Where do you start? Where do you
end? How do you recapture cinematic magic, the
captivating power and charisma of one man, who
manages to transcend the rational faculties in all
of us? How do you re-create this attraction of soul
and heart? No matter what, no review is ever going
to do justice to Sivaji –The Boss as no writer can
summon the ability to bring in words the impossible
swathe that Rajnikanth’s appeal cuts across various
strata of the society.
Rajni’s movies are not so much
art as appeal. Like mother’s cooking which is not
Rajnikanth on screen makes a
bonding with your heart. It is about emotions, that
maybe blind, but all real and very human. In
Sivaji-The Boss, this surreal feeling gets a further
magical touch in the form of techno-wizardry that
Shankar has patented to be his in Tamil cinema.
When state-of-the-heart and
state-of-the-art find a match, what you get is three
hours of sustained entertainment that is at once a
compelling phantasmagoria of trademark Rajni fun and
typical Shankar grandeur. It is a case of desire
meeting dream, and almost making it plausible.
The success of Sivaji-The Boss
will eventually lie in the fact that both Rajni and
Shnakar, with a huge individual constituencies of
their own, have not had to break their preserved
moulds. Where Rajni and Shankar meet is in their
social sensibilities, in their populist propensity
to convey, what the industry calls as ‘the
Sivaji, in that sense, is a
contemporary commentary on the state of the nation
where as a dialogue in the film aptly sums it up as
‘the poor get poorer and the rich get richer’.
Sivaji has many strands, each unique in its heft and
Affordable education and health
for all is one theme. Rooting out black money is the
main one, however. Woven into this large tapestry is
the bureaucratic bunglings, red-tapism and other
issues that bug our quotidian life.
Sivaji is an everyday story that
gets the sheen of a moral fable as well as the shine
of fairytale, as Shankar stretches his imagination
even as he compels you to stretch your threshold of
Sivaji (Rajnikanth) is a rich NRI
software pro. Son of caring parents (Manivannan and
Vadivukkarasi), and the nephew of an ever helpful
uncle (Vivek), Sivaji comes to India with the larger
than life dream of running universities and hospital
for the benefit of the poor. (The idea is smartly
done when he talks of every riches coming to India,
but beggary not going away).
Sivaji has to however contend
with Adi Kesavan (Suman), a slimy crocodile of a
educationist and a hospital owner. He has vested
interests in not allowing Sivaji to get on with his
ambitious projects. Sivaji, however, has his heart
set. Despite running into a non-cooperating
administration (the red-tapism prevalent is exposed
in an irony-filled humour), Sivaji soldiers on. He
unwillingly greases the palm of venal babus and
politicos to get sundry permission required to build
But Adi consistently turns out to
be the spanner in the works and even goes to the
extent of unseating the government to stop Sivaji in
his tracks. In the meanwhile, Sivaji falls in love
with a midlleclass Tamilazharasi (Shriya), who is
the daughter of uncompromising parents (Raja and Uma
Padmanabhan). Sivaji, with the aid of his uncle,
goes out of the way to court the girl and her
family. The scenes involving the two families are
such a lark that they bring the theatre down in
laughter. (Watch out for that riotous Deepavali
scene when the families have some rollicking fun).
Tamilazharasi, despite the fear
engendered after a fortuneteller predicts calamity
for Sivaji if she marries him, finally agrees to be
his life partner (the scene at the railway tracks
where she accepts as him as his lover is both
romantic as well as very humorous).
His light-hearted attempts to
look fair are also very funny. But on the business
front, the evil administration and wily Adi ensure
that Sivaji loses all his wealth and all his dreams
lie shattered as a dust heap.
Sivaji has nothing left in life,
and in a heady taunt Adi tosses an one rupee coin,
in an effort to say that Sivaji is now a beggar.
Sivaji is now a transformed lion, he vows to use the
same one rupee coin as the ‘investment’ to take not
just Adi, but all the money sharks. Rooting out
black money is his broad and dramatic theme. Along
with his uncle, Sivaji plays smart, but under the
law tricks, to shatter the wits of the villainous
The way Sivaji goes about is very
gritty and provides the film with the right lift.
The way he brings in all the black money, which he
prises out of the evil hands, ingenious and
inventive (it is through the hawala route).
