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do you start? Where do you end? How do you recapture
cinematic magic, the captivating power and charisma of
one man, who manages to transcend the rational faculties
in all of us? How do you re-create this attraction of
soul and heart? No matter what, no review is ever going
to do justice to Sivaji –The Boss as no writer can
summon the ability to bring in words the impossible
swathe that Rajnikanth’s appeal cuts across various
strata of the society.
Rajni’s movies are not so much art as
appeal. Like mother’s cooking which is not about taste,
Rajnikanth on screen makes a bonding
with your heart. It is about emotions, that maybe blind,
but all real and very human. In Sivaji-The Boss, this
surreal feeling gets a further magical touch in the form
of techno-wizardry that Shankar has patented to be his
in Tamil cinema.
When state-of-the-heart and
state-of-the-art find a match, what you get is three
hours of sustained entertainment that is at once a
compelling phantasmagoria of trademark Rajni fun and
typical Shankar grandeur. It is a case of desire meeting
dream, and almost making it plausible.
The success of Sivaji-The Boss will
eventually lie in the fact that both Rajni and Shnakar,
with a huge individual constituencies of their own, have
not had to break their preserved moulds. Where Rajni and
Shankar meet is in their social sensibilities, in their
populist propensity to convey, what the industry calls
as ‘the message’..
Sivaji, in that sense, is a contemporary
commentary on the state of the nation where as a
dialogue in the film aptly sums it up as ‘the poor get
poorer and the rich get richer’. Sivaji has many
strands, each unique in its heft and heave.
Affordable education and health for all
is one theme. Rooting out black money is the main one,
however. Woven into this large tapestry is the
bureaucratic bunglings, red-tapism and other issues that
bug our quotidian life.
Sivaji is an everyday story that gets
the sheen of a moral fable as well as the shine of
fairytale, as Shankar stretches his imagination even as
he compels you to stretch your threshold of incredulity.
Sivaji (Rajnikanth) is a rich NRI
software pro. Son of caring parents (Manivannan and
Vadivukkarasi), and the nephew of an ever helpful uncle
(Vivek), Sivaji comes to India with the larger than life
dream of running universities and hospital for the
benefit of the poor. (The idea is smartly done when he
talks of every riches coming to India, but beggary not
Sivaji has to however contend with Adi
Kesavan (Suman), a slimy crocodile of a educationist and
a hospital owner. He has vested interests in not
allowing Sivaji to get on with his ambitious projects.
Sivaji, however, has his heart set. Despite running into
a non-cooperating administration (the red-tapism
prevalent is exposed in an irony-filled humour), Sivaji
soldiers on. He unwillingly greases the palm of venal
babus and politicos to get sundry permission required to
build the infrastructure.
But Adi consistently turns out to be the
spanner in the works and even goes to the extent of
unseating the government to stop Sivaji in his tracks.
In the meanwhile, Sivaji falls in love with a
midlleclass Tamilazharasi (Shriya), who is the daughter
of uncompromising parents (Raja and Uma Padmanabhan).
Sivaji, with the aid of his uncle, goes out of the way
to court the girl and her family. The scenes involving
the two families are such a lark that they bring the
theatre down in laughter. (Watch out for that riotous
Deepavali scene when the families have some rollicking
Tamilazharasi, despite the fear
engendered after a fortuneteller predicts calamity for
Sivaji if she marries him, finally agrees to be his life
partner (the scene at the railway tracks where she
accepts as him as his lover is both romantic as well as
His light-hearted attempts to look fair
are also very funny. But on the business front, the evil
administration and wily Adi ensure that Sivaji loses all
his wealth and all his dreams lie shattered as a dust
Sivaji has nothing left in life, and in
a heady taunt Adi tosses an one rupee coin, in an effort
to say that Sivaji is now a beggar. Sivaji is now a
transformed lion, he vows to use the same one rupee coin
as the ‘investment’ to take not just Adi, but all the
money sharks. Rooting out black money is his broad and
dramatic theme. Along with his uncle, Sivaji plays
smart, but under the law tricks, to shatter the wits of
the villainous group.
The way Sivaji goes about is very gritty
and provides the film with the right lift. The way he
brings in all the black money, which he prises out of
the evil hands, ingenious and inventive (it is through
the hawala route).
Sivaji manages to build his dream
projects with lot of arm twisting and sweet villainy.
