Kochadaiiyaan: A daughter’s indulgence

Kochadaiiyaan: A daughter’s indulgence

Kochadaiiyaan is shockingly shallow, never rising above the thrills of a comic book read, Deepa Gauri writes

Published: Sat 24 May 2014, 10:20 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:29 PM

To say Kochadaiiyaan is technically brilliant one must be blind to the fantastic Hollywood productions that amaze and awe you with their captivating attention to details.

This is not to pan the excruciating efforts of the Indian film’s technical team or to ridicule the attempt to innovate and get into Hollywood’s league.

I am just a regular filmgoer who expected Kochadaiiyaan to make me feel proud of Rajinikanth, his daughter Soundarya and the Indian film industry. But I feel short-charged.

So while Rajinikanth as Kochadaiiyaan reminds us in a fantastically composed song by AR Rahman that change alone is constant, change for change’s sake is not necessarily a good thing as this film proves.

It might be the limitations of the technology used but most people on-screen look a wee bit out of proportion. They seem to be in a perpetual ‘I am about to squat’ pose, and it isn’t funny. And even if we are willing to overlook technology, technique and style, what a film needs is a captivating script, which writer KS Ravikumar fails to deliver.

The story of two warring nations, and how Rana, the son of Kochadaiiyaan, restores his dead father’s honour, has very few engaging moments. Although it has all the elements of a fairy tale – intrigue, mystery, deceit, love, friendship, treachery, triumph and philosophy – put together Kochadaiiyaan has only one ingredient that stands out. You guessed it right: It is Rajinikanth.

As Rana, his twin brother and Kochadaiiyaan, he is the redemption in the movie to a great extent. He shines especially as Kochadaiiyaan, the brave warrior who stands up for his duty, and even does a stunning thandava dance that puts veteran performer Shobhana to shame. The film’s core is the Kochadaiiyaan story with breathtakingly choreographed fight scenes.

But even Rajini cannot elevate the film to the next level because the shock of seeing him in his introductory scene, staring at you with vacant eyes, never really leaves you. Most characters have this blank or deadpan look throughout.

The filmmakers give late comedian Nagesh a tribute – and to that, a big salute. But creepily enough, this Nagesh reminds you so much of Shah Rukh Khan.

Deepika Padukone has a meaty role but it is Shobhana, with her monologue on how her husband Kochadaiiyaan is right in his ways, who might stay with you. Jackie Shroff, Nasser, R Sarathkumar and the rest of the brigade remain aloof and not well fleshed out.

With Kochadaiiyaan, Rajinikanth becomes more of a doting father than a star, and the price Rajini fans – and I am a diehard one – pay for this fatherly indulgence is that we miss Rajini sorely.

Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin could be praised for exploring a new territory and to her consolation, even if it has fallen short, she can still go back to dad and make a real mass masala entertainer. But for fans, it means waiting for another three years to see the real Raijni in action.

As Kochadaiiyaan reminds us, one might fail or not, but it is important to do one’s karma. But this karma by Soundarya is very unlikely to be the referral point in Indian cinema.


Director: Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin

Cast: Rajinikanth, Nasser, R Sarathkumar, Jackie Shroff, Deepika Padukone, Shobhana

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