injustices done to his father and grandfather. He agrees to resume the struggle for the villagers’ rights where his grandfather had left it.

Pop philosophy

The film, thus, has the usual quota of philosophical dialogues associated with Indian megastars like Rajini.

The film attacks casteism, corruption, land-grabbing and superstition; promotes women’s empowerment and a sense of Indianness; and tackles soil aridity.

Then there is the idealisation of a glorious, innocent past, which is contrasted with a less noble, less principled present.

Bharti symbolises the Tamizh-penn, the ideal Tamil/ Indian woman.

Multi-faceted, literally

In the ‘entry scene’ (introductory shot) of Rajinikanth’s 1939 avatar, Raja Lingeswaran is shown reading Joseph Campbell's non-fiction book about comparative mythology, ‘The Hero with A Thousand Faces.’ (This book was first published in 1949; but then what’s ten years here or there between friends?)

The meaning is clear: Rajinikanth is a hero with a thousand faces. The two obvious ones are the altruistic royal Lingeswaran and the loveable thief Lingaa. But Lingeswaran by himself has around five hundred faces (prince, ICS officer, a self-sacrificing socialist, a civil engineer, an undiluted Indian, a secularist, an idealist fiercely committed to the well-being of his people, a social activist and, in the end, an indigent).

Lingaa has the other five hundred, from brilliant jewel thief to a man with a conscience and a man with a heart of gold.

Stunts and fights

The film has two major action sequences—which, Rajini fans felt were too few, especially considering the length of Lingaa and considering that his previous films had more.

The 1939 sequence in the first half of the film shows the Boss in a duel on a running train. This sequence has gone down extremely well with the audiences—while even hardened critics have been raving about its technical excellence.

In the climax Lingaa races his sports motorcycle off a mountain cliff facing the dam, lands on a hot air balloon, which is carrying the nitrogen bomb that will destroy the dam (and the people), and saves Lakshmi and everything and else. Once again, the scene is technically superb, though fans as well as film critics found its pacing somewhat rushed.

Political ambitions?

The film underlines Lingaa's (i.e Rajini's) reluctance to enter politics but his keenness to serve the people.

Tamil comedy star Santhanam plays one of Lingaa's accomplices. He wants Raji-, sorry, Lingaa to enter politics. He insists, "Even if you refuse [to enter politics], the people won't let you [stay away]." TV journalist Lakshmi (Anushka Shetty) is of the opinion that if he were to enter the fray, he would definitely be elected to the Parliament.

Indeed, he could be the CM or even the PM, and a great one at that.

Rajin-, sorry, Lingaa, is non-committal about all this. As is a certain megastar in his real life.

Rajini-, correction, Lingaa tells a British colonial officer that he has not failed; he has merely postponed his success.

Meaning that the said megastar has merely postponed becoming CM/ PM.

Attention to detail

Prajakta Hebbar points out, ‘The sets were grand - especially the ones in 1930s India. Small details like architecture, cutlery, even the cricket bat Rajinikanth uses to beat his enemies to pulp, are of the appropriate era. The CGI-generated fight sequences, trains and valleys were breathtaking. We were particularly impressed with the computer-generated elephants in the film. If the makers hadn't informed us in the beginning that no elephants were used, we'd have never guessed.’

'Punch dialogues'

Director K.S.Ravikumar’s previous films with Rajinikanth--‘Muthu’ and ‘Padayappa’—lived up to the Rajinikanth, no, the Tamil, no, the Tamil-Telugu-old Hindi-Urdu tradition of ‘punch dialogues.’ Lingaa’s ‘leaked’ punch dialogue was:

i) Enakku Hindu venam, Muslim venam, Christian venam, chettiar, nadar, mudhaliar yaarum venam, Indian ah irukuravanga mattum en kooda vaanga (“I don’t need a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Chettiyaar, Naadaar, Mudaliar. Those who call themselves Indians alone should come with me”.

i a) A variant of the same is said to be: "Enaku entha jaathikaaranum venaam, Indian-aa irukravan mattum en kuda vaanga.."

ii) Come On, Boys!

iii) ‘I have not failed; I have only postponed my success’. (This one should rank among the best lines in world cinema, even theatre.)

