Grandma's Tales

June 15, 2007

Sivaji=Rajnikanth+Shankar+AR Rahman+Sujatha-story

Filed under: Language,Movie — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:25 pm

It’s one of those rare times when a movie becomes a mega blockbuster before it is released. One must appreciate the timing of the release, though. The Ash-Abhi wedding got over and it’s off-season for sting operations. The BCCI was thoroughly snubbed by Ford, and CBI by the Argentinian court. And who wants cricket anyway? It’s hot and we need something “cool” and out came Sivaji. The movie is cool, it rocks!
Big news for the media, Rajnikant fans, theatres and those who make their fortune through pirated editions. Bottomline? The R,S,R,S combo sells.
There is no point trying to watch the movie the next couple of weeks. The price is too hefty for bragging rights. Thanks to audience enthusiasm, you’ll get to hear nothing on the screen. All the action will be off-screen. One has to be sure one wants to pay to see that.
I did the next best thing. I asked the man whom I had hired to drive me around town if he was planning to watch the movie today or tomorrow or in the next few days. No, he said. He was offered a ticket for Rs. 300/- He wasn’t tempted. He didn’t think the movie was worth taking leave for. He knew what to expect in a Rajnikant starrer. “In a few weeks the price is sure to come down. I’ll watch it then,” he said.
If he knew what to expect, why would he watch the movie at all? “Habit,” he said. “I’m a regular movie goer.”
So what did he expect in this movie? “Rajni’s style. The way he speaks. The way he produces things out of air. The unexpectedness (?) of his actions. The what-would-he-do-next? expectation. He is athletic, quick on his feet and funny. He looks kind. He is one of us. He is a comic, even in fight scenes. ‘It’s all fun mamoo,’ he seems to say. ‘Don’t take this seriously. Just sit back and enjoy yourself.’ And in the end everything works out fine, there is a message and the movie makes you feel good about who you are.”
Songs? “I’m not a big AR Rahman fan. He is too western for my taste. I like numbers that are folksy.”
Dialogues? “Yes, we like the punch lines. You can leave the theatre practising them. I think the punch lines are written first and the story is written around it.”
He is old. Is it ok if he chases a girl young enough to be his daughter? “Oh that? He is acting as the father as well. If he isn’t doing the role of the son too, how do we get to see the young Sivaji? With the wig and the make-up, he does look young, doesn’t he?”
[Special diet and make-up, high quality resolution, visual effects (VFX),  scan using a 4K resolution all done at Prasad labs. Some 30 people are supposed to have worked on it. The superstar’s skin colour and texture have been improved by special effects giving him a youthful look.]
The movie goes on for three hours! “Yes, that’s how it should be! We paid for it, right? We feel very satisfied we got our money’s worth.”
So, his real life is one thing. On screen he is an entertainer. We like his style, his mannerisms, in fact we’ll be disappointed if he didn’t give us that. We know the story (rags to riches to rags) but we go to see him, so it’s a good thing we already know the story. We can concentrate on what he does, without having to unravel the tale. All we care about are his presence and his punchlines.
Rajni did not diappoint the reporters when asked for an unrecorded punchline. “I am a king, I may be a king, Amitabh is the emperor,” he said, smiling.
UPDATE: Now it was Amitabh’s turn to deliver his punchline.”Comparisons are odious,” he told the correspondent in his baritone, measuring out his words neatly. “We have our own styles. I hear he is very popular in his state and all over the world, especially in Japan. He must be good to win such adulation. But he is he, I am me.”



  1. Rajini has his own pan India appeal. Maybe he does not do too many Hindi movies anymore but many like me who grew up in other part of India do recall following his movies and his style.
    Incidentally, I was in Delhi the day Sivaji was released, and it was a big event there too….
    And you are so right, this is a good deviation from the headlines dominated by what can be mildly put as third rate politics globally these days…

    Comment by Rajesh Kumar — June 25, 2007 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  2. Rajni movies simply redefine entertainment. And Politics would be entertainment too if it wasn’t real and close to our lives.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — June 25, 2007 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

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