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?