Plagiarism suits

Rajinikanth took strong objection to a petition lodged by aspiring filmmaker KV Ravi Rathinam of Madurai that the story of Lingaa has been plagiarised from his script, based on the life of Colonel John Pennycuick, a British engineer behind the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam, which he had written for a movie titled 'Mullai 999'. KS Ravikumar, who directed the film, and Rajinikanth himself filed a counter affidavit claiming that Lingaa is based on a story written by Mr. Ponkumaran

In his affidavit, Rajinikanth accused the petitioner that the plagiarism allegations on his film have been levied to tarnish his image. "The name, fame and repute enjoyed by me worldwide have been tarnished as if the film 'Lingaa' is a product of a copy-cat. I have been roped into unnecessary controversy. I hereby reserve my right to proceed against the petitioner for damages. Besides, a film needs to have 13 continuous scenes similar to that of the script written by the complainant for it to be considered as plagiarism. A bare reading of the affidavit filed by the petitioner does not disclose such an allegation," Rajinikanth said, adding that the subject of Mullaperiyar dam and nationalisation of rivers cannot be claimed as a copyright.

Case dismissed by court

Bollywood Life

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court dismissed the writ petition seeking a stay on the release of Lingaa, saying merits of the rival claims made by both parties that they owned the story cannot be investigated in summary proceedings in a writ petition.

Justice M Venugopal of the bench said the appropriate remedy for the petitioner was to file a civil suit “before the competent forum or avail other remedies available under general law or criminal law, if he desires so”. The judge said the case did not have the merit for hearing as a writ petition. ”The petitioner himself is not sure of his rights or what duty he seeks to enforce through which by way of present writ of mandamus. On the basis affidavit and typed set of papers of this case, it is a fit case to be dismissed in limine as not maintainable,” the judge said. ”The petitioner cannot claim copyright in an unpublished work. The statements in Youtube do not constitute publication of story,” the judge said.

The court said even without knowing or attempting to know the exact story line of Lingaa, the petitioner had ventured to file the present plea on a mere guess and surmise with an intention to gain undue publicity for himself and hold respondents to ransom and make illegal gain out of it. Also he filed the petition “with an inordinate and unexplained delay at this eleventh hour” which disentitled him from maintaining the present writ, the judge said. In his petition, filmmaker Ravi Rathinam had alleged that the story-line of Lingaa was same as that of his 2013 movie Mullai Vanam 999. Justifying his claim, he said the entire story was uploaded on YouTube on February 24, 2013.

A second legal case (appeal)

Mohamed Imranullah S.,The Hindu

The Times of India

On 6 Dec 2014, six days before the scheduled release of Lingaa, K.R. Ravi Rathinam filed a writ appeal challenging the dismissal of his writ petition by a single judge two days before. He contended that the single judge should have considered the contradictory statements made by Mr. Rajinikanth and the film’s director, K.S. Ravikumar, in their counter affidavits with respect to the script and screenplay of the movie.

He pointed out that the actor had asserted that both the script and screenplay for Lingaa had been penned by S. Ponkumaran. On the contrary, Mr. Ravikumar had claimed that it was he who wrote the screenplay for the basic storyline of Mr. Ponkumaran.

Rockline Venkatesh asked to deposit Rs 10 crore

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court allowed producer Rockline Venkatesh to release "Lingaa" the movie after depositing Rs 10 crore (Rs 5 crore in cash and bank guarantee for the remaining amount) on filmmaker K R Ravi Rathinam’s writ petition against the single judge's order (above).

After hearing both sides, the bench said it could not find fault with the single judge's order and said the appellant should move the concerned civil court within four weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment copy.

Third legal case

A junior script writer, P. Sakthivel, also claimed ownership of the script of Lingaa and requested a Chennai city civil court to halt the release of the film. He said that he wrote a story ‘Uyir Annai’ in 2011 based on life history of Colonel John Pennycuick, a British engineer behind the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam. He registered the same in Film and Television Producer’s Guild of South India in 2012.

