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Petta (transl. Hood) is a 2019 Indian Tamil-language action drama film[5] written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj. The film was produced by Kalanithi Maran under the banner Sun Pictures. The film stars Rajinikanth in the title role along an ensemble cast including Vijay Sethupathi, Simran, Trisha, Sasikumar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bobby Simha, Sananth, Megha Akash, and Malavika Mohanan. The music was composed by Anirudh Ravichander with editing done by Vivek Harshan and cinematography by Tirru. The film was released on 10 January 2019.

Petta poster.jpg
Directed byKarthik Subbaraj
Produced byKalanithi Maran[1]
Written byKarthik Subbaraj
Vijay Sethupathi
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Bobby Simha
Megha Akash
Malavika Mohanan
Music byAnirudh Ravichander
Edited byVivek Harshan
Distributed bySun Pictures
Release date
  • 10 January 2019 (2019-01-10)
Running time
172 minutes[2][3]
Box officeest. 250 crore[4]


Kaali, an elderly man, takes up the job of a boys hostel warden at a college in Ooty. He notices that the hostel is dominated by a group of unruly final-year students, which are led by Michael, the spoiled son of a local leader named Gnanam. Kaali puts a stop to Michael's antics, which leads to enmity between the two. Kaali also forms a close bond with a NRI hostelite named Anwar , who is in a relationship with Anu, the daughter of Mangalam, a pranic healer. Kaali convinces Mangalam to accept her daughter's relationship with Anwar, and they end up falling in love.

Michael, who lusts for Anu, is angered on hearing of her relationship with Anwar. He attempts to harass them, only to be stopped by Kaali, who ensures the suspension of Michael and his friends, with Anwar recording and sharing the humiliation of Michael and his gang. This video is noticed far away in Uttar Pradesh by a local goon named Jithu, the son of a powerful politician called Singaaram alias Singaar Singh. Singaar, on seeing Anwar in the video as well as in a photo with his mother on Facebook, sends his men to Ooty to kill Anwar, for unknown reasons. At the same time, Michael, humiliated at his suspension, sends his men to beat up (but not kill) Kaali. Michael's plan backfires as he and his men are caught in the fight between Kaali and Singaar's men. Kaali subdues Singaar's men, following which Anwar learns about his past.

Anwar is the son of Maalik, who was Kaali's best friend. It is also revealed that Kaali's real name is Petta Velan alias Petta and that he was a well-respected man in his village in Madurai district. Twenty years ago, Maalik was in love with Poongodi, who was impregnated by him out of wedlock. When Petta heard of this, he and his wife Saraswathy alias Saro managed to convince Poongodi's father Rajapandi to get Poongodi married to Maalik, even though Rajapandi and Petta were sworn enemies. Unfortunately, Rajapandi's two sons, Devaaram and Singaar, vehemently opposed the alliance as well as the transfer of property to Poongodi. They then killed their father. Petta, on hearing about Rajapandi's murder, killed Devaaram during Rajapandi's funeral and chased Singaar out of the village. Singaar then orchestrates a bomb blast during Poongodi's seemantham, killing Maalik, Saro, and Petta and Saro's son Chinna as revenge for killing Devaaram. Petta finds out that Poongodi was still alive and took her to safety. Poongodi gave birth to a boy, who is revealed to be Anwar, and both of them left for Australia as refugees to escape from Singaar. On hearing this story, Petta and Anwar, along with Michael's henchmen (Michael and Petta having settled their differences), leave for Uttar Pradesh to finish off Singaar to prevent further damage.

In Uttar Pradesh, Petta and Anwar confront with Jithu, who is determined to kill them both after he learned that his father and Petta are enemies. They manage to escape from him. Later, Petta meets Jithu privately and tells him that he is none other than his son Chinna, who did not die in the bomb blast, but was adopted by Singaar after finding out that he was still alive. When Jithu confronts Singaar regarding his parentage, the latter sends his men to kill Jithu, who is rescued by Petta. Along with Anwar and Michael's henchmen, Petta and Jithu then barge into Singaar's mansion and kill him and his henchmen.

