Movies

'Petta' review: A real Rajinikanth feast

The year 2018 had been a mixed bag for Rajinikanth, caught between ideology (Kaala) and technology (2.0). With Petta, he breaks free - with a lot of swag.

Petta
  • Genre: Action
  • Cast: Rajinikanth, Vijay Sethupathi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Simran, Trisha
  • Storyline: A hostel warden has a past that forces him to take on a powerful politician

That swag continues throughout the film, a revenge saga filled with long action blocks and some solid surprises. Kaali (Rajinikanth) is recommended for a college warden’s post and he arrives to set things that aren’t in order in the institution. But tackling ragging and college politics isn’t just what he’ll have to face — he has a past, one filled with secrets, and one that will return to haunt him.

The first half of Petta is a breeze — it helps that we have cinematographer Thirunavukkarasu’s lovely frames to capture the lighting and landscape of the hill station where the college is located. Anirudh also gets in a couple of foot-tapping numbers, though they do come across as speed-breakers in an otherwise smooth tale.

The flashback takes us to different lands, people and problems. A friendship sub-plot, one of the many things that worked in an earlier Rajini hit (Baasha), gets an interesting twist here, and takes the storyline forward. The action blocks arrive soon — and we slowly get sucked into the dynamics between politician Singaar Singh (a reliable Nawazuddin Siddiqui in an underwritten role) and his Man Friday Jithu (Vijay Sethupathi, in a solid performance).

In Petta, director Karthik Subbaraj proves that he’s more a Superstar fan than filmmaker, filling the film with loads of Rajini-isms. There are punch dialogues replete, which will surely drive meme creators crazy in the days to come. Rajinikanth proves that he’s still in sublime form when it comes to dialogue delivery and goes the extra mile in action sequences. His is the best-written role in the film, but one wishes that the others, especially the villain and leading ladies (Simran and Trisha), had more to do.

There are no significant confrontational sequences between the hero and villain to look forward to, but Karthik Subbaraj makes up for it by dishing out some interesting ‘twists’ in the last half hour — something that he’s well known for in Tamil cinema, thanks to Pizza and Jigarthanda. With Petta, he provides a feast that Rajinikanth fans have been awaiting for a long time.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 10:02:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/petta-review-a-real-rajinikanth-feast/article25957242.ece

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