Fourth court case

The Times of India The Indian crab refused to let Lingaa rise. Three days before the film’s scheduled release M/s Balaji Studios Private Ltd, Saligramam, Chennai, requested the Madras high court to hold up the release of "Lingaa" on the ground that the film was an "unauthorized copy" of the Telugu film "Indra," starring Chiranjeevi and Sonali Bindre. M/s Balaji said that they had purchased all rights to "Indra" in 2010 and intended to remake it in Tamil soon.

M/s Balaji argued that, like Indra, Linga was about a man surviving the murders of his family members and his return and success in building a dam for the villagers.

The Madras High Court refused to stay the release of ‘Lingaa’ and adjourned the case by three days.

Actually inspired by Kaththi?

Videozz World, Kaththi Vs Lingaa Movie Common Scenes has a totally different take on the alleged plagiarism of Lingaa’s plot. He asserts that it has themes that had actually been shown in Kaththi, instead, and only a few months before. (Till Lingaa came along Kaththi was the biggest Tamil hit of the year, and still holds the box office records for Tamil films in some countries.)

True, Lingaa does seem to have followed Kaththi’s lead. But then, except for the drinking-water-for-an-arid-village theme (and introducing the hero in jail), all these themes have been memed in countless other Indian films before.

Introduction scene

Lingaa followed Kaththi’s lead by showing its hero in jail, as Kaththi had already done.

Double role

Lingaa followed Kaththi’s lead by showing its leading man in a Double role.

Thief, thiruda, donga

Lingaa followed Kaththi’s lead by making its hero a thief.

Change of heart

Lingaa Is a jewel thief who goes to the Solaiyoor temple to steal the most expensive Idol. However, he changes his mind when he hears the story of his grandfather, the noble Raja Lingeshwaran

Kaththi (and countless other Indian films) had already shown this. Kathiresan, too, is a thief. He goes to an old age home in order to steal money and save himself but changes his mind when he hears the story of Jeevanandham.

The good hero gets drinking water for his people

Jeevanandam is a post-graduate in hydrology from the arid village of Thanoothu in Tirunelveli district who had discovered groundwater under some lands of the village which could be used as an irrigation source not only for the village, but for the entire Tiruneveli district and the neighbouring Thoothukudi district as well.

Lingeshwaran is a civil engineer who gets a dam built not only for the arid village but the entire arid region.

Thief becomes saviour

Lingaa fights with the villain in order to save the dam.

Kaththi fights for justice to get water to his people.

In the end: retribution

In the end Linggaa goes to jail

Kaththi (and countless other Indian films) had already shown this. In the end Kathitesan, too, had gone to jail

Distribution

Trouble in Kerala

"Kochadaiiyaan" Loss haunts Rajinikanth's "Lingaa" in Kerala Prakash Upadhyaya IBTimes December 2, 2014

"Kochadaiiyaan" did not do well in Kerala. Prakash Upadhyaya IBTimes reported that ‘this seems to be haunting his latest movie "Lingaa" as its theatrical rights were not sold in Kerala [till ten days before it scheduled release]. Apparently the Kerala distributors' association told all its members not to buy the rights until the dues of "Kochadaiiyaan" were cleared by the concerned people.

The Plaza Group had acquired the rights for "Kochadaiiyaan" and in a bid to outdo competitors, it had quoted a fancy amount. But unfortunately, the Soundarya Ashwin-directed flick failed to live up to expectations [in Kerala] causing huge loss to exhibitors and distributors.

Kerala, TN and Karanataka

Distribution in Kerala, TN and Karanataka

Three days after the film distribution unit in Kerala ran into trouble, and just a week before the film's scheduled release, Vendhar Movies stepped in and acquired the distribution rights for Lingaa in Kerala and many parts of Tamil Nadu. (Silver Screen)

Tamil Nadu area rights:

Sukra Films is distributing the film in Coimbatore in 85 theatres – much higher than that of Chennai.

Mannan Films will take care of the movie’s screening in Chengalpet

Capricorn is in charge of it in the North – South Arcot region.

Vendhar has the rest of TN.

