Rajinikanth is not just an actor, he is a brand name. Everything about The Superstar is magnum opus and each of his moves is a trend setter. After nearly four painful years of anticipation, Rajinikanth is back to the silver screen. And here's the most celebrated actor of the country throwing open the gates to the globally budding trend in movie making, in India. 'Vikramasimha' has been in the making, and in headlines every other day, for the past couple of years, for the path breaking technology of motion capture photo realistic film brought home by the Superstar's own daughter, Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin, who debuts as director with this legendary flick. KS Ravikumar's intelligently crafted story backed by AR.Rahman's music starring Deepika Padukone, Nasser, Aadhi, Jackie Shroff, Rukmmini and Shobhana with the Superstar himself, in an all new concept - 'Vikramasimha' is the best of Superstar's portrayal and upcoming technology.
To say that 'Vikramasimha' is the father and Rana the son is as easy as it may seem, but to define the inspiring men that they are and to unfold the multilayered story is a big task at hand. The story revolves around two kingdoms - Kalingapuri and Kottaipattinam. Rana is declared the commando of Kalingapuri and there begins to unfold his mission. On his most ambitious venture, he takes his army to attack Kottaipattinam but ends up becoming the hero there. In short, the story of how and why he is the hero of Kottaipattinam is all that 'Vikramasimha' about.
The speciality of the film lies in the visual treat that it makes for. All the roles that Rajinikanth is cast in, is unique and distinct from one another, and is a special experience for audience who worship him. The first glimpse of motion capture photo realism comes in the form of Aadhi who plays Veera Mahendra. But though this first look takes a little while to recognise and register as a familiar actor, the ones that follow can be easily placed. Aadhi plays a friend hurt by cheat later, Deepika the loving and lovely girl, confident of her stance, Nasser plays a villain you could bring yourself to hate first hand, and Shobhana plays the doting wife; Rajinikanth is in the role of a father and that of a son, while with the responsibility of safe guarding the kingdom. Not only have each one of the characters been chosen with care, but it has been duly ensured that their role is portrayed with importance and also that each one of them plays their respective roles with convincing finesse.
Revolving around the fictitious old times of the South Indian sub continent, every bit of the movie is regal. The most important aspect of such a period-set film is its art direction and the perfection with which it is captured. For a technically unique and rich movie as this, it takes sheer expertise to translate the story into visual, yet virtual, reality. Rajiv Menon stands out again in his best for capturing the criticalities of the story. Another pillar to the project is Anthony's editing.
In a movie like this, the key talent which hogs the limelight is that which builds the backbone of any movie - direction. If successfully launching oneself as a debutante in the competitive industry was a hurdle, directing Rajinikanth in her debut is a great deal of jittery responsibility. First of all, thanks to Soundarya for bringing the new concept to Indian cinema and congratulations to her to have delivered it with elegance.
At first, the movie may impact us as mere animation, but to think that every minute gesture has been captured using forty cameras and all of them have been reconstructed - including the trademark Superstar style - it clears out that the film is far more than just imagination, but is a tireless team of sweat and effort. Bringing the animation to life is music. If you liked the movie's album, then you will love the score in the film. Rahman's rerecording adds further dimensions to the songs, elevating the movie experience. Though the film is only two hours long, it has all the eight tracks pictured; and the best part - it doesn't bore or hinder the movie experience, but only adds to the interest. Background score is subtle most often but its presence is soothingly felt all through the film. All thanks to Resul Pookutty for his nuances that has helped in converting the story into an experience.
Though it is a new experience, certain minor parts in the movie stand out as a sore thumb to the otherwise smooth finish. Reconstruction of Rana's faces first impacts as an attempt a little incomplete, owing to the strikingly artificial finish to Superstar's face. That way, most of the characters take a while to set in as the actors who we recognise otherwise. This leaves us puzzled for a while till we decide to follow the story nonetheless. Another drawback is that which arises in motion. While the actors are involved in performance, there seems to be an artificial time lag or lead in their actions, which is typical of animation. The part where this becomes a drawback is when we realize that we are viewing a different projection of our very own, well known, actors. Apart from these, there are a few places where action and graphics exaggerate heroism in the movie, to super-heroism. However, considering the genre, Superstar's presence and the nature of this genre being so new to us, the hitches can be generously ignored, roaring and cheering for Rajinikanth.
Though small, the story has many twists in it, taking it deeper and deeper at every turn. This renders it multilayered and likely to be confusing. But thanks to Ravikumar's screenplay, the story remains clear in any frame at random. Dialogues, which strengthen the foundation of period-set movies in general, is a big plus in 'Vikramasimha'. They are carefully worded to justify every character with its due opulence, yet ensuring not to exaggerate anybody's stance. This being predominantly a war-based movie, all the fight sequences are as gripping as real. The ones that involve 'Vikramasimha' give goosebumps, awakening the Rajini spirit in you. Presence of the late legendary actor Nagesh is one to look forward to, as the effort taken to not only reconstruct his face and build but also bring about his mannerisms add typical as original, much after his demise stands out in pride. All said, 'Vikramasimha' is a definite summer treat and is totally worth the wait. As noted by experts in this field, 'Vikramasimha' has kicked off on an optimistic note and is certainly a trend setter in many respects.
Rating: 3/5 - New age entertainment for all ages