Petta Trailer Breakdown: Karthik Subbaraj brings back the quintessential Rajinikanth film, as promised
A Rajinikanth fan himself, Karthik Subbaraj promised to make Petta like the quintessential Rajini film, and when the trailer ends, you know what he meant
The biggest multi-starrer of 2018 was Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, and just like the trailer of the Mani Ratnam film, even this Karthik Subbaraj padam's trailer, which is undoubtedly the biggest multi-starrer of 2019, begins with the voice-over of Vijay Sethupathi. This time, as Jithu, the antagonist to Rajinikanth's Kaali in Petta.
Every star vehicle needs a group of people to engage in what's called as "Build-up", and in the vehicle of the biggest star of them all, how can this not be done? Not just build-up, but you also need the star to be shown only in parts. It is just unfathomable that he is shown rather coincidentally. You need to wait for the moment. You need to wait for the rush to come in, the high to be attained and the goosebumps to peek out. You need to earn the payoff. You need to feel blessed to see the star on the screen. In a similar vein, even as the voice-overs paint a picture of the Kaali we can't wait to see, the frames show a back-shot of Rajinikanth sitting beside glowing embers, an upbeat Rajinikanth sprinting into a college in a hill station, a lethargic Rajinikanth relaxing on a chair watching kids play football, a blurry Rajinikanth walking past burning candles that seem to extinguish when he looks at them, and finally, you hear him, more specifically, his laugh... The laugh, which announces that the game has just begun.
The first time you properly see Rajinikanth in the Petta trailer is when he opens the gate of what seems like an old building, and any reminders to a particular scene from the 1975 K Balachander film Aboorva Ragangal is purely coincidental... or not. What follows is a kick here, a punch there, and a lot of playfulness in between as we are reacquainted with the Rajinikanth we remember from the 90s. Then there's that all-familiar swirling of the sunglasses, and then, the first glimpse of the pairing, which was 13 years in the making — Simran and Rajinikanth. And then in a showreel of sorts to give the magnitude of this multi-starrer, we see a gorgeous Trisha, a veshti-clad Sasikumar, an Iraivi-reminiscent Bobby Simha, a menacing Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and a vengeful Vijay Sethupathi.
And finally, we will see Megha Akash making her on-screen debut with Petta as the actor gives the most cliched dialogue in a Rajini film — Paakradhukku chinna payyan maadhri style-a irukeenga. And before we can dissect this oft-repeated dialogue, we see Rajini in avatars that actually make you believe Megha Akash, and even Rajini, when he says, "Style-a irukkena? Naturally..." The trailer then progresses to showcase a Rajini, who was missing in the films of this decade — The romantic Rajini, who has a spring in his step and a smile on his lips.
Full marks to editor Vivek Harshan for cutting the trailer, as the action-packed portions of the trailer show up after Rajini says, "Sirappana, tharamaana sambhavangala inime dhaan paaka pore" There are glimpses of revolt in the college where Rajini is the hostel warden. There's Singaar Singh (Nawazuddin) asking Jithu to bump someone off (we know who that someone is... don't we?) and then an exchange of gunfire, flying henchmen, and a very angry Rajinikanth spread across various scenes.
More Vijay Sethupathi, more Nawazuddin, more gunfire, more bomb blasts, and more Rajini, but with unbelievable levels of swag, mouthing dialogues, which would have been unacceptable a few years back.
Who'd have imagined an unrestrained Rajini using words like "Kola gaandu"... "adichu underwear-oda oda vitruven..." and when Anirudh's electrifying Petta Paraak song shows Rajini being... well, THE Rajini, you indeed get Rajinified.
A Rajinikanth fan himself, Karthik Subbaraj promised to make Petta like the quintessential Rajini film, and towards the end of the trailer when the Madura Petta theme music plays in the background, and the handlebar-moustached Rajinikanth playfully dances to the beats of the Tavil and Nadaswaram and then the screen fades to black to announce that Petta is indeed "paraak"-ing this Pongal, you know what he meant.
Karthik Subbaraj delivers. and how!