In Karanataka rights were sold to Sri Gokul films for a record Rs11 crore. Much of the film was shot in the state, which is the producer’s home state.

Business

Budget

Lingaa was reportedly made with a budget of Rs 110 crore

Eros pays Rs 120 crore

Rajini’s Lingaa record breaking pre-release business Indian Updates

The movie is being produced by Kannada producer Rockline Venkatesh. The entire distribution was procured by the Eros International for ₹120 crores [two respectable publications including New Indian Express confirm this figure].

This is a never-heard-before record value for a South Indian film. Lingaa is going to have a theatrical release in both Tamil, Telugu and Hindi versions, and Eros is rumored to possess the Indian rights of all the language versions of Lingaa.

Meanwhile, the slick Tamil teaser of the film had zoomed past forty lakh (four million) views a week before the film’s release; its Telugu trailer had attracted 7.9 lakh (0.79 million) views; and the Tamil song Mona Gasolina had been viewed 15 lakh (1.5 million) times.

Rs.200 crore earned before release

‘Rajini's Lingaa brings home Rs.200 crore even before release’ On 17 Nov ’14, almost a month before the film’s release India Today wrote: "Rs 55-60 crore are all set to come in for the satellite rights of the Tamil and Telugu version.

“Further, Rs.60-65 crore offer is already there for the taking w.r.t. Tamil theatrical rights in India. Telugu theatrical rights are further fetching them 30-35 crore.[All hype. This was revised downwards to Rs25 crore--which too is mammoth-- after the film had actually been released and was nowhere near earning 30 crore in Telugu.] In addition, the film is being sold overseas for approx. 30 crore just for the Tamil version. In addition to this all, there are music rights which are with Eros.”

Analysts’ predictions

The industry and traders have pinned high hopes on the film and expecting Rs ₹200 crore [theatrical] business worldwide. Indeed, three weeks before the film’s release trade circles believed that Eros had sold the theatrical, overseas and satellite rights for Rs200 crore Great Telangaana (i.e. Eros had already made a profit of Rs80 crore on its investment).

Hanji 22 predicts: i) lifetime domestic collection Rs 200 Crore. ii) Rs 50 Crore in overseas circuits. iii)Total box office collection Prediction: 250 Crore.

Filmy Lovers predicts: Lingaa Film (in Telugu alone) will easily collect Rs 7-8 Crores on it’s 1st day (Friday) opening box office.

Rs 200 crore-plus insurance cover?

Business Standard

Industry estimates suggest that Lingaa has secured a mega-insurance cover, including production insurance and loss of revenue in India and overseas. The size of the cover could be well above Rs 200 crore. This includes upwards of Rs 100 crore for production cover apart from cover against force majeure incidents that could disrupt the screening of the film.

Sumant Salian, head of media and entertainment, Alliance Insurance Brokers, said: “They have covered loss of revenue overseas, since his films are very popular abroad.”

As a concept, film insurance came into existence in the early 1990s. Taal was one of the first movies to be insured. Sanjay Dutt’s arrest during the making of Khalnayak prompted Subhash Ghai to insure his next movie Taal, for which he paid Rs 15 lakh as premium for a film valued at about Rs 11 crore.

These policies cover loss to life or property on film sets. They also cover legal issues related to a film as well as post-release risks like theatre shutdown due to riots or strikes. Some policies also cover the advance paid to film stars.

In film insurance policies, the type of cover depends on the budget of the film. The premium for such a policy is usually 0.3-0.8 per cent of a film’s budget. If the budget of a film is Rs 100 crore, for instance, the premium would be Rs 30-80 lakh.

Box office

(Most figures are gross: inclusive of taxes)

Summary: The film's makers have kept the figures under covers. Market assessments put the lifetime, worldwide earnings around Rs.150 crore. Fan sites tend to exaggerate the film's success. Vicious types like Kamaal R Khan try to put Mr Rajinikanth down. Indpaedia's volunteers are Rajinikanth fans but are also committed to the truth.

Therefore, in the absence of official figures, the most authentic is Andhra Box Office's estimate of ₹148.75 crore worldwide till 31 Dec 2014 (which can be taken as the film’s lifetime). Details can be seen near the bottom of this section.

