Tag Archives: Rajinikanth

Petta Review

Petta Review – Petta is a Tamil action drama released in 2019. Kaali an elderly man joins as a temporary hostel warden in an arts college. There seems to be a hidden agenda behind his move which forms the core plot of Petta.

Petta, a fanboy film of Rajnikanth works its magic in bringing back many nostalgic memories of Rajnikanth movies in terms of shots, action blocks and situations. One big thing that it misses out is on the emotional connection to the character played by Rajnikanth on screen. Barring that it is an out and out entertainer. Like as in flashback sequences for Shankar, twists have become the regular feature in director Karthik Subburaj’s films. Personally, for me, the twists haven’t worked while it seems to have worked with many audiences. The twist of the tale in Jigarthanda and Pizza too did not work for me.

Petta’s first half is a wholesome entertainer, it has comedy, love, action sequences, songs, Thalaivar Swag all making it very enjoyable. The second half narrates an entirely a different story on a different canvas, that almost makes the first half irrelevant to the whole plot. The high orchestration builds up music is generously used in the second half BGM that might have worked well for the first day first show crowd but becomes cloying and making the climax appear to be elongated one. As it has been touted to be the second Baasha of sorts, I can’t resist doing a comparison to the old cult classic which again portrayed a dark side of Rajnikanth. But the first half characters lead back into the flashback as well and when the story connects back all of them are still relevant. That made you connect with the purpose of the lead character. That missed in Petta.

Besides the flaws, Petta is still a well made Tamil film that has many brilliant portions that would make you watch it again. First and foremost is the villaneous avatar of Rajnikanth and he plays it with so much ease and brings a terror on the screen as he gets involved in fights. It was refreshing to see Simran on screen after a long time. You just wished she had more screen time. Nawazuddin is the ideal choice for the Villain, the role is tailor made for him and he plays it to perfection. If you remove the fan flair of Petta, there is a raw gangster tale beneath it, that seems to be a very powerful one and left unexploited for the want of a breezy first half.

High Points: Rajni’s presence, the interval block, entertaining first half, the market fight scene, a Flashback sequence, inclusion of Simran

Low Points: Overuse of the build-up BGM, Twist after twist just for the sake of it

Overall, Petta is a true fanboy flick that captures all fanboy moments in a Rajni film. Lack of emotional connection to the main character makes it fall short of being a milestone movie. Yet there is lots to look for in Petta.

Worth a Watch

Kaala Review

Kaala Review – Kaala is a Tamil crime drama released in 2018. Mumbai’s politician Hari Dhada has hidden agenda of cleaning up Mumbai’s Dharavi to let it open for commercialization, but people of Dharavi protest against it under the leadership of local don Karikaalan.

I was disappointed with the second half of Kabali wherein I felt director Ranjith had a masterpiece in the making but fell flat in the second half. This time in Kaala the screenplay is much tighter and travels towards the purpose. The screenplay also provided a much larger scope for the mass moments of Rajini. Be it the swag of the black dress and shades, not being able to hide his lost love or getting drunk and blabbering in the police station, its out and out Rajini’s moments. He makes all these scenes very enjoyable.

Kaala has a very similar structure to his previous movie Madras. The movie jumps right into the core problem and how the voice of people is not heard in the massive political schemes which are supposed to be for the people. Apart from Rajini the biggest strength of the movie is Nana Patekar. He has played the unapologetic, gruesome villain with ease. His acting and body language are exemplary.

The screenplay does come with its own flaws. The character of Huma Qureshi is very weak and one dimensional. There was a much larger scope for the character but again the writers seem to have struggled with it as they did for Radhika Apte’s character in the second half of Kabali.  The rapper group is becoming a very predictable part for Ranjith’s film which again could have been avoided.

Samuthrakani has played a very good supporting role. It is refreshing to see him explore different roles other than being typecast into roles that shout out social messages. Eswari Rao makes a good pair to Rajini. She has a lot of scope in the first half and the way her character has been sketched is very nice. It is also refreshing to see Dileepan playing a significant role after Vathikuchi.

The subtext of the movie is about the perception people carry regarding the slums. Ranjith has questioned the stereotypes. If we talk about Dharavi or the North Madras slum, we remember movies like Nayagan, Thalapathy, Pudupettai which stereotypes the areas as the hub of crime. Pa Ranjith’s Kaala paints the picture of more life and family values in the slum, unlike the popular stereotypes.

High Points: Rajini’s charisma and screen presence, Nana Patekar’s acting, Mass moments of Rajini and Nana Patekar, a very compelling subtext of the movie, the climax sequence, brilliant cinematography, editing and art design to recreate Dharavi.

Low Points: Huma Qureshi’s character build-up, too much violence in the second half might upset many audiences, some components that are becoming too predictable in a Pa Ranjith’s movie.

