In the opening sequence of Chandramukhi - which actually starts with a highly amusing shot of about 20 ambassadors driving down a bridge for no ostensible reason other than perhaps the director thinking it was cool - a man is chasing a number of abla naaris. He runs into something - we're not sure. But the impact is seismic. He gets thrown a few dozen feet backwards, crashes into the windshield of a car and crashes out from the back.
Seconds later, we are introduced to the blockage - its a foot bearing sneakers with an orange sole. And behind it is the smiling face of Rajnikanth.
In Chandramukhi, Rajni plays a psychologist. But not just any shrink. He's phoren returned, winner of gold medals in the US(!), trained by Dr. Bradley(!), capable of short range read-only telepathy and prone to occasional lice removal via a previously never before seen technique of tapping the offending insect and tweaking the infected's ear. He's not just any doctor - but a rascal doctor, bow-chick-wow-wow.
After that rather delirious opening sequence, Chandramukhi sort of falls apart as a movie save for one gorgeous kite flying song (which ends with the kites forming the words "Superstar" in the sky). The reason is really in the execution of its genre: horror-comedy.
The scares are absolutely third-rate - copious tired POV shots are interwoven with some terrible acting and blaring music. The set design is chuckleworthy. It doesn't play well even as schlock. The comedy often seems entirely centered around Rajni's love bunny status with women - a singular joke that can't sustain a whole movie. But that reminds me: I didn't watch this movie for its art, but for Rajni.
So back to our man. With dancing skills in Amitabh Bachchan territory, Rajni nevertheless has this wonderful little smile going that sits really well below his curiously feathered wig. Its a knowing smile - as if to say: I know I'm like a bad habit you can't break, so here we go. He also has a rather terrific slit eyed look which he sadly under utilizes in this movie.
Somewhere in the middle is a confounding taming of the shrew sequence. It works like this: Rajni acts like a juvenile and annoys the heck out of a young village belle (Nayanthara) in a song. This includes twirling a fake CGI kite on his finger and placing it on Nayanthara's head.
Later he bullies her by disrupting her music class. The next day he sends all her students off to the movies. When she stops by to complain he ridicules her by informing her that he's brought off all her musical instruments. Girl storms off only to be stopped dead in her tracks by some highly melodious singing and peti music. Turns out Rajni is quite the singer/songwriter/musician. Girl regrets. Girl cries. Girl apologizes to Rajni with folded hands. Instead of taking the peti to his head, if you ask me.
Fortunately Jyothika is around to rescue us. She looks devastatingly good in a saree and choti and acts deliciously over the top which give this movie legs to tide it over the times when Rajni decides to prance off the screen.
- Amrita draws attention to one killer dance
- Never Mind!! hears Akshay wasn't half as good as Thalaivar
- leera has seen Rajni only once - in a Hindi movie
- Bitterlemons can't stand Rajni but recommends a Jyothika movie
- Pitu hears Vidya Balan did the finale well in the remake
- Lin can't watch Rajni but links to the final dance version in Malayalam and Kannada
- Lata P reveals the complexity of Rajni's dialogs
- Joules thinks Shobhana rocks but has only seen the Hindi remake
- Mind Rush on the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist (Aspi, you idiot)
- Sidekick explains "athey athey" and the cult of personality