Monday, July 2, 2007

Sivaji: Nothing Special About It

Sivaji, the latest blockbuster from Rajnikanth, the south-Indian superstar, had generated a lot of initial hype. Lot more than a Tamil film would have ever dreamed to have. Weeks before the release, tickets were sold out for weeks; we heard stories of people who bought tickets for 10-50 times the actual price. And, we all thought that was something special to watch. Yes, I thought so, too. And that was what pulled me to the theatre for my first-ever Rajni film at a movie hall.

No Hollywood, no bollywood, only Rajniwood, read one poster at the driveway to the theatre. It means everything it says, I realized in the next three hours inside Innovative, a multiplex here in Bangalore. Crazy fans erupted into raptures when the titles showed SuperStar Rajnikanth, yeah, with its share of special effects. They cheered him, jeered at the villain, repeated the punchlines, and enjoyed every moment of the movie, through most of the film.

The first question, what has it in for me? Nothing, would be my first response. On second thoughts, yes, there are nicely pictured (and composed, too) songs, interesting fights, and a pretty heroine. Apart from that, nothing but predictability of a sure victory for the charming hero, whose make-up men deserve credit for a wonderful job of making Rajni so young and fit.

Then there is this talk about horoscope and faith, supported by sequences that make you think that horoscopes foretold your future. At the end of it all, you could just heave a sigh of relief as the pair reunites after the trials and tribulations and say, oh, yeah, that horoscope thing was bullshit, though. But the believers had enough reasons to believe that horoscopes do play a role in your lives. See what happened, the aunties would tell the rebellious lovers, what all hardships they had been through, and see, they survived it only because she was praying to the god, because of her offerings and fasting. And at the end, everybody is happy--the believers and non-believers. And, the film just leaves that to your interpretation. Well, you may argue, it's only an entertainer. Yes, agreed. It's an entertainer for Rajni fans, nothing more, nothing less.

So, what was the hype about? Just marketing. The hype got us in to the theatre. That made us believe there was something special. True, that hype had contributed to the house-full shows in the first few weeks. But in the long run, is it going to help? I doubt. If anything, that would leave people disenchanted. Even hardcore Rajni fans are saying, it was not up to their expectations. Why? The hype raised the bar, and they went expecting something very special and had to come back with nothing special (except that wonderful makeup of their hero) and that is no fault of the movie. It's the hype, that made the film look so ordinary. And, that's the problem with over-hyping and setting high expectations. How costly that could be? We'll know soon.

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