Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Baba (2002)

Rajini is fascinated by the Himalayas. He also knows a Babaji who has been alive for 2000 years! He has mixed all this up in a perfect movie-masala and has stuffed it down our throats. All we can do is grin and bear for our beloved Rajini.

Even at his birth, Rajini is declared to be someone almost divine and extraordinary.
He grows up as a Non-believer. At a stage, a holy-man in the guise of a beggar (Sayaji Shindae) takes him to the Himalayas. At the mountains, the saints teach him 7 mantras. These mantras have the power to make any wish come true. Initially, Rajini is skeptic about the power of the mantras and playfully wastes some of them away. He then begins to give up his lack of faith in God and begins to transform into a Believer. His lifestyle begins to change. He uses his final mantra to create an honest, non-corrupt Chief Minister of the state.When the other corrupt politicians kill the honest CM, Rajini reluctantly gives up his path of Saatvik lifestyle by choosing Karma yoga. He does this by entering active politics himself. The film ends with an ' it continues' note.


Rajini carries the film squarely on his shoulders. What captivates the audience the most is his undiminishing youthfulness and energy.

Rajni had a light beard in this film to give a carefree image to the Characterization. Rajni's name is associated with the style and he performed each and every moment of Baba character with great élan. Rajni's introduction is shown with the song 'Tippu Tippu, in a railway station set. He also did different dances for the songs 'Baba Kichu Kichu and 'Maya Maya in the dance direction of Prabhudeva and Lawrance respectively. His mannerism in the film is saying 'Gatham Gatham' (past is past) by showing his trademark Baba symbol (see the image of Baba). Another interesting mannerism is giving shake-hand to his pal for every dialogue he or his friends crack.
Rajini's dance is the best thing that had happened to the song sequences. His dance, his rapid dialogue deliveries and his fast paced gait are received by applauses of joy and jubilation by the audience.

Since he clashes directly with the 'CM' and 'Deputy CM' in the film, the dialogues are laced liberally with political overtones. These too are greeted with whistles and applauses. Towards the end of the film, Koundamani plainly tells him, "Why don't you become the CM yourself, Baba?" Even before the dialogue ends, the fans go crazy with their shouts of joy and affirmation.

Other Artists

Manisha's character was put together in a big rush or that's what it looks like. One doesn't get the feeling that she is the heroine of the film. She doesn't have the appeal or glam of the heroine. Pretty dry she looks.
Aashish Vidhyarthi's character adds strength to Rajini's role.
Koundamani is very hilarious in the first half of the film. Sujatha's character portrays motherhood sentiments to perfection.


The song 'rajjiyamaa' with AR Rehman's score gels beautifully with the story and spins magic. When seen along with the film, Rehman's music score works. The music has supported the film very well indeed! Cinematographer Chota K Naidu and editor Vijayan deserve special mention. They have put in tremendous effort in further strengthening the scenes that portray Rajini's might and strength.

It's an interesting twist when the Babaji gives the boons to a Non-Believer like Rajini. The film picks up speed when Rajini has only one more manthra to use. The story has some good instances of screenplay, like when everybody starts compelling Rajini to take up the CM position himself with the Opposition too trying to capture the coveted position, and when Rajini attempts to use his last boon to create an honest politician.

Rajini has done the story and screenplay of this film. So, director Suresh Krishna couldn't do anything much there. But, he has done his best in bringing out the opulence in the framing of scenes and song sequences.

Rajini is very much into Spirituality. Rajini's fans are very much interested in seeing him enter into Politics.'Baba' is a coming together of both these desires.

Rajnikanth's intention of mixing the Indian philosophy with mass elements is commendable. At the end of the film Rajni asks the Baba to tell him what everybody should do to have a harmony in society. Baba replies Rajni 3 principles 1. You should keep your body and heart very clean 2. one must keep his/her family very happy 3. One must help the society. Even if you don't help society, you should never harm it.

The film moves almost along the lines of a 'God and goddess' film. The film doesn't offer a wide option in entertainment elements. So, the only entertainment factor of the film is Rajini and his styles

Avargal (1977)

One of Balachadarís under-rated master pieces. Anu acts in one of her best roles after ìAval oru thodar kadaiî (her first movie). The movie was way-ahead of its times by the simple fact that there was one heroine and three men (Rajinikanth, Kamalhasan and Bharani) yearning for her.

The story starts with a young single mother, Anu, moving to Madras from Bombay and being stranded without a house and company. Janardhanan, who is a colleague offers to help her and find her a house. With difficulty, she finds a house with his help and tries to settle in. The puzzle of her current position is solved by a flashback. She was in love with Bharani who had to leave her and go to his struggling family. Forced by her ailing father, she marries his boss, Rajinikanth. She soon realizes that he is a sadist and cannot stand his poisoned words and actions. She leaves him and lands at her current job with her child.

