Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rajapattai: High on Brawn, Low on Brain

Appeared in City Express, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express, on Tuesday, December 27, 2011
A still from Rajapattai... Has the director bitten more than what he can chew?
Despite having an enviable star cast, and a noted director and music director at its helm, Rajapattai (king's way), a masala movie in essence, has a storyline that makes the viewer realise that stifling yawns is more daunting than playing rapid-fire chess.
No surprises in this love plot

'Annal' Murugan (Vikram) is a gym instructor who aspires to become a villain. A righteous person, he saves Dakshinamurthy (Vishwanath) from goons who are out to bump him off. It transpires that Dakshinamurthy was fleeing his greedy son (Avinash), who wants him killed for his wealth. In offering support to the geriatric, Murugan makes many an enemy, and by extension a slew of fight sequences follow. In exchange, the senior citizen helps his protector in his conquest for love, who is cupid-struck with Deeksha Seth. Things turn murky when a local politician, Akka (Mithra Kurien) – no prizes for guessing whom the character is based upon – plots the eviction of an orphanage run by Dakshinamurthy.
Fisticuffs that bore one to death

So far so good. Vikram revels in displaying his sinewy contours and bashing up his adversaries to pulp; Vishwanath, as the tutor of the various ‘sutras’ of love, leads the viewer on a rib-tickling journey. Deeksha is the movie’s official PYT – whose appearance is limited to the romantic scenes/numbers. Rajapattai tumbles down the abyss in the second half, never to recover, what with the barrage of incongruous sequences that take for granted the viewer’s suspension of logical thinking. And pray, what was the director trying to prove with the episode involving Pradeep Rawat apart from extending the movie’s duration? As if this were not enough, Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score sticks out like a sore thumb. Rajapattai’s lone saving grace, though, is its running time, at only around two hours.
No 'O Podu' here...

It is hard to imagine that this was the director who once gave us movies like Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu and Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai. Vikram, in a song, appears as Jack Sparrow, The Joker and forest brigand Veerappan, croons a number, shakes a leg with Shriya Sharan and Reema Sen, but fails to overshadow the movie’s inconsistencies. He is verily the boy atop the burning deck of the Casablanca that is Rajapattai.

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