The Rajinikanth we all love from the good old days is back and how! Petta is an enormously satisfying film. It reminds us of the Rajinikanth we last saw in Sivaji. There is no doubt that the superstar is a good actor, but more importantly he is a fabulous entertainer. After Endhiran, we made do with fleeting moments of his “signature style” but there always seemed to be something missing. Petta is testament to the fact that with a good director who understands Rajinikanth’s appeal, the Thalaivar can still give fans what we love most about him.
The plotline is fairly simple but there is that Karthik Subbaraj touch that we have all come to know and love that keeps this movie from turning predictable. The first half is full of amazing Thalaivar moments. He is seen joining a hostel as a warden named Kaali and quickly becomes the coolest guy in the campus. The romance scenes with Mangalam (Simran) are heartwarming without them trying to hide their age.
But, Kaali keeps mentioning that there is a dark side to this seemingly fun persona. A considerable amount of time is dedicated to the flashback in the second half. Without giving anything away, it is a slight variation of the iconic Maanik-Baasha friendship. Compared to the overly-entertaining first half of the movie, the second half does seem like a bit of a drag but it is easily forgivable. The movie picks up the pace and ends in the most epic way possible.
The star of the film is undoubtedly Rajinikanth. It is such a joy to see him confidently prance around and laugh. The last time I enjoyed a Rajini movie this much was back when Sivaji was released. The other actors play their part well too. Sasikumar, Vijay Sethupathy, Bobby Simha, Trisha all do their part well but it is simply impossible to outshine the superstar in a movie that was made for him. Nawazuddin Siddiqui was under-utilised and there are some parts where he seems out of place but again, it is forgivable. There is no time to dwell on these things.
Another great thing about Petta is that it invokes a lot of good nostalgia. Rajini is often seen enjoying old Tamil songs in the movie plus Anirudh Ravichandran’s BGM compliments all the scenes exceptionally well. There are a ton of meta-Rajinikanth references from Muthu, Baasha and Sivaji (the ones I could spot) which really works because come on, are we ever going to forget them?
Petta is another Thalaivar movie that I will go back and watch again and again because you simply don’t get bored of it.