Rajinikanth is a name, but Thalaivar is an emotion, an emotion that knows no boundaries. Diwali na Thalaivar Padam varumnu illa, Thalaivar Padam vandhale Diwali dhan (It’s not like Thalaivar’s film releases on Diwali, Thaliavar’s film releasing itself is like Diwali), that’s the emotion that echoes in the heart of every fan this man has across the globe. And Petta was not a film, it was a visual retreat, the celebration of which began long before the movie hit the screens.
The motion poster, the first look of every character, teaser, trailer, audio, everything had the fans go crazy and the adrenaline rush was at a real high when the movie made it to the big screen a few days before Pongal. The film left every fan teary-eyed right from start to finish, even someone like me who mocks those crying in films, left the hall with a damp kerchief.
As the film celebrates 75 days of running successfully at the box-office, we try to put together 6 Reasons Why Petta Is More Than Just a Film.
The Title Card:
This was where the tears began, and they still flow uncontrollably as I recall Petta Title card. This was the same style and the same BGM that made my knees go weak over two decades ago. The music that I desperately wanted to hear on Sun TV when I got back from school on a Saturday afternoon (it was nap time if Thalaivar films weren’t telecast).
Giving millions of people a glimpse of their childhood, their youth, and the time they were settling down into cosy comfortable family life and enjoyed watching films, all in one go is impossible unless you are Thalaivar! Karthik Subbaraj, a die-hard fan himself understands this best and he delivered it on point.
Naan Veezhven Endru Ninaithayo:
This opening dialogue, inspired from a Bharathiyar poem, is reason enough to watch this film over and over and over again. Thalaivar’s intro shot, mass fight, half his face visible, Thalaivar voicing the dialogue “Naan Veezhven Endru Ninaithayo” - Enough said!
Ample References to the Thalaivar we fell in love with:
Entering the college campus, opening the gate in a style unique to him, Superstar gave us all a glimpse of his first film Apoorva Raagangal, and that’s when I told myself that I could go back home a happy soul, having seen this Thalaivar on the big screen. But, that was just the beginning! Paambu Paambu from Annamalai, Chinni Jayanth - Thalaivar sequence, Baasha, Mullum Malarum, Padayappa, Chandramukhi, 2.0, Thalapathy, the list is endless, and we are not complaining.
Getting to see Thalaivar as Thalaivar is the best part of Petta, every expression, emotion, and quirk of the character gives us a sense of joy, leaving you with the uncontrollable urge to go closer to the screen and hug the man that’s making you fall in love with him 24 frames per second.
Bringing back the young Thalaivar:
Illamai Thirumbudhe was a breath of fresh air, the energy with which we see Thalaivar hop and jump and cycle around is a visual treat.
Be it a revisit to the lands of Kadhalin Deepam Ondru through his long walks along the hills, or the dance moves in the film that brings out the quirkiness in Thalaivar, my favourite being his dance in Marana Mass and the one in the flashback sequence where he dances before shooting Nawazuddin Siddique’s brother. They bring out the charm, youth, and comical side of Thalaivar that’s been missing on screen for a few decades now. Remember how Thalaivar’s chat with Suman in the tea shop in Shivaji made us smile, this film had a lot of that!
Opening with a fight and ending with one, a lot of meat through the course of the film. Petta is definitely a treat for all those who have been missing the angry young man - Thalaivar on screen. Karthik Subbaraj is like the mother who brings the child his favourite toy when he’s crying over something and manages to bring back a smile and a gush of happy tears in return.
What’s more celebratory about this film and the fights in it is that it keeps people on a constant high. The yesteryear music with Thalaivar waiting with his Nunchaks, or mouthing the dialogues “Kola kandula iruke mavane kollama Vita matten, Sirappaana, tharamaana sambavangala inimethaan parkapora,” and much more before an adrenaline rushing fight scene leaves you to feel like coming back for more even after watching the film several times.
The background score:
Thaliavar’s multi-starrer featuring the who’s who of the Indian film industry, right from Nawazuddin Siddique to Vijay Sethupathi, Simran to Trisha, Bobby Simha to Sashi Kumar, everyone has their own screen time and well-crafted characters that you’d remember long after you’ve left the movie hall. Reason? The background score that is unique to each of these characters and establishes their role in the film clearly. They all fair well even and do their bit complementing the story’s progress and the success of the film. However, just like Thalaivar’s character, even his BGM - Petta Parak takes the cake.
I’m sure reading those lines gave you goosebumps, just the way it did when you heard it the first time or saw it on screen for the 100th time. Go on, play the song in the background (not possible resisting watching Thalaivar I know, but I want you to finish reading this piece ;) :P )
I remember reading about this Bahubali Thali, in Pune, that has a scrumptious serving of over 37 dishes on a plate, Petta beats that by serving over a million moments in a span of 2 hours and 52 minutes, which makes it to the list of best Thalaivar films ever made.
While the film gave us a lot of reasons to love it (which could run into a book), we decided to make it an easy read by picking our favorite 6. You may add the rest in the comments below.