Jun 16, 2007


(Pic adopted from The Hindu)

In Gentleman, Shankar invented the concept of 'Fantasy solution' for India's problems, and he continued it in various forms in his subsequent 'odd-numbered' movies - Indian, Mudhalvan and Anniyan - very successfully. After handling a very heavy subject, he usually resorts to lighter themes, as he did in the even numbered movies - Kadhalan, Jeans and Boys. After receiving lot of flak for 'Boys', Shankar had to prove his worth to the critics, and he did that, quite emphatically, IMHO, in 'Anniyan' by toiling hard for almost 2 years and pulling all stops. Then, he had the chance to be a part of the dream combo 'Rajini-Shankar-Rahman-AVM' and he took that offer. In hindsight, he should have done that after taking a break.

If you have been following the news and gossips on the story, and subplots of Sivaji from various sources, most of it is true. He is a multi-millionaire NRI who returns to India to help eradicate poverty by providing free education, medical facilities, etc. to all. An educationalist, Aadiseshan (Suman) feels threatened by Rajini's plans and uses all his connection to stop Rajini's dream projects. The story is pretty much Sivaji vs Aadi, with Sivaji's love on Tamilselvi (Shreya) and Vivek's comedy providing the lighter moments.

This is strictly for Rajini fans only. Usually Rajini becomes inspirationally rich after one song, or after 15 mins. of sequences in the movie, but here, by the time I returned to the seat after the Intermission and settled down, he is a millionaire. Some of the tactics used by him are amateurish, and it appears as if Shankar realized that everything could be overlooked just because it is Rajini doing them. So, the product has very little of Shankar's trademark stamps/innovations, and mostly Rajinisms. It was certainly not as expected, and one gets a feeling that even an ordinary director would have done this or better.

Shankar's presence is seen in all the song sequences. They are different; pretty cool. Before going into the theater, I was thinking "the first half would be a typical Rajini movie and the second half, a Shankar movie". Unfortunately, it isn't. Only that, the pace post-intermission is higher than the first half. Rajini-Shreya chemistry was probably among the weakest Rajini had in his recent movies. The wooing methods and the origin of love between them are less than inspirational, sometimes becoming downright irritating. Shreya's refusal to accept Rajini would compete with Vijayakumar's reasoning and adamance shown in 'Mudhalvan'.

One also gets the feeling that even the vigilante theme in Sivaji is a linear combination of Shankar's previous movies, and of some others who tried to copy him. So, you get the 'Free education and eradication of child labor' from Gentleman, 'Dishonest governance and bureaucracy' from Indian, 'Corrupt, selfish and regressive politicians' from Mudhalvan, 'Income-tax violation and bribery' from Anniyan, and some scenes reminding of Murugadoss' movies like 'Stalin'. One really wishes that this is the last attempt by Shankar on vigilance and 'social reformation by dreaming big - of the hero'. In the end, when it is shown that India joins G10, it is all deja-vu..
  • The music stall fight - yeah, no one has shown a fight scene in a music stall, but, was that really necessary? And the villains run away after being 'hit' by guitars a few times.. LOL..
  • The 'hawala' technique of money exchange - very amateurish. The 'genius' of Shankar, Sujata, Balaji Sakthivel and co. could come up to only this?
  • The location of Suman's money - a big joke; as if it had only one purpose which eventually gets fulfilled.
  • Suman's reasons for being worried about Rajini is another joke; this is not 1992, with only 50 Engg. and medical colleges, Mr. Shankar, there are over 200 now!
  • Goutham showed 'Exit 13A' for Newark airport in VV.. so Shankar decided to show 'Exit 14 A to D'.. Giggles all around..
  • Building a university is one thing; running it successfully, that too without collecting fees or donation is another.. Where are the logistics, when he is investing everything to just build it?
With all the hype notwithstanding, the movie is just for your eyes and heart only.. Don't try to dissect it or look for logic, like I did.. After all, it is a Rajini movie. ;)


PPattian said...

Adhukkulla Sivaji patri review'va. I think one of the first few reviews in blogosphere.

Havent watched it yet, shall watch and put a bigger comment.. Yes, I never try to dissect Shankar movies, now Rajini too in it.. just take it as it is.

BTW, I am the FIRST.

J said...

ya, I too expected some logic as it was Shankar's movie. but typical Rajini movie. whatever, I really had a good time and liked the movie :-)

aama neengha engha iruntheengha? when did you come for the movie? kandupidika mudiyuthaanu paathen, but mudiyalai :-) or do you look different than the photo in the blog?

Raju said...

Ppattian, vaanga vaanga.. welcome here..

Shankar's movies are dissectable, since he tries to convey a social message, but here, even that is little vague.. Padam parthuttu unga feel ennannu sollunga..
J, yeah, there is enough to satiate Rajini fans. Mottai boss vandhadhukku appuram kekkavey venam..

