Happy birthday Thalaiva! Today, as Rajinikanth turns 64, he adds one more feather to his cap, with 'Lingaa'. Start to finish, 'Linga' took less than a year in making, and the film has launched amidst all the hype. A magnum opus in its truest sense, the film has the crew of best of class, style, actors and artists on board. So what is the ambitious project about?
A thief - a smart one at that - has a rich history to his background, contrary to his current condition. Named after his grandfather, Lingeshwaran is one of the classiest robbers, in association with his friends. But he is also wanted by folks of Solaiyur, for reopening an age old temple. Curious and clueless about why his grandfather is praised so much, Linga is finally forced to agree to visit the village. The young lad eventually learns that his grandfather was the one to revive the life and livelihood of the entire village, with his own money. But flashing back, Lingeshwaran is a wealthy king with a heart singularly aimed at serving people. Why and how did the king misunderstand?
The film travels fast and consistent through the first half, starting from Linga's dreamy introduction and his classic jewelry robbery, to the king's challenge in the flashback. However, there is a notable lack in charisma.
Wait for the second half to bring your energy back, true Rajini style!
The next phase of 'Lingaa' completes the promise of a power packed Superstar movie, solving many mysteries, including the one on why the temple gates had to be thrown open all of a sudden. Now that the story is in place, let's get critical on the aspects that make the movie wholesome and complete.
Superstar - that's one word, said enough. For years, movies that star Rajinikanth, portray him as a rogue who ultimately transforms into a benevolent and generous, forthcoming person with high respect in the society. This is the person Rajinikanth himself, in most parts. Thalaivar plays his part well, as a gentleman in all respects, and his dialogues befit both his roles.
Anushka plays reporter Lakshmi, who is both glamorous yet strong headed with an attitude to match both the shades. She has her way into Linga's heart, in her strong steps. However, her dialogues could have definitely been better and less than what she speaks, especially in the initial scenes. Sonakshi plays the playful woman, who later becomes Lingeshwaran's wife. Her acting as Mani Bharathi is well in place, but she could have definitely gone in for a bindi for all her scenes, which would have completed her Indian beauty. Santhanam and Karunakaran play Linga's allies, all through the movie, and they ensure to get you in splits!
Direction and Screenplay:
Based on Pon Kumaran's story, the team was gathered and directed by KS Ravikumar. In quick succession after 'Kochadaiiyaan', Ravikumar and Rajini have joined hands again, for yet another dual-role film for the Superstar. The film is a good three hours long, but does not seem that tedious on screen. Kudos for the entertainment! However, the second half does seem heavier than the first, as there are two stories woven into one, as a movie. Also, many actors for relatively very little screen presence, seem to have gotten spent a lot as a talent pool. But no doubt, everyone is best in class.
Just as much as I would want to vouch for the choice of locations for ties scenic beauty, it is apparent on an equal measure that graphics is strikingly lot but disappointingly not up to the mark. Start to finish, 'Lingaa' involves a whole lot of CG that has a typical look of animation. However, Rathnavelu.'s work on the camera angles, especially in 'Mona Gasolina' and 'Oh Nanba' songs, apart from palace scenes and train fight sequences are good. Equally good is Samjith's work on editing and superimposition; noteworthy are the scenes when of jewellery robbery and the spat with the British.
Although there was a widespread belief that Rahman's charisma has come down for the movie, it is also true that we have picked up slow but addictive liking to the album of 'Lingaa'. On watching the movie, we understand that the music befits the story. And so does the timely score all through. The tunes that play when Anushka or Sonakshi are on screen, are inviting and pleasant. But, there seems to be a pregnant gap between scene and music that follows, in climax. One good thing about the movie is that all songs are picturised, and no tune goes waste. The songs have come out so well that they are no deterrent to the flow of the story.
'Lingaa' is a clean masala with barely anything to snip off in censorship. It has a racy screenplay to justify the story that preaches unity, integrity, honesty, humility, and generosity, all for the goodwill of people. Introduction of the thought that people should not be biassed based on caste, is an intelligent move. However, certain patches do stand out as sore thumb that are in dire need of finesse - like dialogues for everyone other than Rajini, action, choreography, and graphics, especially in climax. In all, the film looks like it is made for Rajinikanth, to make him the hero of all times, but fails to meet expectations as a movie on the whole.
Rating: 2/5 - For Rajini