Movie Review of Sivaji by someone who doesn’t understand a word of Tamil
For the first time in my life I saw a movie without understanding a word of what was said. But I couldn’t help it. I just had to see what Sivaji and Rajni were all about. The movie is a runaway hit, and not just in India. In Britain ‘Sivaji: The Boss’ has apparently beat Hollywood films like the ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘Ocean’s 13’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3 in its opening weekend and its the first time that a Tamil film got into the UK Top 10 at No. 9. In India too the movie is a hit, inspite of the fact that people from just two states understand the languages of Tamil and Telugu. In fact in Chennai, halls are still going housefull and its difficult to get tickets. In India the movie is expected to rake in about Rs 150 crore just from ticket sales.
In Mumbai it was easy to get tickets, and in fact more than half the hall was empty. Even though I didn’t understand a word and missed all the funny dialogues, it was fun watching the movie. There is a lot of action, plenty of comedy, good cinematography, excellent music and ofcourse – Rajni’s style. Not to miss.
The story is not difficult to understand. Good verses evil. A foreign returned Sivaji takes on the political establishment single handedly and in the process sets up what you can almost call a parallel government, complete with swipe cards! He also spends a considerable amount of time playing loverboy, trying to woo a girl (Shriya) who is probably less than half his age. Amazing that Rajni can get away playing a 30 year old, inspite of being all of 57. He doesn’t ofcourse pull it off (looking 30) but great efforts were made to achieve the illusion of youth and in some scenes Rajni does manage to look around 35.
An interesting scene is one when the girl he wants to marry taunts Sivaji about his skin colour. This prompts him to go on a mission to whiten his skin. It was hilarious to watch Sivaji take beauty treatments, all in a desperate bid to become fair. He actually succeeds, and computer trickery (apparently this took a year, 9000 frames!) created an illusion of a white Rajni. All for fun ofcourse, because the fair damsel takes one look at him and tells him that she prefers his old dark self!
Once she is won over, Sivaji is its back to bashing up the bad guys. The fight scenes portray Sivaji as a superman…the way he manages to overpower scores of goons at one go is quite unbelievable as he is not endowed with superpowers…
What jarred in the movie was the message that fairness personifies beauty. Two very dark girls are ‘shown’ to Sivaji by a hopeful father-in-law, and this has Sivaji running for cover. Its supposedly funny, and the treatment is much like how Hollywood portrays fat people or people with braces. As ugly wannabes.
About Rajni’s acting, he isn’t too bad. His role does not really call for him to show great emotion. He is an action guy and he does good…plus he has style and brilliant comic timing. The man steals the show.
True, its a masala film meant for the masses, but if such films are well made I enjoy them. Films are after all supposed to entertain…and Sivaji does that. The music ofcourse was a critical factor. AR Rahman was absolutely brilliant and I am thinking of buying the music although I don’t understand the lyrics.
To sum it up, Sivaji has everything…song and dance (fantastic music) good fights, torture scenes, romance….and well, it also has a story. Sure, the story is nothing new (a hero wanting to uplift the poor) but I quite liked the way the director went about it. Everything was larger than life, literally blown out of proportion and this illusion is maintained throughout.
Finally, its the box office which counts. And the box office has spoken. Bollywood now doesn’t just Hollywood to worry about, they have to worry about Rajni as well.
Related Reading: Rajni: an Indian movie phenomena