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Sivaji: Fun, with a human touch
Shwetha Bhaskar | June 15, 2007 18:12 IST
After several inordinate delays, the most hyped Tamil film of the year starring the most hyped Tamil superstar of all time saw the light of day.
Sivaji is the story of a wealthy US returned software engineer of the same name (Rajnikanth), who returns to his homeland to help society with his hard-earned money.
He yearns to set up a medical college and hospital to help the middle class and underprivileged, via his Sivaji Foundation and is ably supported by his jovial sidekick Mama (Vivek) and his humble parents.
However, he finds that good intentions are just not enough as he runs from pillar to post to fulfill the required government formalities. He succumbs and resorts to paying all concerned authorities exorbitant bribes to gain clearance.
In the midst of all this, Sivaji falls head over heels in love with the simple Tamilselvi (Shriya) in a temple and engages in all sorts of clownish antics, along with his family to woo her.
She, however, is hesitant to marry him because of his skin colour. After Sivaji goes through an unbelievable transformation to emerge as a fair prince, she reveals that she had been lying and the real reason for her unwillingness to marry him was their incompatible horoscopes. Her astrologer warns her that his life will be in danger if she marries him.
Her fears are in danger of coming true thanks to a formidable obstacle standing in his way -- the money-grabbing VIP Adiseshan (Suman), who runs a similar group of educational institutions and hospitals. Adiseshan goes all out to eliminate his competition, and manages to get Sivaji in trouble with the law, reducing him to a pauper. Not one to be outwitted that easily Sivaji devises a scheme to blackmail Adiseshan to the tune of Rs 100 crores. To achieve this, he goes into the money laundering business on a mega scale, which propels him in a head on collision with the furious Adiseshan.
The first half of the film shows a relatively subdued Rajnikanth, who somehow looks a little out of sorts. However, in the second half, he gets back into his characteristic groove, flicking one rupee coins stylishly into his pockets, uttering catchy dialogues (most prominent being his frequent use of the word 'cool') and sizzling with effervescence and energy.
Pretty Shriya fits the role of the demure South Indian wife, constantly fearing for her husband's safety.
Vivek is entertaining as usual, providing comic relief and complementing the superstar well.
Suman as Adiseshan downplays the villainous tendencies of his character, opting for a more subtle and smarmy image.
Director Shankar tries to play up Rajnikanth's star quality as far as possible, with constant references to his other films, and to the fact that his stature matches all other icons of Tamil cinema (especially in the fantasy sequences of Rajnikanth and Shriya during their first night).
Even though the second half is far more action-packed than the first half, the end could have been tightened a bit. The action sequences are entertaining though not as outrageous as those from his (Rajnikanth's) earlier films.
But what really catches the eye is the different fashion avatars of Rajnikanth -- right from his blonde locks to his completely bald, Matrix-like leather-clad look.
These outlandish experiments in style are seen throughout the film, especially during the song sequences, which, without exception, are all mini extravaganzas of colour and lavishness (the first song shows a host of dancers dressed as tigers with images of Rajnikanth emblazoned on their chests). The music is catchy, but one has heard better from the genius A R Rahman.
Sivaji does not disappoint but neither does it completely sweep you off your feet. It is a fun film with a human touch.
It has its own flavour with its Robin Hood ideologies which is sure to strike a chord with the masses. Watch this one for the sheer hype and the excitement.
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