Review: Petta – Style and substance

Fans of Rajini were yearning to see their favourite hero as a macho man. As a man of style and substance. For them he has to utter fiery punchlines and take on baddies single-handedly. Unfortunately since Sivaji, they missed it from him on screen. But comes Petta, a film by Karthik Subbaraj, that is loaded with Rajinism from start to finish.

A signature style Rajini movie where he does everything to appease his fans. A shrewd Karthik Subbaraj has made sure the mass moments of yesteryear Rajinikanth films are revisited at appropriate places to ensure a complete commercial entertainer.

A bubbly and energetic Rajinikanth carries the whole movie on his shoulders in spite of some big names in the cast. He is right there delivering his best on the recent times. The Rajini all of us love is present all through. The mass hysteric scenes from Murattu Kaalai to Sivaji enthralled his fans. Karthik Subbaraj, a big fan of Rajinikanth, has woven a story that is filled with such nostalgic moments.

There is a bubbly young Rajinikanth, a ‘Super Star’ who flexes his muscles besides uttering his trademark punch dialogues and there is abundant humour and romance too for him.

As far as the story is concerned, it is a formula Rajini film, that we have seen S P Muthuraman rolling out in plenty in ’80s and early ’90s. In simple terms, it is more a revenge story, inspired by Rajini’s cult classic Baasha. But the way it has been presented makes the difference. It is racy with rich and glossy visuals.

Kaali (Rajinikanth) joins a college as a hostel warden. He is fun-loving yet serious about his job. He makes sure everything is in order at the hostel.

He comes across a lover couple (Megha Akash and Sanath). The girl urges him to convince her mother to accept their romance. He ends up meeting the girl’s mother Mangalam (Simran).

Meanwhile, annoyed by his ways, a group of bad elements in the college led by Michael (Bobby Simha) tries to take on Kaali. They are shown their place by Kaali. There is a twist in the tale here.

Enters Singhar Singh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a politician in Uttar Pradesh, and his son, Jithu (Vijay Sethupathi). Cut to flashback, the story shifts to Madurai. Kaali and Singhar Singh have few things to settle between them.

For those who grew up watching Rajini films in 80s and 90s, Petta is a nostalgic journey. And the actor does it with renewed vigour. There are Simran and Trisha, but they have little to do, for anything and everything is Rajinikanth here.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Sethupathi add to the momentum. Karthik Subbaraj has won the battle thanks to his lieutenants Anirudh (music) and Tirru (cinematography). They help him to realise his vision on screen.

If the first half is racy, the latter part lacks some pace and there are some problems with the narrative. Yet, you will forget all logic if you are a die-hard fan of Rajini.

M BHARAT KUMAR