Janardhanan, a widower and a ventriloquist, starts developing feelings for Anu and is struggling expressing himself. But, fate plays its hand in their lives and it turns out that Anuís ex-lover, Bharani, is living in the house right opposite hers looking after his sick sister. When the lost lovers meet, sparks start and Anu, after a long time starts being happy again. Ramnathís mother, Leelavathi who hears about his sonís misdoings, wants to take care of her daughter-in-law and grandson and enters Anuís house as a maid.

When all things seem to be going well, Rajinikanth returns to his estranged wife seeking forgiveness, and she is in a total soup. The climax is very different and shows the resolve of the heroine.

The movie was way ahead of its time in many ways:

Single mother, divorcee phenomenon was not particular in the ë70s, leave alone now.
To show that a woman can stand by herself and also can lean on others for support, if required, both do not demean her character.

Kamalhasan is said to have learned ventriloquism to help with the character. The song ìKatrukenna Veliî by S.Janaki is very catchy, yet melodious.

Arunachalam (1997)

It has been a recent trend for Rajnikanth's movies to have the name of the hero as the movie title. "Arunachalam" is not an exception.

"Arunachalam" is a story about a village hero (Rajnikanth) who has 2 brothers and a sister and a happy family. Ravichandran and K.R.Vatsala are his parents. "Vedavalli" (Soundharya) is the daughter of Jaisankar and 'Venniraadai' Nirmala. Nirmala is Ravichandran's sister and they all come to Ravichandran's home for Rajni's sister's wedding. That gives the opportunity for Soundharya and Rajnikanth to fight first, then to kiss and fall in love with each other.

Rajnikanth finds himself to be an orphan by interval. He goes out of the village. He goes to Madras where he meets Janakaraj, who gives him a job. By some magical situation Rajni discovers himself to be a son of a (dead) millionaire - through Visu. Visu is the guardian of Rajni's father's trust. If Rajni wants his inheritance, he has to follow certain rules. He can get an inheritance of 3000 Crore Rupees if he can spend 30 crores in 30 days. The conditions are: no contributions to charities, not to own any assets at the end of 30 days and above all, no one else should know about this! Receipts should be provide for all the expenses. If Rajni fails to spend the money according to the rules, all the money will go to his father's trust which is managed by V.K.Ramasamy, "Nizalgal" Ravi, Kitty and Raguvaran. These four form a team of "villains". They want to spoil Rajni's efforts and get all the money for the trust and kill Visu. Ramba is Visu's daughter and she is appointed as the accountant for Rajni for 30 days.

What happens next is the main part of the story. Rajni tries hard to spend his money and many times, the money comes back! He spends on Horse races, lottery tickets, makes a movie with Senthil as the hero and he even starts his own political party with Janakaraj being the candidate. All these events are good opportunities for situation comedies.

Does Rajni win this competition? Does he get all the 3000 Crore rupees for himself and live happily ever after? (see it in silver screen!) is the rest of the story.

The first half of the movie is an original Tamil story. The second half of the story has been lifted from the English movie "Brewster's Millions" (with Richard Pryor in the lead role). I saw "Brewster's Millions" just before watching Arunachalam. See the bottom of this review for my "Review of Brewster's Millions" . Eventhough the story has been borrowed, it has been modified well to suit the Tamil culture and audience.

Super Star Rajnikanth satisfies all the requirements of Rajni fans - style, acting, good dance movements, fights and comedy. What more can one ask for? As usual Rajni's comedy acting is enjoyable. Particularly his comedy with Senthil is Superb. His love scenes with Soundarya is very interesting.

Soundarya is not only beautiful, but she also acts well. Her love scenes with Rajni is worth mentioning again.

Senthil deserves a special mention for his decent comedy. On several scenes, he is really funny. Janakaraj has been given a good role after a long time. He has done it well too.

Vadivukarasi has done a totally different role in a superb way.

Other actors/actresses who have done good acting includes: Jaishankar, Ravichandran, V.K.Ramasamy, Raghuvaran, Manorama, Visu and Crazy Mohan.

Eventhough the dialogues by Crazy Mohan are not upto the level of "Avvai Shanmugi", they are good and they bring laughes throughout the movie.

The fight scenes are not that great. There are not different from any other masala tamil movie.

If making a typical entertaining Rajini movie is all that Director Sundar C. wanted, he has succeeded in that. The movie flows smoothly. The editing is also good, particularly the several slow motion scenes in this movie have been done well.

Also, it has been a recent trend to show the shooting scenes at the end of the movie (thanks to "Jackie Chan" movies for inspiration!). At the end of this movie also, there are some shooting scenes which are interesting to watch.

Music is by Deva. The two songs which are good are: "Athanda Ithanda.." (reminds us of "Naan Autokaren" from Batcha) and "Nagumo ai Sugamo..". Deva could have done a better job. The director has compensated for the music by filming the songs rich.

With the one exception of songs, "Arunachalam" is an entertaining movie.

Double Visil (for Rajni).

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