Petta - Fanboy moments
Most of you who’ve seen Petta can resonate with many of Superstar’s movies over the past 40 years. Some are quite obvious, some are hidden gems. Am listing my few favourites here.
The film starts with Thalaivar uttering the first dialogue - “Naan Veezhven endru ninaithayo!”. I could immediately connect with the opening scene of Muthu where he wishes the best for everyone, breaks the coconut and just when the horses scream - “Oruvan Oruvan Mudalali” song begins. Am sure Karthik Subburaj had this inspiration as well. All the more for Petta, since Kabali and Kaala were not up to the expectations of his hardcore fans, so KS had to ensure not only he delivers a blockbuster but also make Thalaivar say this dialogue, which is also something he openly mentioned in the 150th day celebrations of Chandramukhi where he mentioned he is not an Elephant, rather a horse and would get up just like that. Whattay fanboy moment when the film begins!
The sarcasm that Kaali, the hostel warden applicant displays to the Interviewer is top-notch. He simply bangs the table, sort of an open threat to the other guy to just do what he says. Loved this scene especially, because Thalaivar was portrayed as a weakling in the opening pub-scene of Kabali by the youngster who calls him “Kozhi Kari”. Again, KS must have written this scene keeping the insult and humiliation that Thalaivar and his ardent fans must have gone through, seeing that scene although eventually Kabali thrashes him. When Kaali warns the Senior Students to behave well and advises the juniors and sophomores, I could see “Superstar Rajinikanth” advising youngsters at MGR University Celebrations last year. Focus on your studies, take care of your careers!
When at Mangalam’s house flirting around, both of them are seen dousing the candles one by one. Suddenly, Thalaivar just glances at the Candles and they go off at one shot - this was akin to the scene in the song “Rajadhi Raja un thanthirangal” in Mannan where in the second part of the song, Thalaivar turns on the fire on a heap of logwoods with his palms! Goosebump moments, both of them are indeed.
With Arif, he makes two references, “Periya Kadhal Mannan” and no time for “Kadhalukku Mariyadai” - obvious references to Kamal Hassan and Vijay. When the college girls say “you look young and stylish”, Thalaivar says Naturally - what a fantastic moment this is for fhis ans - a clear glimpse of the iconic dialogue from Padayappa where Neelambari says, “Un stylum Azhagum Kuraiyale” and he responds “Koodave porandadhu!!!”.
During the first fight in the hostel with the baddies, he showcases his skills with the ninja - which was trademark Rajini style of the 80s, especially due to his lineage to Bruce Lee. One can remember similar fight scenes from 1978 hit film Priya where he fights in a very similar style with the Chinese baddies.
In the flashback, he goes to his Benz and says, “one shouldn’t keep saying something again and again, just do it” and picks up the gun and shoots Thevaram, typical style of the Angry Young Man of the late 80s (Naan Sigappu Manidan). When Malik reveals that an orphan child was recovered by his father at the temple, one can remember the camaraderie between Manickam and his childhood friend Baasha. Similarly, Malik’s father is none other than yesteryear veteran actor Ravichandran, whose photo is displayed at their ancestral home. Ravichandran has acted in a number of films with Superstar, notable and memorable among them being Raja Chinna Roja and Arunachalam. When Pettavelan is traveling with Poongodi in the train, she delivers a baby - one cannot but remember the emotional scenes of Thalapathy where Surya is recovered from a goods carriage. Fantastic placement again by KS.
While meeting Jithu alone on the road, Kaali tells him that he is none other than his son. This emotional scene is akin to the scene with Surya’s mother in Thalapathy when they both sit in isolation and discuss about their past and future. While moving around in UP, Kaali walks around with 4 other guys along with him - finally, we see our most loved Baasha Bhai in disguise walking like a Lion with four others.
Some obvious references include Thalaivar opening the gate (Aboorva Ragangal), cycling in the woods (Annamalai), Ulle Pooo during the hostel fight (Baasha) and many more.
Among the dialogues, although there are no obvious political reference, KS has gimmicked just like P Vasu or KS Ravikumar. In the opening scene, Kaali says that newcomers are not allowed and are gagged, which begins from college - a clear reference to his political opponents who keep saying that an Actor should focus only on acting. At the canteen, he asks students why are you suffering when you know what you’re getting (food) is bad - Let’s change everything, one by one. When Jithu suggests that they wait and plan their attack on Singaar Singh, Petta says we are already 20 years late - an innocuous reference to his own stance of not getting into active politics since 1999 when the entire political world was at his mercy, but he chose acting. Finally, when he outwits Jithu in the climax scene, Kaali says it’s ok to create a puzzle to bring down the enemy - Raja Thanthiram, he is just referring to how he’s playing his political cards at the moment. With Lok Sabha elections ahead a few months away, am sure Thalaivar has his own ways to keep the politicians in Chennai and Delhi guessing till the last minute.