CHENNAI: The Rajinikanth-Ravikumar combination proved to be a commercially viable one in their earlier two outings (Muthu and Padayappa). Their latest Lingaa, apart from the winning combination, has an ensemble cast and some of the top technicians. The film comes four long years after Enthiran (Rajini in live-action mode).
The plot traverses two time periods— the 1940s and the present. The superstar dons a dual role. One is that of a local king Lingeswaran, who works as a collector for the British. The benign king builds a dam for the benefit of the villagers, working against various odds. The other is that of a petty thief Linga, grandson of Lingeswaran. The present has the villagers searching for Linga and bringing him back to the village. The dam plays a crucial role in both times.
The earlier part moves at a fast pace. The screenplay is interesting and the narration sustains the momentum. It depicts the activities of Linga and his cronies, and of how Linga, who was brought to the village by Lakshmi (Anushka), learns about his glorious heritage. The lines are sparkling and Santhanam pitches in with his bit to keep the proceedings lively. The back-story to the 40s has Rajini looking dapper in some elegant costumes. It’s a cute love story between the king and the local village belle. Sonakshi fits in aptly and gets her lines in sync. The villains of the piece, the British collector of the past, and the local MLA of the present (Jagapathi Babu, who seems lost in the entire scenario), seem to be made from the same mould. But ironically, while the British collector apologises for his actions to the villagers, our Indian baddie has no such qualms..
The film’s technical values are on a higher level compared to earlier Ravikumar films. The songs are aesthetically picturised, like Rahman’s peppy number Mona Mona’ with its Wild West look. There are just a couple of fight scenes. The one where a gang swoops down on a train in which Lingeswaran is travelling is a well-choreographed one.
But the same cannot be said of the climax fight scene, which takes heroism to an unbelievable and laughable level. A key strength is cinematographer Ratnavelu’s camera, which offers a visual treat as it spans the landscape and captures the activities at the dam.
The crowd scenes which are plenty, have been managed well by the director. The second half where the period drama ends slackens and the plot returns to the present. At this point, too many songs intrude. The insipid climax doesn’t make it any better. It could have been trimmed to a crisper length.
A superstar-flick normally takes a couple of years between it’s launch and release. But Lingaa despite its ambitious plot and big canvas has managed to get completed in just about six months. However, a Rajini show all the way, it’s a birthday treat for his fans!