KABALI (2016)



Casts: Rajinikanth, Dinesh, Radhika Apte, Winston Chao, Dhansika, Kalaiyarasan, Rythvika
Music: Santosh Narayanan
Language: Tamil
Genre: Action Drama
From the day of announcement of Rajini-Ranjith combo, the entire Indian cinema has been waiting for the day that ‘Kabali’ will come to light. With Rajini seeking a different route in his career, ‘Kabali’ marked a special attention among all. After setting a humungous pre-release sales, this film has also opened with massive expectations worldwide. Will ‘Kabali’ surpass those expectations?

Synopsis
After 25 years, an ageing gang leader in Malaysia, Kabali (Rajinikanth) gets released and decides to take revenge on his rival gang led by Tony Lee (Winston Chao) who has kept his family in captivity.

New age director, Ranjith who has given us realistic and raw films like Attakathi and Madras, shows no compromise in content if when he is directing the most celebrated man in Indian cinema. From the start till the end, ‘Kabali’ is out and out a director’s films. The film stays focus in it crux that is Kabali’s search for his family. Even though the film had lots of scope to make it a blood-filled revenge drama, Ranjith has focused more on Kabali’s emotional outcry.

The well-researched content about the gang politics and struggles in Malaysia looks very different and due to this content, ‘Kabali’ feels more internationally viable. The fresh perspective is noteworthy. Malaysian audience might feel more relatable to it while others will find something new to take away. Though the film has an emotional spine, the scenes are treated subtly without unnecessary melodrama. Pa.Ranjith also excels once again in the dialogue department. Look out for the climax monologue of Rajini!

However, Ranjith’s emotional path plan backfires at times due to the slow pace. After 20 minutes into the film, the screenplay starts to lag only to finish off with stellar pre-interval scene. The second half also has scenes that will test your patience. Breaking away from the routine punch dialogues, masala moments, songs and exotic fight scenes, ‘Kabali’ will be a milestone in Rajini’s career.

The Super Star we admired in films like ‘Aarilirunthu Arubathuvarai’, ‘Mullum Malarum’, ‘Thalapathy’, is back again with a stellar performance in ‘Kabali’. With such underplayed performance, Rajini gives just what is needed for the character and the story. Even during the opening song, he shakes his leg like how a 65 year old would for just few seconds. With controlled expressions, there are many scenes in the film that will reassure why he is the most celebrated man in Indian Cinema.

Radhika Apte as Kumudhavalli stands tall with her brilliant control over the character. The scene where she burst out in tears in a long take will make you understand why Ranjith chose her for such a pivotal role. Dhansika as Yogi (who has been titled as Lady Kabali in social media memes), jumps, fights and emotes very well. The hard work she has put on for her look and stunts are commendable.  ‘Attakathi’ Dinesh as a loyal henchman to Kabali grabs everyone’s attentions without even talking much in the film. His antics in the film will definitely make everyone smile. Other supporting casts such as Kalayarasan, Rythvika, John Vijay, Nassar have done a great job by aiding in the story’s neat emtional flow. Hats off to Ranjith for giving everyone equal scope, working sincerely for the script.

However the character sketch and the performance of the antagonists, Winston Chao and Kishore falls flat, creating a deep damage for the overall film. A little more work on that might have made ‘Kabali’ two times from the height it is in now.

Technically, ‘Kabali’ feels and look international thanks to the meticulous work by the team. G.Murali’s camera work is exotic and raw at the same time. Santosh Narayanan’s BGM adds on to the goose bumps whenever we see Rajini. His tremendous hard work contributes to the emotional graph of the film to a large extent. A special mention to Anu Vardhan for the stylistic costume designs for all the characters.





Bottomline
Despite the slow pace and middling screenplay, ‘Kabali’ is a genuine emotional drama that resurfaces the great actor in Rajini, which has been dearly missed in recent years.

Verdict:

Rating :  3.5/5



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