Movie Rated

It's January 15, 1995, and Pongal has just gotten more special a festival for Rajinikanth fans with the release of Baasha. The protagonist in the series, Raja, a postman, doesn't even mind skipping his job for a day to catch four consecutive shows of the movie with all the euphoria and hullabaloo at the theatres. He even names his daughter Rajini showcasing his love for the star. Destiny, however, has other ideas as Raja suffers a severe head injury in an accident leading to his home in the night of the film's release day, only to slip into coma soon.

23 years later, the scene shifts to Rajinikanth's official announcement of his political entry that miraculously awakens Raja as he says 'Thailavaa' opening up to the sight of his daughter being a grown-up woman. The director Prashanth Gunasekaran couldn't have thought of a more cinematic ode to all die-hard fans of Rajini in a series. The innate poetry of a Rajini fan slipping into coma on the day of a Rajinikanth film release and waking up to his political entry two and a half decades later is enough to create a sense of intrigue in a series replete with many Rajnisms. But the director doesn't dwell on the premise's comic potential enough.

Raja, as a patient, save for the shock he experiences at the absence of letter-writing habit among crowds of today, doesn't look wee-bit surprised to see the way the world functions after two decades. He doesn't experience any struggle for the transition to today's age and it's as if he's only woken up after a siesta. The narrative begins to feel borderline silly when Raja and his daughter decide to deliver letters to the very recipients that he couldn't manage to, 23 years ago on the day of the accident. Every letter has a backstory to it and several characters are shown to be bearing the brunt of not receiving the letter on time. One of the letters is shared between teenage lovers, one is a suicide note from a son to his mother, the other is an insurance copy, in addition, to a note where a child narrates a chilling account of experiencing sexual abuse from a medico.

In between all these, the director throws in a number of Rajini dialogues and references sans purpose; the 'oru dadava sonna nooru dadadva sonna madhiri' is a must of course, while a patient having a multi-personality disorder is referred to as the 'Chandramukhi' problem. These ideas don't create any magic whatsoever and the banal humour with Raja's mannerisms dilute the intensity generated by the stories in context with the letters. Even the seriousness in the subplot about child abuse doesn't register well. To make matters worse, the thread pertaining to the long-lost lovers, their separation and college reunion is heavily inspired by Vijay Sethupathi's 96 in terms of the staging. The basis behind most of these subplots is very weak and they are too hurriedly staged to make any emotional impact.

The first five episodes of Postman may not be a lazy attempt at writing but are a big giant bore. Even a manageable 114-minute running time feels like an arduous yawn fest. The father and the daughter don't even discuss Rajini's transformation and films across 23 years, their mere exchange of a few Rajini references are only for face value and don't add up to anything significant. Actor Munishkanth is just about okay as a postman, while Keerthi Pandian as his daughter in a role named after Rajini is like a damsel in distress sans a mind of her own. She hardly has any personality to her role and her on-screen appearance feels like a picnic that she really didn't want to be a part of. The director Prashanth's inability to blend heartfelt humour and emotion affects the series. The Tamil digital content creators need to go a long way in understanding the digital space. This is hardly the foundation that the series needs prior to its final episodes-launch on July 4.

Rating: 2/5

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