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Movie Review: Sivaji (Tamil)

How many stars or superstars in India have the status of being treated like a God, being cheered at every punch-line or cool gesture, being in a position where a mere nod has the potential to change political fortunes? From his humble beginnings as a bus conductor in Bangalore, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, aka Superstar Rajnikanth is simply larger than life and this time it has just gone bigger with Sivaji, his one hundredth Tamil flick. With more than 700 shows on a single day running now, it just can’t get any bigger.

With an enormous budget, which according to varied reports ranges between INR60Cr to INR80Cr, Sivaji is the most expensive Indian film to date; with nearly INR35Cr and overseas rights going to the highest paid lead star Rajnikanth. The dizzy numbers easily outweigh any of the stars of Bollywood and compares with Jackie Chan, the highest paid actor in Asia who is an exponent in the genre of stunt based action and style.

In his latest flick Rajnikanth plays the title role Sivaji, a US returned wealthy software engineer turned social reformer. Incidentally, his name in the movie is same as his original Maharashtran name and also the name of the legendary king. In his path, the reformist finds many obstacles which, needless to say are handled with unprecedented ease and in a populist approach with lots of cool and crazy style thrown in.

For worshipper fans, Rajnikanth gives them an overdose of style. The opulent sets, especially for the song vaaji vaaji are beyond proportion. With numerous costumes and hairdo changed nearly for every couple of lines. The outdoor shots are equally creative with a colorful group song, El Mariachi style sets for one and European locales for another. Shriya has done a fabulous job of looking great as both, an item girl in the songs and as a homely girl in the story. Nayantara too did a great jig in the first song. Although AR Rahman was not up to his usual mark, the sets compensated for it.

Coming to the substantive part of the movie, the story, script and dialogues, my review may not be on the dot since I didn’t really get all of the Tamil dialogues. I should have ideally seen a Telugu version. But, really, how does language matter when most of the movie can be understood by situation. Style and opulence are there for all to see. In what is a departure from full Tamil dialogues, Rajnikanth is a suave and cool computer wizard with some English dialogues. May be, this was designed to appeal to Gen-next Southerners, many of whom are well placed software engineers in India and abroad.

Although some may argue that Rajnikanth movies are all about unrealistic style, it is important to consider that this in itself is a different genre. Similar unreal & stylish movies include Quentin Tarantino flicks like Desperado, its sequel, Chinese flicks where people fly, Bond flicks and of course and the Recent Dhoom 2. The last Rajnikanth movie I saw was Padaiyappa which I felt was a tad more realistic. But, who cares about realism when you know fully well that stylish movies are usually no-brainers and especially when you see a whole multi-ethnic multiplex audience going into frenzy at every other scene!

Rating 7/10: Watch it for its style element and exceptionally opulent sets
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