Thalaiva, after Annaatthe it’s time to take a break

When it’s Rajinikanth the rest of the cast doesn’t matter. It should, though. Now the time has come for the Thalaiva to re-asssess his career. His attempts to stay eternally youthful are not working

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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Subhash K Jha

When it’s Rajinikanth the rest of the cast doesn’t matter. It should, though. Now the time has come for the Thalaiva to re-asssess his career. His attempts to stay eternally youthful are not working.

After a series of underwhelming releases (and that’s an understatement) Rajinikanth Sir is back with a sir-dard of a film. Sitting through the lengthy loud loutish torture chamber of a film with Tamilian fans of the Godstar shrieking his name out, as if he can hear them, requires herculean levels of self-loathing.

Sorry to say, Thalaiva can’t hear the voice within which is telling him to STOP. Right now! It isn’t only because he looks way too old to play Keerthi Suresh’s sister and Nayanthara’s boyfriend. That IS a big problem, I admit. But the bigger problem is, Rajini Sir insists on working with directors who are too much in awe of him to direct him.

Resultantly in Annaatthe he keeps going off track with his improvisations which once upon a time were so spot-on they drove the audience wild. Now it’s just embarrassing, nothing else, watching the mighty Rajinikanth trying to look ….what?...45… when he is over 70 and spewing lines that spill out in a wild spin of senseless gallery-wooing.

The overall portrait is that of an over-the-hill aged superstar trying in vain to preserve the illusion of youth by working with much younger co-stars. It is painful to watch actresses as strong-willed as Keerthy Suresh(National award winner for Mahanti) and Nayanthra (known in Tamil cinema as ‘Lady Superstar) reduced to helpless props, nodding to every whim and fancy of their Lord, Master & Masterblatser.


As a brother and as a lover Rajinikanth plays the autocratic patriarch who “allows” his dear kid-sister to study in Kolkata. GF Nayanthara is a lawyer by profession. She can barely open her mouth in the fear of being taken to task for contempt of courtliness. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. But the all-powerful Patriarch hardly has screen-time for the two ladies, as the drama moves to Kolkata where we meet villain Jagpati Babu and his son played by Abhimanyu Singh(who is also in this week’s Sooryavanshi, and nothing to be proud of).

The duo strikes more dreariness than dread in the drama, bringing into the plot the kind of outdated villainy that even the 1980s would reject as a juvenile.

Annaatthe is the story of a man who would go to any lengths to protect his sister from the evil eye. But what about the lurking imminent danger of self-caricatural redundancy which has overtaken Rajinikanth’s career? Who will protect him from the evil eye?

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