Directed by an ardent fanatic (Karthik Subbaraj) of Rajinikanth, and a production house like Sun pictures which could flood the market with promos, the superstar fans were drooling for a typical mass masala film from their demigod, who sort of wavered from his norm in his last couple of outings. The efforts of the director and the expectations from the superstar fans have been satiated more than enough. Director Karthik Subbaraj has ensured that his writing resonates with the target audience. However, what about the movie buffs who don't believe in superstardom and weight each movie on its own merits?
Kali/Petta (Rajinikanth) works himself to be a temporary warden for a college hostel. He ensures to restore the lost decorum and cleans up the messy atmosphere in there by taking the detractors head-on. Soon we realise that the man has a past and there's a reason behind his arrival. The story then moves to northern suburbs of India wherein Petta avenges his revenge.
The movie follows the famous "Baasha" template that has been bottled new. No prizes for guessing that. What made it particularly interesting were the bits and pieces of Karthik's filmmaking frenzy. Over and above the rhetorics of the superstar, it was quite surprising to see the filmmaker squeezing in some of his subconsciously nurtured signature ideas and motifs.
To quote some examples, the scene where a person is leaving for Australia by boat (the refugee reference), a sly dig at the Hindutva politics, the leading man who can also be the "Dirty Harry" who commits violent crimes in a huff (the dance and shoot scene) and so on and so forth.
The movie was mostly on expected lines. It has been painstakingly made to revive the superstar's famous mannerisms that has been considered to be dormant for some time. It was like a kid asking the magician to perform the old tricks over and over until one gets bored. Of course, no one complains as long as we get drowned down with whistles and hoots from the hardcore followers.
There were a whole host of stars in the supporting characters, including Vijay Sethupathi, Sasikumar, Trisha and Simran. They had their roles chipped out, but were overshadowed with superstarisms and other such fanatic rhetorics. Had these cliches been a bit curtailed, the film could have struck a balance or breathed a bit. Also, towards the climax, there were some not so exciting bits with Nawazuddin and Vijay Sethupathi. Of course, the twist in the climax was typical "Karthik Subbaraj special" that had the 'hate it or love it' label written all over it.
Music and BGM by Anirudh were very much talked about, and he has delivered the goods. The songs are hummable and foot tapping, whereas the BGM had those heart-pounding thumps, typical for a superstar movie. Cinematography by Thiru and editing by Vivek Harshan competed for style with the superstar.
Last not but not the least, the man himself, superstar! At a time when some of his younger colleagues who started their careers after he did are playing character roles, this man continues to amaze even as he is nearing 70 with his signature style and electric screen presence. He not only sets the screen on fire but makes me want to believe in things like "aura"! We should give this to the superstar as he has etched his place in the hearts of classes and masses alike.
As a Karthik Subbaraj film, I expected those subtle emotions that come through with his knack of manipulating the screenplay; the absence of which was quite disappointing. However, the blatant display of violence at some places did hamper the film from being classified as a clean family entertainer. As a superstar movie, this one is a must watch, but for the average Joe, it's a time pass masala that gives him little reasons to complain!
NOW PLAYING | MOVIE REVIEWS