Rajinikanth with Manisha Koirala in ‘Baba’ Tamil | Photo: Special Arrangement
20 years ago, I saw it in Rajinikanth Baba at Thyagaraja Theater in Chennai.
It was a drama-filled experience. A day before the release I was at my dad’s friend’s house, and he casually mentioned that he had an extra ticket. Baba later that night.
I begged, and I got it. Those were the days of late night fan specials, and these at 1:30am or before release. Before the first show on the first day. Because, well, it was Rajinikanth.
As a young freshman in college, I remember walking into the theater with several Rajinikanth fans shaking their heads as they were all excited to see Thalaivar before the world arrived. Whenever there was squatting on the floor and space between a seat, we — a group of much older people, mostly strangers and myself — whistled and cheered as Rajinikanth waved a leg “Baba, Cinema Cinema.”
Three hours later, we were back, discussing the movie and feeling mostly disappointed.
Today, I watched Rajinikanth’s Baba Thyagaraja in the same theatre, now christened as S2 Thyagaraja. Again.
It was a drama-filled experience, once again. Chennai was devastated by Cyclone Mandous and there were trees everywhere. But that wouldn’t stop people – at least Rajinikanth fans – from taking a trip to the cinema to experience the remastered. Baba to release again .
So what’s the movie like this time?
Dubbing for Rajinikanth ‘Baba’ Re-release | Photo credit: Raghul
The introduction sequence — the highlight of any Rajinikanth film — was surely not the greatest. Baba, but I think the authors missed a trick by editing that out and zooming in on Superstar instead. That, and all other editing, has been done to make it more exciting, in the words of the film’s director, Suresh Krissna himself.
In fact, new Baba it’s faster It removes a lot of the flab that was in the 2002 version; AR Rahman’s interludes are cut into the songs, and tracks come and go like you’d hear on a modern radio station.
Whenever Rajinikanth is not setting or setting the screen on fire with his dialogues or fights, it is Goundamani who gets the applause; it’s great to see the comedian on the big screen for a while.
Punch interviews, however, seem dated, which they really are. Many of the Rajinikanth punch dialogues in the film were written based on the political and cultural milieu of the time, and I doubt whether people, especially those watching it for the first time, would relate to them now. Computer graphics, however, and the latest fantasy pieces, can be a factor in children’s drawing.
Baba It may not have been the best Rajinikanth film when it hit the screens in 2002. In 2022, it still isn’t. But it’s still worth a trip to the cinema for sheer nostalgia; there is Rajinikanth clapping, not taking himself too seriously and trying unbelievable action sequences.
Baba it will be a trip down memory lane, especially if, like me, you have an emotional connection to the film.