But Adi and the other baddies hit back, they plot and
get Tamiazharis herself to reveal all the details of
Sivaji’s modus operandi. They even kill him when in the
custody of the police. But they cannot getthe details
out of his personal laptop (it has all the minutiaes of
his transactions) as it is voice-recognition password
protected. Sivaji is however dead and the laptop would
not budge for any other voice command (this is a smart
usage of modern techno gizmo to carry on the narrative).
How can the hero die without finishing
off the baddies? Well, there is an interesting twist in
the tail. Watch it for the exhilaration and the sheer
stylish audacity of it all.
Rajnikanth, looking very young and
urbane, as Sivaji has amazing screen presence, proving
once again that his hold over the masses has not waned
even one bit. Be it his helpless anger at a system that
is forever unobliging or his mirthful fun in romance or
his chutzpah-filled approach to bring to heel the evil
forces or his brio in the fighting sequences, Rajni has
really put in a hard performance that matches his
reputation. His kind of humour is so infectious that in
the breezy first half, he and Vivek have the fans
dancing in the aisles. The ‘punch dialogues’ though not
all uttered by Rajni directly will make his fans happy.
Shriya, looking amazingly lissome with a
body that is both bow and an arrow, is beauty
personified. She is pleasant on the eyes and plays her
pivotal role without any complication. Manivannan,
Vadivukarasi, Raja and Uma Padmanabhan all have turned
out impressive performances as the parents of the two.
Vivek as Rajni’s uncle is in great form.
His smart jokes, all specked with contemporary idiom,
are a delight and make you break into a chuckle
Suman, in a larger than life villain
role, is an inspired choice. His dark coolers-covered
face convey the subtle evilness dramatically. He has
understood the script and shaped his character to a
nicety. Livinsgstone, VMC Hanifa, Ravikumar, Solomon
Pappaiya, Bose Venkat are also in the cast.
What of the songs? Well they have been
picturised, squeezing in all the creative imagination of
Shankar. The graphics work in the Athiradi song is as
good as in any Hollywood flick. Rahman’s techno rhythms
come out brilliantly upbeat on screen. The Sahana song,
set in a classy glassy framework, is another testimony
to Thota Tharani’s inspired work and Shankar’s penchant
for such aesthetic ideas. All of Rahman’s songs get the
right ambient backdrop to look like a piece of inspired
dream. Shankar’s inspirational visual ideas provide
that. The re-recording, slightly loud at times, however,
matches mood and menace.
K V Anand’s camera is first rate all
through and covers the screen with amazing feel and
richness. The stunts have been captured, making all the
action come so close to reality. The lighting is
consistent and clear that you feel as if having a real
peek into the scheme of things.
The climax fight, with all the attendant
graphics, is full of gritty energy. Peter Heynes fights,
though over the top in places, matches the needs of
modern films. Starting with the fight at the music shop
till the one on the terrace of the college, Peter and
his boys have literally shed blood to make it all come
alive on screen.
Sujatha’s dialogues, very seamless and
natural, captures the angst of living in India now. The
flavour is richly conveyed in everyday idioms without
any apparent effort.
And that leaves us with Shankar. It
takes extreme courage and conviction to dream of and
bring to life what he has. Shankar, who has set high
standards for himself from his very first film, with
dramatic fights, colourful songs, inspirational sets,
has surpassed himself in Sivaji. Matching the stature of
of Rajni and the production house AVM, Shankar has
unveiled an urban fantasy that is at one rich in
specifics as well as real in intent. The big idea of
rooting out all the black money, though seemingly tall,
gets the right touches from the filmmaker who knows how
to make the mix of technology and human aspirations work
Rajni and the production house AVM,
Shankar has unveiled an urban fantasy that is at one
rich in specifics as well as real in intent. The big
idea of rooting out all the black money, though
seemingly tall, gets the right touches from the
filmmaker who knows how to make the mix of technology
and human aspirations work on screen.
Shankar keeps the tempo and the traction
going all through with an adroit mix of comedy, action
and issues. This is his patented style. And then there
is the well-established style of Rajni. Shankar’s
humanism in larger than life canvas and Rajni’s
mass-oriented fun and feeling seem nature-born allies.
The two have synchronised beautifully in
Sivaji, which, to describe in the trendy and the omnibus
description (which Rajni uses ever so often on screen in
this film), is cool.
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