Being in a theatre showing Petta with Rajini fans, I felt like how a DC fan would feel in a Marvel convention.
Even Marvel movies seemed to take the time to make Gods from Norse mythology-gamma radiated killing machines-super soldiers and arrogant inventors relatable to me (some fellow in Chennai) even if I was not one of their ‘fans’. I guess they still care for storytelling to some sense of the word.
In Petta, however if I had purchased a ticket, the movie immediately assumes that I am a Rajinikanth fan. Year after year, a new film tries to sell me this Rajini persona (or variations of it, by other aspiring heroes) but I have not been able to buy into it.
It(this persona) matters even more in this movie. Petta is a carefully color-graded super-star compilation hits and boy the hits just keep on coming. Karthik Subbaraj ups the gimmicks-catch phrases-political posturing and slow mo staples of Raijni to 11, thus gifting me a pre-festival headache. Anirudh made sure that the headache remained for the entirety of the movie (and the following weekend) with his background score.
Headaches are minor things when compared to the heartache of seeing characters left hanging. Some good actors called just to rot before this constructed image of Rajinikanth.
Because if you are not great yourself, the only way to seem so is by making others feel small.