Monday, July 02, 2007

Why prefer Sivaji over JBJ and Oceans Thirteen

After a month long vacation, there was quite a lot of backlog that I had accumulated when it came to Bollywood and Hollywood flicks. And guess what I was ignorant about most? That in the interim there was this Tamil film that had released which ultimately turned out to be the first film that I wanted to watch as soon as I landed back into the town!

No Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, no Ocean's Thirteen, no Shrek 3, no Chain Kulli Ki Main Kulli no Fantastic Four - what I wanted to catch up was, you guessed it right, SIVAJI!

Not that I won't be catching up on the flicks mentioned above, yes I certainly would, but then within a couple of hours of landing, I marched straight to catch the first available show of Sivaji at my neighborhood multiplex.

‘No English subtitles sir’, I was told by the Box Office attendant. ‘Oh no’, I sighed. Quick I ring up by my Chennai based Tamilian buddy Bala and he promised that it definitely was not a bad idea at all to watch the flick even without subtitles. It's a lethal combination of Rajni and Shankar, he educated me, and I won't miss out on all the adrenalin rush even if I won't understand a word.

He turned out to be so very right!

Yes, first one hour into the film did make me feel that Sivaji was a lot more hype than it actually warranted. In fact, the endless wooing scenes between Rajni and Shreya Saran [I am looking forward to seeing her again in Awarapan today] were turning out to be yawny and oh-so-predictable. An occasional chilly scene did bring on laughs but references to a couple of dark skinned neighborhood girls seemed in bad taste.

I started wondering what the big deal about the entire film was. Agreed that the screen sparkled whenever Rajni along with his buddy [I would love to see this guy do some light hearted stuff in Bollywood too!] struggled with all the politicians and bureaucrats of the world to get their 200 crore project in place, but then the expectations were a lot higher.

Yes, this is where Shankar came to fore as one could remember the treatment in his earlier films like Gentleman, Indian and Nayak where he showed a common man trying to fight against the establishment. But then the trouble was that after every such interesting sequence, there was a song or a romantic rendezvous that seemed like a painful roadblock.

Thankfully, Shankar still kept the film sailing smooth by bringing on the antagonist Adi [the guy is a powerhouse on screen!] at regular interval who seemed like just the right opponent for Rajni. You want to see more of him. You want to see more of him v/s Rajni. You want the drama to revolve around the two BIG guys.

Shankar teases you by depriving you of all the fun. And action!

And soon you know that it is due to all the right reasons.

Because soon after the 200-crore-ka-maalik Sivaji is turned into a pauper and a one rupee coin is handed over to him by Adi, you know that it is going to be drama time soon. Intermission sign is flashed and there is such a buzz in the auditorium that it has to be experienced to be believed.

Ok, so the character of System Software Architect Sivaji who has returned from US couldn't get into the 'typical' Rajni mode all through the first half but then the second half more than makes up for it. And how!

The coming-back-to-power game of Sivaji begins as he transitions into THE BOSS who forms his own team to extract all the black money from across the globe. He gets into the riches once again as he forms his own private government and creates an establishment to serve the poor.

The Robinhood act is hard to be missed and though there are those predictable moments, what the heck! I was thoroughly enjoying them even though there are some Nayak references with all the red tapes being cut and the signatures being taken, by hook or by crook! The drama is compelling and Rajni moments are also into force. Big time!

The tricks are all there. So much for the Rajni fans, you know! And it is not difficult to imagine that there would be many more of the clan after the release of the flick. Goggles keep swirling in the air with utmost charm, coins keep moving one palm to another while defying gravity, a jeep races over a dozen odd other big cars while throwing them in air as if they were sleeping dogs on a pavement.

But mother of all stunts take place in the per-climax song when a revolver thrown by Rajni finds its own target, shoots it and returns back like a boomerang into his hands. Well, there is one more. A bullet racing towards Rajni manages to reach him but stops millimeters away from his forehead. And now as he walks, it continues to move back too.

Yes, I got my money's worth by this time.

But then there was more to come. And this was not just the gimmicks/style but some real drama. After an attempt on his life, Sivaji returns back in his new avtar. And this is what one calls style. One would have never imagined being bald to be so cool, but Rajni makes it all so plausible! This time around he is called MGR and just when it seemed that the movie had come to an end with a possible sequel being in the mind of the writer, there are some more intense scenes between him and Adi to follow.

The 3 hour film comes to an end with a Matrix style choreographed action sequence and the seetis-and-taalis are eae deafening. If this is the kind of frenzy in Delhi, what would be the kind of scene down South, I wonder?

My friend was right. I didn't miss on any of the fun even though the only words I could understand were a few mouthed in English. The hype was worth it, I realize, even as I move out of the theater promising myself to catch it again as and when it came in it's Hindi dubbed version or with English subtitles.

Yes, I am a little guilty about the fact that I ignored a few movies, especially Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Ocean's Thirteen over Sivaji but I can convince myself that after all it was worth it. I will certainly give each of the backlog films also a dekko but till then I am sure the Sivaji hangover would be hard to resist.

After all it is due to all the right reasons that when Rajnikant's name flashes in the opening title rolls of each of his films, it is prefixed with SUPERSTAR. Yes, he truly is!


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