Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Sivaji – A Personal Review – Need for new superlative good adjectives in all languages

This article has the plot in detail. If you want the suspense, dont bother.
The main intent of going to a thriuvizha is to watch the deity on the day of the "ther". The excitement starts to build a few months ago peaking on the starting day of the fest. Surrounding the main temple will be an array of talent – the hawkers, the astrologers, the statue makers, the weavers, the flower sellers, the musicians, the dancers, the game stalls, the magicians, the food and the like. They all are good individually no doubt, but only in combination with the deity, they get a feel, a special place and importance.
 
Going to Sivaji was one such experience. This movie saw the combination of the greatest talent in Indian Cinema – Shankar, ARR, Thota Tharani, KV Anand, Anthony, Peter Hein, Prabhudeva, SPB and a host of others. All of them were drawn in to one magnet – the man, the magic, the superstar – Rajni. Never before has Indian cinema witnessed such a combination of talent. Never again will it witness this sort of combination except for another Rajni movie.
 
Some say had it not been for Shankar, no such expensive sets would have been possible. Shankar was able to exceed all his expenses made previuosly only because of Rajni. The producers could liberally spend without fear because for sure a Rajni movie would give them profits. This is the case for every other person who worked for Sivaji. They could unleash themselves like they never before could.
 
I got to see it 7 days after it released and I personally went to watch it only for Rajnikanth. 
 
Starting off with the old music and screen style (like the olden day reels), Shankar captured everyone. Then with a different R-A-J-N-I, all were wow struck!
 
The story is no doubt an old one. From the times of Ramayana through Robinhood to Rajnikanth, this is the story we have been hearing, hero doing good things for the people overcoming all odds and the bad guys. Only, the way is different – he brings out black money to help the poor.
 
The build up to the intro was superb. The intro was very colorful. Balleilakka song had SPB’s voice and all the color that could be captured. I long to go to Pune to see that place. KV Anand mentioned that they did not do any graphics for that song. Just went there and shot it. Shankar has flavored it with large doses of paint on the body. The pot and the tiger looked very real and all kudos to the artists! When a hundred Rajni faces came up, the theatre roared.
 
The first half was full of comedy. It was very decent – thats a rarity. No laughing at nudity, no beating up a person, no insulting women, no dumb bra jokes – rarer still. Straight, enjoyable comedy. Imitating in comedy is new for Rajni fans. The Vadivelu imitations were really good. The part where Vivek says punch dialogues is really good – it shows the maturity of the actor Rajni. No other artist has allowed the comedian to get in front of them until Sivaji. Every one from Raja, Shriya to Pappaiya contributed to comedy in a good way not to mention Mayilsaami, Chinni Jayanth and Dhaamu in the end. Rajni himself has delivered very good comedy – the chilli throws, the vaanga pazhagalaam, the census scene etc. Peak of the comedy was the Laka laka laka by Livingston. Great timing!!
 
The interval was typical Rajni. The story moved along with the comedy in the first half. When the hero is left with only a rupee and comes to the platform, there are no histrionics. Only the decision to move forward. He has decided that he has to take the Singa Paadhai – the brave route to conquer the villains. The toss of the coin only confirms it – ever heard of fortune favoring the brave?
 
Then the fast second half. The hero catches the villains in a do or die senario. Suman is the character Adhiseshan personified. Tall, well built and in whites, he suits the wolf in sheep’s clothing perfectly. Some people say that the villain was very stupid, he could have killed Rajni in the first place and all. When will they ever grow up? Villains have been stupid from the time of Kamsa. IF Kamsa did not want the eighth child to be born when he knew that it was going to kill him, why did he put Vasudeva and Devaki in the same cell? Got answers? Why did Napolean go to Russia knowing the cold? Its because they are human and to err is human. Dont question this if you dont hav ethe guts to question others. 🙂
 
Cochin Haniffa’s performance is plausible as well. Suman is the beaten snake and he hits back at the hero and tries to kill him. However, Rajni’s good doings help him. Ever heard of Dharmam Thalai Kaakkum?
 
