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Jan 27, 2009

Sivaji : The Boss

My first Rajnikanth movie ever. I have seen half an hour or stray bits of Rajni movies before. A song here, a song there or a youtube clip of Rajni's superhuman antics which he employs even to light a measly cigarette. That is what I call respect. It is the first message I get from the movie messiah of the Tamil masses. Respect.

He respects even a lowly cigarette, that he gives his time and his skills to perfect the art of putting it into his mouth. This one movie has revealed to me the reason for Rajni's godly status - he respects you, you could be the lowly of the lowly and he is the filmstar who makes millions but he will show you respect where you deserve it and he doesn't mind being the butt of jokes himself. Something Malayalam superstar Mohanlal could do in the eighties before he ascended the superstar throne, not anymore.

Rajni movie requires a different set of standards to analyze. You cannot compare a Scorsese film with a Rajni film. For that matter you cannot even compare it with an RGV film(much closer home.). It'd be a classic case of mulaku bhaji vs caviar(Caviar makes me gag, so much for sophistication!)

Shivaji is entertainment for the masses. The spectrum of viewers could be varied as a farmer from Kumbhakonam to a South Indian NRI in Boston. The one thread that binds them all is their love for Rajni movies. These movies have only one aim - to showcase Rajni. There would be a namesake story, a fair doe-eyed heroine (definitely of non-Tamil origin, preferably North Indian), plenty of stylish songs featuring Tamilians' penchant for neon colors and numerous fights to showcase Rajni's pre-Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon era stunts which probably CTHD copied.

I am not going to venture into the story, because there is not much of it and the story is besides the point anyway. Shivaji was the most expensive Indian film at the time of its release, in April 2007. It was an unprecedented hit, not only in India but in all of the overseas markets it was featured. The director is S.Shankar and the music is composed by A.R.Rehman. Comedian Vivek's lines in the script have more humor than the most humorous Malayalam of the current times.

There is nothing to analyze nor is there any haloed message to bring home. This movie upholds the first principle of movie-making - to offer an escape from reality. You have the guarantee that there is no hard-biting reality, only fantasies - loud and colorful with a predictable good ending and a Superman who can do almost anything you ever wanted to.