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'Vikrama Simha' Review: Rajini Fails To Save a Bad Debut

Movie: Vikrama Simha
Rating: 2/5
Banner:
Eros International, Media One Global
Cast: Rajinikanth, Deepika Padukoni, Naazar, Aadi, Sobhana, Jackie Sharoff and Others
Story: K S Ravi Kumar
Music: A R Rehman
Cinematographer: Rajeev Menon
Producers: Sunil Lalla, Sundanda Murali Manohar, Praseetha Chowdary
Direction: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Release Date: May 23, 2014

Rajinikanth’s film is a huge affair for his fans. They look forward to it and make sure that his film is a big hit. Kochadaiiyaan in Tamil or Vikramasimha in Telugu was started on a massive scale. It introduces motion capture 3D animation technology to Indian cinema. 

Story:
Ugramasimha (Nazeer) is the king of Kotha Pattanam and Rana (Rajinikanth) is his army commander. Rana penetrates Kalingapuri which is their rival kingdom and saves the army people of Kotta Pattanam who have been jailed there. On his return, he is congratulated by his king. But Rana attempts to murder Ugramasimha as the latter is responsible for the murder of his father and legendary warrior Kochadaiiyaan. He gets caught in the process. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

What To Expect From 3D Animation:
It’s very easy to use this technology for animation films and fictional characters. But when you have a popular star in the picture, the audience expects nothing less than perfection. The team has managed to capture Rajini’s walking style and boby language. Some trademark features of Rajini have also been recreated. But that’s where the good news ends. Now, the bad news is that even basic emotions like laughter, anger, sadness haven’t been captured convincingly by the technology.

Coming to Deepika Padukone, she is made to look like the princess of blind people’s kingdom. Right from her looks to the body language, everything is bad. On the other hand, Aadi, Nazeer and Shobhana’s animated avatars look more convincing. But to put it crisply, the work is very average. Though it’s a new technology for us, given the star cast and the range of production, the expectations were quite high.

Technical Expertise:
Music is by A R Rahman. But the director tries to fill the gaps with a lot of unnecessary songs. Though a couple of songs are good, the music does not match up to the film’s range. However, a mention has to be made of the background score, which is good. So is production design.

While the animation itself is quite average, the team has managed to create an authentic historical backdrop for the story. The editing of the Telugu film is a total disaster. Instead of reducing the length of the film by tightening the film, scenes have been chopped off randomly making the narrative jerky. Already, the screenplay is bad and this messes the film further.

The film’s director and Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin strived to set a trend of sorts by introducing a new technology to Indian cinema. For starters, she must be congratulated for fulfilling her dream. While she realized her dream, she does little in terms of creativity. Of course, she might be appreciated for treading an unknown path, but she fails badly for not making appropriate use of the platform that she had. Given that she had huge budget and Rajinikanth at her disposal, she fails to deliver a memorable film. In her over enthusiasm to set a trend, Soundarya falls flat as a director and makes a ‘puppet show’ of Vikramasimha.

Highlights:

  • Animation in fight sequences
  • Background score
  • Production design

Drawbacks:

  • Wafer-thin story
  • Narration
  • Excess number of songs
  • Poor motion capture
  • Patchy editing

Analysis:
Well, the basis for a good film is its story and narration. Almost all animated films in Hollywood have a good story and equally good narrative. They make you watch them from the word go to the very end till the credits roll by. If the story is good, then animation need not be extraordinary. Even simple pencil sketches will win over the audience. However, Vikrama Simha misses out on this basic rule of thumb.

Of course, there are a few twists, but bad screenplay evens out the curiosity element. Also, for the Telugu version, the editor has done away with quite a few scenes which disrupt the flow of the storyline. At places, you feel the scenes have popped up from nowhere.

Another pain point is the music. There are more songs than an average film. In fact, you have a song every few minutes making you realize how weak the script is. 

One is left wondering how the director did not bother to do her homework before taking up such a huge project. So the audience ends up asking why one should watch such a film.

Some may feel that Soundarya should be appreciated for making such a grand and costly effort. However, having said that, missing out on the very basics is bound to impact its position at the box office.

A few scenes like the fight sequences, Rudra tandavam and animation of elephants are good. But one cannot sit through the film for such scenes. At least in Telugu, the film may not attract audiences.

Bottomline: Poor show

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews) 

Click here for Telugu review

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