Sunday, August 19, 2007


Another trip. Over. Sad.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sivaji – The Prince

To be very honest this was the only Tamil movie I actually wanted to watch. Come to think of it, keeping aside some Bengali films, this was the first Indian movie I looked forward to watching. I was told so many things about this movie, that at one point I felt like it was my right to stand up and defend my precious Hollywood. This had been the most expensive Indian film ever produced. Coming form the biggest film industry in the world, that’s saying a lot I guess. In a country where films actors command demi-god status, it doesn’t get any more demi-godish than Rajnikanth, apparently. So, me being me, naturally wanted know what fuck was all about. I’m sure that there was some divine intervention in letting me go for the movie as I was told that I would not be taken for it due to my comment “Rajnikanth is an ugly old fart”.

Anyway, I end up in front of Cine City, Maradana for the 10 o’clock show. I need to mention something about this theater too. This is no ordinary theater. It looks like a fucking fortress. I couldn’t see the entrance as it was covered with iron fence. It was like a barricade. Though I had been thinking about it ever since, I’m still not quite sure the purpose it serves. I was dreading standing in line inside an iron fence. I would have died of claustrophobia. Fortunately W charmed her way in to getting me inside through the main entrance.

The commercials that run before the movie are as unique as the theater. I have never seen three-wheeler spare parts commercial. Not even on tv. This place had that. Then came Ranjan Ramanayake and his biceps in the trailer of Leader. The sneak peek shows Ranjan dishing out round house kicks, lot of explosions and a chick who seems to enjoy flashing her panty. This is where the first crowd reaction comes. The audience is as unique as the theater and the commercials. Very, very vocal and made me feel like in school, watching a movie without a teacher. There were boos, loud comments and whistles. Too bad I didn’t understand the comments.

So the movie begins. The only name I can recall now, being mentioned in the opening credits is Rajnikanths. And he is introduced as SUPER STAR Rajnikanth. This provokes another outburst of claps and whistles and the movie goes on for a good three hours. The movie as all elements for success, covered. It has a superstar, elaborate sets, five more songs than absolutely necessary and a nationalistic story line. To top it all, it has slap-stick comedy, an over flow of, what apparently are, Rajnikanths trademark moves and outrageous costumes. Rajni (as he is fondly referred to as) portrays a chappy that has made his millions after going to the U.S and is now (surprise, surprise) a software engineer. Comes back to India with a god like attitude and wants make it a better place. What better way than to establish a free medical training college. To make it very short, our chappy Rajni, over comes bureaucracy, beats the crap out of (what seems like) quarter of the Indian population, signs documents with both hands to quicken things up and basically makes India the most sort after real estate in the world by 2020. Single handedly. Now that is fucking amazing, don’t chu think?

W tells me that you will not see anybody other than Rajnikanth in the movie. In the sense, that his presences is so overwhelming. And I agree with her. The director has made sure of this to the extent that you will see seven to eight Rajnikanths at the same time on the screen.

But I would be a hypocrite not to say that I was fascinated by the whole experience. I am fascinated how this less than average looking guy who can’t act for peanuts commands such hysterical mass mania. What is also fascinating is how a sixty-year-old man acts like a thirty year old. At sixty years, I would probably be farting while putting my granddaughter to sleep, while this man is out there kissing the hips of a gorgeous woman. Not even the most versatile of Hollywood actors can pull of what this guys pulls off. I am sure that either he has a lot of ass kissers around him who convinces him that he still can carry this kind of role off or his fans just don’t want him to grow old, at least on screen. And from last nights’ experience, I feel it’s the latter. I have been told by my uncle that in the days when Gamini Fonseka reigned the local cinema screen, they as young boys would come out if the cinema repeating the cool dialogs and would use them anywhere they could. This was what I saw yesterday. Guys came out repeating the ultra cool one-liners and doing the finger snaps. In third world countries, that gets bitch slapped around by the west, because of the socially deprived lives they lead, people seek emotional asylum in movies. In that context, a good movie and a movie star should bring this kind of emotion out in moviegoers. Rajnikanth the man, is more like a cut-out of himself you would have seen in Chennai for one of his movies, thirty years ago. His fans don’t see his wrinkles, his bad acting, his receding hairline, his potbelly. They see a prince who makes love to them, by winking and snapping is fingers, every time they go to the movies. Koool!