The progress of the film at the box-office after its 12 Dec 2014 release:

Andhra Box Office reported around a week after Lingaa's release: ‘After not justifying its high price tag in its 1st weekend, Lingaa crashed on [its first] Monday. The film is doing poor in all areas outside Tamil Nadu.’

By the film's seventh day things had started looking so dismal that some distributors and exhibitors met on 18 December and sought compensation from Mr Rajinikanth himself. This would be unimaginable anywhere else in the world, but when "Baba" flopped in 2002 Rajinikanth himself compensated distributors for their losses. (It was different with Baba, because Mr Rajinikanth hwas the film's producer, which he is not in the case of Lingaa.) The agitated businessmen also held talks with Vendhaar Distributors, who obtained the Tamil Nadu theatrical rights ibtimes

By December 21 (tenth day, inclusive) it had collected Rs.130 crore worldwide (of which Rs10 crore or so are pure estimates). Given the film's very high price, that was considered an 'average' performance. The film was still not being seen as a flop. However, despite its worldwide gross creating a new record for an essentially-Tamil film, it was far from being a success til then.

The film's makers did not release the box office figures. Reports from Bangalore suggested that exhibitors were deliberately under-reporting the true figures in order to pay less tax than they should, as indicated by Commercial Tax Department raids conducted on many Bangalore cinema hallsIBTimes.

One reason for the lukewarm showing--after a record opening day--was the release of the film at a time when children's half-yearly examinations were on. It was felt that collections would pick up with Christmas vacations. They did, but only slightly.

The Hindi version did not do well at all.

AP and Nizam (Telangana)

12 Dec Lingaa earned around ₹5 crore +. This stands confirmed.

IBTimesreported that Lingaa ‘has been [beaten?] the opening day business record of Robo.’

AP Today’s headline read ‘Rajini sets Day 1 Record with Lingaa’ and its story spoke of very good business in Multiplexes. However, it added that by the afternoon [of its first day] the film was not doing that well in Telugu, especially ‘in mass circuits.’ It spoke of ‘a big drop for Second Shows,’ ‘poor word-of-mouth’ and that the likely ‘loss could be at least Rs 10 crore’ in AP/ Nizam.

Opening weekend (Dec 12-14) ₹12.6 crore

1st week Shekhar H Hooli, IBTimes reported that ‘The film has collected approximately ₹20.50 from its Telugu version...The Telugu theatrical rights had been sold for a whopping ₹25 crore. The movie has been successful in recovering 80% of its investment.’ It has thus beaten the films-dubbed-into-Telugu record of ₹15+ crore set by Rajinikanth's own "Robo" (Telugu version of "Endhiran").'

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.23cr

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) in AP/ Nizam-Telangana: ₹26 crore

Karnataka

Dec 12 The day’s collection was ₹2.1 crore. This is a record for Tamil films in the state.

Opening weekend ₹6.6 crore

However, after a good weekend, the film started doing badly.

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.10cr

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) in Karnataka: ₹11.05 crore

Kerala

12 Dec Lingaa was screened at 217 theatres in Kerala, which is the highest ever for a Tamil film. Occupancy was 100% in most theatres in morning shows, but only around 50% by the afternoon. The day’s collection was ₹1.6 crore

Opening weekend ₹3.4 crore

First week FilmiBeat reported that, ‘As the business of the movie took a plunge in its second week, especially in Kerala, some distributors along with theatre owners organized a meeting to discuss about the movie's poor show. According to sources, distributors and exhibitors unanimously agreed to seek compensation from the movie's producer, Rockline Venkatesh and also from Rajinikanth.]

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.4.7cr

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) in Kerala: ₹ 5.1 crore

Tamil Nadu

12 Dec Lingaa collected ₹12.8 crore (and not Rs16.75 crore as initially estimated) from around 600 screens. This was still a record: 2014’s biggest hit till then, "Kaththi," had earned Rs₹12.5 crore.

