Jun 26, 2007

The 'Sivaji' Experience

The long wait was finally over after I saw Sivaji on 24th. It was a thrilling roller coaster ride for about 3 hours during the course of which we shouted ourselves hoarse. Columbus Tamil Sangam gave each of us two coloured sheets that basically told us not to throw confetti in the theater and other such stuff. Talk about devilish minds: we did not have confetti with us but we tore into pieces the coloured sheets we got and used them as confetti. The first few rows were occupied by fans wearing specially designed Sivaji T-Shirts. Before the movie began, one of my friends warned a family sitting right behind us "we will be shouting a lot so please excuse us and if you prefer not to be disturbed please relocate yourselves" Before the man could reply, his wife told us "Oh thats great. We also want some company to shout with us, so no problems". And so it began. We shouted at Rajini's intro, threw the papers and basically rocked the theater with ample suport from the rest of the audience. Our slogans of "Panamarathula Vauvaala, thalaivarukae savalaa" and "Adho paaru lightu, thalivarudhaan weightu" rocked the theater. The first half was a laugh riot. I would not say that this is one of the best efforts by Vivek. But the synergy of his teaming up with Rajini proved to be a dyamite.

Before going to the movie I had read a lot of reviews: ranging from ones that eulogized even the appearance of Rajini's name in the titles to ones that pronounced the entire effort as shabby. The negative reviews subconsciously made me to be more critical of the movie then I would have been otherwise. So I found myself looking out for glitches and idiosyncrasies in the movie, and I am glad to say that I did not find much. The movie has been shot with a high resolution camera and the pictures are quite vivid. The Balaelakka song was very colourful.

The storyline is a concoction of Rajini's time tested themes of 'rags-to-riches' and Shankar's patented 'anti-corruption'. Looks like Shankar wanted Rajini's fans to enjoy everything that Rajini has to offer; from comedies to punch dialogues to action scenes and at the same time wanted his protagonist to fight against corruption at all levels. And there had to be the mandatory 6 songs: 3 in either half of the movie. The result is a movie lasting 3 hours packed with scenes, the transitions between which were at times too rapid and discontinuous.

Rajini's usual intro-scene in all his recent movies were through a song with only Chandramukhi breaking the mould with a fight. Shankar has gone one step ahead and made all the fans have goosebumps by showing Rajni behind bars in the first scene. A very novel idea that, but unfortunately he wanted to include a pseudo-intro song (as in Chandarmukhi) but could not quite come up with a reasonable situation for that. Rajini says in the middle of a party that he wants a traditional tamil girl and the next second we find him dancing with Nayanthara (and she was gorgeous to say the least!!!) in a rural setting. These jumps in scenarios will jingle the nerves of purists, irrespective of their fanaticism for Rajini.

Thalaivar looked old in the first half (irrespective of the 'murattu kaalai' looks). In the second half his looks transform almost to that of 'Thalabathi' movie.The second half was mind blowing. The 'tea kadai' scene will go down as one of Rajini's best performances. His coin tossing scenes were a treat to watch. And I guess soon farmers in thanjavur will be saying 'coooolll' every time it rains. As far as I can remember, I dont know of any movie in which Rajini attempts suicide and it was a surprise to see him do that. And the fights sequences were good. Especially the one after he collects money from Adiseshan (shot in Binny Mills). Rajini in keeping up with his image bashes up lots of baddies. But he does that while he is running away from them. That was a deft touch in portraying reality bordering on the impossible.
The fight scene at the musical shop and the one with cars were a bit too long for comfort. 'Mottai Boss' is out of the world. Chandramukhi in a way has influenced the movie making in lots of ways. Be it the 'Raa Raa' song to which shreya dances, Rajini's hair style in 'Vaaji' song (the sets for which were stunning), or the way Rajini blows a kiss at a corrupt official.

Even though
Shankar was nowhere near his best , I observed that most of the negative reviews were due to half-baked understanding of the movie. The scene of shreya saving Rajini from the train is a comedy track and not to be taken seriously. Some people have been insisting on more heroics from Rajini. Already Shankar has given an overdose of action and Matrix style fights. And Rajini flips the coin the way nobody would have ever done. To ask for more is stretching the limits which Shankar had recognized thankfully.

Rahman's songs for the movie were a treat per se and he has not failed to deliver with the BGM for the movie which was great. There were touches of Baba's theme song (both the melodious tune and the B-A-B-A one) but it was unique. But he should refrain from lending his voice in one way or the other to almost every song of his, either as the main singer or the background humming and shouting. It is not irritating as of now but it soon will be as it will become too drabbing like Harris Jeyaraj's usage of Bombay Jayashree.

Thalai's imitation of Vadivelu by saying " Enna vechu edhuvum comedy, keemadi panalaye" was awesome. The projector in the theater went off for a few minutes and did not come on even after 3 minutes or so. Me and Deepak spontaneously shouted that dialog and everyone in the theater burst out laughing. That was a good moment.

As I came out of the theater I knew that the experience was a 'once in a lifetime' one. When I saw Chandramukhi in Sathyam, the majority of the audience was composed of families who kept mum except for the comedy tracks. But this movie was different. The audience kept up with the pace of the movie. So when Vyas asked me if I am interested in seeing the movie again tomorrow, I said yes without a moment of hesitation and we immediately bought the tickets for the next day's show (as its the last in Columbus). So here I am, going once again to see The Boss for second time on consecutive days, hoping to relive every moments of the first show.


Filarial June 27, 2007 at 12:32:00 AM EDT  

"The scene of shreya saving Rajini from the train is a comedy track and not to be taken seriously"

best scene in the movie machaan..;)

Arun,  July 9, 2007 at 9:15:00 AM EDT  

enna thalaiva, Vyas pathi mattum ezhuthitey, enna maranthuthiye??? Naan naan maximum sound kuduthathe theater-la....

Santhosh C July 9, 2007 at 5:05:00 PM EDT  

@Prashanth: Actually I read in many blogs how thalaivar had to be saved by a girl and is an insult to his macho image, etc., Thats why I said its a comedy track (but shreya removing her red cloth to stop the train was too cliched a scene)

@ Arun:
Haha. Actually I was thinking of writing about our galatta in the second show, but then left it. Of course, if not for your enthu, we would not have thrown the papers and jumped at thalaivar's intro scene :D

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