Petta Review: For Rajinikanth fans by Rajinikanth fans
When superstar Rajinikanth looks directly at the camera and says ”Naan veezhven endru ninaithaayo”, it is as if he’s speaking to his fans on a personal level. If it’s the moment when responding to a compliment or when he tells an interesting story towards the climax — many scenes would win applause and bring out a sense of admiration you have for the star. Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta is the director’s tribute to the star, as a fan, and this reflects in the film.
The sheer excitement and joy of his fondness for Rajinikanth has been portrayed by Karthik Subbaraj in the first half of the film. Giving us Rajinikanth’s style, cheeky sense of humour, his swag dance moves – he establishes Rajinikanth’s true charm of the 80s and 90s. As the film takes time to establish the actual plot, all these scenes look like a fun presentation to appeal to the audience. Despite trying to recreate Rajinikanth’s trademark antics, Karthik Subbaraj’s stumbles when his film derails and becomes inconsistent.
Centered around Petta, played by Rajinikanth, the film’s first half is set in a college where rouges rule. The second half takes you through a politically inclined town which thrives on vengeful. What connects the two, is how Petta shoulders the goal of ensuring the safety of his family – even if it’s required to hide his identity. The problem with Petta arises when Karthik Subbaraj finally decides to tell the story – that doesn’t get straight to the point. After taking generous time showing us Rajini The Star, the film finally lands at the conflict. The obstacles in the plot look so unconvincing, that it’s hard to consider the villain, Singhar (Nawazuddin) as a threat.
The film’s second half itself looks like it has two new stories, making it long, and tiring. If the intention was to indicate suspense, then Petta, Singhar, and Jittu (Vijay Sethupathi)’s meeting could have been staged early in the film. Petta also throws some unintentional amount of comedy with its illogical sequence. Like how an impact of a blast is scathing and yet it also turns out to be harmless for many.
Petta’s winning moments are how natural Rajinikanth is displaying charm. Karthik Subbaraj deserves praise for showing him looking effortlessly cool in the fight scenes. The overall lighting and treatment of the film also worked well. Although limited, the scenes between the lovely looking Simran and Rajinikanth, work so well. It’s adorable. Trisha has hardly anything scene to emote in, but it’s a delight to see her. Karthik could have created stronger characters not just for women, but other supporting artists as well. This could’ve helped connect with the story better.
Vijay Sethupathi seemed apt for the role. His casual no-nonsense attitude gave an own element to an angry yet confused person. It was a change to see Nawazuddin Siddique as the vulnerable and timid don. His character isn’t a menacing one, but a cunning one, and he plays it quite well.
Rajinikanth delivers a performance, which looks like a cake-walk for him. It’s a treat to watch him in a role that’s having so much fun playing the character. While I left the cinema hall, I wondered if the film could’ve have been smarter and crisper. But then, if it did, would the film still have time to tell us that there is only one superstar? Tell me your views!