Friday, May 23, 2014


Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 23rd May, 2014
Time : 110 minutes
Director : Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin; Writers : K.S. Ravikumar; Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Rajinikanth, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff, Sarath Kumar, Nasser, Shobana, Rukmini

The miracle of this film is that it makes its 110 minute length seem like over three hours…a weak story line, songs for every occasion, weakly etched, uni-dimensional characters and above all, animation that is very good only in minute parts and highly caricature-ish in most others makes for a movie that is barely watchable...if I didnt know better, would say they ran out of money & time to make it as it should've been done !

Its an unabashed celebration of Rajni magic, right from the opening credits till the very last frame, as we watch him grow from a weak boy to a powerful general, free slaves, fall in love, fight for his sister’s love, plot vengeance and conquer his people’s hearts. All in an age-old plot, one of rival kingdoms, greedy, jealous, power hungry kings and intertwined with the ageless powerful motives of love and revenge. I hesitate to give away more as I may give away some of the twists & turns. Will Rajinikanth succeed in his mission though, is probably an unfair million dollar question?

The bigger, $21mn (the budget of the film) question is whether people will accept this animated avatar of the great thespian. There are scenes where the movements are beautifully fluid, the gestures life-like. But unfortunately, these are few and far in between, in most scenes the characters feel as if they’ve been cut & pasted into their surroundings, the horse / animal / human movements coming across as clunky and worst of all, Deepika’s character looking nothing like her beautiful, real self. Perhaps its about setting expectations – Beowulf, a great film featuring superb live-motion capture cost $150 mn in 2007 while this one is a fraction of that cost today – but then, thanks to Tintin, Avatar, we’re used to much more as audiences and this, while a good step for Indian shores, feels regressive technology wise.

There are some nice moments but not a single wow one. The sets, costumes are nice, some songs are good but there are just too many ! The action sequences, the center-piece of the film, are again good vs what has come before in India but ordinary compared to global standards, with even the sight of giant armies standing face-to-face failing to evoke feelings of awe or grandeur.

Being an animation, this film is going to anyways come up against the consumer psyche prevalent in this country, that such films are only for children. The only hope is that the vast legion of Rajni fans throng the halls and make up for the others who are most likely to stay away. This is one film where the latter is probably the wiser course…

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