Screenplay & Direction
Technical Aspects & Music
An adequate tribute to Thalaivar fans
After an extremely enjoyable first half where Rajinism is woven into the screenplay seamlessly, the second half falters big time. An overblown, lengthy second half is a huge worry and tests your patience big time. Although the film tries to revive towards the end, it was too late for redemption.
Cast: Rajinikanth, Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha, Simran, Sasikumar, Nawazudin Siddique, Bobby Simha, Naren, Muinshkanth and others
Editor: Vivek Harshan
Art Director: Suresh Selvarajan
Stunts: Peter Hein
Written & Directed by: Karthik Subbaraj
Produced by: Sun Pictures
Release Date: 10-01-2018
Run Time: 02:52:00
Director Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta is a solid tribute to Superstar Rajinikanth fans as he confessed in all his media interactions. While the first half is extremely entertaining with Rajinism peppered all over the screenplay seamlessly, the second half falters big time and runs nearly 30 minutes longer.
The first half of Petta is an overwhelming experience where Karthik Subbaraj carefully crafts and sculpts each and every frame with vintage Rajinikanth moments. From Thalaivar’s shadow to his silhouette, everything is aesthetically portrayed on screen and inventively too. Rajinikanth as hostel warden is a smart character idea and Karthik Subbaraj plays to his strengths and shines with his outstanding making style. But, the style quotient is not enough to captivate audiences till the end, especially when you have a film with a runtime of close to three hours.
The second half has some interesting moments in the flashback portion. There’s a superbly written, trademark Karthik Subbaraj scene in the flashback which plays out poetically. Although Nawazuddin Siddiqui has a few moments to express his acting skills, Vijay Sethupathi doesn’t have enough scope in the screenplay to flaunt his acting muscle.
Despite an all-star cast including the likes of Trisha, Simran, Sasikumar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Sethupathi, no single role comes across as memorable and that’s one real disappointment from someone like Karthik Subbaraj who made you sit up and take notice in another multi-starrer like Iraivi where everyone exhibited extraordinary performance. In his attempt to provide equal space to everyone, Karthik Subbaraj has lost his way in the narrative, which is plainly contrived conveniently.
Cinematographer Tirru must be given due credit for all those beautiful frames showcasing the charmer called Rajinikanth on screen. His camera captures Rajinikanth’s histrionics like a dream. From the multi-colored lighting to the meticulous framing, Tirru proves his mettle with the lens once again. Anirudh Ravichander’s work is another biggest highlight in the film. Petta is easily Anirudh’s best background score effort and his chartbuster songs have been used well by Karthik. The Ullalla track with Thalaivar’s trademark steps is bound to go viral once the video gets released.
Toting up, Petta is purely style over substance. While one can enjoy Karthik Subbaraj’s stylish making effort thoroughly in the first half, the overstretched second half is patience-testing. Although the film tries to revive towards the end, it was too late for redemption.