Overall Kaala is a compelling tale about the slums beyond our perceptions and beliefs. Pa Ranjith is very sincere in what he believes and has the ability to narrate it in a compelling way. Ram killed Raavan and established Ram Rajya for making people’s lives better, but is that what the people wanted is essentially the question the movie asks. If you like crime dramas then do watch this one in the theaters.

Must Watch

Money Shot

Money Shot

In this week’s Friday Fundas I chose to discuss an interesting part in a movie or something the producers look for in a script. This is called Money shot or a Payoff shot.

Originally the money shot was a term referred to the shots for which maximum money was spent. This term was mainly used in the pornographic movies. However later this term was used for mainstream genre of movies and also changed its meaning to relate to the shot in a movie which had the most commercial value of the movie. This is the shot after seeing which the audience says “Paisa vasool” (worth the money spent). This has also become a standard practice when reviewing a script the producers look for the money shot which usually is the most dramatic part of the movie. This need not be restricted to the shots with the greatest special effects. Also this shot need not occur in the climax of the movie.

Jake jumps on to Toruk and connects his mind to it to become Toruk Makto
Jake jumps on to Toruk and connects his mind to it to become Toruk Makto

Let us look at some of the examples, in the English movie Avatar the sequence in which Jake connects his mind to the Toruk is the most high point of the entire narration and this would be the money shot of the movie in my opinion.

The bomb scene in the movie swordfish
The bomb scene in the movie swordfish

In the English movie swordfish the bomb blast scene is a very well shot scene and it is the money shot of the movie.

Skydiving scene in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Skydiving scene in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This also applies to Indian movies as well. In the Hindi movie Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara the sky diving scene of the 3 friends is the money shot of the movie.

Baasha Medical College scene
Baasha Medical College scene

In the Tamil movie Baasha the medical college sequence is the money shot of the movie. This shot occurs in the first half of the movie. This does not have any great visual effects but the high point in utilizing the potential of the star value of Rajinikanth makes this one the money shot of the movie.

Identifying your money shot in the movie is very much important. Every successful movie has a money shot, but every movie with a money shot need not be successful as the success depends on the entire movie and the money shot being the highest point of the movie which elates the audience.

All about Lingaa Dam – The real story behind

All about Lingaa Dam – The real story behind

Note: This article is inspired from various search terms that has lead users to my Lingaa Movie Review. If you are looking review on Lingaa movie click here.  The facts presented here on Mullai Periyar Dam are based on Wikipedia article. The facts on correlation to Lingaa are purely based on my views and may not be accurate.

In the past week I had been noticing the search terms that had been leading users to my blog. The search terms indicate that many of movie enthusiasts are looking to learn the actual story that had inspired Lingaa. Many of them believe that there was a person by name Lingeswaran who had constructed the dam for people during British rule and they are in search of information to learn more about it.

This article is an attempt to provide some facts on which Lingaa story is based on.  First of all the story of Lingeswaran is loosely based on a real person who had constructed a Dam amidst of all odds. The dam which he built in real was Mullai Periyar Dam in Idukki district of Kerala. And the person who built was a British engineer John Pennycuick. Yes you are reading it right; the dam was built by a British engineer. To celebrate his contributions Madurai PWD has a statue for John Pennycuick in their premises.

Why was his contribution so great? Let us look into the real story


John Pennycuick statue in Madurai PWD premises
John Pennycuick statue in Madurai PWD premises

The Real Story: 

Periyar river was originally flowing westward originating from the Western Ghats and flowing towards Arabian Sea. A large volume of water was getting wasted as it did not flow through many lands. Right from the late 18th century there had been discussion to turn this water eastward towards Madurai to augment the small Vaigai river that would provide enough water to do irrigation. But the efforts were given up as the project was deemed to be infeasible both technically and financially. It was only during 1887 the construction of the Mullai Periyar dam began under the leadership of John Pennyquick. But frequent floods had created many obstacles from the dam being constructed and the British government stopped funding the project stating the in feasibility.

John Pennycuick was not ready to give up. He went to Britain sold his wife’s jewelry and family property to raise the money needed for the construction of the dam. The Dam was finally completed in the year 1895 and still keeps the region surrounding it green for many generations. Pennycuick said “I am going to be only once in this earthly world, hence I need to do some good deeds here. This deed should not be prorogue nor ignored since I am not going to be here again”.

Similarities and Disimilarities with Lingaa

As you can see Lingaa’s story resembles Pennycuick’s in many ways. In fact the dialogue of Lingeswaran about living in this earth for once so resembles the quote of Pennycuick. Raja Lingeswaran sells all his property to complete the construction of the Dam as did Pennycuick. Both of them had to do this as the British government had stopped funding the project. The difference was Pennycuick was actually a Britisher and there were no drama of a villain in real life. The villain was nature itself then. In the movie Rajini had to fight against some gruesome villains to complete the Dam construction.


