Lingaa (Tamil) - Review
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There is only so much that the searing, blistering persona of India's biggest superstar can do, when the film surrounding him is an ordinarily written, poorly directed and shoddily produced mess.
The fact that Lingaa, directed by K. S. Ravikumar (director of one of Thalaiva's biggest hits, Padayappa,) is unworthy of the phenomenon that is Superstar Rajnikanth is no surprise, because very few films are. The disappointment lies in the fact that it fails to enhance or add to the legend of the great man - something that every 'commercial' film built around him now must strive to do.
It can't be too hard, really. The very presence of Thalaiva means his fans will lap up absolutely everything with unconditional joy. Why not risk doing something that will push the envelope to unheard of places - the kind that will take Indian cinema itself to the next level?
Shankar - the only Indian director who at least comes close to possessing the vision to match the Rajni aura - did it to some extent with Sivaji - The Boss and Endhiran. Even Soundarya's Kochadaiyyan was a film that at least tried something unheard of in Indian cinema. In the wake of these films, Lingaa is an unmitigated disaster, when seen purely in cinematic terms.
The strange thing is that one can't accuse the film of not having a story, because it has one, and it is one that had potential. A thieving hoodlum and his sidekicks come to a village that depends on a dam for its livelihood - a dam that is tied intricately with an aspect of the man's past. There's a plot angle that it shares with Kochadaiyyan as well, though I don't want to reveal it here. Not revolutionary, but the story definitely had potential - especially since it gives the film a lot of openings to talk about issues that have been plaguing India all through its past and continue to do so even today.
Thalaiva gets to play saviour yet again, and that's always fun to watch. The problem lies in the juvenile screenplay and some truly atrocious VFX - the kind that an intern at a mid-level animation house would be able to achieve with some amount of hard work.
The film has so many in-jokes, so many references and hat-tips to the Thalaiva legacy, that it becomes hard to take seriously at any point. Superstar is what he is because of the characters he plays in cinema. To have a film that tries to be too clever with its references means that you're always breaking the illusion for the audience. They may be clap-traps, but they destroy the film in the long run.
Another disappointment are the regressive sidetracks involving women. One would love to see a Rajnikanth film where the women have something to do apart from being objects of curiosity, and I'm sure Thalaiva himself would gladly acquiesce to be a part of such a film. Even the most hardcore and male chauvinistic Thalaiva fans wouldn't mind seeing him do such a film. The problem is the filmmakers who make their living by mooching off the Thalaiva aura clearly don't seem to think that women matter in the larger scheme of things.
Sonakshi Sinha, who plays one of the two female leads in the film, plays the same ditzy girl she plays in every film that she's been a part of, save for Lootera. I'm surprised she hasn't exploded yet with the weight of the sheer same-ness of her existence.
Is there a redeeming factor in the film? Of course there is - Superstar Rajnikanth himself. His screen presence is blinding, the conviction with which he emotes is inspiring, and the pure magic that can be the only explanation for the unlikeliest man becoming India's biggest screen god is on full display. There's no one like Superstar Rajnikanth simply because there is nobody like Superstar Rajnikanth. Everything else, including K. S. Ravikumar's slipshod film, pales away.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
- Violence: Action scenes, but all clean.
- Language: Clean.
- Nudity & Sexual content: None.
- Concept: A man comes forth to protect a village and legacy of his lineage.
- General Look and Feel: Bright and loud.
Lingaa - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Eros International
- Producer: Rockline Venkatesh
- Director: K S Ravikumar
- Lead Cast: Rajinikanth, Sonakshi Sinha
- Supporting Cast: Jagapathi Babu, Anushka Shetty, Dev Gill, Santhanam, Karunakaran, Brahmanandam, Radha Ravi, Vijay Kumar, K. Vishwanath, Manobala, Illavarasu, Prabhu
- Story: K S Ravikumar
- Cinematography: R Rathnavelu
- Editor: Samjith Mhd
- Music Director: A R Rahman
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 175 minutes
- Reviewer: Pradeep Menon
- Language: Tamil
- Country: India
Lingaa - Trailer
If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube