Director: KS Ravikumar
Cast: Rajinikanth, Anushka Shetty, Sonakshi Sinha
Through his numerous films, interviews and his illustrious career, many Rajinikanth fans have asked the quintessential question that has given birth to several legendary folklores - is there nothing Rajini can't?
'Lingaa' seems to have been made to answer that very question. Twice.
Set in two eras, Rajinikanth plays the role of the gregarious royal King Lingeshwara and his crooked, yet lovable grandson, Lingaa. With a simple-sounding storyline, 'Lingaa' opens in modern-day India, with a group of worried villagers contemplating the reopening of a 70-year-old temple.
It must be said of director KS Ravikumar, that he totally anticipates the audience reactions to most scenes, and uses them to his advantage. Picture this: The modern-day Lingaa (Rajinikanth) is a small-time, good-hearted thief, but we get his first glimpse on the big screen amidst chauffeured limousines, scantily-clad female waiting staff and larger-than-life sets. But that's just a dream sequence, mind you.
With an entirely predictable storyline, the film is raised above the average mark by Rajinikanth, who's comfortable with himself on screen - be it spouting witty one-liners, or giving heart-felt patriotic speeches.
Actress Anushka Shetty plays modern-day Lingaa's love interest and Sonakshi Sinha is King Lingeshwara's unlikely muse. While Shetty has a great screen-presence and chemistry with the older star, Sinha looks out of place in the famine-ridden, poverty-stricken village.
Rajinikanth and director Ravikumar tackle several issues and genres in this almost three-hour film. From evils of casteism, racism and superstition, to touching upon subjects like women empowerment, education, politics and corruption, both the avatars of Rajini saar have their hands full.
We'd like to take a moment to comment upon the technical aspects of 'Lingaa'. The sets were grand - especially the ones in 1930s India. Small details like architecture, cutlery, even the cricket bat Rajinikanth uses to beat his enemies to pulp, are of the appropriate era. The CGI-generated fight sequences, trains and valleys were breathtaking. We were particularly impressed with the computer-generated elephants in the film. If the makers hadn't informed us in the beginning that no elephants were used, we'd have never guessed.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of the over-active trolls, we are going to say that we were slightly disappointed with AR Rahman's music in 'Lingaa'. While 'Mona gasolina' was peppy and hummable, 'Indianey vaa' served its purpose of taking the story forward. But the rest of the songs were entirely forgettable.
But then again, the film has everything a Rajinikanth fan could ask for. Superbly-choreographed fight sequences, funny dialogues, his old tricks and mannerisms, his larger-than-life persona, and plenty of drama. This is the space where Rajinikanth belongs - and he rules it. In fact, there are several references of other characters urging King Lingeshwara to join politics. "Sir, you can be a great CM, PM," the say to him with heart-felt sincerity. Suggestible? Only time will tell.
If only the editing of 'Lingaa' had been crisper, over 30 minutes of the film could have been tightened. But the movie belongs entirely to Rajinikanth, no one else.