Review: Rajni’s Kochadaiyaan is a bad puppet show

koch1Holy subtext, Batman. Rajinikanth stands amid a collection of statues, pretending to be his own effigy. Deepika Padukone, the patroness who has commissioned said sculpture, looks appraisingly over Rajni’s body, halting at his bottom. This should really be a little ampler, she complains to the carver, following which Rajinikanth — who had, for some inexplicable reason, kept butt-cheeks clenched in an attempt to look more lifeless — now sticks out his Superstar bum, on cue. “Arre waah!”, exclaims Deepika, who clearly has unholy designs on her latest purchase.

God help us all.

Speaking of unholy designs, this film is one. Kochadaiyaan, which apparently means “long-maned warrior king” might as well now stand for “an unending round of Sims played by someone drunk on toddy.” This is a loud, unforgivably tacky production, handicapped not merely by substandard animation but a complete lack of imagination. Directed by the star’s daughter, Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin, Kochadaiyaan has the primary problem most Indian animation faces — that of scripts written for regular films shoehorned into an animated format instead of writing specifically for animation — but this time the motive is a unique one: a fountain of youth.

Thalaivar is getting older, and a significant part of the country is in denial. Now clearly too old to play ass-kicking, punchline-hurling twirler of cigarettes, this is an attempt at keeping Rajinikanth eternally young. It is an ambitious idea, one that in theory could eventually force today’s stars to move over and let the old guard reign forever (like one of the voice actors on The Simpsons, a television show that will outlive us all.) It isn’t an altogether bad — or altogether new — idea, and, personally, I often envision the day a digitally crafted Sean Connery can play James Bond again, but as the first genuine megastar anywhere to gamble on the idea, it must be said Rajinikanth stumbles quite woefully.

koch2Kochadaiyaan‘s severest sin is vanity. In its desperation to make Rajni more awesome than he ever was, the animators don’t seem to have concentrated anywhere besides his face. The film itself begins with thousands of people depicted in gold, as if a novice 3DStudio Max operator in the 90s had just stumbled upon metallic textures and excitedly let loose, a reckless Midas. Even though colours eventually appear, the many extras aren’t paid any attention, coming across purely as puppets. The true cruelty, however, is reserved for Superstar’s hapless co-stars.

Jackie Shroff, for example, would be well within his rights to ask that the animated version of himself be made less jowly, and even, since this is indeed animation, restore the General Alcazar-like jaw from his own glory days. And as for the striking Deepika Padukone, she is here cursed with a seriously creepy grin —  a la the new Anushka Sharma — and a Barbie-body that moves sometimes like a mermaid and sometimes like a skittish salamander. She looks fine enough in profile with her mouth closed, but the rest of the time she — she of the abnormally wide mouth — looks like she wants to crack open her hero’s head and slurp down boiled Rajni brain.

The film’s plot isn’t a particularly bad one — though it is a tad tiring to see Rajni do a Khaleesi and play slave-warrior politics — but this is one historical drama that creaks under its own weight. There are lots of wars and alliances and so forth, but even more songs, songs I wager AR Rahman composed while napping. The result is a painfully simple revenge drama made unbearable by bad animation and constant, constant fanfare — when it is this loud, it cannot justly be called background score.

Credit where it’s due, however, the chariots and elephants look pretty decent. (Up close, that is. When in a long-shot, marching together, all those cloned sprites look like the kind of screensaver BR Chopra would have used.)

Walking into this film, however, I had braced myself for the bad animation — and for Rajni towering over Deepika — because weak animation can never truly get in the way of good storytelling. Kochadaiyaan, alas, is a fundamentally flawed dud, one without anything to applaud besides grand (if self-glorifying) ambition. And little is as heartbreaking to witness as utterly failed ambition.

Rating: One star

~

First published Rediff, May 23, 2014

87 Comments

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87 responses to “Review: Rajni’s Kochadaiyaan is a bad puppet show

  1. thenali

    அப்போ பாஞ்சு பாஞ்சு சண்ட போட்டது ஆடிப்பாடினது
    அத்தனையும் டூப்பா ? ! …சொல்லு லதா டூப்பா ?
    ஆமாம் கோபால் ஆரம்பத்திலே கோச்சடையானா நடிக்க தான் வந்தேன்
    கொஞ்சம் நடிக்கவும் செய்தேன் கோபால் ..ஆனால் கஷ்டமான வீர தீர காட்சிகளுக்கு முன்னால் என்னுடைய நடிப்பு தோற்று போச்சு கோபால் அதான் டூப்பு போட்டாங்க ..கோபால் நான் எவ்வளவோ முயற்சி செய்தும் என்னாலே நடிக்க முடியல கோபால்

  2. Gilbert Taylor

    I think Mr. Raja Sen’s comments were nothing but truth, truth and truth. Basically most of the film goers in Tamil Nadu are fanatics and certainly deserve a psychiatric treatment. The education do not help them anymore as they are psyched from childhood to appreciate whatever Rajini does and hate all other films.

    This has been witnessed by fanatics Harish Subramaniam and Well wisher (well wisher of Rajini). The film is dud and it is flop no matter what. I know they will call me all names but this is the truth and it is extremely difficult to win argument with schizophrenic fans like these.

