I have never seen any movie on its first day, let alone a Rajini starrer. When the tickets for Sivaji started to be sold over the internet last week, I wasn’t very inclined as I preferred to wait for the DVD. It so happened that we chose to go for a dinner at a restaurant in Harrow and next to it was the cinema screening ‘Sivaji’. Just out of curiosity, I walked in and enquired about the ticket availability and there were three for the opening show. In a rush of blood, tickets were exchanged for cash. There we were at Harrow Safari (London) at the first day, first show of the most expected and most hyped up movie of the year. We didn’t even think a bit about how our two year old Anirud would react on his first movie experience.
The movie ‘Sivaji’ opens with the scene where a hand-cuffed Rajini is arrested and taken to the prison. So many versions of the story were doing rounds ever since AVM – Shankar – Rajini teamed up for this project. Rest of the story, barring the climax happens in a flashback.
Rajini as Sivaji arrives in India from States after making lots of money there. He wants to provide free education, free medical facilities etc to all and sundry. Villain Adiseshan (Suman) doesn’t like the idea as it would affect his business (what else – medical college, hospital, university etc) and creates hurdles through his cohorts in the government. Yet, Rajini bribes all the officials and goes ahead with the construction of buildings of the above stuff. Angered Suman effects the change of government and Rajini loses every penny he had and comes to the street. How Rajini gets back and takes revenge forms the rest of the story. In between he chases Shriya, sings few duets and marries her. Also, he brings out all the black money from the fraudsters including villain Suman back and turns them into white.
Did you hear the same story line in Padayappa? Yes, you did. Does the free education stuff reminds you of ‘Gentleman’? Yes, you are right indeed. The black money stuff – you would be right in thinking that you heard the same in ‘Mudhalvan’ and ‘Indian’ in a different flavour.
The biggest drawback of Sivaji is that even a child would be able to get the story after the first five minutes. ‘Sivaji’ is a borrowed mix of ‘Padayappa’, ‘Gentleman’, ‘Indian’ and ‘Mudhalvan’. Yet, Sivaji is different. Different because Director Shankar has never bothered to bring his pet theme of ‘abolishing the black economy’ into the foreground. Instead, he filled every frame of the film with lot of Rajini-isms sprinkled with good comedy. Vivek appears in almost every scene with Rajini and has single-handedly taken care of the comedy bit. I don’t know why they chose Shriya for this role. While she does a good job of exposing her assets, I think she watches quite a lot of Tamil megaserials. Ore azhuvaachi throughout. Suman has done a neat job as villain. Raghuvaran makes a brief appearance. So does umpteen other people like Manivannan, Solomon Papiah, Carl Hooper… err… Vadivukkarasi, Mayilsamy, Chinni Jayanth etc. There was a talk about Amitabh making a guest appearance. Where was he?
The main strength of this film is Superstar’s presence in every frame. It is a fact that his presence overshadows all the exorbidant sets that are filled throughout. In most of the scenes, he appears at least 15 years young. Not many punch dialogues, but lot of stylish mannerisms – especially the way he flips the 1 rupee coin, the way he gets the bubblegum into his mouth, the way he taps his ‘mottai mandai’ would be fun to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if our crazy fans back in TN start biting chillies after watching ‘Sivaji’.
Songs have been picturised so well. In ‘Anniyan’ Shankar painted the entire village/trucks etc. In the ‘Balleilika’ song of Sivaji, he has painted the pot bellys with the face of Rajini. Nice to watch, but so typical. SPB has once again proved how his voice makes the difference for the opening song of a Rajini film. I was a bit sceptical about the ‘Oru Koodai Sunlight’ song, but it has blended well indeed. I guess the ‘Sahana/Sahara saaral’ song would have cost the producers a lot.
To sum it up, Sivaji doesn’t disappoint. Rajini seems to know his limitations and has provided what is expected of him. Whatever his fans expect – be it a fight with 50 people, be it style, be it punch dialogues it is there. It is an expensive Rajini masala. But what does this most expensive movie in India mean for Director Shankar? Sadly, this film has once again exposed that he could not or rather would not come out of the circle he has drawn for himself.
Is Sivaji watchable? Yes!
Is Sivaji entertaining? Yes!
Does Sivaji provide value for money? Depends on how much you paid for the ticket.
On a personal note, our little one watched in awe without moving a bit, which was a big relief for us. On the way back, he was saying ‘rayyinii’, ‘ballikaaa’. Well, here comes the next generation of fans for the Super Star. Typing this at 2:25 AM hoping that this would be the first descriptive review of Sivaji in the blogosphere.
Oh yeah… Nayan Tara looked gorgeous in ‘Balleilikka’. Wonder how she became this slim.