Opening weekend ₹31.7 crore

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.54.9 cr

Chennai

Opening weekend

Box office collection: ₹2.70 crore

Average theatre occupancy: 98%

Second weekend

Lingaa continued to rule Chennai

Average theatre occupancy: 85%

Box office collection (12-21 Dec: 10 days): ₹5.34 crore

Record created: Highest opening weekend collection in Chennai (followed by "Anjaan," [₹2.36 crore] "Kochadaiiyaan," "Kaththi" and "Velai Illa Pattathari").

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) in entire TN, including Chennai: ₹63 crore

In comparison, "Kaththi's" lifetime collections from Tamil Nadu were ₹66.9 crore.

Rest of India

12 Dec ₹0.50 crore. This is a 'Rest of India' record for a Tamil, indeed, for a South Indian film.

Opening weekend ₹2.0 crore

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.3cr

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) of Tamil/ Telugu version in Rest of India : ₹3.35 crore

Hindi-Urdu version

Lifetime earnings (i.e. till 31 Dec 2014) of Hindi-Urdu version: ₹3.5 crore.

Total for India

12 Dec ₹22 crore

Opening weekend ₹56.3 crore: the fastest 50 crore for a Tamil/ South Indian film.

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.95.6cr

Australia, New Zealand

Opening weekend ₹1.25 crore

Canada

Opening weekend ₹4.24 lakh: This is a record for a Tamil film. "Kaththi" stands at no.2 with ₹3.55 lakh.

Malaysia

Opening weekend "Lingaa" did very well but has not beaten "Kaththi’s" lifetime earnings.

United Kingdom

Premiere Shows Lingaa earned £16,339 from 7 screens.

Opening weekend ₹1.75 crore was the initial estimate. However, "Lingaa" actually grossed £171,068 (₹1.68 crore) and the film's earnings started dropping after Saturday (13 December)

In the UK, till Dec 2014 "Kaththi" (lifetime earnings: £333,522) and "Jilla" (lifetime earnings: £243,029) were the two highest earning Tamil films of 2014. "Lingaa" does not seem likely to cross "Kaththi" in the UK.

USA

11 Dec (premiere) (Thursday) $404,566 from 118 screens. On that day it was the no.6 grosser on the US box office. With just one day’s collections Lingaa became the seventh highest earning Tamil film in history, in the USA. (It was just behind Vijay's "Kaththi", which earned $600,000 in the USA in its lifetime and is the sixth highest grossing Tamil film ever in the USA.)

Dec 11 and 12 ₹5 crore. The figure of $806,190 was claimed. This is a record for a Tamil film for two days (11th Dec only had premiere shows). Lingaa, thus, overtook "Kaththi" and "Kochadaiiyaan" and became the no.5 Tamil grosser in the USA.

Dec 13 (Saturday) $412,559 from 140 screens.

Opening weekend (Dec 12-14): $1.205 million from 140 screens. This was $60,000 short of the lifetime gross of Vishwaroopam which, at that stage was the second highest grossing Tamil film in the USA.

Opening weekend + premiere on 11th $1.8 million (more than Rs11.1 crore) was claimed by the distributor in the USA. However, (₹8.41 crore is now accepted as the correct figure. This is by a wide margin the record for a South Indian film, overtaking "Kaththi" (₹3.42 crore)

The collections of the first four days made Lingaa the highest grossing Tamil film of 2014 and the second highest grossing Tamil film ever in the USA.

Rest of the world

This includes very lucrative ethnic Tamil concentrations abroad, notably in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka; plus non-resident Tamils in the UAE and the Gulf; plus the odd theatre in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.)

Opening weekend ₹18 crore (estimated)

Total for overseas

Dec 11 and 12 An estimated ₹15 crore (for countries other than the USA, ₹10 crore has been estimated). This is an overseas opening day record for a South Indian film.

Opening weekend Roughly ₹30 crore

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.34cr overseas (including pure estimates)

Worldwide total

Dec 11 and 12 International Business Times initially estimated total collections for the opening day at around ₹ 30 crore worldwide.

However, when firmer figures came in, the worldwide collection stood at ₹32crore. This is a worldwide opening day record for a South Indian film. "Kaththi" had grossed ₹23.45 crore on the first day, and thus got relegated to the no.2 position.

