Rajnikanth films have always been entertainers with a strong messages and the director seems to be weighed down by the needs of the superstar?s fans and the box-office. And for the first time, Rajni does not light up on screen. P.Vasu totally loses control over his script in the second half when he allows the superstar to dominate the show over the ?real hero? of the film- Chandramukhi! The end result is that Jyothika skims indifferently through a lead role that has been reduced to a walk-on!
Sivaji Productions and P.Vasu has bungled in choosing a story that is not suitable for the superstar. In spite of Vasu assuring us of a young looking, energetic hero, Rajni has aged and looks tired as he works and re-works all tried out antics one more time. Only this time they don?t cut any ice and even his baritone voice has lost its edge.
The story - Ganga (Jyothika) wife of Senthil (Prabhu) is ?seized? by a century and a half old court dancer Chandramukhi?s spirit after they settle down in an old mansion. Ganga suffers from split personality as she starts believing that she is Chandramukhi and tries to take revenge on the people who killed her. Saravanan (Rajnikanth) who is Senthil?s best friend and a leading psychiatrist from America with the help of a local exorcist Ramachandra Acharya (Avinash) solves the problem and this forms the crux of the story.
Two minutes into the film, Rajnikanth appears on screen by stylishly kicking a baddie with his full stretched leg and the screen explodes into an 11 minute fight scenes in which our ?doctor hero? beats up more than a dozen thugs single-handedly. Fight master Thalapathy Dinesh has extensively used wire technique in which the hero is suspended in mid air and does all sorts of acrobatic fights a la ?Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? style!
Nayantara as Rajni?s love interest has nothing much to do except seen in two songs and disappears later. The comedy scenes between Rajni and Vadivelu are the highlight of Chandramukhi. Vadivelu is at his best as he brings impeccable comic timing to his role as Murukesan who is always suspicious about his sexy wife Swarna (Swarna).
There is a huge supporting cast of about a dozen people who have nothing to do except be in the frame. And why were Akhilandeswari Amma (Sheela) and her body guard (Sonu Sood)a part of the cast? All the characters Nasser, Vijaykumar, Avinash are used to deliver dialogues praising the greatness and goodness of Saravanan?s character that is glorified to the hilt!
For Jyothika, who plays Ganga, the simple housewife suffering from a split personality and it is a dream role for which she has worked very hard. But sadly, the actress could not get her expressions correctly and most of time falters while trying to get into the skin of Chandramukhi. Her facial expressions are too dramatic and sometimes she goes overboard by rolling her eye balls that makes you laugh! Prabhu has nothing much to do.
Vidyasagar?s music is hummable, and the picturisation of the song shot in Turkey ?Konjam..Neram..? is brilliant and the special effect in the kite song ?Kokku Para para?? is good. Sekhar.V.Joseph?s camera is another plus point. As a fan of Rajnikanth, this writer felt sad and anguished to see the emperor of commercial cinema struggling to strike form. Perhaps with a better screenplay and sharper execution Rajni will have a better outing next time. Like in movies we all live on hope too...