Following Singaar's death, Petta has a surprise in store for Jithu. He tells him the tale of Rama and how he defeated Vali, who had the ability to steal half the power of his opponents when they stood before him. Petta tells him that he did the same to Singaar by stealing half of his power, which was Jithu. Petta tells the truth that he double-crossed Jithu and he is not his son. He further adds that the real Chinna had died in the bomb blast 20 years ago and that the men sent to kill Jithu were his own and not Singaar's. Petta thinks about killing or sparing Jithu. He dances for a while to the song Raman Aandalum from Mullum Malarum and then points the gun at Jithu. The screen goes black and a gunshot is heard implying Petta killed Jithu.




In early February 2018, after completing his filming commitments for Pa. Ranjith's Kaala (2018), Rajinikanth held final discussions with a group of young directors, including Arun Prabu Purushothaman, Atlee and Karthik Subbaraj for his next project.[13] On 23 February 2018, production house Sun Pictures announced that they would produce a film starring Rajinikanth to be directed by Karthik Subbaraj. To accommodate the film's shoot throughout the course of 2018, the director postponed the pre-production work of another proposed film starring Dhanush for Y NOT Studios.[14][15] Subbaraj revealed that he was confident about approaching Rajinikanth to work on his film, after the actor was impressed with his earlier project, Jigarthanda (2014) and expressed a desire to collaborate. The pair had first discussed the script in early 2017, but Rajinikanth did not take a final call until finishing his existing filming commitments to Kaala and 2.0 (2018).[16] Talking about the project, Subbaraj initially revealed that the film would be an "action drama" which was "fictional" but "realistic".[17][5]

Anirudh Ravichander was signed on to work as the film's music composer in early March 2018, in a move which saw him collaborate with his maternal uncle Rajinikanth, and Subbaraj, for the first time.[18][19] Tirru and Vivek Harshan were selected to be the film's cinematographer and editor respectively, continuing their collaboration with Subbaraj following their work in Mercury (2018).[20] Likewise, stunt choreographer Peter Hein also joined the team thereafter.[21] In late May 2018, Subbaraj and Tirru went on a recce to scout locations in Nepal and North India to shoot the film.[22] The film's title Petta was revealed on 7 September 2018.[1]


Vijay Sethupathi was signed on to play a character in April 2018, and accordingly reworked his dates to fit the film into his busy schedule.[23][24] The actor signed the film after a month of media speculation that he would portray a villainous role, and revealed that he signed the film as he had blind trust in Subbaraj, and initially did not request to listen to the script.[25] Subbaraj had also been keen to sign Fahadh Faasil for a role in the film, but the actor's filming commitments for Varathan (2018) meant that he could not allot dates.[26] Hindi film actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui joined the cast in July 2018, while two other regular collaborators of Subbaraj, actors Bobby Simha and Sananth, were also signed to play pivotal roles in the film.[27] Other members of the cast included supporting actors Guru Somasundaram,[28] Ramdoss,[29] Shabeer Kallarakkal,[30] Deepak Paramesh,[31] Adithya Shivpink,[32] and Manikandan R. Achari.[33]

For leading female roles, the team held discussions throughout March 2018 with actresses Trisha, Deepika Padukone, and Anjali, but neither were signed immediately.[34][35][36] In July 2018, the producers announced that Simran had joined the cast to play as pair of Rajinikanth.[37] Trisha was eventually added to the cast in August 2018,[38] while Malavika Mohanan was also signed to appear alongside Rajinikanth.[39][40] Megha Akash was cast as Sananth's pair, and joined the shoot before the release of any of her initial Tamil films, Boomerang, Enai Noki Paayum Thota and Oru Pakka Kathai.[41] In October, M. Sasikumar and J. Mahendran joined the cast.[42][43]


Principal photography began in June 2018. The first schedule of the shoot began on 7 June at Eastern Forest Rangers College at St. Mary’s Hill, Kurseong in Darjeeling, with the initial portions lasting nine days. The team then shot in other location across Darjeeling and the hill towns for a further month, in locations including St. Paul’s and Mount Hermon School.[44][45] To finish the first schedule, the team returned to Kurseong for six days. An audition to cast 150 local actors was also held in Charbagh, Lucknow during the first schedule.[46] During the making of the schedule, Rajinikanth met with politician Gautam Deb, who helped the makers have a hassle free shoot in exchange for the promotion of tourism in the area.[47] Principal photography wrapped in October 2018, fifteen days ahead of schedule.[48]