Lingaa thus has the 5th highest Day One collections for an Indian film, after "Happy New Year," "Singham Returns," "Bang Bang" and "Kick," Sangeetha Seshagiri, International Business Times reported.

Opening weekend ₹86.3 crore (estimated)

This figure includes unconfirmed sums of around ₹10 crore. Even if they later prove to be much lower, "Lingaa" seems to have overtaken "Kaththi’s" opening weekend (₹71 crore worldwide) by a margin and set a Tamil/ South Indian record.

₹86.3 crore is huge for a Tamil film, most likely a record for the opening weekend, but considering what Eros and the distributors have paid [details elsewhere in this article], the film should be doing better—much better.

(12-21 Dec: 10 days): Rs.130cr

Rs.130cr in 10 days was dismal showing. It was hoped that the Christmas holidays would help revive the fortunes of trilingual Lingaa.

vs. Kaththi

Lingaa beat the Vijay-starrer Kaththi in the USA but not in Australia, Malaysia or the UK.

UK: "Kaththi" opened on 56 screens. Opening weekend: ₹2.19 crore; second weekend (total collections till then: ₹3.13 crore).

"Lingaa" opened on 36 screens. Opening weekend: ₹1.68 crore; second weekend (total collections till then: Just over ₹2 crore).

Malaysia: "Kaththi" Opening weekend: ₹3.30 crore; second weekend (total collections till then: ₹3.74 crore).

"Lingaa" Opening weekend: ₹2.26 crore; second weekend (total collections till then: Just over ₹3.55 crore).

Australia "Kaththi" opened on 10 screens. Opening weekend: ₹86.81 lakh; second weekend (total collections till then: ₹1.01 crore).

"Lingaa" opened on ? screens. Second weekend (total collections till then: ₹78.47 lakh).

Worldwide lifetime total

All figures are estimates of business till 30/ 31 Dec 2014 and based on Andhra Box Office

Total: ₹148.75 crore (in three languages put together)

Worldwide theatricals estimated price/ value: ₹135 crore (including Hindi-Urdu)

Distributor share: ₹78.5 crore

Overall share: 40% approximately.

In comparison, the Tamil-only Kaththi's lifetime worldwide collections were roughly ₹124.5 crore. Lingaa might have set a new record for total collections but it was far more expensive to make--and was bought by distributors at a much higher figure.

Indpaedia's take: Lingaa earned more than any film that was basically in Tamil (the Hindi version didn't count; though the Telugu version should have). However, considering its cost of production and the price at which it was sold, it was not a success.

Andhra Box Office's verdict on Lingaa’s box office performance: Disaster.

Number of screens

Australia: Lingaa's release schedule Down Under. The film broke Vijay's records in France.

First reports from mainstream media suggested that the film would be released on 3000 screens. Closer to the film’s release the number seems to have increased to between 4500 (tamilstar) and 5500 (DNA India) in the three languages and overseas exhibition put together.

The film was said to be releasing on 1500 screens in overseas markets

However, by 12 Dec, the day of the film’s premiere, the number of screens being talked about had dropped to 3000 in India and 1000 overseas. The actual number was 600 screens in TN (confirmed) and an estimated 3000 screens worldwide (2000+ in India and less than 1000 screens overseas).

More screens than 'PK'

Rajinikanth's 'Lingaa' beats Aamir Khan's 'PK'- Here's how! DNA India Tuesday, 2 December 2014

In the battle for the number of screens allotted to each film., it seems Rajini has overtaken Aamir Khan whose ambitious project PK is releasing a week later. Rajinikanth's Lingaa is expected to open huge with a screen count of around 5500 whereas Aamir's PK will release in around 4500-5000 screens all over the world. The Rajinikanth - Sonakshi Sinha starrer will have a bombastic opening in US, UK, and Malaysia circuits and the film is likely to cash in on Rajinikanth's star power.

