The Digital Superstar Fumbles and Fails to Dazzle
By Malini Mannath | Published: 24th May 2014 08:25 AM |
BANGALORE: After a gap of four years, the superstar is back. His celluloid transformation into various avatars earlier had almost always driven his fans into a state of euphoria. And now, Rajinikanth appears in his latest makeover as an animated figure in the historical fantasy Kochadaiiyaan. But would a digital Rajini be as exciting as the real one? Or is it an image wasted?
The film can boast of many firsts. It’s the debut directorial venture of the superstar’s second daughter Soundarya. It’s Deepika Padukone’s first foray on Tamil screen. And it’s the first time that photo-realistic motion capture technology has been used in an Indian feature film.
The plot and narration - K S Ravikumar’s script centers on a fictional kingdom, its brave and noble commander-in-chief Kochadaiiyaan and his son Rana.
Rajini plays a dual role. The script is structured on formula lines, with humour, love, sentiment, action and intrigue included. Kochadaiiyaan’s popularity with the people makes the king (Nasser) jealous enough to plot his elimination.
The narration travels decades forward where his son Rana, now a strapping youth, takes on his father’s tormentors (Shroff, Nasser) and rescues his people.
There is the love angle with the daughter of one of the kings, the role (Deepika) that is more of a glamorous prop. The first half is racy. The early moments in the second half when the Kochadaiiyaan-flashback begins, is interesting. But soon it becomes monotonous and dragging. The screenplay meanders with various sub-plots intruding.
The debutant director could be commended for her bold move. But when a superstar is transformed into an animated figure, it would have been advantageous to depict him in the best of technology. But disappointing is the quality of the graphics.
No patch on Hollywood films, it appears amateurish, reducing the charismatic superstar to a caricature. The sense of realism and conviction which this technology, if properly executed, would have brought to the characters (a la Avatar) is missing here. The movements of the characters are jerky and robotic.
Except Rajinikanth, the other actors- like Sarath, Nasser, Shroffe, Aadhi and Shobana- are barely recognisable in their animated forms. But the well modulated voices and ably rendered lines of Nasser and Sarath infuse some life to their characters.
Kochadaiiyaan gets to mouth quite a few gems. Like ‘it’s better to face the wrath of an enemy than the treachery of a friend’.
There are a couple of good moments though. One is the scene where Kochadaiiyaan performs the Thandav. And the battle scene towards the end where Rana takes on his enemies. Rahman’s songs are picturised beautifully. At the most, a bold and a promising work of a debutant maker, Kochadaiiyaaan is for hardcore fans of the superstar.
Director- Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin
Cast- Rajinikanth, Deepika Padukone,
Sarath Kumar, Aadhi, Nasser, Jackie Shroff