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High on technology, 'Kochadaiiyaan' set to rock box office
At last the long wait is over and the Rajinikanth fans across the globe will get to see his much-awaited and anticipated Tamil film "Kochadaiiyaan", a directorial debut of the matinee idol's younger daughter Soundarya. When it unravels on the silver screen Friday, the film will introduce moviegoers to a new technology - first motion capture photo-realistic 3D animation.
A labour of love, Soundarya's Rs.125-crore directorial venture, which has been cleared with U-certificate, will have a wider release - it will release in 10 countries on approximately 6,000 screens and dubbed in six languages, including Telugu, Hindi and more likely in Bhojpuri too.
Jointly produced by Media One Global Entertainment and Eros International, the film has been dubbed in Spanish and Japanese too.
It took Soundarya two years, over 200 technicians in India and abroad to make the film, which was tagged as a “delayed project” by many. But the 29-year-old tech-savvy director, who keeps herself abreast with the latest technology, said there wasn't any delay, “it is the process that takes such a long time to make a film like this”.
It's Soundarya's tribute to her father's illustrious career.
Braving all "technological" odds, Soundarya completed the film and hopes that "Kochadaiiyaan" breaks the myth that animation film is cartoon, and is accepted as an alternate filmmaking medium.
Comparisons with Hollywood films “Avatar”, made with the same technology, are inevitable, but the makers are unperturbed because they feel looking at the budget and time, comparing "Kochadaiiyaan" with these films is not practical.
The makers explained that “ Avatar" was made on a budget of Rs.3,000 crore and was completed in five years, while “Tin Tin” cost about Rs.4,000 crore and also took about five years.
In the film, Rajinikanth, 63, has been paired with 28-year-old Bollywood diva Deepika Padukone, who also has elaborate stunts in the film.
According to Soundarya, her father felt awkward to shoot romantic scenes with Deepika.
"I guess it was because I was around and calling action and cut, dad felt very awkward to shoot some romantic scenes," said Soundarya.
Deepika's stunts are described as never-before-seen action by a female star from any part of the world and said to be on par with Uma Thurman's “Kill Bill” and Angelina Jolie's “Lara Croft”.
There is a ten-minute stunt in the film, which has been choreographed by Peter Hein, the man behind Rajinikanth's stunts in "Robot". Apparently, the superstar personally requested Hein to make Deepika's action sequences "super-hero style".
Soundarya feels Deepika's stunts are one of the highlights of the movie.
One of the biggest Tamil stars, Rajinikanth, who is technologically not as sound as his daughter, gives credit to god for being able to do "Kochadaiiyaan".
He also marvelled at his daughter's passion and understanding for the technology. "I am amazed... Soundarya, in her childhood, had this obsession. She liked to read books with pictures and my wife identified her talent and encouraged her. I am proud of her with all the legends praising my daughter. I hope people like the film."
Even her mother Latha is proud of her.
Double Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman's music is another high point of the film, but the maestro was not confident about working in "Kochadaiiyaan".
Though the film is yet to release, Soundarya has already been honoured with the NDTV Indian of the Year Technical Innovation in a Film award.
All eyes are set at the box office and how the audience receives "Kochadaiiyaan", especially Rajini fans, who in the past turned his “The Boss” and “Robot” into humungous successes.
So this is what the Dev Anand of the South would look like if he were to really and truly - cross my heart and hope to 'dye' - not age after 40.
Using the technique known as the Motion Capture 3D technique, "Kochadaiiyaan" brings us Rajnikanth looking infinitely trimmer and younger than he actually is. In fact at the end of the film the director, who happens to be the mega-star's daughter,gives us a wide spectrum of out-takes where we see Rajnikanth Sir (full respect, Mr.Superstar) the way he looks like now.
The end-bit is a sad reminder of mortality in a film that addresses itself to enormously epic issues such as heredity, lineage, duty, loyalty and the conflicts within the kingdom assigned to a soldier.
You can't harness civilization without shedding blood. You can't make a film about Rajnkanth the Warrior without retarding age.
It's all like a complicated jigsaw, naughtily and deliberately digitalized wunder-product Awhere the actors whom we know (Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and of course Rajni Sir) seem to come alive with personalities that challenge and mock reality. The actors less-known to North Indian audiences (like Nasser, Sarath Kumar, Shobana) seem far more credible in the Hindi belt.
We don't know them better, you see.
It's really hard to pin down the true merit of "Kochadaiiyaan". It is at once outrageously ambitious and endearingly intimate. It's a tribute to that enduring evergreen quality of Rajnikanth's stardom which time cannot preserve.But the miracles of the computer age surely can.
At heart - and there is plenty of that in this semi-animation ode to an immortal stardom - "Kochadaiiyaan" is a morality fable about two kingdoms at war and the price in blood that the perpetrators of justice must pay in order to preserve the sanctity of civilization. In that sense this film is a kind of unintended homage to the discernibly "idealistic" spirit of Narendra Modi that rules the country.
Rajnikanth plays the roles of multiple warriors - a father and a son, and third role too, that never quite shapes up in this film. But surely will in the sequel. Deepika is the enemy's daughter so madly besotted by Rajnkanth's warrior avatar she dances like a woman possessed.
As an insanely unbridled homage to a superstar's tribute, "Kochadaiiyaan" works very well in spite of the very poor dubbing in Hindi aand A.R. Rahman's repetitive dull and sermonistic songs that lack both zing and freshness. Rajnikanth's tandav towards the end is so riveting you forgive the languid expressions of some of the animated actors who seem to have lost their spirit in translation.
Most of the time The Motion Capture technique works fine, though. It heightens the drama even as it scales down the believability quotient of Rajnikanth's stardom by making him and his stardom look like a frozen fantasy.
There is an absence of fertility, fluidity and fecundity in the presentation. But there is a lot of heart and a heartbreakingly large volume of hard work involved in projecting the iconic star as a combination of a comicbook character and mythological avatar that Rajnikanth Sir wouldn't have been able to pull off in a feature film.
The camera never lies. But it can subvert the truth, whittle it down to a palatable fantasy. That's what "Kochadaiiyaan" does. Yes, Rajnikanth roars again. Never mind if the lion is computer-generated. The superstar returns in a stylish never-before avatar conceived and executed by the star's daughter who is an unabashed fan.
Aren't we all.