France: More screens than Kaththi

Lingaa Breaks Kaththi's Record! Filmi Beat

Surpassing the record that was earlier set by Vijay's Kaththi, Lingaa is set to make its way into 45 theatres all over France while Kaththi had earlier made it to 25 theatres.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, The Tamil Cultural Association has arranged a special screening of the film on 12th and 13th of December. The first show will be screened at the GH Whampoa, hall number 1 at 9:15 pm on 12th and the next at the same theatre hall number 4 at 6:15 pm on 13th. They have also informed that the tickets for the movie can be purchased at the Maharaja Emporium in Hong Kong. The news has managed to put a smile on every Rajinikanth fans' face in Hong Kong as they now can catch their favourite star on screen.

USA: Screened at XL MAX

First non-Hollywood film at XL MAX

Lingaa took over 310 screens for its Tamil and Telugu versions in the USA. For the first time ever, XL MAX (IMAX) at Muvico Rosemont, IL, one of the biggest auditoriums in mid-west USA, was booked for a non-Hollywood movie, for the entire week. (behindwoods)

The making of the film

Tamil Wire <> India Glitz <> Truth Dive

Shooting

The shooting kick started in the first week of May 2014. The shoots were canned in exotic locations in and around Mysore. The intro song was canned in UAE and Macau.

The film had its share of controversies when shooting reportedly got halted once at the Mysore Palace when they were denied permission and second time at Hyderabad when the locals created havoc.

Then, buzzoop added, The Superstar is believed to have fainted on the sets while a high- octane stunt sequence was being canned.

The film, directed by K. S. Ravikumar, was making rapid progress at Ramoji Rao Film City. Rajini was reportedly taking part in a strenuous fight sequence without a body double when the mishap took place.

Sources said that he suddenly felt giddy and fainted and was rushed to a private hospital. Fortunately, there was nothing serious and doctors said that he fainted due to an allergy and was asked to take rest for a day.

However, Ravikumar rubbished the report on his social networking website. He wrote, “Early in the day, rumours started making rounds in a Tamil news daily that Superstar Rajinikanth had fallen sick while shooting for his upcoming film Lingaa. The news is false & baseless Mr. Rajinikanth is hale and hearty; very much happily active in the shooting and the news published are absolutely false ones. Ever Thankful!

On Nov 5 2014 renowned cinematographer Rathnavelu, fondly called as Randy has tweeted in his official Twitter page that the shooting of Rajinikanth’s upcoming film Lingaa was completed.

Randy tweeted, “Randy’s tweet reads as follows: “Yeah it’s a wrap! Lingaa movie shoot completed. Hugs from Thalaivar n KSR. Movie got over in lightning speed .. Thanx for my wonderful team”.

The post production works of the movie started thereafter.

Sets

National Award winning art director Sabu Cyril, who is the production designer of Superstar Rajinikanth’s ‘Lingaa’, has revealed that “We constructed a huge dam like set in a record time for ‘Lingaa’. We also built a full-fledged railway station and a train of British era,” he says.

Sabu and his team also created a palace for some important scenes. And for the ‘Mona Gasolina…’ song, which is already making waves, the production designer had to come up with a ship.

Since Sabu Cyril was elevated as production designer in Superstar Rajinikanth's 'Lingaa', he handpicked his former student Amaran as the film's art director.

Amaran, who worked for six movies with Mysskin, has done a great job in 'Lingaa' and won the appreciation of K S Ravikumar, Sabu Cyril, and of course, Rajini.

"We erected two grand sets for 'Va Mannava...' and 'Mona Gasolina...' songs. All this was done in record time," Amaran says.

Technology

Telugu One reported: Lingaa is creating the technical sensation now … Lingaa will be the first film in which a Phantom Flex 4k high speed camera is being used. Meanwhile, Hollywood's Lee Whittake is taking care of the stunt sequences in the film. He was the same person who designed stunts for Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam.

See also...

...the profiles of all important actresses currently active in South Indian cinema, either by entering their names in the Search rectangle (top right) or by clicking the Cinema-TV-Pop link below.

See also the pages on

Rajinikanth

Lingaa (2014):

...for a detailed storyline, updated box office performance, critical reception, pre-release details and 18 images/ photographs/ stills from all songs of Lingaa.

Kochadaiiyaan

Kabali

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