Petta - Movie Review

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 14:15
Petta (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Petta
Cast: Rajinikanth, Simran, Trisha, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Simha, Megha Akash, Sasikumar, Malvika Mohanan, J. Mahendran, Sanath Reddy, Vaibhav others
Music: Anirudh
Cinematography: S Thiru
Editing: Vivek Harshan
Fights: Peter Hein
Producers: Sun Pictures
Written and direction: Karthik Subbaraju
Release date: Jan 10, 2019
CBFC Rating: UA
Runtime: 171 mins

What’s it about?

Kaali (Rajinikanth) lands in a hostel as warden. The college hostel is situated in a hill-station in North India. He plays cupid to a young couple and sets the bad boys right. And tries to woo a single mother Mangala (Simran). Behind his playful mask, there is a story hidden. He is waiting for Simhachalam aka Singh (Nawazuddin Siddique) to attack on him. And he does. Kaali reveals his real identity, the Veera Petta of Vizag.



First things first. ‘Petta’ is nothing but remix of Rajinikanth’s iconic commercial hit ‘Baasha’ (1995), but it has new style, and has stamp of director Karthik Subbaraju’s brand of visual style and technical gloss. Karthik Subbaraju doesn’t hide the fact that he is reinventing ‘Baasha’. In the very beginning when Kaali aka Rajinikanth joins the college hostel, a mess supplier tells him he must be hiding for a reason here. To this, Rajinikanth laughs off and says he’s smart guy. When Rajinikanth goes to meet Simran, she says that he must be seething to take revenge. To this, Rajini says she must be having prophetic qualities. This is Karthik Subbaraju’s way of leaving hints that this is new kind of ‘Baasha’. The Kaali here has the past to be revealed. Even some characters in the film Malik (Sasikumar) are straight out of ‘Baasha’.

There are also other references of old Rajinikanth movies like the name of Kaali, his early old hit.

What Karthik Subbaraju has done is here: presenting Rajinikanth in most stylistic way and re-introducing Rajinisms. Also he brings back the entertaining Rajinikanth. He makes Rajinikanth do some comedy, walk in stylish way, do some other old tricks, even makes him light a cigarette (of late he has been refraining from smoking on screen). But Rajinikanth later tells that smoking is not good for health.
The film also criticizes the ‘Bajrang Dal’ activities like forced ‘V-Day’ shaadis and BJP’s culture-policing in sly manner. Vijay Sethupati plays the role of a party karyakartha that does all these. But Vijay Sethupati’s role gets more space than required thus derailing the narration.

Other issue is that the film is too long and the villain character played (Nawazuddin) is not that villainy, he looks too weak for Rajinikanth. And the songs have not worked at all. The female lead (Trisha and Simran) have no substance.

Of the performances, it is Rajinikanth’s show. He is in his elements. He seems to have had much fun while doing this film. When everyone is thinking that the era of Rajinikanth has ended, he remarks: “Naa Pani Aipoindi Anukuntunnara? (You think that my game is over)”

Among other actors, Nawazuddin and Sasikumar are okay.

The film has good cinematography by Thiru. His lighting pattern is terrific. He has brought the great visual flair. Background score has elevated the narration. Editing should have been tighter.
Bottom-line: ‘Petta’ is mixed bag, with highly entertaining first half and some good moments in the second half but it mostly wobbles post-interval. Director Karthik Subbaraju brings back Rajinikanth’s old tricks, entertainment. The dragging second half has killed the mood of fun setting in the first half. ‘Petta’ is like revisiting much-loved ‘Baasha’. It has both pluses and minuses.

Reviewed by: 
J Gudelli