Director: K S Ravikumar
Cast: Rajinikanth, Anushka Shetty, Sonakshi Sinha, Jagapathi Babu, Santhanam
The Rajinikanth-Ravikumar combination has proven to be a commercially viable one in the past, with Muthu and Padayappa. Lingaa, apart from the winning combination, has a stellar cast and some of the top technicians in its crew. Also, the film comes four long years after Endhiran, Rajini’s last outing.
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 time periods.
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. Engagingly crafted is the scene at the exhibition where the gang steals a priceless necklace. The lines are sparkling and Santhanam pitches in his bit to keep the proceedings lively.
The back-story to the 40’s 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 scenes), 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 and gets what he wants.
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 that cannot be said of the climax fight, which takes heroism to an unbelievable, 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. His visuals are a treat for the eyes. The crowd scenes, which are plenty, have been managed well by the director.
The second half slackens as the period drama ends and the plot returns to the present. Too many songs intrude the flow of the story. 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 its launch and release. But Lingaa, despite its ambitious plot and big canvas, was completed in just about six months.
Verdict: A Rajini show all the way, Lingaa is a birthday treat for his fans!