100% Rajini + 0% Shankar + (- logic)

I thoroughly enjoyed the Rajini's ‘Sivaji’ and I have seen it two times so far. But I was totally disappointed with the Shankar's ‘Sivaji’. I think all those who expected a typical Shankar movie (the then Shankar who made Indian or Mudhalvan not the one who made Anniyan or Boys) are the ones who have trashed the movie. Though as a Rajini movie ‘Sivaji’ was beyond my expectations, I couldn’t help but feel that Rajini shouldn’t have missed Shankar’s Mudhalvan. That still remains as a big mistake done by Rajini in his career. That was the ideal script where neither Shankar nor Rajini would have to succumb to other’s image or formula of films.

But the irony is, Shankar is the ONE to be praised for giving us such a grand Rajini movie with Rajini at his best and also Shankar is the ONE to be blamed for some of us returning with an odd feeling about why does a Rajini movie even if directed by someone like Shankar doesn’t have a believable story. 0% logic is acceptable but in Sivaji, it goes in the negative.

First half is nothing but a perarasu style of screenplay with technical finesse and of course Rajini in it. On one end Rajini is persuading Shreya’s family to accept him and on the other end he is facing all possible obstacles while trying to make his dream into a reality. In Mudhalvan, when Arjun as a one day CM is attending calls from public, one of the calls will be from Manisha, a brief romantic interlude where Manisha asks Arjun to wear a blue colour shirt and Manivannan will say, ‘Sirukku Neela colour shirt parcel’ a timed dialogue which evokes a smile (and not to forget that few minutes later Arjun will get down from a Car wearing a blue shirt); these little moments in between doesn’t dilute the sensitivity and seriousness in the main proceedings. That was vintage Shankar mixing everything in perfect ratio.

But in Sivaji, the two tracks seldom meet each other. With Rajini getting more and more worried about the society and corruption, we wonder how he finds time and shifts his mind for all those comic interludes with Shreya’s family. Though later we come to know that Sivaji is ambidextrous, it is a characteristic of doing two different things at the same time but not being in two different moods at the same time. Sivaji is full of such disjointed episodes and of course the episodes work brilliantly on its own and as a whole it doesn’t. I feel once the VCD is officially released each of us can have our own edited version of Sivaji. I can make at least 3 different movies out of Sivaji.

Peter Hayen’s stunts are too long and boring to the core, how many times he is going to repeat the same Matrix tricks. Rahman’s background score is loud enough. I think Kanika had a hard time dubbing for Shreya. Inspite of all these, I am going to watch it for the third time coming weekend. So what actually works in Sivaji? Rajini’s charm, charisma, screen presence and style, Vivek’s non stop one-liners, Rahman’s music for Songs, Song picturisation (When I saw the movie for the first time in Salem, there was a special applause when Sahana song ended with the top angle shot of the whole glass set), K.V.Anand’s grand, wide and colorful cinematography, Manish Malhotra’s costumes, Thotta Tharani’s production design, Shreya’s body, Sujatha’s dialogues and above all Motta Boss.

Story, Screenplay, so called Shankar message are all just an excuse to support Rajini to do his own things in the best possible way. For now I may enjoy Sivaji but few months later when I want to see the same Rajini in action in a more meaningful and entertaining, gripping and commercial way, I will fall back to Maniratnam’s Thalapathi. It was one of those ideal masterpieces where Super hero remained a super hero with the director not compromising on anything to give the movie a modern epic touch to it.


Filbert said...

Agree with your review in parts :) There are some folks who talk about how Shankar could have made a movie in his style with Thalaivar in it. The problem with that is you never know how the fans will react. With so much money riding on the movie, Shankar has obviously gone for the safe option - make a Rajni movie with him directing it and we have seen the response the movie is getting.

We might call Thalapathi a masterpiece. But hope you know that though the movie was a big hit, it did not turn out to be the hit that it was expected to be, what with the 5 biggies coming together. Reason was simple - it was a Mani Rathnam movie first and a Rajni movie next. And that is exactly why when fans are asked about their favorite Thalaivar movie, most of them will answer an Annamalai or a Baashaa :)

Suresh Kumar said...

Filbert - I can understand it from Shankar's perspective. I think he was helpless, he was forced to do something safe.

i think Thalapathi is a perfect mix of both Mani and Rajini. Mani used Rajini acting skills than his style or image to the most in the movie. I thought Shankar would do something like what he did to Kamal Haasan with Indian. Don't you think Indian was a pucca commercial movie full of such safe elements and yet it fetched Kamal Haasan national award for best actor and we still consider that movie as shankar's best and also the movie was a such a roaring hit then.

Karthik Sriram said...

Hey we have same conclusions... check out my "review" of sivaji!

EnvyRam said...

Suresh ... was just thinking about it since you said about the 'blue shirt' thing in mudhalvan ...

Even in Sivaji, Rajini wears a Astronaut kind of costume and would come into his 'Site'. Just before the 'Style' song. So, typical Shankar elements are there, but not quite there. He has tried to pack so many things into the movie that sum of parts did not become whole.

My parents are here now in UK. I took them around to places in London. Usually when I take photos I experiment and try to bring in some difference rather than conventional. But with my parents, making them stay in one place and taking a foto of decent quality was difficult. If the angles came good, the lighting was not OK. When all the camera aspects were good, my parents were not in the place or did not pose how I wanted to! I felt the difficulty Shankar would have faced while making the movie and the outcome of Sivaji.

- Vinayak

Suresh Kumar said...

Vinayak - I agree, i exaggerate a bit by saying 0% shankar, ofcourse shankar is thr and i have mentioned that in the IRONY part... anyway nice to know that u r with ur parents....

Anonymous said...

Hi Suresh ..

I beleive It was a bit of let down even for Rajini Fans..

Rajni's Intro ..Ballelakka song..
etc were not quite as expected ..

The movie doesn't come anywhere close to typical Rajni films like Batsha, Padayyapa and Annamalai...

--- Sarathy