Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Like a Sega fight! Sivaji: The Boss.

S. Shankar's megalomaniac project Sivaji: The Boss (now ain't that some title, people?) is a Tamil masala extravaganza that looks like money and tastes like entertainment. The Superstar Rajnikanth plays the typical omnipotent NRI hero who wants to do his blessed homeland some good with his earned riches. His uncle (the brilliant comedian Vivek!) meanwhile helps him find a very "Tamil-cultured" bride, played by the gorgeous Shriya Saran, and naturally we have a villain, who has corruption and thirst for power running through his veins.

Throw in glorious, glorious song picturizations (soundtrack by A.R. Rahman!) and a boatful of meta-Rajnikanth jokes, as well as some references to other Tamil cinema heroes (Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Hassan, MGR), and stylish action sequences a plenty and you've got Sivaji: The Boss in a nutshell.

In Hindi they have an expression, "paisa vasool" - meaning, as far as I know, "money's worth". The thing I love about Shankar is that he's serving up the crowd-pleasing masala, the incredible visuals and the action in such a large bowl, I wouldn't call it just "money's worth", I'd call it "tip generously!". I especially adored all the Rajnikanth-y Rajnikanth gags, that were all over the place, and was surprised at how much I caught of the more inside Kollywood gags, too.

Vivek's comedy as usual is a mix of English and Tamil gags, but his comic delivery just makes it work, and Rajnikanth naturally also has great timing - the two work magnificently together and the comedy bits were some of the best I've seen in a while.

One may always disagree with the message and the politics of Shankar films (at least those were he has a clear social message), but the man is optimistic and that's admirable. Too bad there is no character such as Sivaji to make India better a country; but perhaps part of the point is to raise awareness of possible Sivajis - that somebody, anybody could take action in the right direction.

My main complaint and the reason Anniyan remains my favourite Shankar movie is that while a lot of things about Sivaji are excellent, the whole lacks something. The over-three-hour film starts to drag at times, and the villain is super-boring. The last hour delivers a few twists to the story, and awesome action, but I was only really engrossed in the songs at that point. The romance could also be tons better, but then, perhaps at this point all of Rajni's on-screen pairings will suffer from lack of believability.

If you want to see what Shahrukh's OSO Rajni-impression was based on, this is certainly one insanely glorious way to educate yourself. (Though I would also recommend Muthu, the first Rajni film I saw.)


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I love Rajni - he makes even vile trash look good! I prefer him to Kamal Hassan, who seems to have won more laurels w/ his acting.

In other news, I have finally tracked down "Kandukondein Kandukondein" !!! Am probably seeing in the next few days :D

veracious said...

I've only seen one Kamal Hassan movie, one of when he was very young - it was a lovely picture, I think I might check out more young-Kamal movies eventually. I'm not head over heels for Rajni, but he is pretty cool.

Enjoy KK!

Anonymous said...

Do you know where the music video to Vaaji Vaaji was shot? Whether it was shot on a set or on location, it was a visual treat.

veracious said...

No idea where it was shot, but it was probably a set. Shankar uses a good portion of his budgets to make for awesome visuals. :)