His latest Vishwaroopam review has a staggering 2,53,589 views. Considering he’s Canadian and isn’t really networked in the film fraternity, this is quite a number. An IT consultant turned film reviewer, Raja never reveals his original name. “As a software guy, I figured out the potential of social media and how it could turn into a business model quite early on. My Indian friends have always exposed me to Tamil cinema and one night when we were watching Billa, I was fascinated by the sheer magnitude of Tamil films,” he says.
Unlike the West, some filmmakers here can be quite touchy about reviews, especially if it’s someone who has no real connect to the land. “Yes, that’s right. I have had a tough time making some people even greet me politely when we meet. But by and large, people are warm. I have met some wonderful people in Chennai including Gautham Menon.” He continues, “Gautham was very nice. In fact, he said he’ll be shooting in Canada soon and wanted to connect.”
To a question on who his favourite star is between Vijay or Ajith, he brushes it off rather nonchalantly. But prod him a little more and pat comes the reply, “Ajith has an infectious star quality. I like his work. Vijay on the other hand is very down to earth and I liked the fact that he extended so much warmth to me.”
The trained dancer, also reveals, “Kollywood has the potential to be as big as Bollywood. We just need to promote it well and rope the world into the films. That’s what I am trying to do. I also have a Review Rani who once joined me to review Poda Podi. According to me it’s a chick-flick and I wanted to see how a girl would gauge Simbu as an actor. It was a lot of fun.”
On its viability as a business, he says, “There is a huge potential and my becoming a brand is testimony to that. My dad calls me Raja now and lots of people around the world wait for my reviews. I have an entire team which contributes to the website and my videos.”
Speaking about his upcoming role in Venkat Prabhu’s Biryani, he says, “I am doing a dance number choreographed by Shobhi. I am so excited!” Not one to let the distance hinder the bond he shares, he says, “I will visit India more often. I am looking at ways to collaborate with filmmakers and I will be producing my own Tamil film soon.”