Quite a number of images flash through one's mind upon hearing the name Rajinikanth - of a romantic wooing his girl with some super-cool dance moves, the ever-dependable hero taking the villains apart with absolute ease and the ultimate savior of the downtrodden.
But do you recollect a Rajini who sits down to tell tales to little ones? Aishwaryaa does, and she is here to tell the wonderful tales she heard from her Superstar dad years ago at their family house in Madras.
'Standing on an Apple Box' by Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush brings you candid incidents from the star kid's life (yes, she still gets to be called one though she crossed the 30 mark some time ago).
The author's name carries much weight as she is the eldest daughter of a demigod and the wife of a young superstar. But Aishwaryaa has her feet grounded in the Tamil soil, thanks to her appa who left his star-studded shoes at the doorstep every time he walked into his home.
Aishwaryaa recollects how her father patiently listened to all her 'important' queries - why does he wear vibhuti (bhasmam) on his head, why he likes to sit in the dark and why does he pick only one dish when there is a sumptuous spread before him? Rajini gave her elaborate answers complete with the finer details and ensured that little Aishwaryaa inculcated the values in them.
The first few chapters concentrate on her interactions with her parents and how it helped shape her life. But then we also get a sneak-peak into her relationship with hubby dearest Dhanush. And between all these talks on Rajinikanth and Dhanush, we also get to know about Aishwaryaa's growth as a filmmaker.
The author sticks to a conversational tone from start to finish and helps you visualize the incidents, bulk of which happened decades ago. As you flip through the pages, you get the sepia-tinted image of a slightly chubby teenager with neatly plaited hair sitting cross-legged on the floor as she hangs on to every word her father utters.
However, what Aishwaryaa leaves out are the many controversies she is sure to have heard or witnessed, first as a star kid and later as a filmmaker. In the book, she has narrated two incidents that would have got lead position in any tabloid or Page 3, but leaves out the names and actual references of those involved: it's just 'a beautiful heroine' or 'Producer T'. Unless you are a keen follower of the Tamil industry, you will get the feeling of having missed out on the dessert.
Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush has shown us the very much human side of Rajini, the star (not that we thought he was any different, but it's good to be reassured) and what made him stay grounded despite his almost filmy rise to success.
There could be many a books written on the Superstar but this one is a special tribute to the star himself and his countless fans. Pick it up!
Book name: Standing on an Apple Box
Author: Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs 399