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Sivaji – The Boss June 20, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Tamil, Telugu.
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Cooolll – as Rajni says… is one word to describe the movie which has since the past 2 weeks monopolized the airwaves, print and everything in between. No wonder it’s rocking the BO even in places like Delhi and Mumbai (not to forget Japan and Malaysia). Hype isn’t a stranger to a Rajnikanth movie but what further fueled the Sivaji frenzy to unprecedented levels was the coming together of Rajni, Shankar and Rahman.

But first and foremost please be warned that this is an out and out Rajnikanth film ably backed by Shankar and Rahman. Going by this rationale I would easily rate Sivaji as Rajni’s best film ever and it is going be really tough for anyone who helms Rajni’s next to surpass this. The plot which was kept a top secret was revealed a day before the release by none other than Chandrababu Naidu who was shown a preview (and since then he is promoting the movie like crazy). Similar to Shankar’s previous vigilante dramas which dealt around bribery, corruption, public apathy and bureaucracy; this one is about the black economy and how one man roots all of it out and spends it in the nation’s service.

However, please don’t expect any realism here. In fact I wouldn’t even say that Shankar’s previous films were realistic but at least they made you feel good. That feel good effect isn’t visible here because it is completely overshadowed by the presence of Rajni – and in this case that’s definitely not a bad thing at all. Rajni’s always got his gimmicks on hand (this time it’s the chewing gum and a one rupee coin) – what he desperately needed was a big budget film to back his superstar stature and Sivaji landed in his lap at the right time. He is one guy in the industry who I wouldn’t mind to see flying around and bashing twenty people at a time. And yes, he definitely can act despite what his detractors say. He dominates every frame with elan makes sure there isn’t a single moment of boredom. Most importantly, he really looks at least 20-30 years younger and equally charming in all those swanky suits – full credit to the guys who made this possible. He is ably supported by Vivek and the camaraderie between them is great.

The other actor who stands out is a clean shaven Suman – whose formidable villainy matches Rajni’s presence. Shriya plays glam doll to perfection exposing her anatomy liberally. Cinematography by K.V. Anand is brilliant. The action sequences progressively go over the top but that is forgivable considering that this aspect is one of the main draws in Rajni’s films. A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack as well as the background score are rocking. Most of the money in this movie seems to have gone in the song picturizations. The last song Athiradee is spectacularly filmed – from the look of it I would guess it’s one of the most expensive songs ever shot in Indian cinema.

Despite throwing logic to air most of the times, director Shankar deserves a pat on his back for delivering yet another “commercial blockbuster” with all the required ingredients which should satisfy everyone provided they watch this film with certain assumptions I mentioned before. Whether you love him or hate him or you just don’t care – Sivaji is the quintessential Rajni entertainer which everyone should watch even if just to figure out what’s all the fuss about this guy is.

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1. Sai - July 1, 2007

Larger than life escapist entertainment at its best. The kind that can only be made in South India. The kind that Rajnikanth specializes in.

I took your advice and prepared myself for a complete Rajni flick and I was happily transported back into childhood when one didn’t question logic and couldn’t help but get entertained by the movies in this genre. Whistles, hollers, claps, vociferous applause and shreds of paper flying all around – the consummate star-centric movie experience (even in the USA).

Rajni’s unique style is unparalleled and Shankar presents him in the best possible way that will make Rajni fans ecstatic. Rajni sweeps through the film with his towering screen presence. His bald look later in the film is quite superb and his mannerisms are “cool”. He entertains throughout and acts wherever necessary. Shankar takes a backseat this time but his presence behind the camera can’t be missed. He applies his formula but makes a complete Rajni film. He spends money like water but achieves the desired impact on screen and he is one of the very few who can conceive and satisfactorily deliver such expensive sequences. There are quite a few moments in the film that might play as intentionally funny for some and acceptably over the top for others. Shankar achieves a right balance for most part though he does go overboard at a few places (most notably the poor graphics in the car fight at the drive-in theatre). The pre-climax dream song is extremely funny with the most unimaginable gravity defying stunts. Previous films of Rajni and also other popular stars are referenced in the most hilarious ways. Screenplay-wise this isn’t a great movie but it totally serves the purpose of entertaining the audience.

Along with these two, Vivek and A.R.Rahman form the pillars of strength for this film. Vivek gets the best one-liners and he helps in creating a lot of funny moments throughout the film. He is undoubtedly the best Tamil comedian of this generation. Rahman delivers a rousing background score and indulges Rajni fans with his soundtrack. Shriya is passable considering that she uses her standard expressions (those who haven’t seen her much before could be impressed). I did love her Sridevi imitation though (in the Telugu version). Suman is a competent antagonist but doesn’t really get a strong villianous role. An action hero way past his sell by date, he does quite well and this might open up new avenues for him.

People who are expecting sense are either completely misinformed or just ignorant. Once again, everyone should be warned that this isn’t a film that one expects from Shankar but it is a complete Rajnikanth film. A short while into the film, you are sure to realise that this is a “No Logic Only Magic” film and therefore shouldn’t be disappointed by the lack of realism after that. Though some might dislike a lot of the seemingly juvenile comedy in the first half, it is hard not to be entertained in the latter part of the film. I found it hard to get the smile off my face for a large part of the film. It has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed an escapist flick so much. Go for it unless you believe you are too classy or intelligent to enjoy this.

2. Shujath - July 3, 2007

I was quite surprised how quite a few critics said that the film was quite boring. Don’t know what they were looking for. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen the film and even today when I think about this…it gives me a high.


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