Coolie: Why Rajinikanth bringing back the film title is significant in today's India

PUBLISHED DATE : 23/Apr/2024

Coolie: Why Rajinikanth bringing back the film title is significant in today's India

'Superstar' Rajinikanth, a Tamil star actor riding as a lead at 73, and a rare phenomenon who has been going strong for over 50+ years now, had a new movie title release this Monday. In his maiden collaboration with lucrative talent Lokesh Kanagaraj, Rajinikanth has come out as Coolie, a term predominantly used to refer to porters in India.  


Moviewise, Coolie brings back truck loads of Rajinikanth nostalgia like the famous Kannadasan lyrics of the Jagame Thanthiram song from Ninaithale Inikkum (1979), which Rajini had repeated as a dialogue in Ranga (1982). The Ilayaraaja composed Vaa Vaa Pakkam Vaa song from Thanga Magan (1983) has also been revived as an Anirudh remix.



But the significance of using Coolie as a title in today's day and age, is what has caught MovieCrow's attention. As known, Coolie to the rest of the world is a slur used against black and brown people, and the South Asian diaspora is often subject to the term 'brown coolie', as an insult.



In some sections of India too, 'coolie' is used as a colourist slur against dark-skinned people both on and offline. With the rise of divisive politics and social media in the country, the left-leaning, Tamil speaking South Indians have been one of the many groups to bear the brunt of this slur, especially in the past decade.

Rajinikanth is not just a beacon of stardom in Tamil cinema, but is a name revered throughout the country, especially in political circles. An actor of Rajinikanth's influence, bringing back Coolie as a film title, and changing its usage from a negative connotation to a positive one, thereby cleansing social media of  hateful remnants, is a praise-worthy prudent move in today's India.

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