We were at Silver Spring for Sivaji yesterday. (Yeah, ok, I missed the first show on the first day.)Sivaji, The Boss is great. You can check out the movie web site. Or the Sivaji Wikipedia which seems to contain an impressive amount of info, even by Wikipedia standards. Rajini looks 10 or 20 years younger. And those designer-wear clothes and accessories make him look like a hip-and-happening dude. Sure, the story line is illogical in places (please note I said only in places). The stunts still look like they were choreographed for Hanuman rather than for a mere mortal. But, hey, the movie is fun. The comedy track is good and is actually part of the film. The visuals are rich (it is directed by Shankar after all!). And there is a story line. What more can you ask for? Did I say it was great fun? :) There is one thing I miss when I watch a Rajini movie in the US – the spectacle. In India, going to a Rajini movie is like a going to a full-fledged festival (திருவிழா). The huge arches (பந்தல்) that welcome the visitors at the gate, the palpable excitement outside, the crush of people getting into the theater, screams of fans when they first see Rajini’s name, the flowers showered on the screen… I can go on and on (see some photos I took outside KG Theaters for Chandramukhi in 2005). If you are wondering why anyone would want to see a movie in this atmosphere, then you are not a Rajini fan, and this article is definitely not for you. :-D Now that I had been to Sivaji and back, I am feeling better and am quite confident that the US audience is not too far behind in getting the spectacle going. We had gotten there an hour early since these theaters don’t have seat numbers and we did not want to be sitting in the first row. And found ourselves at the end of this huge crowd. Here is what I have to report:
- Huge pandals – not there *yet*
- Excitement outside – check. (Imagine the waiting crowd screaming Thalaivar Vaazhga, Pachai Thamizhan Vaazhga, Vellai Thamizhan Vaazhga…Wondering what the Pachai and Vellai is all about? Go see the movie.)
- Crush of people – check.
- Screams for Rajini’s name – check.
- Flowers showered on screen – check. (Substitute confetti for flowers since the latter is quite unavailable in bulk.)