Kochadaiiyaan -movie analysis

Kochadaiiyaan -movie analysis

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Kochadaiiyaan is definitely special. Special in the way that it turns out to be a film which vehemently attracts both the extremes. Either a venomous critic or a Superstar/ Tamil cinema fan talking about ‘attempting an innovation’ and ‘pushing the envelope’.


Well, first things first. This movie’s script has almost everything it takes to make a block-buster dramatic action entertainer appealing to Indian sensibilities, if made into a regular feature film. And it definitely demands someone with an extraordinary screen presence and fan-base like Rajni to pull off the role of the protagonists convincingly. That being said, then the question arises, “Why make it into an animation movie?” Again you have a choice here. You can stick with the theory of attempting a novel idea for the first time. Or you can come out of your shell to realize that it’s nearly impossible to do a regular feature film in a canvas as grand as this, with the kind of inherent budget constraints our industry faces.


Despite the ‘tough-to-ignore’ humongous amount of background effort put in by hundreds of technicians, two people (apart from brand ‘Rajini’) make the heart and soul of the movie to me – KS. Ravikumar for his simple yet striking script, reasonably tight screenplay, and epic dialogues and AR. Rahman for the stunning songs and super-imposing background score.


For whatever the movie is worth, it wouldn’t have turned out even ‘borderline-watchable’, if you take out the Superstar and his amazing voice from the equation. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone else in his place in this attempt to animate a real-life star. He, in spite of the visual distractions, exudes charm with his mannerisms and his body-language as ‘Kochadaiiyaan’. The ‘Shiva’ dance, the action choreography on the ship and the way he walks and pulls out his sword are some well-executed shots! He lends a lot of power to the climax with his trademark dialogue delivery and brilliant quips.


But the problem with ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ is that when it dawns upon you after the initial trance that most of the action sequences and dance moves have not been actually performed by Rajni, you tend to automatically shift your focus to the quality of making and animation. And that’s where the film falters and stunts the experience of seeing an ‘animated’ super-star on-screen.


The ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ character and his traits have been molded slightly better than that of Ranadheeran. Other than the exceptions of Nasser, Shobana and the late Nagesh (kudos to the dubbing artist), none of the characters look like their live counter parts on screen. Add to it some bad lip sync, what you get is a product that is largely unsatisfactory. The animated versions of Sarath Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Rukmini are all disasters that move around like puppets. A particular action sequence with Deepika has been choreographed brilliantly, but again the execution falls short/


Yes, this is a pioneering attempt and bearing in mind the financial limitations, expecting ‘perfection’ would be largely unfair. The cinematographer Rajeev Menon and the art-direction team have to be commended for visualizing the grandeur of the war zone, coastline and the palaces, but again only fifty percent of it translates to the screen. Not very bad in the long shots, I would say.


But a greater trouble is the 3D which is unpardonably bad. The 3D serves no logical purpose in the movie other than magnifying the already nagging animation issues. Costumes by fashion-designer Neeta Lulla are however near-perfect and in sync with the milieu. Editing by Anthony is crisp and almost flawless.


Despite all the faults, director Soundarya and her team deserve their share of applause for daring to blaze the trail by taking a path not traveled much by Indian film-makers. If not for anything, the movie does instill the confidence that this imperfect baby-step might open the doors for much better animation and visual effects in the near future in India.


Kochadaiiyaan has its moments, when Rajni rules the screen with his voice and powerful screen presence in the second half. Go for it for Rajini, only if you feel that you could look past the conspicuous visual shortcomings. But remember to stick with the 2D version in case you decide to watch it,  as it makes it easier to forget the lack of finesse and appreciate the positives of the script.


Mani Prabhu

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