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Baba Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5

Baba Movie Review : Baba works strictly as an old-school masala movie

Baba Movie Synopsis: Baba, an atheist who stands by his people, turns spiritual after an encounter with Mahaavatar Baba, who shares with him a wish-granting mantra that he can use five times. With politicians, including the state’s chief minister, trying to force him to use it for their own personal greed, can Baba overcome their evil designs and realise his true destiny?

Baba Movie Review: A passion project for Rajinikanth, Baba is infamous for being a failure at the box office when the actor was at the peak of his superstardom. This re-edited and remastered version (the visuals look over-saturated at times) comes with a couple of major changes. In tune with the certainty of Rajinikanth’s political non-entry, the climax is now purely personal, unlike in the original version, which gave us an open-ended climax that was intended to keep audiences (and most importantly, fans) guessing about his political entry. This results in a less punchy conclusion to the tale. The other major change involves bringing down the usage of the mantra to five times (from seven), though this choice leads to one of the film’s highlight scenes — a cameo featuring Ramya Krishnan as Padayappa’s Neelambari — getting axed. Strangely, even Rajinikanth’s grand introduction shot has been removed. Otherwise, most of the trimming seems to be in the songs, and a couple of scenes that don’t really impact the narrative.

There are portions that seem dated now (the conflict between the politicians and Baba is still the sore point), but for a film that was released 20 years ago, the film strictly works as a masala movie starring the Superstar; something that recent Rajini films like Annaatthe, Darbar and Lingaa, could not manage to do. At the plot level, the writing (by Rajinikanth himself), even if it is done in broad strokes, keeps us engaged. Some of Suresh Krissna’s staging, like the scene in which a temple elephant blesses Baba, are goosebumps-inducing. And barring a few of the politics-tinged lines, most of the punches still land well. Even Goundamani’s one-liners have spark.

And yet, the new version doesn’t provide the same rush as a Baashha or a Padayappa, and like the original film, remains a not-bad Rajini movie.

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