    Another great truth is he is getting old and not keeping well these days and everyone on this earth know why did he go to Singapore for treatment.

    Mr. Rajnikant is a down to earth individual, who never allowed his success and fame pass through blood brain barrier (to head). He is a good human being that does mean all his films are sensible and super hit.

    I request Rajinikant’s fanatics/flunkies to focus on your job, Education and do something good for society instead wasting your life and others by your maniac behavior.

    Why don’t you convert your psychic power for more productive issues like Safety, Water, Electricity, Employment, Capitation free education, Green nation, Clean environment………. rather than wasting your money and your parents earnings

    Many modern day medicines can treat you all and cure your bipolar disorder. Please visit the nearest psychiatrist and cure yourselves to save TN and India.

    Jai Hind

  3. tamilan

    Its the beginning … for indian cinemas …. u can get whatever u expected but can u say any producer who ready to provide more than 200 crs in india

  4. RANGA

    Hi ur review entirely against the movie kochadian 3d movie was really fantastic and a great legendry story no other actor in india cannot have this guts and so much success like Rajinikanth realy fantastic movie i watched already 2 times in 3D REALLY SUPERB STORY…. the fans sound in theatres flying for the mass hero…

  5. RANGA

    I don’t know why so much fuckers are jealous agains rajinkanth and his movies. If his movie getting fame and hit means all idiots stomach are burning…

  6. abs9

    Better to sit and watch a puppet show..

  7. Selva

    Hey m****f***** who hate rajini movies did any actors in Asia done movies in all several. formats (black & white .eastment color .3d & animations ) he is second in the world to do so next to liam nesson have any Bollywood a*** have guits to do he does you guys always see hero’s in six packs heroines in bikini stupid Bollywood no new tech and no imagination copying films from Hollywood to tollywood wake up

  8. Selva

    Hey m****f***** who hate rajini movies did any actors in Asia done movies in all several. formats (black & white .eastment color .3d & animations ) he is second in the world to do so next to liam nesson have any Bollywood a*** have guits to do he does you guys always see hero’s in six packs heroines in bikini stupid Bollywood no new tech and no imagination copying films from Hollywood to tollywood wake up he has fan following even in japan

  9. raj

    hats of to rajasen for this wonderful review.

  10. Dont need stupid responses. Not in a mood to argue about laws of Physics,

    Physics? Can a horse jump over such a lengthy distance? Even real Rajni film won’t attempt such a bad stunt.

  11. raj

    before movie release trailer flopped..after release cant digest … 2015 OSCAR AWARD GOES TO KOCHADA”YAWN..

  12. Selvam, Sivagangai

    Great review. Walked out of the theater with a headache from watching this stupid cartoon.

  13. Selvam

    Your review captures the true sentiments of scores of film goers who have taken an auto rickshaw to watch this film – vrooming past the so called mindless fans on the street (the same bunch who have thumbed your review down here).

  14. iamib mer

    The worst Rajanikant film ever made. If anybody has a problem with vomiting, it can be easily resolved by seeing this film. Result guaranteed. I like Rajani very much and been an admirer of his acting for almost 35 years now. But the picture is much a disappointment as it is an output of a worst directorial venture. There is no zeal for perfection all thru the film. Depiction of Rajani’ s movements is like a perfect disgrace to him. A female body like that of Deepika is what makes the heart of stone to dance. But here she has been depicted like a vulgar third rate adult movie hooker with un proportional sizes not befitting her body line with the boobs, bums, and the waistline which is a total disaster when coming from experts in the industry. At least daughter might had some respect to her father and given more time and efforts for perfection.
    Bottom line is the movie is a total failure, disaster and disappointment. Lots of money, time and efforts wasted for nothing.

  15. Lotus

    HELLO MR….
    ONE DOUBT???
    HAVE YOU WATCHED ANY MOVIES IN YOUR LIFE BEFORE??????

  16. xyz

    expected a lot from this movie….bt boring movie…its flop

  17. http://www.youtube.com/ThisIsDSPMusic
    Welcome to Devi Sri Prasad (DSP)’s official YouTube Channel.

    Devi Sri Prasad is the leading South Indian music composer, playback singer and lyricist in Telugu and Tamil films. DSP as he is popularly known scored music for almost every Top Movie Star in South India and his collaborations with all of them have resulted in some scintillating music.

  18. R

    lol, feel sorry for you guys, all those rajni supporters and rajni haters. If you watched the movie and didnt like it, just say it was a bad movie, and do not discuss about the actors, since this was a motion capture – meaning, the actor has to assume things and act. And for those rajni worshippers, dont blindly follow something and make our movie makers dumb, because, they will think that they can make any crap and still idiot people will enjoy the movie. If you like rajni, fine, but be an intelligent critic about the movie. This will improve or make the movie makers think twice, before they take another project like this. Since Raji sir is iconic, Sowndarya shouldnt have attempted this. My 2 cents !!

  19. Raks anand

    At last some one has given a honest review. All spineless ppl of Tamil Nadu pls read this review. I is what is on your mind but could not come out of your mouth. Rajani is rajani but this movie is not his fault. I love superstar but this movie was crap..that everyone has to agree.

  20. Ria

    Why you Guys take it to your heart (so true not a brilliant movie to watch) your critique will always help you grow better.

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