Baba (2002 film)
Baba is a 2002 Indian Tamil-language supernatural action film written and produced by Rajinikanth under his banner Lotus International and directed by Suresh Krissna and cinematography by Chota K. Naidu. With Rajinikanth in the lead role, the film's cast included Manisha Koirala, Sujatha, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vijayakumar, Nambiar, and Sayaji Shinde. The soundtrack and background music were composed by A.R. Rahman. Baba performed poorly at the box office.
|Directed by||Suresh Krissna|
|Written by||Gopu-Babu |
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Cinematography||Chota K. Naidu|
|Edited by||V. T. Vijayan|
|Distributed by||Lotus International|
The film's story is about a carefree young atheist, Baba, who is a reincarnation of a great saint from the Himalayas. After several twists and problems caused by corrupt local politicians, Baba is taken to Mahavatar Babaji, whom Baba was a follower of in his last life. Baba gets tested by the deity and is given seven chances of wishes; the test is that if he uses any one of the wishes for his own personal desires, he would have to take many more births for him to get rid of the Karma.
The film opens with the birth of Baba (Rajinikanth), who is a 'baba amsa Kumar sambhootudu'. Baba grows up as an atheist and hot-blooded man, but he is a Good Samaritan. His lifestyle includes consuming alcohol, smoking substances, and chewing tobacco. His mother (Sujatha) and maternal uncle (M. N. Nambiar) are ardent devotees of Mahavatar Babaji (the Mahavatar Baba who is supposed to be 2000 years old and who lives in the Himalayas). Chamundeswari (Manisha Koirala) stays in the neighbourhood of Baba's residence who often quarrels with Baba but eventually falls in love with his style and falls for his attitude.
Baba involves in a physical feud with the son (Riyaz Khan) of the state Deputy chief minister Ippo Ramaswamy (Ashish Vidyarthi). Ramasamy is the current leader of a party in the ruling coalition. (Even though he has only 30 seats, he feels irritating to be inferior to CM) Ramaswamy demolishes Baba's colony. When Baba is about to go into a fight with Ramaswamy, Baba's mother urges him to maintain calm and rebuild the lost colony it by working hard. Baba joins as a labour in a shop and earns money. Chamundeswari tells Baba that she is not willing to marry a daily labourer. Then Baba realizes that so far he has been only answerable for his mother. And if he gets married, then he has to live for wife and kids and would become answerable to them. He would not be able to help the society as he might become selfish after marriage. He feels that prema (love) is maya (illusion) and immediately breaks up with her.
At that time, a weird looking sadhu named Divyananda Bharathi (Sayaji Shinde), comes to him and tell him that it is time for getting enlightened. Baba is taken to the Himalayas where he meets the great Mahavatar Babaji. He gets frightened by the atmosphere and wishes to return to Chennai. Mahavatar Babaji grants seven wishes to Baba. He can use any of these wishes anytime he wishes to utilize. Baba is sent back to Chennai but still could not believe that he went to the Himalayas met Mahavatar Babaji. He uses that mantra to test the power by wishing a flying kite to come and fall in his hand. He waits for a few seconds and decides that it was all his illusion. Later the kite follows him to his house and falls on his hand. He feels that it is coincidental and tries the mantra again to a different kite and wishes it to fall on his lap. He goes into his house and closes all the possible entries into the house. But the kite makes its way and falls on his lap. Meanwhile, Chamundeshwari tells her side of the story and reveals that she was forced to disagree to marry Baba after being threatened by her mother that her family would burn themselves alive if she were to marry Baba. Throughout the rest of the movie, she keeps waiting for Baba and for a chance to reunite with him.
Baba's third wish is to make a popular woman, Neelambari (Ramya Krishnan), ask him what the time is. His fourth wish is to get lakhs of money. He makes his fifth wish (to develop his locality's infrastructure) to test his uncle's words. It is only after this wish comes true that he realizes the existence of God. In the meantime, Ramaswamy comes to know about it. He and another corrupt politician call a Magician (also Guruji) (Amrish Puri), to foil Baba's magical powers. The sixth wish is used to revive a newlywed Japanese neighbour fighting for his life.
Purushottaman (Bharatimani), Ramaswamy's boss and the current CM of Tamil Nadu, wants to become the permanent CM of the state using Baba's boons. He also tries to kill Baba, but this attempt fails due to Babaji's blessings. Then comes the state general election. Baba's associates Annamalai (Goundamani), Perusu (Delhi Ganesh), Samundi (Karunas), Kathirika (Crane Manohar) urged him to use the final wish to become the permanent CM himself as the state would be great under him. But Baba uses the last wish to Kanthan, an old honest party member of Ramasamy (who had always been sidelined) to become next CM with a single greater majority. Then, by the wish, Ramasamy's paralysed father (the first leader of the party) wants to prove that the older generation is better as his son is reckless. He gives his party command to Kanthan, telling him to ask for 120 seats (assembly majority is 118) in the current coalition and obviously break the coalition. Ramasamy then attacks Kanthan and is dismissed from the party. The elections come, and Kanthan becomes CM. Guruji asks Ramaswamy and Purushottaman to bring the chain in Baba's neck and his backbone. Their attempt gets foiled, ending with getting thrashed by Baba. When Baba is about to kill them Divyananda Bharathi stops him. But, in the fight Baba's mother gets severely wounded. She advises Baba to leave the place and ascend in himalayas and dies. Once wishes are used up, Baba has the choice of living with Babaji at the Himalayas or returning to his life in the material world. But when Baba is just about to ascend to the Himalayas, the villains kill the loyal CM. Baba turns back and the film ends with the tag "To be continued....".
