Film: 'Kuselan'; Cast: Rajnikant, Pasupati, Meena, Nayantara, R. Sundararajan, Vadivelu, Livingston and others; Director: P. Vasu; Music: G.V. Prakash; Rating: ***
'Kuselan' (Pauper) is all about an impoverished barber Balu (Pasupati) yearning to meet his childhood mate Ashok Kumar (Rajnikant) who has gone up in life and become a superstar.
The climactic union of the hero and his understudy actually proves to be an anticlimax of sorts as the movie abruptly ends after a few frames featuring Pasupati and Rajnikant.
The thespian matinee idol looks much younger under a nice wig, sunglasses and a large wardrobe of costumes that do him justice.
But for the name, Rajnikant is playing himself and offers plausible explanations for his earlier political statements and ambitions.
Director P. Vasu has improvised from the Malayalam original "Katha Parayumbol" to suit Rajnikant's mass appeal.
Pasupathi and Meena play their roles to perfection. In more ways than one Pasupati has broken his existing villain image with a scintillating performance.
The 'comedy' of Vadivelu and Livingston is pathetic and Nayantara doesn't impress either.
G.V. Prakash's tunes are forgettable.
Vasu has worked on the script and seems to have extracted adequate sweat from his stars. But the obvious plagiarism of the idea from 'Remember The Time' -- the music video featuring Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy -- was stretching things too far since Rajnikant virtually has zilch knowledge in dancing.
If it was an attempt to project the thespian and Nayantara, it failed miserably.
While family audiences will love the film for its offbeat theme, Rajnikant's fans have little to cheer in 'Kuselan'.
The hero of the movie is a barber who has mauled Rajnikant badly. We can only hope the family audiences will see it enough to make a 'close shave'.