Naan second last row-le 4th from left-le irundhen.. beside me was a 5 or 6 y.o. girl. Neenga? I entered just 5 mins before the show. Ennoda avatharam 'kittathatta' adheydhan.. Mudi konjam long-a irukkum ippo avlodhan..

Nitin said...

heh, thats sad to hear Raju, I was expecting the movie to be both Rajni & Shankar's movie. But u pretty much dissected what you didn't like or found amateurish in this movie, now I dont know if i want to see, i still have to wait till it arrives on DVD. now lets hope dasavatharam is as great as it is hyped up to be.the one thing that scares me is, i hear people saying kamal in 10getups, even the people around cannot recognize him, hopefully he makes those characters recognition worthy for the audience, otherwise its just going to be some 9 weird looking people on screen.

J said...

oh 5 min munaadi vanthu second last (u mean from the top ryt?) kedachuthaa???? mmm naan 3.30 kae theatre la irunthen..cos my printer wasnt working, so got to come early to see if they issue ticket by taking the code number alone. anyway i was sitting in the first seat of the third row from the top :-)

Raju said...

Nitin, Shankar could be seen (literally) only in the songs. Even the typical Shankeresque action sequences were not there.

I share your concern about 10A.. I sincerely hope it isn't another Vikram, or Aalavandhan - huge hype without a solid story.. The last thing I want to see are the random 9 weird characters, reminiscent of Ajit in Citizen..
J, single-a vandhadhale seat kidaichadhu... :) If you were on the first seat from the left, then I must have been just behind you diagonally. I was worried about the guys in the centre of fourth row, who brought a whistle to the hall and were blowing it before the show started.. Luckily there was not too much interruption to hear the songs or dialogues, ille?

Anu said...

Never thought i would hear an honest review of Sivaji!!!good job:)
Just saw the midnight saw yest.. decided to leave logic outside when i went in, but what i was disappointed was, the song sequences seem to be of the same brush of Shankar's prev. movies
For eg Balleilakka-Azhagana Rakshasiyae-Andangkaka- Painted extra's and POTs, Similiarly
Kannum Kannum Nokia - oru koodai sunlight-heroes in blond hair... its getting old.The saddest part for me was for 'Balleilakka' could have been more original than girls in orissa tribal costumes dancing behind nayantara

Anonymous said...


that was a honest review.

this movie ranks well above baba and slightly above CM.

Ponnarasi Kothandaraman said...

Hahaha.. I was expecting this post from u! :) Nice review :)

Anonymous said...

the scene where shreya's family fed by rajini's family was disgusting.
Ithulam romba over

Me too said...

(Shankar + Rajni)for-moola = BO tring tring, huh? Nalla irungada!!

Raju said...

Anu, romba danksungo.. :)
I agree with you on the songs.. In addition, 'Athiradee' reminded of 'Mukkala Muqabla' in some places..

Ippadi niraiya aathangam thaanga mudiyaamathan next post ezhudhi irukken..
Anon1, thanks..

Didnt watch Baba fully, but can agree with you. The logic in his super-hit movies like CM, Padayappa and Muthu were better than in Sivaji..
Ponnarasi, Thanx.. neenga padam partheengala illaiya?
Anon2, yeah I didnt like it too.. esp. Rajini making and feeding 'Paruppu saadham'.. Yuck.. Didnt look anywhere close to a $50M rich, intelligent NRI s/w engr.. Was more like 'Thookku chattiya thookki parthu moppam pidikkira' "Yejaman"..
Aparna, neenga solradhu muzhukka saridhan.. Nearly 2 years menakkettu ippadi oru padathai edukka thevaiye illa, if all was required was Rajni looking stylish, kewl, young and good.. easily 1 year could have been saved..

TamilPonnu said...


Thalaivar .. yenna Style!! cha!! super!

Who cares for the story??!?(certainly not me)

Dakkaal Dakkaal Dammaal Dummeel !!
BTW, rahman's concert ROCKED!!

Raju said...

Priya, long time..

Unga blog title-ey maathura aLavukku avvalavu influence-a? Kalakkunga..

Unga thalaivar style-ai summa solla koodathu.. Hardly 5 min. in the movie without his style.. :)

Atteneded Rahman's concert too? U drove up to Long Island, or was there one in DC?

Vikramadithya said...

Obviously this isn't a quality movie. Nice seeing a refreshed Rajini though - old is gold ;)

Raju said...

Vikramaditya, yeah.. sometimes when u remember that he is 57, and how our parents, relatives and teachers look at that age, one has to appreciate the youthful exuberance exhibited by Rajni..

Sindhu said...

hey! i was tryin to get the translation for a song from Moonram pirai, kanne kalaimane... happened hit ur blog as u ve explained the title of the movie.. needed a favour... could u please translate the song... please... u could mail me @ mn.sindhu@gmail.com.. i d be more than happy if u could hrlp me in this.. :)