While we at fullhyd.com do write reviews for movies, it is another thing to review phenomena. And that is what a Rajinikanth movie is - a phenomenon. The facts that this is a Rajini release after a 4-year hiatus, and that it has released on the star's 64th birthday, served to double expectations. And in the face of such high expectations, even the toughest crumble.
Yes, alas, even the mightiest of them all fails to stand tall. Lingaa is an attempt to make a blockbuster by putting in every Rajini cliché there is/was, while also sending out a social message and also adding two pretty heroines and also showing some patriotism on the star's part and also making him denounce casteism while satisfying the masses by making the star do death- (and gravity- and logic-) defying stunts. To ensure that all the above are crammed into the movie, director K S Ravi Kumar ends up making a 3-hour-long feature which ultimately fails to engage.
Lingaa is about Lingeswar (Rajinikanth), a petty thief who is invited by a TV journalist Swetha (Anushka) to come to her village to open a long-closed temple. The legend is that the temple was built by Lingaa's grandfather Raja Lingeswar and was closed due to some issue. The villagers believe that getting the temple opened by the heir of the Raja will save the village from certain doom.
Lingaa first refuses to go to the village, but after being implicated in a theft, decides to hide there. What he discovers in the village and how he helps the villagers in times of peril forms the remaining film.
The biggest problem with Lingaa is that it is not a Rajini movie. By that we mean it is not the standard cigarette-tossing, punchline-throwing Rajini that you see in the movie. For two-thirds of its running time, Lingaa runs in the pre-independence era, and features a Rajini who's a dignified Raja striving for the welfare of his people. The social drama around the construction of the dam in these parts takes forever to end.
Several other scenes too play out for much longer than intended. For example, a robbery scene in the first half runs for well over a half-hour, and gets tiring by the time it reaches its conclusion. And the stunts in the end look slightly ridiculous (yes, even for Rajini). The songs are shot in stunning sets, but the music by A R Rahman is weak.
The only aspect of Lingaa that stands out is the star himself. Rajini shoulders the entire film, and makes you laugh, cry and feel for him. Anushka, Sonakshi and everyone else play fillers, and are their usually reliable selves.
The film looks brilliant, and the sets and technical values are all top-notch. The money spent on the movie shows on the screen, and if Lingaa were an attempt to compensate the buyers of Kochadaiyaan
, we don't see how that is going to happen.
Lingaa, then, is for hardcore fans of the superstar. For others, it is a long social-drama that fails to excite or engage.