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Life became a standstill, when the producers of the film Sivaji, announced its release. Not just in Tamil Nadu, but in all the cities where the film was releasing. From New York to Japan, India to South Africa, people fought to buy tickets for this movie. The superstar Rajnikanth, is the only actor in the history of world cinema who can draw the crowds to the theatre like a God.

Even the first family of Indian cinema the Bachchans, cannot do so. What makes this man such a phenomenon? We can forgive the fans for pouring litres of milk and beer on his cutouts, as the superstar is unbelievably down to earth. He calls himself a puppet, and says that the director made him the star of the film.

He just has to lift a finger or flip back his hair, and men and women alike have orgasms in the theatre seats. Besides the tickets being sold out for the first few weeks of its release, the audience in every theatre screamed and cheered throughout the entire movie. No one could even follow the dialogues well. But this did not matter.

This would give them a second chance to watch their beloved superstar on the silver screen. He stands out from other actors because he has a unique “style”, and just about anything he does become a rage amongst the young and old alike. This film had its share of hype in the media because the team was composed of all the big wigs of the Tamil film industry.

Second biggest South Indian director Shankar (right behind Maniratnam), musical genius A.R.Rahman, national award winner “Padmashri” Thota Tharani for production design, and national award winner K.V.Anand for cinematography, besides Anthony for editing and South India’s biggest production house AVM, made this film a once in a lifetime experience.

For a change in a Rajnikanth film, there was technical brilliance.

The story revolves around Sivaji, a software architect, who returns to India after a long stint in America. Having made a lot of money, he decides to invest in some foundations, hospitals and schools to cater to the needs of the poor, all free of cost. However he faces competition from another high network individual, who does not want him to complete the project because he would lose the investment from his own.

Sivaji walks up and down government offices, to get approvals for his project and even bribes them to get the job done. His opponent however helps change the minister in charge by pumping money into his camp. They pull down and destroy Sivaji’s almost completed project, and Sivaji is left penniless and is on the streets with his family.

He takes revenge by tracing his opponent’s black money accounts, and holds them ransom for a high price. He then begins to do the same with all the black money account holders in the country. He continues to build foundations across the state and offers free education and services to the poor.

He is taken into police custody, when his wife hands over his laptop with all the crucial information related to the money to the CBI. He is almost killed while in custody, but a few good souls get him out of the situation. He returns as Sivaji’s look alike friend to continue the man’s saga, to throw his enemies off his track.

There is absolutely no logic in the entire film, but the superstar carries it off with style and aplomb, you believe that it is possible for him to achieve what he does. With every step he took, and every dialogue he spoke, he sent the audience into frenzy. He also looked super cool with his new savvy get up.

What was the director thinking when he cast Shreya in the film? She has no role, and does not perform, but just pretends to act. Her expressions were totally artificial from the first frame to the last. Thankfully now, we appreciate comedians and Vivek is given a meaty role, which he of course delivers as expected, and he captures the audience’s hearts with some cheeky dialogues.

The superstar trying to woo a girl did not go down too well with the audience, as they only want people following him like lambs. Cinematography by K.V.Anand is exotic, and he has given us some beautiful frames, especially in the songs. This film was a great milestone in Thota Tharani’s career.

He delivers astounding creations on the sets, especially the songs. “Athiradee” and “Sahana” were of such sheer opulence, which of course reflected on his perfect architectural and creative sense. Editing by Anthony was crisp, and it lends good mileage to the loose screenplay. Speaking of screenplay, there was none in the first half.

Though the second half did pick up pace with meaning, the climax dragged. No one was even interested in the story, all they wanted was the superstar speaking and moving with style. A.R.Rahman proves that he is a genius once again, and he has composed some mind blowing numbers especially “Athiradee’ and “Style”. He has also given a dynamic background score, and this is also probably the reason why the superstar looks more charismatic.

The songs are stunning visually, with also very interesting choreography. “Athiradee” stands out for its class act. The crowd went crazy when the superstar arrived in a cool outfit, posture and bike. The gripping screenplay and dialogues that are normally a part of Shankar’s films, is missing here.

Sujatha does a fairly decent job with the dialogues, and many of the scenes are a repeat from the normal Tamil cinema category. The film belongs to the superstar all the way, and even the technical brilliance takes only the second place. He also calmly claims that while he is only the King of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan is the emperor and that he does not know why the crowd follows him.

Now we know what makes him a superstar! Way to go “Boss”, way to go!

Watching a Rajnikanth film on a first day first show, is probably the most euphoric experience in the history of world cinema. Fire crackers, screams, whistles, dancing, jumping, shouting, complete madness…this mass hysteria makes your heart beat fast for the entire three hours of film time.

He has made “cool” the coolest word in English, and has made baldness, dark glasses and a thin lined beard a trend. The audience reaction to his name being spelt at the beginning, and also to the scene where he exits from a helicopter sporting the bad guy look, is going down in history as the greatest moment in cinema.

Tickets were sold out for the first three weeks in India, New York City, London, California, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and even Ireland! While Shah Rukh Khan can pull in about 60 crores to the box office from worldwide collections, and Amitabh Bachchan has now become a laughing stock for his dances with younger girls, the superstar collected a whopping 130 crores for his producers (complete distribution), just with his phenomenal screen presence.

The producers are now laughing all the way to the bank, and so are distributors and theatre owners worldwide. For those who just do not get the point, this is the biggest blockbuster in the history of Indian cinema, and there will be none to compete in a long time to come. Long time? Never…would probably be the right word.

Swarupa Pillaai
Copyright 2007

Published: 2007-08-23
Author: Swarupa Pillaai

About the author or the publisher
I am a freelance writer,who has just completeed a screenplay for an independent production company in the US.I also work on ahort news articles related to entertainment,especially movie reviews.

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