Petta is a dubbed Tamil film starring Rajinikanth, Simran and Trisha in lead roles. Vijay Sethupathi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bobby Simha and Megha Akash in prominent roles. Kalanidhi Maran produced the film and Karthik Subbaraj directed it. Petta released worldwide on 10th Jan, 2019.
A middle-aged guy, Kaali (Rajinikanth), joins as a temporary hostel warden with the recommendation of a Minister. Although he seems like a jovial guy at first, other aspects of his personality are revealed over time. He befriends students, stops ragging and improves the hostel facilities. The problems start as he helps a couple to pursue their love. When a group of goons attack the hostel, the true face of Kaali is exposed and a purpose behind his arrival is revealed. Who is Kaali, why he came to the hostel and what is his rivalry forms the crux of the story.
Petta starts with a great premise as good as that of Baasha. In fact, the film was made in admiration to the stardom of Rajinikanth. The film starts as a regular commercial movie with a lot of entertainment in the first half. The elevation scenes in the first half remind us of vintage Rajinikanth films. The romantic scenes between Rajinikanth and Simran are entertaining. The interval sequence elevates the film to a whole new level but is dragged for so long that the intensity gets lost.
The second half starts with the flashback episode which has nothing new to offer and is quite predictable. After the flashback, the story moves at a snail’s pace without moving in a proper direction. The director has put a lot of efforts to emphasize the anti-BJP and anti-RSS concepts like love-jihad, Gau rakshak, anti-Indian, forced marriages on valentine’s day etc. The politics take over the entertainment and majority of the second half appears like a political speech with occasional songs and fights. Some key moments in the film are illogical and unrealistic. There is a lot of drama in the pre-climax which spoils the proceedings. The climax destroys the entire plot and ends the film on a terrible note.
The characterization of Rajinikanth is good as a ruthless guy who stops at nothing. His body language and expressions are carefully chiselled to give it a distinct style and attitude. Most other characters are used like a padding to elevate his role.
Rajinikanth is stunning in his role. He looks young and ravishing in a role that is not seen in his films since a long time. He carries the entire film on his shoulders. Simran is refreshing in her role and entertains in some scenes. Bobby Simha is remarkable in a role that is memorable. He effortlessly makes the audience empathize with him. Nawazuddin Siddiqui delivers great performance but he looks weak in front of Rajinikanth. The general audience may not recognize him as a good opponent.
Trisha remains in the background with a couple of short dialogues and limited screen space. Her role is as brief as that of Tamannaah in Baahubali: The Conclusion. She might have signed the film just to act with Rajinikanth. Vijay Sethupathi is good in a role that doesn’t offer much. There is not much depth to his character but he pulls it off with ease. Particularly, the scenes featuring him and Rajinikanth together are a feast for the fans. Overall, the performances are solid for a star-studded film.
Petta has an extremely weak script with some brilliant scenes and dialogues. The film entertains in bits and pieces but is not remarkable. The production values are good. The cinematography is excellent. The lighting and fog effects are as good as regular Hollywood films. The music elevates the mood in most of the scenes but the Telugu songs are average. The editing is mediocre and doesn’t create the flow in the film. The dubbing work is superb and they have taken care of several minor details like names on the boards in the background. The direction is remarkable. Karthik Subbaraj is a talented director who proves his skills with this film too. But the film focussed solely on the fans and ignored the regular audience.
Petta is a feast for the fans of Rajinikanth with many trademark Rajini moments throughout the film. Others may find the first half entertaining but get disappointed with the second half. Overall, it is a one-time watch for regular audience.