Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend

Cast: Rajinikanth (Kochadaiiyaan, Rana and Sena), R Sarathkumar (Sengodagan), Jacky Shroff (Raja Mahendra), Nassar (Rikudaman), Shobhana (Yahavi), Deepika Padukone (Princess Vadhana), Rukmini (Yamuna), Aadhi (Prince Veerabhadra Mahendra), Shanmugha Rajan (Devadhevan), Ramesh Khanna (Voice), Rob Oldfield (Voice)
Genre: Periodic Drama, Action, Adventure, History
Direction: Saundarya R. Ashwin
Production: Prashita Chaudhary, Sunil Lulla, Sunanda Murli Manohar
Written by: K. S. Ravikumar
Narrated by: Amitabh Bachchan (Hindi), A. R. Rahman (Tamil)
Cinematographer: Rajiv Menon
Editor: Anthony
Studio: Eros International, Media One Global Entertainment
Music: A. R. Rahman 
Release Date: 23rd May, 2014
Language: Hindi (Released in a few other languages as well)
Duration: 1 hours 50 minutes

Kochadaiiyaan is a periodic drama, India’s first 3D Motion Capture format i.e. photo-realistic 3D, an effort by debutant director Saundarya R. Ashwin (Rajinkanth’s daughter). Kochadaiiyaan, if split, becomes Ko + Chadiyaan (if we forget the extra alphabets added in the word), it means King +  Male with long matted hair (in Hindu Culture, Lord Shiva is sometimes known as Kochadiyan). This film is inspired by King Kochadiyan Ranadhiran of the Pandya Dynasty. Although in this movie, Kochadaiiyam (Rajinikanth) is the powerful commander-in-chief of the army of the Kingdom of Kottaipattinam ruled by King Rikudaman (Nassar). Animosity prevailed between Kottaipatanam and Kalingapuri since ages. This movie was much-awaited by the whole country, one because of the living legend Rajinikanth’s virtual presence (that too triple dose), and another due to Saundarya’s effort to initiate Motion Capture format in India. This initiative fetched her NDTV Indian of the year award for technical innovation in the film even before the film was released.

The movie begins with much familiar baritone voice of Amitabh Bachachan introducing the aftermath of a treachery of Kalingapuri. Boat of a small child (from Kottaipattinam) is capsized, who reached Kalingapiuri. He grows to be the most reliable, dependable and fearless warrior of Kalingapuri – Rana Ranvijay (Rajinikanth) and is being appointed as the commander-in-chief of the army of the Kingdom of Kalingapuri ruled by the King Mahendra Raj (Jacky Shroff). Rana Ranvijay’s entry is with a meaningful song “Aaya Khwab ka mausam, Laaya jeet ka mausam”. After a series of victories, Rana seeks permission from Mahendra Raj to attack Kottaipattinam. Prince of Kalingapuri and good friend of Rana, Prince Virbhadra (Aadhi) gets convinced with Rana’s idea to include Kottaipattinam’s enslaved soldiers in the army. Once, the border reached, Rana changed sides, hugged his childhood friend Prince Udaybhan (son of King Rikudaman) and asked the enslaved soldiers to come back to their country Kottaipattinam. Although King Rikudaman welcomes Rana and the soldiers, he could identify the younger version of Kochadaiiyaan. Rikudaman’s bewildered and insecure face reveals that there is some mystery behind his fear.

Rana gets to meet his childhood sweetheart Princess Vadhana (Deepika Padukone). Rana learns about the death of his mother Yahavi (Shobhana), missing brother and grown-up beautiful sister Yamuna (Rukmini) & Prince Udaybhan’s mutual love. Rana is able to get his sister married off to the Prince with the King’s blessings in spite of class and caste differences.

What follows afterward is a series of incidents. What happens to Yamuna and Prince Udaybhan after their marriage? Are they being accepted as part of the dynasty? King Rikudaman’s life is under threat. Who is the threat to his life? Was somebody trying to take revenge? What was the reason for the revenge? Was Rana’s motive good? What does the princess Vadhana understand about Rana ? Who succeeds? Does Kalingapuri King Mahendra Raj and Aadhi forgive Rana? How was the father Kochaadaiiyaan – as brave as Rana or he was a traitor? How did he die? What bothered King Rikudaman whenever he saw Rana? Did Rana and Vaadhna’s relationsip culminate in marriage? How does the revenge saga between Kottaipattinam and Kalingapuri take shape? Who wins? Does the missing brother of Rana ever come into the picture?

Although predicatable, the movie has a story line, but the much-awaited animation affects fails to create much impact. With the motion picture format, the characters should have looked more real. Throughout the movie, the ‘Real’ Rajinikanth, Jacky Shroff, Nassar, Shobana, Deepika Padukone was missed. It would have been great to see the chemistry between Father Rajinikanth and wife Shobhana and son Rajinikanth and lover Deepika Padukone. The chemistry between them failed to generate any emotional connect since they looked merely ‘animated’. But yes, the chariots, elephants looked more real.        

There are too many songs in the movie. Two songs are meaningful, but rest of the songs fail to create much impact. The highlight of the movie is the father Rajinikanth’s (A Shiva Devotee) Tandav dance. Rajinikanth fans won’t be disappointed since there is enough of recreation of Rajinikanth’s actions.

The movie might have looked magnificent in ‘real’ live action format. Still, kudos to Saundarya and the team of Kochadaiiyaan for keeping this one step towards alternative mode of filmmaking. I wish, what Amitabh Bachchan said could have been true i.e. In History of Hindi cinema, it would be written, ‘Before Kochadaiiyaan’ and ‘After Kochadaiiyaan’.

Kochadaiiyaan, meant exclusively for Rajini fans, fails to impress as an animated movie.

Rating: 2.75 / 5 (Average +)