Saturday, December 27, 2014

LINGAA and the fading of a Superstar

With so much anticipation of watching a Rajinikanth starrer, I headed to the cinemas. After buying the hiked special rates (even in Singapore!), I could not wait to see his magical on-screen performance, especially after the return from brief illness.

The movie started and after the initial euphoria died down, the theatre fell silent. Much like my bubbling enthusiasm.


Oh what a let down!

By all those concerned, the movie is a sham and hotch-potch arrangement of everything.

The Kollywood inside news confirmed to me that the project was approved by Rajini to be completed within 6 - 7 months to make up for the losses run up by his daughter Soundharya's childishly ambitious 'Kochadaiyan'.

Who could do a decent job within that time frame? K. S. Ravikumar was commissioned who, in my opinion, is a smart, commercial project leader and less of a tactful creator. Nonetheless, he ideally suited the project.

With all the internal machinations of Kollywood distribution/settlement nuances, the film was produced, dubbed in multiple languages, screens acquired, rights sold, audio launched and released world-over - all within 7 months!

Either the effort of such humongous nature showed badly or every contributor to the film took their role for granted, riding on Rajini's presence, we do not know.  The result is a 3 hours dragging, non-technical, not at all creative waste of resources.

The film has a beaten down, cliched storyline (even this reference about Tamil big star movie scripts is becoming cliched), which follows the line of Rajini doing good for the community, sacrificing all his wealth and goodwill. In the process, he gets ostracized by the same people and bound by an oath (to a non-determinant English collector!), he leaves the dam that he helped build and the community and leads a simpleton life.

His grandson, also Rajini, a petty thief, comes back after 70 years and restores the pride of his grandpa by fighting the useless looking villain, Gajapathi Babu, the local MLA.

Rajini looks so old that all the efforts to make him look younger by graphics, wigs (with that unkempt extra tuft of hair on all sides), scarves always around the neck, fancy dresses - all highlight his inability to walk fast, deliver dialogues fast, emote adequately, in short, show his age.

I felt pity, without knowing for whom.

Is he stretching himself for more money? Or more achievements in the industry? Or to further the secretly nurtured political ambitions? Or is he being goaded to accept these projects by the industry, family or friends?

Whatever it is, the writing seems clear to me. Lingaa should be his last or one among the last of the projects of an illustrious career.

Now the other non-contributing factors of the film:

A R Rahman should stop accepting Rajini projects for he had not done anything satisfactorily for him. There is reason to believe that he is one composer who needs creative space and ample time to bring out better albums - both rare commodities in a Rajini film.

The songs of Lingaa - better not to mention. A poor shadow of past and certain tunes (sung by SPB) are so lacklustre that it baffles an ARR fan in particular and a music lover in general. BGM scoring though ambles through the 3 hour film, it is unobtrusive and hence non contributory.

The Santhanams, Vijayakumars, Ponvannans, Sundarrajans... what a crowd! and what a waste!

Why would a director/casting consultant have two huge (literally) heroines, Anushka and Sonakshi Sinha paired against a weak looking, paunch-protruding hero? Both the leads look so fat and a complete misfit to the hero.

When Tamil film industry is doing a turnaround with low budget, technically solid and decent scripted movies, why would a team put this film out with all the best resources possible to be commanded?
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