Superstar Project 3/174.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luMuw5mjEOg

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This time I write about an American action adventure movie, but it fits into the scope of this blog because it has Rajinikanth in it. The movie is Rajinikanth’s only non-Indian movie, Bloodstone (1988), which is directed by Dwight Little.

The main characters are Sandy (Brett Stimely) and Stephanie (Anna Nicholas), a newlywed couple traveling in India. A jewel thief uses them to smuggle the Bloodstone, the biggest ruby in the world, past an irritating and comic police inspector, and so Sandy and Stephanie get involved into businesses of dangerous criminals.

Rajinikanth plays a crazy taxi driver who eventually becomes the second hero character, and he absolutely steals the show from his supporting role. There are some really awesome dialogue, a nice knife trick, and of course his traditional cigarette trick. I’ve read that the shooting of the film was challenging because the foreign director wasn’t aware of Rajinikanth’s popularity and there were huge crowds of fans everywhere when they tried to shoot his scenes.

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I recently watched Disco Dancer and didn’t recall why one of the villain’s henchmen looked so familiar, but he was of course Bob Christo who has a similar role also in Bloodstone. He is convincing in that kind of roles but the other supporting actors aren’t very memorable.

I was quite surprised to learn that a Rajini film has had an official VHS release in Finland in 1988 (Bloodstone – rubiinin kirous, “The Curse of the Ruby”), so I of course had to find and get it too. I re-typed its subtitles into my subtitling software (and made some minor corrections and improvements), and now I’m able to enjoy the better-quality DVD version of Rajinikanth with almost official Finnish subtitles!

Another funny thing that I noticed is that there also exists a Hindi-dubbed version that has some remarkably awful censorship. For example, there is a burglary scene with some sex voices coming from the adjacent bathroom. They have tried to hide the moans with very loudly splashing water, but the original audio track is still clearly audible and the result is just a horrible mess.

DVDs with the original English audio are available on Amazon and sometimes on eBay with American and Australian region codes. I got the American one and I didn’t have any problems playing it with my European laptop using VLC media player. I recommend getting the digitally re-mastered 2003 version rather than the original as it looks a lot better.

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Final verdict: Bloodstone is a mandatory watch for Rajinikanth fans. The story isn’t that original but Rajinikanth’s amazing performance makes it fun to watch. The other main role actors aren’t that unforgettable. The end credits song is too catchy!

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Thanks to Review Raja, today I discovered a very interesting upcoming Tamil movie, Puli, which I somehow hadn’t heard about before. The main role is played by Vijay who I really don’t know as well as I should, but the supporting cast includes some very big names (at least big for me, if not officially big names), like Sridevi, Sudeep (!), Prabhu, Shruti Haasan, and Hansika Motwani. The teaser trailer released just today.

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Ragada is a 2010 Telugu film directed by Veeru Potla. It stars “King” Nagarjuna in the hero role, and the movie indeed repeatedly reminds the audience about who the king is. I actually started to watch the movie a couple of years ago but had to pause after 30 minutes and never remembered to continue. The plot has so many twists and turns that it would be hopeless to explain it all here, but basically it’s about the hero who likes money and doesn’t like the rich bad mafia guys who are threatening his mother and sister.

Previously I had seen two Veeru Potla’s films, Varsham (2004) and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005), which are both nice but in my opinion just around average level movies. Perhaps expectedly, so is Ragada. I haven’t seen too many of King Nagarjuna’s films but I’ve seen him quite a lot in Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, the Telugu version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Which is very helpful in learning Telugu as the questions are shown in both Telugu and English. Also, many questions and special guests are related to Telugu cinema.) Ragada isn’t as good as some other Nagarjuna’s films, like Manam. But Nagarjuna still manages to show that he’s the King, at least in Ragada’s universe. I don’t really think he’s doing anything that other Tollywood heroes wouldn’t be capable to do.

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The female lead roles are played by Anushka Shetty and Priyamani, “bullet” and “chocolate”. Both of them have important roles in the story but are unfortunately forgotten a little before the end of the film. Ragada also nicely counts towards my goal to watch all movies by Anushka. I see her as one of the strongest of the current Tollywood heroines as she somehow has managed to successfully act in main role multiple times without a male hero in such a male-centric film industry. I believe I’ve now seen 9 of 36, or 25%.

Pradeep Rawat is the typical Tollywood villain. He shouts much and kicks furniture around. He does exactly what is expected and required from a Tollywood villain. One of the minor villains is played by Dev Gill and he’s of course good at it. He actually was my main reason to watch Ragada when I first tried to watch it some years ago, as I had seen him in Magadheera and he has acted in surprisingly small number of movies.

There are present also some of the compulsory but entertaining Tollywood things, such as Naga Chaitanya’s (Nagarjuna’s son) Ye Maaya Chesave movie poster at the background and a street fight that gathers a huge audience and when the baddies eventually run away, the spectators just leave the scene silently precisely at the same time.

Brahmanandam’s comedy is above his average, or at least easier to understand through subtitles than his usually dialogue-heavy jokes. His introduction scene is one of the funniest I’ve seen from him so far. I don’t think the character is too important for the storyline but he has a lot of screentime as his main purpose is flirting with Anushka.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiNgEBTkuCY

The clip above doesn’t have subtitles but the dialogue at the end goes like: “You’ll be out tomorrow, unnecessarily tried to escape today.” – “Tomorrow? I didn’t know that.” – “Don’t tell anyone about this, may get suspended for getting scared of a soap.” – “You must do one thing to keep that secret. Get me a new bar of soap, I need to take a bath.”

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Story 2½
Star Power 3½
Songs 2
Fights 2½
Comedy 3½
Overall 3
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Mithran Jawahar’s Kutty (also spelled as Kutti) (2010) is the Tamil remake of Sukumar’s Arya (Telugu, 2004). It stars Dhanush, Shriya Saran, and Sameer Dattani in the main roles.

Kutty turned out to be not as good as the wonderful original version. It is almost a scene-by-scene remake but the original Arya’s charm is missing. Dhanush has a very limited range of facial expressions compared to Allu Arjun and some of the jokes aren’t performed as well as in the original. (The remaking is still done much better than in the Bengali remake of Magadheera.)

Devi Sri Prasad, the music director of Arya, composed the music also for the remake. While some songs are familiar from the original Arya, some other great songs are replaced with new and not-so-great songs. “You Rock My World” has been entirely cut off.

Overall, Kutty might be an OK movie but it’s not possible to not to compare it to the original Arya and it just doesn’t have anything new to offer. I would recommend this only if you like the actors or are a curious Arya fan. Otherwise it would probably be better to watch Arya instead.

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