Sivaji manages to build his dream
projects with lot of arm twisting and sweet
villainy. But Adi and the other baddies hit back,
they plot and get Tamiazharis herself to reveal all
the details of Sivaji’s modus operandi. They even
kill him when in the custody of the police. But they
cannot getthe details out of his personal laptop (it
has all the minutiaes of his transactions) as it is
voice-recognition password protected. Sivaji is
however dead and the laptop would not budge for any
other voice command (this is a smart usage of modern
techno gizmo to carry on the narrative).
How can the hero die without
finishing off the baddies? Well, there is an
interesting twist in the tail. Watch it for the
exhilaration and the sheer stylish audacity of it
Rajnikanth, looking very young
and urbane, as Sivaji has amazing screen presence,
proving once again that his hold over the masses has
not waned even one bit. Be it his helpless anger at
a system that is forever unobliging or his mirthful
fun in romance or his chutzpah-filled approach to
bring to heel the evil forces or his brio in the
fighting sequences, Rajni has really put in a hard
performance that matches his reputation. His kind of
humour is so infectious that in the breezy first
half, he and Vivek have the fans dancing in the
aisles. The ‘punch dialogues’ though not all uttered
by Rajni directly will make his fans happy.
Shriya, looking amazingly lissome
with a body that is both bow and an arrow, is beauty
personified. She is pleasant on the eyes and plays
her pivotal role without any complication.
Manivannan, Vadivukarasi, Raja and Uma Padmanabhan
all have turned out impressive performances as the
parents of the two.
Vivek as Rajni’s uncle is in
great form. His smart jokes, all specked with
contemporary idiom, are a delight and make you break
into a chuckle spontaneously
Suman, in a larger than life
villain role, is an inspired choice. His dark
coolers-covered face convey the subtle evilness
dramatically. He has understood the script and
shaped his character to a nicety. Livinsgstone, VMC
Hanifa, Ravikumar, Solomon Pappaiya, Bose Venkat are
also in the cast.
What of the songs? Well they have
been picturised, squeezing in all the creative
imagination of Shankar. The graphics work in the
Athiradi song is as good as in any Hollywood flick.
Rahman’s techno rhythms come out brilliantly upbeat
on screen. The Sahana song, set in a classy glassy
framework, is another testimony to Thota Tharani’s
inspired work and Shankar’s penchant for such
aesthetic ideas. All of Rahman’s songs get the right
ambient backdrop to look like a piece of inspired
dream. Shankar’s inspirational visual ideas provide
that. The re-recording, slightly loud at times,
however, matches mood and menace.
K V Anand’s camera is first rate
all through and covers the screen with amazing feel
and richness. The stunts have been captured, making
all the action come so close to reality. The
lighting is consistent and clear that you feel as if
having a real peek into the scheme of things.
The climax fight, with all the
attendant graphics, is full of gritty energy. Peter
Heynes fights, though over the top in places,
matches the needs of modern films. Starting with the
fight at the music shop till the one on the terrace
of the college, Peter and his boys have literally
shed blood to make it all come alive on screen.
Sujatha’s dialogues, very
seamless and natural, captures the angst of living
in India now. The flavour is richly conveyed in
everyday idioms without any apparent effort.
And that leaves us with Shankar.
It takes extreme courage and conviction to dream of
and bring to life what he has. Shankar, who has set
high standards for himself from his very first film,
with dramatic fights, colourful songs, inspirational
sets, has surpassed himself in Sivaji. Matching the
stature of of Rajni and the production house AVM,
Shankar has unveiled an urban fantasy that is at one
rich in specifics as well as real in intent. The big
idea of rooting out all the black money, though
seemingly tall, gets the right touches from the
filmmaker who knows how to make the mix of
technology and human aspirations work on screen.
Rajni and the production house
AVM, Shankar has unveiled an urban fantasy that is
at one rich in specifics as well as real in intent.
The big idea of rooting out all the black money,
though seemingly tall, gets the right touches from
the filmmaker who knows how to make the mix of
technology and human aspirations work on screen.
Shankar keeps the tempo and the
traction going all through with an adroit mix of
comedy, action and issues. This is his patented
style. And then there is the well-established style
of Rajni. Shankar’s humanism in larger than life
canvas and Rajni’s mass-oriented fun and feeling
seem nature-born allies.
The two have synchronised
beautifully in Sivaji, which, to describe in the
trendy and the omnibus description (which Rajni uses
ever so often on screen in this film), is cool.