It’s been long we had such a battle among top heroes in Kollywood, which has boiled down till the distribution area, theaters and screen count, not to mention about the crazy fans doing every bit to show their love and affection (read act to prove supremacy). There is competition in every aspects right from the music - single release, trailer scenes, cut-out size etc etc. The final dialogue by Ajith in the trailer giving the details of his family and asking to face him directly was seen as a challenge posed to Rajini to what he tells in the Petta trailer. The last I time I saw such a competition was between Jilla and Veeram in 2014. But that was more of an even battle ….so what is special this time?
Yes, it’s because of the man called Rajinikanth. No big hero dared to release a film along with a Rajini film until now… this occurred lastly during the release of Chandramukhi in 2005 (obviously, against Kamal's Mumbai Express). Inspite of knowing the date of release of Petta (though late), the makers of Viswasam decided to go ahead with a Pongal release. There is enough holidays this Pongal to ensure both films have a successful run for atleast 2 weeks. However, the question many have is ..why would Ajith take this risk at this point of his career?
The answer lies in what Vijay Sethupathi mentioned during the release of Petta Music launch. He quoted that “If you want to become big, you have to fight a bigger person”. This is exactly what Ajith may be looking for. He does not have anything to loose even if Viswasam flops (worst case.. his fans will attribute the failure to Director Siva). But if it’s the other way around, then this could be a turning point in Ajith’s stardom. More so because Rajini might turn his focus in to politics in near future and may not be doing many films. While he may continue to remain the Superstar, the supreme position which he held all these decades (without much competition) will be vacant for grabs.
The promos have been minimal for both films. We all know Ajith never promotes any of his films and this has probably made Sun pictures also to go slow in the promotion of Petta. Inspite of several promos being aired, we hardly get to see an new scenes other than those which was part of the trailer. We did see Rajinikanth promoting 2point0 very aggressively himself ..with an exclusive interview with Zee tamil. However this time, he seems to be playing it low and has gone outstation during the release. Nevertheless the craze for the tickets have been tremendous and most of the screens have got booked till the weekend already and Pongal holiday tickets are selling like hot cakes.
Now lets see how the films fare against each other:
• Promoted as a typical Superstar film which all of us wanted to see for a long time. Remember Rajini has a fan base covering all age groups even now and they would be keen to experience Rajini in full form.
• Unbelievable start cast and all being great performers, the very sight of seeing these actors in one frame is going to be exciting.
• The belief that Karthick Subburaj will have something new to tell like his previous films.
• Superb songs covering all genre which has turned out to be massive hits.
• Dubbed in other languages and released world-wide.
• The cuts in the trailer shows that the film is technically brilliant especially cinematography.
• All Karthick Subburaj movies have been very slow, will he be able to pull off a fast paced action film with Rajini is uncertain (Pa Ranjith tried it twice)
• High hype on #Rajinism and #Rajini swag can backfire if not handled well. We have seen even directors like Suresh Krishna (Baba) and Ravikumar (Linga) struggling here. Who can forget the balloon scene in Linga.
• From the trailer, it looks like a gangster film and there will be comparison to Baasha or even Kaala and Kabali.
Positives: • Ajith kumar playing dual role (all his previous dual role films have been successful) • Being a village subject, it syncs well with the Pongal festival and as a perfect family outing. • The Veeram connect - Thala fans expect another village hit from Siva-Ajith combo • Nayanthara (The lady Superstar does have a fan base) • Trailer Impact – Fight, punch dialogues, swags, sentiments ….. have raised the expectation to different level.
Negatives: • Villain role – Jagapathy Babu’s past films in Tamil has not been successful. Hope he is not shown as a dummy villain but has some scope for performance. • Sense of déjà vu being a village subject, unless there is a twist in the story line • Average songs except Kannana Kanne • Huge craze only in TN, it can be a slow starter in A centers.
While both films have good prospects and can turn out to be a hit or even Super-hit, I think Petta has an edge over Viswasam simply because of the star cast and Rajini factor. Being a long extended weekend, it would be exciting to see which film emerge winner in this contest. Having said that, I hope both films do well and satisfy the audience, critics and fans equally. This is also a dip test for other heroes to see if they can release their films along with big releases in future. We already saw a clash for Christmas. Nevertheless, this Pongal is going to be a very special for Tamil movie buffs. I am sure its going to be a blast for fans in the theaters….. see you there !
Happy Pongal !!