From the ages of six to sixty, spread over more than four decades, one hero has been the cynosure of all eyes in the Indian film industry in general and southern cinema in particular. Rajinikanth – the boss of all that he surveys – has stayed on in the industry, solely on this unmatched ability of drawing in crowds by the millions all over the world for his kind of action and screen presence.
Endless entertainment for Rajini fans
Scaling up from his late 2018 release ‘2.0,’ which was received fairly well across the country’s film markets, the Pongal release of 2019 ‘ Petta,’ is a real smasher. A 171-minute long film, built solely on the enduring charisma of the superstar is just what the doctor ordered for the adoring fans of his- a zippy, gripping entertainer. It is a certain booster shot for his legions of followers who had been dismayed with his recent crop of releases, a few neither-here-nor-there kind of ventures, which threatened to sap the enthusiasm levels and demoralise his support base forever. The festival flick has certainly brought the zing back into his persona.
Director Karthik Subbaraj, a fan-turned-helmsman, carefully crafts out the hero’s personality, pitting it against a whole lot of talented actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Simha. He has the erstwhile bombshell Simran Bagga and Trisha as his love interests, even though he has minimal time to spend private moments with them. Working out a clearly etched out characterisation for each one of them, Subbaraj devotes the first half to one set of villains and the others come in when the film gets into the rural zone. He invests a different get up on to the ageless star with a handle bar moustache and swag. The inter-connect between the two parts of the film is also seamlessly established even as the film travels from the south to upcountry locations like Mussorie and Lucknow.
Summing up, despite an emotional twist soon after the first phase, which warms up after a lag, the film maintains a momentum and interest which keeps the audience hooked and delirious. It has taken a while coming but this is surely the kind of a film a core Rajini fan would have wanted to watch and gets it as a great gift with extra toppings.