Super Star Rajinikanth is going through toughest phase of career. He agreed for another experiment by giving chance to young director Karthik Subbaraj who is known for making unique content rich films. Petta is released amidst heavy competition in this Sankranthi season. Will this movie be able to provide any competition for straight Telugu releases…
Kaali aka Petta (Rajinikanth) ever since his joining as hostel warden at university sets things in line by teaching discipline to students and staff. He also helps young love birds in the college to find acceptance from their elders in the family. Unexpectedly, a batch of goons attack to kill a young guy in the hostel. Who is this young guy? What is the purpose of Kaali joining the hostel? What is his connection with an influential political leader aka Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
Karthik Subbaraj is not an ordinary maker as he proved mettle with previous ventures such as Pizza, Jigarthanda, Iraivi, though his last movie Mercury, a silent horror thriller received mixed response. His association with Rajinikanth created immense interest on Petta and the film’s promotional content too impressed masses who made the statement “Vintage super star is back.”
But, Karthik Subbaraj went on a wrong track and chose a regular commercial beaten to death story line. Had he made the film persuasively, at least super star fans would have delighted to see Rajini in mass and entertaining role. Karthik with tedious screenplay spoiled the prospect. Initial episodes in hostel were little entertaining but as the story progresses there is no amusement, especially second half was as boring as Rajini’s previous films with young director Pa Ranjith. Music by Anirudh Ravichandran and cinematography by Tirru are the only saving grace besides Rajinikanth’s charismatic screen presence. Anirudh must be appreciated for his terrific work on background score. Editor Vivek Harshan might have included all the scenes shot by Karthik. Production values from Sun Pictures looked lavish though they spent moderate budget.
Onto artists, Rajinikanth steals the show with his impeccable presence as a hostel warden. Though he did justice to other shades of his role in younger days, he looked odd in the getup with handlebar mustache. His styling, mannerisms will awe us and a feast for Fans. We will definitely end up saying ‘Vintage Rajinikanth Is Back’, though the film will disappoint us to the core. Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is popular at picking unique roles has disappointed in his maiden south venture. He did not make a mark in the role of a regular south cinema villain. Simran, Trisha and Megha Akash might have accepted the film only to share screen space with Rajinikanth. Nobody out of the three heroines is given ample space and significance. Vijay Sethupathi and Sasikumar too were wasted in supporting roles. Other artists are okay.
Popular Artists Wasted
Rajinikanth of late is encouraging young talent, but they wasted. Karthik Subbaraj too joins the list. He took inspiration from various old south hits such as Master, Baasha to make Petta. In fact, the hostel episodes will remind us of the mega star’s super hit film. Except for those portions, there is nothing much to describe about the film.
Petta initial episodes like Rajinikanth as hostel warden warning senior college students batch who rag their juniors and few of such will lift up his character. He is sometimes arrogant and other times a decent, fun loving guy who tries to impress his student’s mother, cooks delicious food for the boys in the hostel and helps a young couple to win their love. But, then to narrate us the flashback, an action episode is planned in the hostel which is not up to the mark. Then interval hints of flashback to be revealed in second half.
The flashback is outdated and mind-numbing. War between two groups reach next level with Rajini’s best friend marrying the daughter of head of the other batch. Like in many previous films, the other side gang kills almost everyone in Rajini’s family. Screenplay is so predictable and boring until flashback ends. Except for few twists towards end of the movie, we won’t find anything exciting. Movie ends with Rajinikanth unfolding a big twist to Vijay Sethupathi.
All in all, Petta is a pure fans stuff and for normal movie goers it caters nothing, though they too enjoy the super star’s trademark styling. Karthik Subbaraj did not try anything unique as he came up with a tested subject. Anirudh Ravichandran and Tirru gave their best, their efforts went in vain. CJ goes with 2.25 stars as Petta is surely not going to give any competition for other Sankranthi outings.