groups of desis stood smoking below a sign that said stratford square mall. surely we were at the right place but way too early. it didnt take too long to guess that we had entered the mall during the interval of the previous show. the rest of the mall looked and behaved like a typical suburban mall during a weekend. when we came back to the theater entrance about an hour and a half later, it was like the mall had suddenly announced it was having a sale for janmashtami. the last time i'd seen so many of our ilk was when the temple was having its annual diwali celebrations. but this crowd was to celebrate an even bigger event. even before seeing the movie, i was reminded of the charisma of the superstar. he'd managed to pull all of my university's (tamil?) alumni from every nook and corner of the midwest to one place. people were soon talking of zooming careers, imprisoned lives and the movie itself
"hey are u still doing ur masters??"
"yup...hey whos that chick over there"
"umm..she's my wife, i got married in december"
not every conversation was like that though. after several warnings that the line to get in was long,i finally joined the tail of a rather long and wide line and thanks to my enterprising golt friends managed pretty good seats. the movie finally began after thanking everyone from the airport baggage-handler who handled the "potti" when it landed at o-hare to someone called vasu , who was using the superstar ticket like other politicians before him. briefly, rajini is a psychiatrist who comes down from the US to meet his friend prabhu. prabhu is going to a village where he has a road-building contract but the house he is moving to is apparently haunted.strange things start happening once they move in and how thalaivar solves the problem is the rest of the story. i'm deliberately skipping a few beautiful damsels , some very well canned songs, a fight and a lot of double entendres there. if u r a rajini fan, you'll like it. if you are not, you'll just find reasons not to.
as most other reviews would tell u thalaivar looks much better than he did in baba and that intro -any other star in that sort of a fight sequence wud've been out of place,not rajini. we did the best we could crying ourselves hoarse almost throughout the intro and the first song. the movie moves along at quite a brisk pace in the first half with thalaivar and vadivelu producing quite a lot of guffaws . we then broke for samosas in the interval. rajini fans were put to shame by a caucasian/hispanic lad behind the refreshments counter wearing a t-shirt with thalaivar showing his pearly whites. damn the organizers, giving rajini t-shirts to popcorn vendors. the movie takes a more serious turn in the second half and p.vasu manages to tie it all up with a few loose ends. with that we came back to reality and stepped out from a theater that for a brief while had assumed the Santham moniker.