Thursday, 28 June 2007

Sivaji

Freshly returned from foreign soils and yearning for all things Indian, even those that would have been summarily rejected just a few weeks ago, I bravely decided to pay Rs.170 to watch the Superstar that would be The Boss, in the local multiplex. The fact that many of the seats were empty just meant that the local Ghati gang just did not get the magic of our curd-rice land, of course.

It was a fantastic display as usual, of gravity defying stunts, exquisitely choreographed and magnificently executed dances involving serious amounts of camera panning, fantabulous costumes designed by the best and the brightest, and lastly, the most imaginative story-line ever to emerge from this side of the Arabian Sea. Cha-chink for all the involved parties.

What caught my fancy the most however, was the incredible acting. The following require especial mention –

  1. A dazzling white coat worn by the doc played by Raghuvaran. The coat would have put all the Nirma ad auntie’s saris to shame, for in addition to its impeccable whiteness, it helped the actor describe and demonstrate to us the power of CPR, repeatedly.
  2. The startlingly acrobatic heroine’s (whats her name?) navel. It was hidden well when she was in the avatar of cultured, traditional Tamizh person. Hidden beneath swathes of cloth. But at the slightest provocation it jumped out, and danced with glee, nearly putting Shilpa Shetty to shame.
  3. The three glass domes in the midst of a desert. These glass domes would presumably have proliferated with lush green plants, despite the harsh climate. For the purpose of the movie however, they were rid of said plants, so that innumerable extras, and occasionally the hero and heroine, could prance around in their immense interior. The transparent glass leant unreal glows to the lavish costumes, thus enhancing visual appeal dramatically
  4. In the same set of scenes, the many pairs of gauze butterfly wings sported by the angelic dancers. Borrowed from the local high school, post a very successful annual day function, these silvery wisps made one feel really in heaven.
  5. The Superstar’s costumes. While there were, at last count, at least a thousand of them when you total the costumes in the actual movie, those in the dream sequences, and those shown only in magazine and newspaper clippings, there was a common theme. It has been reported that top Indian designers are squabbling over who exactly is responsible for these designs. I say, there is no fight! Clearly, all of the currently active designers were employed, and the Superstar, humble as he is, wore all the designed clothes & wigs, usually simultaneously.
  6. The dancer’s dancing tummies. These fat things had a rhythm of their own, especially when painted with the Superstar’s face from the early 80s. To see a hundred of these in action, gyrating to the musical score in a theater is an experience akin to watching glaciers melt, at an Imax-Dome-with-3D-effects.
  7. And finally, the blue Halls wrapper. Where did it go? Did it ignore gravity too, and land up miraculously in the wastepaper basket? Did it directly find its way to the municipal plastic dump? Did it manage to maintain its separate identity from sundry wet garbage? It is exactly this mystery that makes the acting by this teeny weenie something remarkable, to remember for generations to come.

Black money & corruption are big problems. Education and health care are important areas requiring serious efforts. Power to the people! Good, if sort of obvious, messages from the movie. Watch it, but if possible avoid the song and dance sequences.

8 comments:

csm said...

i loved it.
of course it helped to leave behind logic and rationale at home.
vivek was outstanding in his role and his one liners.

Ludwig said...

oh kindred souls (csm included)!!

i've seen it twice, once in Gult (first day first show!) and once in Tam and kind of loved it muchly and said as much.

have been threatened with physical violence by people who must somehow be deficient and can't see the point!

"Khool."

kbpm said...

aah you guys, of course you will love the movie. I, however, still demand more gender sensitivity. HMPH.

but dont worry your pretty heads, I am still a fan of 'Sir'. After all, my favourite movies of all time are Hum and Chaalbaaz, for obvious reasons.

Vanessa said...

Kbpm...I tried my best not to comment on this post. But could not stop myself.
We really cannot understand the curd-rice-land mentality.
I have wondered for years what makes Rajnikant a god?
His accent, his acting, his looks, nothing is special. Amitabh, Shahrukh at least have that personality.
I've also wondered why in south films , there are young heroines and old (and mucchad) heroes.
R Madhavan is the only exception. He is smart and speaks un-accented, good Hindi.

