Lingaa movie review: Rajinikanth sweeps you off your feet

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It’s been four years since Thalaivar entertained us on the big screen. Can he still make the masses go berserk? You bet he does
When I entered the cinema hall with a box of overpriced popcorn, a familiar feeling of excitement took over me which could only happen before a Rajinikanth movie. As I settled in my seat and awaited for Lingaa to unfold on the silver screen, I found myself questioning,’ Does Thalaivar still have the charm to drive the masses crazy’. But with the magnificent entry of Rajinikanth, and with all the wolf whistles, hooting and hysteria amongst the viewers, in themovie theatre, all my doubts were put to rest. Damn, this man has still got it!

After lots of legal drama, superstar Rajinikanth’s Lingaa is finally here on his 64th birthday. I, amongst millions of Rajini fans, felt like one of the chosen one to catch Thalaivar’s magic first day first show. Enough of build up, lets cut straight to the review now.

What’s it about:

Lingaa tells a tale of two Rajini’s in different timelines. One is a petty thief Lingaa in the present times, who spends his days plotting and looting precious stones along with his gang of buffoons. And the other is Raja Lingeswaran from British period, who also happens to be a British collector and a civil engineer from Cambridge. Anushka Shetty’s grandfather sends her on a wild goose chase to bring the worthy heir of Raja Lingeswaran to open the closed temple of Lord Shiva in Solaiyur. Anushka finally tracks the heir, who happens to be none other than Lingaa and convinces him to come to Solaiyur. After overhearing that there is an emerald Shiva lingam inside the temple, Lingaa and his gang plant to loot it. After almost getting caught in the act of stealing, Lingaa is told about his grandfather Lingeswaran’s story. We are taken back in time to 1939, where Raja Lingeswaran, the British collector, struggles hard and fights the system to build a dam for the drought affected village of Solaiyur. After lots of hardships and drama, the dam is finally constructed. Back to the present, the evil MP of the Solaiyur constituency plans to blow the dam and built a new one in order to sweep the money assigned for building a new dam. How does Lingaa stop the MP and saves his grandfather’s dam forms the climax of the story.

What’s good:

Rajinikanth is at his spectacular best pulling off both the roles with panache and style. But his portrayal of Raja Lingeswaran steals the show, as he bowled me over with his majestic style and confident performance. Though Kochadaiiyaan star may have turned 64 today, but he looks no more than 40 in Lingaa. Thalaivar dances, fights and romances with such ease that it made me wonder why he has been away from films for all these years. Anushka Shetty looks pretty in every frame and seems to share good rapport with Rajini onscreen. But it is Sonakshi Sinha who surprised me with her innocent performance, doing full justice to her role of village belle swept by the charm of Rajinikanth. Be it her expressions or body language, Sonakshi never looked out of place in the film. Santhanam provides much needed comic relief with his slapstick humour. AR Rahman’s music in Mona Gasolina and En Mannavaa combined with some awe-inspiring cinematography kept me hooked. The action sequence on the running train has been fantastically shot and choreographed, as I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline watching that scene unfold on big screen. The story has been dealt really well by talented filmmaker KS Ravikumar, who also makes a guest appearance in the climax. The underlying theme of patriotism has been conveyed aptly with some memorable punch lines for Rajini to mouth.

What’s bad:

The biggest villain of Lingaa is it’s nearly three hour run time, which makes it painful. The first half is wasted in just setting the premise, as the main story kicks in the flashback mode in second half. Lingaa could actually benefit by crisper editing, doing away a few unnecessary scenes from the overlong flashback. Also the climax of the film is laughable as Thalaivar pulls off unbelievable stunts, which can make way for 100 more Rajinikanth jokes. I got the feel that KS Ravikumar had purposely hyped the climax scenes to epic proportions to satisfy the die-hard Rajini fans. Villain Jagapathy Babu, sadly has nothing to do other than scream maniacally on the big screen. The Tamil spoken by British actors sounds contrived.

What to do:

If you have seen Rajini films in the past, you would know what to expect. I went into theatre expecting a fun film with a good message and plenty of Thalaivar magic. And as I came out to face the blinding sun, I have to say I was satisfied and happy with Lingaa. Go watch Lingaa right away for good, clean fun. Last, but not the least, watch it for Rajinikanth’s energy and sheer screen presence.

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