He stages a fake death and comes back as Mottai Boss. Mottai Boss is so stylish and crisp in his doings. Nee Nadandhal Nadai Azhagu, nee sirithal sirippazhagu, nee pesum tamizh azhagu… Rajni reminds us of Baasha in the last 20 minutes. The mottai Rajni stunt is a Matrix imitation but done with a difference by Hein. Great fitting finish!! Shankar ended the movie with a positive note, India Vallarasu Naadu Aagiyadhu, Kanavu Mei Pattadhu reflecting the feelings of the great Bharathi who long ago said Kanavu Mei Pada Vendum, Kaariyathil Urudhi Vendum. If those words of Bharathi could trigger freedom feelings then, why not Sivaji trigger a rebellion now? Just a thought.
 
Rajni – The Man holding them all – Very very stylish
Somethings in life dont need logic. Why we like our friends, why we like our homes or home food dont have reasons. They are loved because they have their own flavor, their own magic, their own uniqueness and style. Life would lose its flair if we tried to reason it out. There is still place for magic in life, logic can take second place atleast in a cinema theatre!!
 
I like Rajni and there is no way anyone can reason the magic he works on screen. I respect his humbleness and that coupled with his style has made me his fan. He holds the audience like no one in world cinema can at the age of 60. Try holding the attention of your own children at that age and mostly you’d be a miserable failure. What he gets is what he deserves and what he commands.
 
He has you gaping whether its the chilli flick, the crackers, the opening of Athiradee song, the rap on the heads as Mottai Boss, the spectacle turns, the match stick rub or the coin tossing, he has done them brilliantly like only he can. Even the scene where he supports his wife is very much appreciable. The majestic feel that one gets when he sits like a king at the interval is plausible as well.
 
It is fact that Rajni is the reason for success of this movie. The beauty is saying this doesnt take away credit from others.
Shankar – Great directorial bit. He has give his own touch to the movie. The scene where all the villians were talking to each other had the TV running on the background. It had the SurfExcel ad where the girl uses a coin to wipe out the dirt from the shirt. If cleansing the society could be that easy!! Picturizing the Athiradee song showed his genius.
Sujatha – To the point dialogues. There is no beating around the bush. "Saagara naal therinju pochu na VaazharaNaal naragam aahidum." "Adhisheshan na pottu vechikittu pongal saapadravan nenechaya?" and "Idhe kelviya ethana thadava daa kepeenga." reflected the thoughts of characters beautifully. "Ellam vandhuduchu, aana idhu innum pogala." and "Kanna, Panninga dhaan koottama varum, Singam single aa thaan varum." were really bold and beautiful. Who else but Sujatha can pen them?
Songs, Choreo, Thota Tharani, KV Anand and ARR – In a class of their own. Vaali, Vairamuthu, Pa.Vijay and na.Muthukumar penned the songs. Need I say that the songs were the works of geniuses? Prabhudeva, Raju Sundaram, Brinda and Lawrence Raghavendra did the choreo. Should I say more as to why it was good? Wonder how everytime ARR can produce such good music! KV Anand has risen in my eye above PC Sreeram and Santosh Sivan. The way he has handles the camera throughout the movie is very impressive. Need I talk of Thota’s sets? Sets were Hollywood Class.
Peter Hein, Anthony – The car fight was there to please the youth. And pleasing it was! Hein showed his class in the Mottai Rajni stunt and in the Music Shop stunt. Anthony was crisp as ever.
Shriya – She is beauty personified. She had cried well in the senti scenes. Her dance was impeccable and very graceful.
Vivek – His rockbottom career gets a life after Sivaji. Extremely good comedy from his side.
AVM – Nice ‘un off their shelf. The moment it was a Rajni venture, it was a no risk venture. But still the amount of money would have been mammoth to manage. Well managed and well distributed throughout the world. They managed the highest record number of prints for any movie in the world (2900). Thats some administration!!
 
Watch this movie, if you are a Rajni fan, you will love it. If you are not a Rajni fan, you will still love it, provided you have still got some youth, hope and brain left in you. 🙂
 
Negatives
1. Shriya’s Lip Synch – Forgivable in any movie but not this. She doesnt even know how to say Sivaji.
2. Some Dance Steps – Some steps in Balleilakka were out of synch.
3. Screen Appearance of Shankar, Thota Tharani and KV Anand was not required but forgivable given the fact they would like to show themselves at least once on screen for the hard work they have put in.  
4. The stamping of musical instruments is not forgivable by me.
 
Tamil Cinema Industry has reached a new crescendo with Sivaji. My only hope is that it should maintain this trend of making intelligent, stylish, good movies and set its own standards. Something tells me they will.
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This entry was posted on June 26, 2007 by in Movie Reviews.

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