Sivaji: Err.. Not So Cool!

If you’re inordinately fond of watching Rajnikanth on the screen, Sivaji gives you your money’s worth. For starters, the superstar is on screen for about 97% of the screen time. In fact, there are hardly any scenes without him. You almost wish he’d go off screen for a few minutes, so you can run out and go get popcorn to sustain yourself through three hours of the film. It has its nauseatingly preachy moments. And some annoyingly long fight sequences.

The movie was entertaining. For the simple reason that I haven’t seen Rajni in a movie for a long time, I was willing to sit through it. But I couldn’t spot the oodles of style that come with Rajni. At the most, everything about the movie felt like a bad parody of previous style statements. Since he can’t/ won’t toss a cigarette, he tosses a chewing gum. Which looks ridiculously silly. The one time when the element of style truly enters the movie is towards the end, when Sivaji comes as Mottai Boss – or MGR.

When I go for a Rajni film, I’ve already given up on any chance of there being a strong female character. His heroines are distractions both for him as a character and for the audience. They are usually pretty, brainless and have faint hearts. While this one is no different, she is stunningly foolish. But Vivek saves the movie. Wonderful one-liners.

But there’s a certain inconsistency and patchiness to the movie. The villain doesn’t have a strong recognizable character. You never think of him as an adversary formidable enough. In fact, he comes across as ridiculously weak. And someone please tell me what job in the US helps you save up some Rs 200 crores (with about Rs 50 more crores stacked up as assets in India). There is no logic in the story at all. The thing is, with many Tam films, it’s completely acceptable to be unrealistic. But even that element of unrealism has to be backed up with logic. Go figure.

This is such a hardcore political movie. We didn’t expect otherwise. But the “larger than life” element that is such a core part of Rajni’s style is missing. He is too fallible in this movie. For instance, he actually pays bribes in the movie. There are also no scenes with splitting bullets. Also, he needs a better wig. Seriously. I kept fearing that the one he had one would come off during the fight/ dance scenes.

One more thing. There has to be a law against Udit Narayan singing in Tamil. I can’t take it anymore. It hurts my ears. This has to be one of Rahman’s most lackluster albums. I did like a few songs, and the way they look gorgeous on the screen, but one expects more of Rahman.

But Thalaivar is Thalaivar, and so we dutifully went and saw the movie. Like I said, if all you want to see is Rajni, then it is paisa vasool. Coooool?

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13 Comments

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13 Responses to Sivaji: Err.. Not So Cool!

  1. Good one ! Yes ! He actually gives bribes ! But then, he does other things as well which are a never before. Like the number of people he knocks off with one blow ! With a guitar etc. He doesnt disappoint. Professional ethics !

  2. hi. i just dropped by – since I knew you’d write about this :)

  3. Excellent review – except you actually think “But even that element of unrealism has to be backed up with logic” for a Thalaivar movie.

    Even though I don’t understand Tamil, I went and watched this 3+ hour movie.. and boy I was awestruck or what! I am sure only Rajini can do such a movie.

    Let’s not start the same discussion as Confused’s blog here. Point is, your review is nice.

  4. And someone please tell me what job in the US helps you save up some Rs 200 crores (with about Rs 50 more crores stacked up as assets in India).

    Since you ask, there is precedent. Sabeer Bhatia, Hotmail, Microsoft, $400 million.

    There are also no scenes with splitting bullets.

    That is a clever myth propagated by a 100 million forwards that jobless people keep sending and re-sending. There haven’t been such scenes for like 15 or 20 years now.

    Nice review :)

  5. kavi: Actually I was really upset with the whole breaking of musical instruments bit. But I won’t complain too much. :) I love that making noise on head stunt he pulls off as Mottai Boss.

    reshma: How could I not? :)

    Ojas: Well, you know Tamil Film logic is different. It’s a little complicated. I don’t know how to explain it… But I am waiting for kids in TN trying to electrocute themselves and arranging for their friends to perform CPR later. Sheeesh!

    anantha: Well, you have a point. But am going to still sit and wonder how Rajni made that sort of money. And to be honest, I’d love to see a splitting bullet scene. That’s what I think a Rajni film should have! Not bathtubs filled with Fair and Lovely!

  6. I cannot understand how people equate silly mannerisms post Annamalai with style.

    Thalaivar’s style == the way he moves his hands over his head in the song ‘pothuvaga en manasu thangam’. He had a certain sense of indifference that his body language conveyed — that was style. Not Padayappa.

  7. I didn’t know things can be that bad. I take my statement back. A little logic should be there at least.

  8. There has to be a law against Udit Narayan singing in Tamil.
    If you are petitioning for a ban, please get him banned in Telugu too! He is grotesquely mispronouncing the language. I am a sucker for pronouncing any language right.

    And someone please tell me what job in the US helps you save up some Rs 200 crores
    Damn! I can’t live with this image any more! I was already asked in India, “Did you already have 100 crore?” What the hell do people think we do in the US? Sell drugs!?

    large than life
    Typo?

  9. Yes, yes, yes to every single statement!

  10. Whatever the film about
    It’s Rajni’s impact that he is creating vibes even in north India. Delhi & NCR is having 2nd week and asking for more prints to show the films.

  11. Nilu: Yes, yes. You only are right.

    Ojas: Ha! Yes, a “little” would be very nice. The whole CPR thing in the movie was the stuff of science fiction gone wrong.

    Twisted DNA: I can imagine him butchering Telugu. In fact, I think many Tams who sing Carnatic Classical butcher Telugu on a regular basis. Yes, that was a typo – has been corrected. :) And when you make a 100 crores, please ensure you dutifully give a part to select Indian Bloggers!

    Ideasmith: Thanks!

    Paavani: Oh yes. I found it surprising though that the movie wasn’t really on in any theatre in Central London. They only play Hindi movies in Central London.

  12. suneetha

    Neha,
    A lurker here. Always read your musings but never did comment. I “oh so emphatically” agree about your opinion on Udit NArayan. He should be banned from singing in any languages except Hindi. His telugu songs are atrocious. You have a nice blog here.

  13. This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title Sivaji: Err.. Not So Cool!. Thanks for informative article