Humaniform Robots have served their time well. However the time has come for the mechanical marvels to step aside and for flesh and blood to step up and hold its own. Exit Chitti (till an equally admirable ramped up version is conceived), Enter LINGAA! A legion of loyal and impatient fans have been waiting with immense and restrained patience for their Superstar to don a new Avatar and quench their passionate thirst. In the intervening period they have also had to undergo the travesty of watching their idol mutilated, courtesy an animation flick going by the exotic name of ‘Kochadaiiyaan’.
But the agonizing wait has ended and the intervening lull has been obliterated by a blistering storm – a storm that is LINGAA! Three hours of uninterrupted ‘Thalaivar’ magic makes this latest release a veritable feast for Rajinikanth fans flocking to see him sizzle and set the silver screen on fire. There can be few accomplished Directors more expert in getting the best out of Rajni than the irrepressible K.S.Ravikumar. And he does just that in Lingaa. Desisting from flipping the conventional bird, Ravikumar sticks to the tried, tested and never-stale “Rajini Formula”. A minimalist and uncomplicated plot embedding within the facets of delectable humour, delicately choreographed emotions, no-holds barred stunts and a riches-to-rags melodrama all contrive to produce an offering that leaves the Rajini fanatic drooling for more.
LINGAA the character is an intrepid thief accompanied by a loyal coterie of friends. During a daring heist LINGAA inadvertently becomes aware of the exploits and endurance of his grandfather – a grandfather whom he has been loathing all through his life. What follows is a refreshing breeze termed RAJINI! A roller coaster ride alternating between the past and present.
Looking fitter, eager and energetic, Rajni mesmerizes with his brilliance throughout. Neither tepid nor over-the-top, the Emperor of entertainment creates a perfect balance that has over the years become an unrivaled hall mark of his profession. Essaying the dual role of an ingenious and resourceful thief and his more enterprising and industrious grandfather, Rajni seamlessly transitions between a period protagonist and a modern con-dilettante. Presence destroys pretense and style is coterminous with substance. The Rajini worshipper is given a glimpse of stupendous things to follow at the very beginning of the movie. The abruptly mellow introduction scene of ‘Enthiran’ is passé and an electrifying substitute reminiscent of the ‘Style’ song in ‘Shivaji The Boss’ catches the willing watcher by the scruff of his neck and transports him into the realms of ‘Rajinidom’. Twirling eye shades, a flick of the jacket and a foot tapping number by ARR and – the show begins. It never lets up at anytime!
K S Ravikumar’s patented style rears its head up on more occasions than one. The inevitable snake resumes its tryst with the Superstar after a long hiatus post ‘Chandramukhi’. Traces of poignancy and spiritual evocation highlighted to perfection in ‘Muthu’ are unmistakably evident in the latter half of the period character’s life.
Anushka Shetty holds her own as LINGAA’s match while managing to look phenomenally appealing. Expending minimum effort she creates maximum impact. Sonakshi Sinha as a village belle, while honest is none-too-impressive. Making her repeat a particular phrase time and again has a jarring effect on the nerves of the audience. Jagapathy Babu as the antagonist does justice to the role assigned although the dubbing could have been a bit gruffer. Vijaykumar and Radha Ravi execute the roles with minimum fuss and effort. Santhanam in his role as the witty sidekick of Rajni carves out moments of his own with some astounding comedy. With his timing and dialogue delivery he has punched above his weight in the movie. Pointer: Look out for a temple scene which is the epitome of hilarity. However the surprise packages are Falk Columbo (donning the mantle of a greedy British Collector) and R Sunderrajan, as Falk’s stooge. Brahmanandam’s role is completely wasted. Sabu Cyril’s work is breathtaking while A.R.Rahman maintains his usual jest with a couple of enthralling numbers.
However, sans any speck of doubt, the heart, soul and spine of LINGAA is Rajni. Blending élan with effervescence, mixing verve with versatility and coalescing suaveness with sagacity, Rajni carries the movie on his wonderfully able shoulders. Making an absolute mockery of his age, he singularly and spectacularly succeeds in bestowing to his unwavering worshippers a gift to savour on his birthday. The ‘Stylist’ in ‘Shivaji’, the intellectual scientist of ‘Enthiran’, the unrelenting optimist that is ‘Arunachalam’ all make alternate albeit fleeting appearances to uproarious effect. Made-to-order dialogues, ‘Rajiniesque’ stunt scenes (in particular the one atop a running train), and tailor made special effects compete with one another to create a stellar effect, total in its impact and magnificent in its sweep. Watch out for the climax which could easily be mistaken for one scripted for the flawless Jackie Chan. It is where ‘The Armour Of God’ meets ‘Mission Impossible’.
He is a philanthropist with a boon bestowing hand and also an adorable thief with cart loads of trickery. He is a scheming opportunist looking to make a quick buck and also a paragon of nation building; Above all he is a phenomenon – he is RAJINI!
LINGAA – RAJINI!