- Rajinikanth as Baba and Mahavatar Babaji (voice only)
- Manisha Koirala as Chamundeeswari
- Sujatha as Baba's mother
- Ashish Vidhyarthi as Ippo Ramaswamy, deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu
- M. N. Nambiar as Baba's maternal uncle
- Vijayakumar as Chamundeeswari's father
- Sayaji Shinde as Divyananda Bharathi
- Bharat Dabholkar as Chief Minister Purushothaman
- Kitty as Bhai
- Goundamani as Annamalai
- Delhi Ganesh as Perusu
- Crane Manohar as Kathirika
- Karunas as Samundi
- Riyaz Khan as Ramaswamy's son
- N. Viswanathan as Baba's father
- Seema as Jagadeeshwari, Chamundeeswari's mother
- Santhoshi as Rajeshwari, sister
- Vaishnavi as Bhuwaneshwari, Chamundeeswari's sister
- Sanghavi as Lakshmi
- Deepa Venkat as Chamundeeswari's friend
- Vasu Vikram
- Amrish Puri as Tantrik
- Special appearances in alphabetical order
This high-budget production was sold at a record price of ₹17 crore to distributors but the film yielded a share of ₹13 crore worldwide. So, Rajinikanth volunteered to return almost 25% of the investment. In Coimbatore distribution territory, Baba was sold for ₹1.5 crore. This record remained unbroken till Chandramukhi another Rajnikanth film.
The film was praised for its technical and production values, as well as the performances of the cast, while there was criticism towards the lack of narrative focus in the first half, leading to the film's excessive length and uneven pace. It also left some Rajinikanth fans polarized, with many speculating that the film could be a political campaign of sorts for himself, while others confused about the message this film was intending to convey.
The film was received with comments such as "the bloom was off the rose" and that "the gold does not glitter any more". Pattali Makkal Katchi leader S. Ramadoss condemned him for smoking and posing with beedis in the film. He was criticised for spoiling Tamil youth by glorifying smoking and drinking. PMK volunteers attacked theatres which screened the film Baba and usurped film rolls and burnt it. Amidst controversies and negative criticism, Rajinikanth kept himself away from acting. Despite this, a few novice directors approached him with scripts, all of which he rejected.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The soundtrack consists of 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman. The songs were recorded in 2002 June. Rahman had to record them online as he was in London with the works of Bombay Dreams. The soundtrack album was released on July 2002 in Chennai. According to Rahman, he has tried innovations with Baba, giving more than the jingoistic music that is a characteristic part of a Rajini film. Some of the songs were filmed from Europe.
In the intro and background fade-outs in Ekam Eva Adhvitheyam, the theme of Baba, Rahman replicated Al Capone theme from the movie The Untouchables originally composed by the Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
A controversy regarding the soundtrack originated when lyricist Vairamuthu expressed dissatisfaction over the online recording. Rahman defended this saying, "Busy as I was with Bombay Dreams, it was simply impossible for me to be in Chennai. Sometimes it is inevitable, in a situation like this, where the reputation and money of somebody else is at stake." Rahman also faced criticisms from the film fraternity for not recording the songs in time. Another controversy was that Dravida Kazhagam objected to the lyrics of a song that had to be partially deleted from the film later. They have taken objection to what they have called unfair commentary on Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Ramaswami's ideology.
|1||"Baba Theme" ("Ekam Eva Adhvitheyam")||Srinivas||Vaali|
|2||"Dippu Dippu"||Shankar Mahadevan||Vairamuthu|
|3||"Kichchu Tha"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Reena Bhardwaj, Rajinikanth (voice-over)||Vairamuthu|
|4||"Maya Maya"||Karthik, Sujatha Mohan||Vaali|
|5||"Rajyama Illai Emaiyama - 1"||P. Jayachandran||Vaali|
|6||"Rajyama Illai Emaiyama - 2"||P. Jayachandran||Vaali|
|1||"Baba Theme Music"||Srinivas||Shiva Ganesh|
|2||"Dippu Dippu"||Shankar Mahadevan|
|3||"Baba Neeku Mokkutha"||S. P. Balu, Sadhana Sargam|
|4||"Maya Maya"||Udit Narayan, Sujatha Mohan|
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Songs were filmed in picturesque locations in Europe.
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