Falls short of expectations
GUDIPOODI SRIHARIGUDIPOODI SRIHARI
COOL DUDE: Rajnikanth holds sway
Cast: Rajnikanth, Manisha Koirala
Mus: A.R. Rehman
Dir: Suresh Krissna
PERHAPS, NO film in recent times had this kind of pre-release appeal with record turnout and huge number of prints released all over the world. The Telugu dubbing of this Tamil original had the same kind of opening as that of Chiranjeevi's Indra. There is an unintended similarity too, between these two, leaving everybody to wonder about the possibility of the heroes entering politics.
In the movie Baba's friends ask him to use the divine power he acquired, to become the Chief Minister of the State. And the hero says "he'll think about it". Most of the second part runs like a folklore, as if the story is picked out of children's fables.
Baba (Rajnikanth) is said to be the gift of god to the family, blessed by a Baba living in the Himalayas for thousands of years. An atheist, he smokes, drinks, chews zarda, plays cards and always puffs at a beedi. In a contradictory behaviour, he suddenly starts talking about the various `Chakras' - from `Mooladhaara Chakram' to `Sahasraaram' that control the body. An astrologer (Vijay Kumar), living opposite Baba's house, takes interest in Baba and reveals to his mother (Sujatha) that Baba is no small man and will soon become great. He also warns them of impending dangers to his life that may prove fatal, if left unguarded. As if to support the astrologer's statement about the young man, an elephant in a temple procession, stops at Baba lying on a cot and places a flower on him. Then a man behaving like a lunatic till then, surprises Baba, by taking him to the Himalayas. There, he gets a chance to watch the real Baba his family worships and learns a `mantra' from him. On chanting, his wishes turn into reality. This mantra can be used only seven times and will be ineffective after that.
Back home, Baba becomes playful and starts using the `mantra' for frivolous reasons , as a kind of test, like wishing for a kite, staying aloft, etc. His penultimate wish is to ask god to renovate a temple in their vicinity and clean up the area and lay roads just in two days. Time to introduce a character of a corrupt CM and his stooge. As the CM's term is about to end, he asks Baba to use the mantra so that he can continue to be a CM forever. That is when Baba's friends ask him to use the mantra for himself. But Baba chooses another man to become next CM. He also turns to god. He visits the Himalayas again with the intention of renouncing the material life. But Baba there, his guru, orders him to go back and return after completing the job -- a sort of preparing the ground for a leader in the State. There is a sea change in Rajnikanth's looks and style. The voice used to dub his role in Telugu is not effective. Manisha Koirala is ornamental. She has absolutely no role to play, except to be the chosen one for Baba to wed. Anyway, that does not happen. But for the Chief Minister and his stooge (Ashish Vidyarthi) no one has a sensible role. The film is loaded with plenty of fights that project Baba as an invincible powerhouse. Dance duets also mark the pace of the film. Sanghavi too gets an insignificant role. Sujatha is the only artiste who has something to portray as the doting mother of Baba. A.R. Rehman's score is effective in the background support, but songs make no impact. Technically the film is interesting. Computer technology is used particularly for scenes in the Himalayas. The film, in short, fails to meet the expectations raised in the pre-release hype.
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