Petta & Pseudo Intellectuals : An Observation

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Social media has two things: Influencers and Followers. People who talk. People who clap. It doesn’t matter whether you talk right or wrong. If you have the gimmicks, you can have the followers. Well not exactly, there are genuine influencers too. But what I have been longing to address about is this group. I call them Pseudo-Intellectuals

Nowadays it looks like each and every person around me is a reviewer and wants to claim his/her opinion is the best one indeed. In my opinion, these guys need to stay away from this beautiful concept of social media for maintaining an overall balance out there.

The startling fact is the they don’t realize what they do to a film! They view every single film out there from an uni dimensional lens without perceiving the purpose of the film or the maker. Sometimes, they judge a film based on some other film by drawing in cross references between the two. Infact, this is the part where I developed hatred for them.  They completely eliminate the regional sensibilities that the film possesses and compare it with some of the international standards that they have been exposed to. I don’t care if they see it as their own subjective opinion, but these people make sure that this becomes an objective stance and influence several other viewers with it. Read further only if you’ve watched Petta (2019).

Petta has no weak subplots!

Something very similar is happening with the recent sensation Petta (2019).  Certain people have claimed that there are a lot of loose subplots in the first half of the film that have no say whatsoever in the film and the film really takes off only from the 2nd half. Well, I’m not here to take sides but only to point out what looked so neatly done for me but a complete opposite reaction starts to occur from the pseudo intellectuals. I guess the sole purpose of the film as in the title card itself “ this film is inspired from, performed by & dedicated to the one and only thalaiva” is to relive the Thalaivar moments and make us fall in love with him yet again! The 1st half of the film quite satisfyingly  was able to do this without compromising in the story.

People are terming the hostel ragging part and bobby simha’s part as quite irrelevant to the story. I’m not very sure of it. As to how malik dies due to a communal clash, Petta Velan is deeply hurt by it. When he arrives to the college in a disguise to take care of anwar (malik’s son) and witnesses the act of ragging (which according to him is one of the roots of upper class & lower class), he decides to stop it. And he decides to go against bobby simha as he is a threat to anwar. Now, I don’t get where these subplots have no say in the story. And all of these subplots have been portrayed in such a way that these bring out the trademark rajinism in them. Doesn’t this coincide with the purpose of the maker too?

One question that kept popping up was, why do we have such known faces for small roles that has no say in the story at all?  

I believe its again due to the intention of the film- Celebration of Rajini. Since, one cannot afford to have apt screen scope for each character due to the nature of the film’s purpose & the duration, we require known faces for instant connect with the audience. That’s why even such small roles like the principal and bobby simha’s father have been performed by known faces. If this is the case with small roles that have no say in the story, what about those significant roles like Petta velan’s wife or Kaali’s love interest? The concept is simple here, you cast a well known actor like Trisha so he or she brings in a lot of justification and investment to the smaller crisp role, by way of their past connect with the audience and hence you dont have to have elaborate scenes so as to get the investment from the audience. I think this is a very shrewd move. 

Females however lacked depth!

However, from someone like Karthik subbaraj who gave us films with such neatly sketched female characters, Petta was bit of a let down in this regard. Even in Jigarthanda (2014), lakshmi menon is the initiator of the conflict in the 2nd half. In petta, the absence of the female characters like that of simran wouldn’t have had much difference in the plot. But, it coincides with the purpose of the film. Even though it complements the purpose of the film, it comes under the cliched template of tamil cinema’s female characters. This could’ve been avoided by the makers.

Singhar Singh weak Villain?

Lets do a small exercise. Name the popular villains who played opposite Rajini. I can quote Mark Antony, Neelambri, Chandramukhi. Do the same with the other heroes of the tamil cinema. See whether you get a minimum of three. I think time and again Where Rajni scored as an hero can be equally credited to the villains he fought against. Coming to Petta, I can clearly say Singhaar Singh was a great villain in writing. But somehow in execution, in lip sync, in the voice, things went wrong. For Siddiqui, his dialogue delivery is one of the finest in the industry. foregoing that is a big minus.

To conclude,

I have decided that whatever Facebook says, I am not going to take it at the face value, since there are a lot of minds, trying to voice out their opinion, and so the best way to find out the truth is to actually find on your own. For Petta, even when pseudo-intellectuals were trying to comment on how different story or how novel screenplay could have been, The celebration that you witness when you see in the silver screen, the number of times Brand Rajni scores with thunderous applause from the audience, I think Karthik Subbharaj and Team executed what they promised.

A befitting tribute and great farewell for brand “Thalaivar”


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