Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sivaji Film Review, August 15th, 2007

(Telugu version) By Kranti Kumar
What would motivate 5 students to drive 144 miles all the way from Lake Charles to watch a dubbed telugu film on the first day of its release? It is because of Superstar Rajnikanth's charisma? Or is it the theme of Shankar’s stories? Or is it the captivating music of AR Rahman ? Or is it really the hype that has been surrounding this film? Whatever it was, it forced them to drive for more than 2 and half hours just to watch a 3 hour 20 mins cinema. The look on the
audience’s faces told it all. They were ready to get impressed. They were here to get entertained (read watch Rajnikanth) and get inspired to do something good (read Shankar's story). And the movie started , in a rather amusing way , by showing a masked handcuffed Rajni been taken away by the police to a jail. It was rather a let down because all the fans were desperate to explode when they see Rajni's face on the 70 mm screen. After 3 mins or so into the film, Rajni finally shows his face and from there on it was a treat for both Rajni fans and non-Rajni fans.

Sivaji ( Rajni ) is a software professional and returns from US
with Rs 250 crores with an ambition of starting a hospitalcum- medical college for providing free education and medical help to the poor people in India. His ambition is foiled by a local kingpin Adikesava Reddy(Suman). Sivaji gets questioned by the authorities and dragged onto the street because of the ruthless political system.Adikesava Reddy taunts Sivaji by giving him a rupee coin and advices him to beg on the road. Sivaji ,with that very 1 rupee coin, robs the black money from rich people and converts it into white money via hawala transactions and sets up a parallel "private" government in the state.

The rest of the story is all about how he evades the cops, eliminates the kingpin and continues serving the society. But out and out, this is Rajnikanth's film. Whether he is romancing Shreya in the first half or he is devising plans to rob the black money in the 2nd half, he
virtually rules the film. The first half has all the general Rajni commercial elements such as comedy. He teams up with Vivek to do some memorable stomachcrunching scenes. Vivek is as sarcastic as ever in his role and complements Rajni throughout the film.Shreya surely made everyone’s jaws drop. She sizzled in the songs and does well as the female lead. AR Rahman's songs are already chartbusters but as usual he follows it up with great background music. The rap number during the introduction of "gundu" boss is just mind-boggling.( I wont tell who gundu" boss is , " you have to watch the film for that).
Choreography is good. Especially the Style and Adharani song would leave anyone spellbound. On the whole Sivaji is not as gripping as other Shankar's previous film like Oke Okkadu ( Nayak in Hindi ) and Bharateeyudu.First half doesnt contribute much to the main story.

The main concept is compressed tightly in the second half and doesnt make you sit on the edge of the seat like films like Oke Okkadu orAparichitudu.Fight scenes are long
and tend to become meaningless.Shankar somehow loose the grip on the screenplay and fails to blow you away with his revolutionary ideas. But is this because we were too impressed by Rajnikanth that we failed to register the message of the film ?This question is tempting me to watch the movie for the second time ! Thank God I stay in Houston and not in Lake Charles.

Verdict :
A treat for Rajni fans.

Things to watch out for :
- Rajni's style.
- Comedy sequence ( especially in the one where Shreya says she will not marry him because of his color )
- Vivek's sarcastic one-liners.
- AR Rahman's songs and good choreography.

Interesting Snippets :

-Director S. Shankar teaming up with Rajnikanth for the first time.
-Costliest India film ever to be made with a budget of Rs.80 crores.
-Released worldwide in 27 countries on same day.
-The films release was delayed , when A. R. Rahman , claimed he was disappointed of his background score and planned to re-do it.

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