Chennai: Director KS Ravikumar, whose film Lingaa with Superstar Rajinikanth has opened to mixed reviews, seems unflustered despite receiving flak from some quarters. “Lingaa’s main story revolves around Lingeswaran’s character. This film is not the story of engineer John Pennycuick, but inspired by him. However, if we had confined to narrating only this story, the commercial content of the film would have come down. Being a commercial director and having the responsibility of delivering a commercial Rajini film, I had to add the other character and the climax. But the main plot lies between these two and it is being appreciated by 99 per cent of the audience. Even the remaining one per cent does not say the film is bad, they say it is OK,” begins Ravikumar.
Draw his attention to the observations of some critics, who are not too pleased with the climax of the film, and he says, “The climax was shot keeping in mind ardent Rajini fans. It was shot for them. If you observe, the actual story ends when the thief, after listening to his grandad’s story, gets ready to leave the place. After that, we wanted to do something different for the fans. We were considering several options when one of the discussion assistants suggested that we try out the balloon sequence, saying it had appeared earlier in a Jackie Chan movie. So, inspired by the sequence in the Armour Of God, we decided to shoot our climax. There are a considerable number of people, including a large number of children, who enjoyed this climax. However, it might not appeal to some others. To such people, all I wish to say is, in your mind, consider the part where the character of the thief prepares to leave the place as the end.”
One other flaw that critics point out in the film is that Rajini’s character is shown reading the book, The hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell, in the year 1939. However, the book was only published in 1949. Ask him for his response to this criticism, and Ravikumar says, “I too learnt of this. But this is something that has happened despite my best efforts. I generally assign responsibilities to different departments. As this was a period film, we had a unit to decide the costumes, vehicles and properties that must be part of that period. During the discussion, I told my team we are introducing another hero and I suggested that they research and find a book with the word ‘hero’ on the cover as this would delight the audience. My team searched for such books and it was at this time, that Sabu Cyril brought this book. Later, my assistants realized that this book is not of the said period and drew the attention of Sabu’s assistants to this.”
“After the movie released, when I got to know of this faux pas, I asked my team why they had not drawn my attention to this fact before. They said as Sabu sir’s book had met all other parameters and as I had already readied the shot, they thought if they pointed out this problem at that time, I wouldn’t have been able to shoot the sequence until they found another suitable book in Hyderabad. So, they let it go. However, I admit that this is a mistake. Although, it was committed by my department, I take responsibility for it. I would have changed the book had I known. Even if they had drawn my attention to this issue at least at the CG stage, I would have done something about it.”
“In a film, one might have 450 good CG shots and just four or five bad shots, but then, people will still not talk about the good work that has been done. They will only pick on the faults. That is human nature. Not just you, I too am like that. When I too watch a film, only the faults strike me. But then, I don’t talk about the people concerned with those mistakes in public, but ask them in private as we technicians are friends. Therefore, I do not blame you for finding such flaws. In fact, I will go to the core and ensure that there are no such mistakes in my future films,” he signs off.