Movie Review: Kuselan

August 03, 2008

My two sons are great fans of Rajnikanth, the Tamil Superstar. To tell you the truth, I have a weak spot for his "style" myself! When Shivaji was released some months back, we went around for a week aping his "style"! With equal enthusiasm, we made it a huge family affair with cousins and all to watch Kuselan, the latest offering with Rajni in it.

Thirty minutes into the film is when we realized that he was a "special appearance" and not the actual lead role. What a let down! The first 30 minutes had not even a photo of Rajni! So friends, if you are a die hard Rajni fan, please do not go to the movies trusting him to make his appearance any time soon. Then you can anticipate his "arrival".

The movie tells the touching story of Sudama and Krishna from the Srimad Bhagavatham (Kuchelopakyaanam) in a modern context. It is also a semi-biography that traces the origins of Rajnikanth's humble beginnings before he made it big in the film industry.

Our protagonist is a humble barber who wants a loan without giving a bribe. Obviously, in 21st century India that is as common as India winning an Olympic gold! He lives a simple and contented life with his wife and three children who in return ask nothing much of him.

The rustic village atmosphere is shattered by the arrival of a huge film crew including the super star. People in the village who know that the barber was childhood friends with the super star urge him to meet him and get them favors. Balu (Balakrishnan - do not miss out on the name!), the barber, refuses. Then they believe him to have spun tales out of thin air.

At this juncture I thought the film would be about micro credit financing as this barber could have greatly benefited from such a scheme. I hope those micro credit fellows will not turn corrupt like the rest of the lot. I digress.

The shooting is done and the local school invites the superstar to address them. There, our protagonist stand behind to see his friend speak. The friend narrates the incidents of his life that included the barber and wished that he were there to share in his success.

The barber leaves the crowd silently only to find the super star at his doorstep! The last scene was most touching and I was reminded of the Krishna-Sudama episode. The friends share a piece of peanut brittle (chikki) and the super star positions himself as the guardian for all his friend's children.

Apart from a very peppy number by Daler Mehndi, the rest are hard to even remember. The costumes for the songs were amazing but the songs were totally unnecessary and unwarranted in the film. Nayantara as Rajni's co-star was far from any kind of acting except for showing off her bod.

The story of Sudama (Kuchela) was one of many favorites as a child. To see it brought to the silver screen was a delightful experience. Some of our cousins, aunt, and uncle who were visiting us couldn't believe the fan following in America!

Blokes aka Meenakshi enjoys writing along with being a mom, a school teacher, a musician and an Art of Living teacher (of meditation and breathing)
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Vinod Joseph
August 4, 2008
04:31 AM

I remember watching a Malayalam movie 'Katha Parayumbol' with an identical storyline a few months ago. Is Kuselan the Tamil version of that movie?

August 4, 2008
03:25 PM

I have not seen that film. However, it seems this one is a biography of sorts of Rajnikanth's entry into films with the financial support from a dear friend of his, also from strained circumstances.

Vinod Joseph
August 5, 2008
07:55 AM

I did a google search and found this article which says Kuselan and Hindi Film Billo Barber are inspired by Katha Parayumbol

Rajini plays himself in this movie. In Katha Parayumbol, Mammooty played himself.

August 6, 2008
08:02 AM

ha ha -havent seen sivaji as yet. saw dasavatharam though. looked like a DMK sponsered movie to tell the public they arent against god - just took the option of not praying for him!! what with the sethu issue on their doorsteps.

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