The Movie opens with a masked man being taken through thousands of chest beating men and women and locked up in the central prison, when a co-prisoner asks him what crime he had committed, Super-Star turns around to say 'I tried to do good for the Country' and then Sivaji turns into flash back mode. Not a typical opening scene for a Rajnikanth film, but then this one's a Shankar film!
Without giving anything away, Sivaji, is about Software Engineer returning from the USA with 200 Crore Rupees to realise his dream of building engineering and medical colleges that provide free education on merit and how he has to endure bureaucratic red-tapism and corruption like the rest of us have to, when we go to any government office. Then there's the baddie Suman, who plays the quintessential businessman trying to undermine a potential competitor to his own engineering & medical college 'business' with every crooked method possible. In the meanwhile Sivaji manages to find a typical Tamil girl, Shriya, to fall in love with, woo her and dance around. When the twists and turns of the movie leave him penniless, how our Superstar fights back is the Second half. If you'll find Rajni as Sivaji rocking, just wait for climax when Rajni as MGR simply blows you away! MGR? Yup! that's suspense ;)
Rajni as Sivaji looks a good 25 years younger and pulls of another stellar performance in typical Rajni style, the chewing gum replaces Cigarette but the rest is pure Rajni formula. Shriya as the typical Tamil girl performs as much as her role allows her to, but is nothing more than a glam doll as in most Tamil movies. Vivek as Sivaji's side-kick seems a tad under utilised but then that's the way you feel about everyone else except Rajni in the film.
There are no mannerisms or punch lines to imitate, when Sivaji wants to deliver a punch line Vivek stops him and takes a dig at the rising stars of Cinema and walks away with all the claps! The Camera work and the sets deserve a mention, the music by A.R. Rahman are already topping the charts all around. The fight sequences give you a sense of déjà vu (Matrix style is old stuff now), there's nothing new but they're highly stylised. Like in any Shankar movie there's an over dose of computer generated effects and the songs are well shot in grand style, when you watch those you'll realise what went into the making of Indian Cinema's most expensive film ever.
The film delivers a social message against 'Black Money' and exhorts movie goers to 'realise the dream' of a developed India, but, falls terribly short on story and logic. Not a typical Shankar film, but then, this one's a Rajni film! Am I contradicting myself? No I'm not! There's something for the Rajni fan and something for those expecting another classy one from Shankar the perfectionist but if you go to any of the 17 movie halls showing Sivaji in Chennai City looking for either alone you'll end up a bit disappointed after all the hype. Go watch it for 3 hours of pure entertainment.
Check out pics of the Sivaji (சிவாஜி): Film Festival on my Picture Blog