Guys, No offence intended. but i represent the Ghati-junta....
Or may be i am deficient and cannot see the point. Possible. Please enlighten me!!

kbpm said...

vanessa-
come on! dont you see it! Rajnikanth *is* god. i guess each one to herself, i for one, cannot stand the sight and sound of SRK, so if you say he has got the it factor, I will just say 'hmm'

also, at this stage, i must defend myself and say that, i really do believe in the Rajnikanth brand of no-pretensions cinema. my crib about gender whatever and halls wrappers notwithstanding.

but on the heroine issue, i do agree that it gets a bit ridiculous. however, in this, and in most other films of its ilk, the heroine is pretty much superfluous, and the whole point is to give some colour and beauty to the songs. and why not choose young, pretty things for this? is this that different really than mainstream hindi cinema?
and please let us not associate acting with mainstream cinema, now, or ever. gives me goosebumps. even if you say Shahenshah Amitabh Bacchan alongside and remind me of the new and improved version of him.
finally, accent. The reason I love Rajnikanth. Cause guess what? Instant identification with accent!! How can the Bambayya accent be OK in hindi cinema but not a south Indian one? a regular south indian person talking in hindi, not the caricature that we had in EkDoTeenChar or something. Madhavan is from Jamshedpur, so if anything we need to be surprised at how well he can speak in Tamizh!! I think I will take Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasan's Hindi accent any day, objectively, over, say, John Abraham, or (shiver) Himesh Reshammiya, or for that matter Saif Ali Khan (who speaks in a completely weird Anglo type way, and has probably only recently been made to change a little in Omkara).

I think people are just totally unfair to Rajnikanth in the North because he is so dark, and does not usually act all cool and Armani-suited and Page 3 appearances. also no pseudo-intellectual, I am going to do 'different' cinema and talk half the time in English and the other half with my eyes or whatever.

my dear Vanessa Bell (is that the correct reference, or am I way off?, i think your comment is going to convince me to go watch Rajni Sir again!

Vanessa said...

Hey hey hey
Guess i've touched a chord there....:-)

"people are just totally unfair to Rajnikanth in the North because he is so dark, and does not usually act all cool and Armani-suited and Page 3 appearances. also no pseudo-intellectual...." - True....But that IS what showbiz is all about....

Kbpm, WE can never relate to his accent the way you do...? (kamal Hassan's was better.) There are many marathi actors playing small roles in bollywood movies and they speak Hindi in a very marathi accent. I cannot relate and its totally uncool.

Regional preferences will always be there. Films like 'Satya', 'Shootout at Lokhandwala' etc are hits in Bombay coz only mumbai people can relate to the concept, the language. They will never have an universal appeal.
Yaadein, KANK didnt do well in India, but did abroad. Target audience - NRIs. The KANK concept was indigestible for the indian audience.
Same true with Rajni- starrers. It will never attract crowds in the north. Coz we cannot relate to any aspect of these movies....

csm said...

lets cut to the chase here and stay out of parochiality.
none of us can pretend to speak for the larger language base we represent.
for eg., sivaji got released in latur undubbed.
sivaji in telugu ran nowhere close to full house in madras even in the first week.

movies are showbiz (entertainment) as well as cinema (art).
then there are genres and generations.
and add on personal likes and preferences.
there is hardly a chance that we will have much synchrony.
i think sivaji has come closer to bridging this gap. media hype was one factor.
it also helped that the movie is one monstrous rocking stylish statement ;-)
simply loving it.

lud - my count is also 2 and am up for more. has been my pet project now. have even suggested that we take our kids to watch it as a field trip to my teachers.

Ludwig said...

"movie is one monstrous rocking stylish statement ;-) simply loving it."

Well said, well said!

sixukku apram seven
sivajikku apram yeven!!

chittor thaandinaa kaatpaadi
sivaji thaandinaa deadbadeee

Wakaw!!!!!!!!!!