Yeah, the latest Rajini movie. The name's been buzzing about the place for quite sometime now. My take!
The last Rajini movie I had seen was Baba. Without pausing for a moment, I can safely say that it was (and still is) the worst movie I had ever seen in my life. That was the first time I ran out of the theatre mid-way through a movie - inspite of paying a good 10 dollars to watch the movie. Baba still stirs up queasy feelings in me. Yet, I wanted to see Chandramukhi. For one, the pictures and the trailers seemed to promise a typical Rajini masala movie. So I thought that maybe Rajini would have gotten out of his philosophical hangover. Secondly, all said and done, watching a Rajini movie, especially in a theatre environment, makes me feel like a true-blue tamilian. Please to note that the prior comments do not count Baba, which cannot be classified as ath but a horror story.
Back to Chandramukhi. I wanted to go and see the movie in the theatre. Due to sadly lacking Tamil friends who stay near enough, I was forced to take the less honorable route of downloading the movie off the net and watching it. Good for me - I got total entertainment. Rajini's introduction scene had me almost falling off my chair laughing. The camera zoomed on a kicked leg - focussing on rubber soled shoes. Then the angle slightly shifted. If you looked past the shoe and the leg attached to it, you could see Rajini's face in all its glory, wearing a cat which has drunk milk expression. Which sent me off on another laughing spree as I realized that he was supposed to be fighting villains in that scene and not look like a model for gopal palpodi. But I guess this would have been the precise moment in the theatre when hysterical fans would have flung cash, coins, rockets and anything handy at the screen to show their appreciation. Anyways, Rajini's looks were mercifully thrown back to the pre-Baba days.
The movie proceeded. The original Mallu movie was heroine-centric. Of course, fans would have beaten up the director if he had insisted that Rajini stay in the sidelines. So it was Rajini all the way. All the characters in the movie at one time of the other attested to what a wonderful human being he was, how talented he was, how he was a boon to mankind etc. etc. Of course, there were the mandatory song sequences and a heroine. Much has been said about what an acting prodigy Nayanthara must be if she was chosen to act opposite Rajini. Well, I just found it extremely disgusting to watch Rajini romancing someone who is probably younger than his daughters. I dont know what it is with aging actors and their fondness for young heroines. Anyways, Nayanthara has a LOT to learn - I had to guess what her emotions might be based on the situation.
Which brings me to the main heroine of the story. Jyothika. I read an equal number of reviews praising and panning the performance. Unfortunately I tend to side with the latter group of reviewers. She was supposed to portray the dual roles of a docile housewife and the murderous dancer Chandramukhi - all I got to see was her eye-balls grow huge and her eyes lit up by a strategically placed light whenever she transforms into Chandramukhi. All in all the effect was far from scary. The first time this happened, I thought it was for comic relief. Alas, no! Shobana is supposed to have performed this role really well in the mallu movie. I have to see it some time! Vadivel was in the comedian's role. Some scenes did evoke laughter - but I generally find him loud so I dont have much to say there.
Other than these people, there was a vast array of well-known character artistes in the movie. Most of them had 2-line parts. What a waste of talent! But then it is a Rajini movie - so this can be excused. The movie moved along at a brisk pace. The songs are pretty hummable after a few listenings. I had heard most of them earlier, so I could sit through them. But all the songs, except for the ra-ra song, are superfluous to the movie. Another Rajinitic-license!
At the end of 2.5 hours, the movie wound to a stop. Did I like it? I couldnt say yes or no - but mostly it is yes. In spite of all its minuses is an okay time-pass entertainer. Worth a watch. Especially if you had seen Baba earlier and have still not recovered from the shock.