Directed by Kuvera Sivalingam and Nelson Sivalingham Starring Hannah Farmer and Ramesh Vethanayagam Indie Film Review by Phil Slatter
The Rajini Effect is a rather unique blend of indie documentary mixed with a quirky, slight comedy all wrapped up amidst themes of childhood dreams catching up with the reality of adulthood. For the most part, the movie from filmmakers Kuvera Sivalingham and Nelson Sivalingham, works well.
The Rajini of the title refers to Rajinikanth, a Tamil film star whose appeal spreads far and wide. We learn much of the effect of his work through real-life talking head interviews while simultaneously following the fictional exploits of two hapless filmmakers (Jonathan Truong and Ramesh Vethanayagam). They have dreams of making the next big Tamil film and set about making their masterpiece for an upcoming competition. Love and life soon get in the way though.
The script by Kuvera and Nelson Sivalingham (who also direct) may follow a familiar path in some respects but they have a clear affection for the inspiration behind their source material. The film is littered with some excellent comic beats, with Vethanayagam getting many of the best comic moments and stealing every scene he is in. Sadly on occasion some of the acting falls flat and this tends to coincide with the occasional drop into stilted dialogue. As things reach the conclusion an additional sub-plot also felt like an unnecessary addition.
However, there is an awful lot to both admire and enjoy here. Elements of the script touch on recession era Britain and the casual racism that is still a part of life in the UK. The excellent score punctuates some of the more poignant moments well and the theme of staying true to your dreams as life unfolds may not be overtly original, but remains relevant and true all making for a well-meaning and largely enjoyable film.