These days, Rajinikanth is releasing movies at regular intervals. After ‘Kaala’ and ‘2.0’, here comes ‘Petta’. This Karthik Subbaraj film promised us to get Rajinified.
Is it really worth the promotional hype?
Kaali (Rajinikanth) comes to a Hill Station college as a hostel warden. He sets the ragging guys right, and tries to solve a young love lover’s problem and also gets impressed by Mangala (Simran), a pranic healer. But he is not what he seems to be, he is hiding something.
And the twist is revealed, he has come to this college to save one person. Kaali’s real name is Veera Petta.
What is his back story, why has he come to this hill station forms the rest of the drama?
Compared to Kaali and ‘2.0’, Rajinikanth looks quite stylish here and he is not hiding his age in the film. In both the avtaars of Kaali and Veera Petta, Rajinikanth is terrific but the most entertaining one is Kaali. Kaali is vintage Rajinikanth. The style, the mannerisms, the laughs remind us his old movies in the first half.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the main villain once again gives a good performance.
Vijay Sethupathi in a key role provides additional value to the story.
Both Simran and Trisha are used like curry leaves in a dish, no importance, not much space for them.
Bobby Simha and Megha Akash also play small roles.
Director Karthik Subbaraju’s films always bank highly on technical values. The film is largely set in a hill station and cameraman Thiru has given the look and feel right with his lighting pattern.
Camerawork is the main highlight. While the first half is dominated by blues and black, the second half is brighter. Songs are not that catchy except Marana Mass song but Anirudh has given good background score. Editing lacks consistency.
Rajinikanth’s style and acting
Entertaining first half
Dragging second half
Superstar Rajinikanth has been trying to reinvent himself to connect with the current generation of audiences but none of his movies have satisfied the fans and general audiences fully, while some have worked to some extent. He is consistently playing roles that suit his age.
Here again, he has played a role that he had done in his career in the past. The closest role is iconic ‘Baasha’. Like ‘Baasha’, this Kaali aka Petta is fiery but he is older now, his movements are not that swift.
Karthik Subbaraj has declared that he is die-hard fan Rajinikanth in the title rolls itself. So, he has used basic thread of ‘Baasha’ movie for this ‘Petta’.
Interestingly, other characters keep on asking him that you must have a backstory, you are not what you are, you are looking for revenge, etc. In ‘Baasha’, he hides as an auto driver, here he is Kaali, the hostel warden. The rest of the story is a bit of Baasha plus other Rajinikanth movies.
The second half goes more in the style of Karthik Subbaraj’s trademark style and it is where the film suffers big time. The first half is highly entertaining, with Rajinikanth leading the show from the front.
We have not seen this stylish Rajinikanth in the recent times. His one man show in the first half doesn’t provide a boring moment. The fight sequences using lights and dark and shade pattern and his comedy have worked in the first half.
Even the brief romantic sequence between Rajinikanth and Simran, the pranic healer is hilarious. He has looked quite stylish here.
However, what has worked in ‘Baasha’ – the revenge part has failed here. Director Karthik Subbaraju has missed the thread post-interval, he drags on the movie. Only in the climax part he catches the pace and presents his trademark twist.
Also, the director has tried to give lot of elevation to Vijay Sethupathi’s character which has eaten lot of runtime further making it tiresome.
The Uttar Pradesh sequences and the chases are not engaging enough though the flashback of Petta is good in the second half.
Karthik Subbaraj mostly sticks to Rajini’s formula. He also brings out the ‘entertaining’ Rajinikanth back in many episodes.
For a Telugu audiences, the post-interval portions don’t appeal much and also there is hardly any new in terms of plot but ‘Petta’ is better movie among his recent films and also we got to see old Rajinikanth in many sequences.
On the whole, ‘Petta’ is a film for Rajini fans.