The soundtrack album and background score is composed by Anirudh Ravichander, marking his first collaboration with Rajinikanth and Karthik Subbaraj. The lyrics were penned by Vivek, Ku. Karthik, Dhanush and Karthik Subbaraj. The audio launch took place on 9 December 2018, at Sai Leo Muthu Auditorium, Sri Sai Ram Engineering College, Chennai. The album consists of all eleven songs, which 5 of them are theme songs. The first single track, "Marana Mass" was released on 3 December 2018, followed by "Ullallaa" which released on 7 December 2018. The full album was made available for digital download on 9 December 2018, under the Sony Music record label, which had acquired the audio rights of the film. On February 2019, the album crossed 250 million streams on all platforms.


Marketing and releaseEdit

The first look of the film was released on 7 September 2018, following with the motion poster released on YouTube. The next day, a blow-up poster for the film, was made available on the Dinakaran Tamil Daily. The second look poster was released on 4 October 2018, which features Rajinikanth in a veshti-clad look. Another poster, which features Rajinikanth and Simran was released on 14 November 2018. The teaser of the film was released on 12 December 2018, coinciding with Rajinikanth's birthday. The teaser gained 5 million views within six hours of its release. The trailer was released on 28 December 2018, and gained 25 million views.[49] Petta was released on 10 January 2019, coinciding with the occasion of Thai Pongal festival.[50]

Critical receptionEdit

The film received positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film rated 67% with an average of 15 reviews.[51]

M. Suganth from The Times of India, rated 3.5 out of 5, stating that "Petta is less of a Karthik Subbaraj film, but it gives Rajini fans their Thalaivar in a way that they have been dying to see him, celebrating the Rajinisms."[52] Filmibeat rated the film 3.5 out of 5, stating "Petta is definitely a film that stays loyal to its genre and it keeps the audiences entertained despite some of the dragging moments in the second half. It is indeed a treat for all Rajinikanth fans as the superstar steals the show in a way that only he can."[53] Srinivasa Ramanujam of The Hindu stated that "Despite quite a few underwritten characters, Petta triumphs by bringing back the Superstar of yore!"[54] NDTV rated the film 2.5 out of 5, and summarised that "Rajinikanth returns to the basics with aplomb. Just go and watch it for the Rajinikanth that you missed in his last few releases."[55] Indiaglitz rated the film 3.75 out of 5, stating that "Go for this kickass true blue Thalaivar movie in which Karthik Subbaraj Rajinifies you."[56] Sify rated the film 3 out of 5.[57] India Today rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, and summarised that "Petta is a classic Rajinikanth film that his fans should not miss".[58] Anusha Iyengar from the Times Now rated 3.5 out of 5, with a verdict "Petta is a complete mass entertainer with twists and turns that will make you howl in the theatres like you would in a Thalaiva film. It is relevant to the current day and age; it’s a film that all Rajinikanth fans will definitely enjoy!"[59] Baradwaj Rangan, rated the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, stating "Jigarthanda and Iraivi were sprawling stories but there was a sense of a gradual buildup, the sense of the narrative noose being slowly tightened. But Petta looks rushed and even the Karthik Subbaraj flourishes come off like affectations"[60] Behindwoods rated the film 3 out of 5, stating that "Style! Mass! Style! Petta is a celebration of Superstar Rajinikanth. Go enjoy it."[61]

In contrast, The Indian Express rated 2 out of 5 stars, reviewing that "Karthik Subbaraj has a sense of style, which breaks through only occasionally in Petta. For that Rajini Sarr will have to submit a little more to the script, and a last little twist in the long drawn-out climax holds out hope."[62] Gauthaman Baskaran, from News18 rated 1 out of 5 stating that, "Petta turns out be yet another outing for Rajinikanth who relies on gimmicks rather than solid performance."[63]

Box officeEdit

Petta was released on 600 screens in Tamil Nadu with tough competition from Viswasam. The film grossed ₹1.12 crore at the Chennai box office. The film also grossed $133K at the USA, overtaking Viswasam which grossed $18K.[64] On its opening day, the film grossed ₹366 million worldwide, with a share of ₹190 million worldwide. The film collected ₹105 crore, in 3 days and grosed more than ₹138 crore in the opening weekend.[65] The film collected ₹200 crore within 23 days.[66]


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External linksEdit