Where was Lingaa shot

Solaiyur is a fictional village in the movie and there is no such dam that exists. Lingaa was shot in and around Sagara Taluk in Karnataka. This is the region where Jog falls is located. The dam seen in the movie is the Linganamakki dam which is built across Sharavati River.

If you read Indian history you would realize the importance of a Dam in the development of India. Particularly in a country where there are non-perennial rivers and perennial rivers that cause a huge amount of flood there by causing more damage. Dams are great savior for our development and progress not only in the area of agriculture but also power, infrastructure development and many more. At the time of Visveswaraya who had constructed the KRS Dam the civil engineering discipline in India was at its peak and inspired many to take it up.

Hats off to the Lingaa team for narrating such a story through cinema.

An affair to remember… Ninaithale Innikum!

An affair to remember… Ninaithale Innikum!

Every movie lover would have an artist behind to spark the love for movies. For me it is KB Sir.

Director K Balachander gave meaning to the title Iyakkunar Sigaram (Summit of Directors). He had learnt so many rules of making a good screenplay that he can break them with ease to stand apart from the crowd and be a trail blazer for the Tamil film Industry. Many say his loss is irreplaceable but I feel he is immortal and would live through his movies.

When the entire film industry was making stories on the Kings, the riches or about the people below poverty line KB Sir came in and created an exclusive identity for middle class in his movies. This might be one of the reasons for a wider appeal to his movies. The conflicts established by him in each of the stories were unique. He started with writing and directing stage plays. With a great reluctance he took the opportunity for writing screenplay for movies and later fell in love with it that he started to make his famous stage plays as movies. You would see this in his early movies like Neerkumizhi (water bubble) in 1965, Ethir Neechal 1968(Swim against the tide), Major Chandrakanth and so on. If you see most of these movies would be a single set movie with very few scenes shot elsewhere. As people started seeing these movies they felt it was way different than the movies they had been watching and they were slowly beginning to realize the role of a director in movies. Till then what seemed to be a MGR movie, Sivaji movie now there were new type of movies addressed as Director Balachander movies. He became the role model for many directors to come later.

One of the iconic movies directed by him is Aboorva Raagangal in 1975. The movie features Kamal Hassan and introduced a new actor Shivaji Rao rechristened as Rajinikanth. Both of them later went on to take the Indian film industry by storm. Aboorva Raagangal dealt with intergenerational romance between two families which was quite a controversial topic during that era. But it went on to win 3 National Awards. Post this KB sir had directed many movies with Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth in the lead which included Avargal, Moondru Mudichu and Ninaithale Innikum.

Music used to play a significant role in his movies. Aboorva Raagangal was divided into chapters, which were named after a swara or raagam. Ninaithale Innikum was a full-fledged musical which also dealt with a genre of mystery and romance. You would see the prominence of music in his later movies like Sindhu Bhairavi, Unnal Mudiyum Thambi, Azhagan, Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal and many more. Music in most of his movies were composed by M.S Viswanathan. In Sindhu Bhairavi he joined with Ilayaraja. He had introduced A R Rahman in his production venture Roja directed by Maniratnam. A R Rahman also composed music for the movie Duet directed by KB sir.

KB sir emphasized on the empowerment of woman in most of his movies. His lead women characters right from Avargal, Arangetram, Sindhu Bhairavi, Achamillai Achamillai, Kalki were bold, forward looking and very powerful.

He used metaphors predominantly in his movies. These were fondly referred to a directorial touch in Tamil Cinema. There also used to be a character which is insignificant in the gamut of the plot but plays crucial role in emphasizing a point, mood or the gravity of a situation in his movies. Rajinikanth’s character in Aboorva Raagangal, Irumal Thaatha in Ethir Neechal, the dumb and deaf painter in Varumayin Niram Sigappu, Telephone in Azhagan, Chaplin uncle in Punnagai Mannan and many more are examples of this. He had also given some great comedy movies like Bhama Vijayam and Thillu Mullu in which he had experimented Rajinikanth playing a full-fledged comedy role. This had introduced a different dimension of Rajinikanth which is still exploited well by many directors.

KB sir had dealt with many genres of movies, his initial movies were centered around family drama, later he shifted to social drama which covered impact of society on people’s lives, he also has given some of the gems in romance genre which included Marocharitra in Telugu, Ek Dujhe Ke Liye in Hindi, Punnagai Mannan.
KB sir is a true king maker. He had not only made the two star waltzes Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan but also had rediscovered Nagesh as a character artist, introduced Prakash Raj and many more. He is so spontaneous and appreciates good art in any form. Once he sees a good movie he took time to write an appreciation note to the director who had made the movie.

Truly KB Sir is a film maker that everyone would wannabe. His affair with cinema will always be sweet memories … taking with lyrics from one of his movies … it is An affair to remember … Ninaithale Innikum!