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Clumsy Period mis-adventure
Hindi Film review
Cast: Rajnikanth, R. Sarathkumar, Aadhi, Jackie Shroff, nassar, Deepika, Shobhana
Director: Soundarya Rajnikanth
Rating: * * ½
Rajnikanth’s daughter Soundarya wanted to debut as helmer with ‘Sultan: the Warrior’ and later ‘Rana’ but both films had to be shelved for various reasons, not-least-of-all being the south super star’s ill-health. So bore out of desperation , was this fictional, contrived period action melodrama in motion capture 3D animation with live action, format, where the lead actors would have little to do other than pose in a refined setting and lend their voice to the dialogues- A not too strenuous outing for the south king !
This film hit the screens in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, several other Indian languages including Marathi, Punjabi and Bhojpuri, and also in English and Japanese. This is an ambitious venture in that it hopes to capture an all-India audience with a heifer thrown in at the Japanese and world markets also. The film tries hard to cash in on the Superstar’s aggrandized persona and even lends him an almost mythic omnipotence but the craft and technique, though reasonably well sorted for the traditional audience, doesn’t really match up to current international standards. The story-telling is mainly at fault here- especially when it takes short cuts through unnecessary and essentially off-putting, lavishly mounted song and dance interludes which does not fit in well with the legend it aims to propitiate. A. R .Rahman gives the music and songs his best shot but the nature of the telling still feels a little too grounded in artifice to be captivating.
After a brief explanation about the motion capture technique, the narrative gets down to the business of developing the legend. Scriptwriter K. S. Ravi Kumar lends his voice to tell us the origin of the fight between the two kingdoms: Kallingapuram and Kothapatanam. Rana(Rajnikanth) is the chief of the Kallingapuram army sent to vanquish the Kothapatanam army. He succeeds handsomely and goes on to capture several nearby kingdoms. After the entry of the heroines and several more villains, the fight gets murkier. The flashback of the father’s story contributes to some major confusion thereafter.
For the mainstream Indian audience, prancing about like peacocks and in the next breath, doing battle with the enemy, may make for acceptable fare. But this film created not just for the Indian audience but also with an international audience in mind, has little for the discerning viewer. The over-abundant reliance on music and dance, lack of a consistent narrative structure and uneven craft dims the excitement. There is very little balance achieved in the telling and for people unfamiliar with the culture and rituals of the bygone era, everything on view may appear far-out and fanciful. In terms of technology being used, this is a first, no doubt, but it doesn’t come out as exciting or completely entertaining. A little more effort in character definition, a lesser dependence on music and a much more consistent technique could have made this effort quite impressive. But that was not to be!