03/01/2015 12:52 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

What Went Wrong With Rajinikanth's 'Lingaa'?

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
A young fan of Indian film actor Rajinikant, sporting the star's name in his hair-do, arrives at a movie theatre in Bangalore on December 12, 2014 on the occasion of the release of his movie 'Linga' which coincides with Rajinikant's 64th birthday. The movie is being simultaneously released on 5000 screens worldwide and was made with a budget of 125 crore rupees (200 million US dollars). AFP PHOTO/Manjunath KIRAN (Photo credit should read Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Two days into its launch, 'Lingaa' was rumoured to be rocketing towards the Rs 100 crore mark, expecting to take the worldwide Box Office by storm. Days after its release, 'Lingaa' has seen a barrage of mixed reviews and proved a damp squid at the market, prompting the question: is Rajinikanth’s influence in cinema a thing of the past now?

“After two consecutive ‘duds’, the Tamil film industry pundits are wondering if age has finally caught up with the man who debuted almost 40 years ago in Apoorva Raagangal. Both his releases in 2014 — Kochadaiiyaan and Lingaa — have fared poorly, prompting many distributors to ask for refunds. The budget for each was close to ₹100 crore,” R Ravikumar and Jarshad NK wrote in The Business Line.

“While Kochadaiiyaan’s bad show was blamed on it being an animated film, Lingaa’s tepid performance would be more worrying for Rajinikanth and his legion of fans. It is also unnerving for a Tamil film industry that’s going through a rough patch with only a handful of movies doing well, and at least a hundred lying in the cans with no takers,” the BL report stated.

A FilmiBeat article said Lingaa has accomplished a “decent job”, however has not performed extremely well. Lingaa has not covered the losses Kochadaiyaan had incurred.

Even after it rendered Action Jackson helpless (which, according to IBT, raked in Rs 1.16 crore in 10 days), Firstpost quoted one of Lingaa's directors as saying that the film failed to collect even 20 per cent of their investment. He said the release date -- also the actor's birthday -- was most untimely due to it coincidence with school exams.

Of course, the KS Ravikumar-directed film has also taken a hit with the launch of Aamir Khan’s much-awaited ‘PK’ starring Anushka Sharma, according to IBT.

The BL report said Lingaa released in too many screens (close to 650 in Tamil Nadu alone) and had a rushed job (the film was made in six months). It quoted film analyst Ramesh Bala as saying that “The film was sold at a higher rate than Enthiran, taking into account that film’s performance.”

Either way, Lingaa’s poor performance has the Tamil film industry worried.