Kathanayakudu (remake of the Malayalam movie Katha Parayumbol) has the special aura and look of a typical Rajini film; yet, in the place of the usual style king, audiences get to see the emotional actor in the superstar (the last scene is particularly superb!) similar to the role portrayed in the classic Aarilirindhu Arubadhu Varai. The Tamil remake has of course deviated from the original and incorporated a few interesting changes; Rajini's role has been considerably expanded, yet the movie is completely devoid of artifice and commercial frippery.
Blockbuster director P. Vasu knows audiences' expectations from a Rajni movie. With such an action hero in the lead role, Vasu has displayed commendable sagacity and showcased him with an image makeover.
The story of Kathanayakudu goes like this: Two childhood friends grow up together in a small village, then go their separate ways. One rises to become a superstar. The other struggles through life and barely ekes out a living as a barber in the same village. When the barber and the superstar meet, there is evidently a clash of personalities. But how do they overcome their differences and rekindle their friendship?
Superstar, portrayed as superstar himself, is something nobody in Tamil cinema dared to attempt till date. The characterization itself has a touch of novelty and exclusivity. The best part is that in the role of a superstar, Rajni has taken this opportunity to answer some important questions put by his fans. Why he is avoiding politics? Why do movie cameras focus mainly on the industry's big shots like Rajni and Kamal? Is there a secret behind his periodic visits to the Himalayas? If you watch Kathanayakudu, you are sure to find answers to all these questions!
Though the focus is more on the superstar, Jagapathy shines as a solid performer. Particularly in a sequence where everybody lauds and reveres him as the star's friend, the timidity and longing projected from his eyes display the great actor's talent. Nayantara is simply gorgeous and Meena warms audiences' hearts.
G.V. Prakash's music ('Thalaiva' song tugs at one's heart-strings!), Arvind Krishna's camera and Thotta Tharani's art direction -- all these constitute Kathanayakudu's crowning glories. After Sivaji, the movie is a fitting comeback for Rajni. Such a strong role, in which he downplays his own talents and icon status, could be performed only by Rajni, a star and visionary of highest order. And all the love and admiration his fans have for their 'Thalaivar' have worked as an uplifting breeze, guaranteeing the success of Kathanayakudu.
Cast : Rajinikanth, Nayantara, Meena, Jagapathi Babu
Banner : Kavithalaya and Seven Arts Films
Direction : P.Vasu
Music : GV Prakash Kumar
Camera : Arvind Krishna
Art : Thotta Tharani