I am sure you would have been on one of those adventurous off-site trips, deep in woods. When you cross the maze and come out in different terrain, what you see the colossal sized mountain ranges. And at the look from your position, you see the sky touching it. You always wonder about the otherwise infinite sky to have itself lowered down to embrace the peaks… is it really the case?
Charisma is still on after acting in more than 150 films, style quotient is damn high.. The opening credits “Super Star Rajanikanth – In & As Kabali” are more than enough to produce ear-deafening roar of whistles, claps and cheer from theater audience. At every gravity defying stunt or sulpheric dialogues, person next to me was going berserk. In the Marathi city of Pune, shows were running houseful and they all have gathered to witness a phenomenon – Rajani ! Did Kabali served them well? Yes and No….
The hype in social media and movie fraternity has already reached pinnacle before its release. Thanks to larger-than-life portrayal of superstar and some unprecedented advertising done by marketing partners like Air Asia. News of IT companies declaring Holidays for film release & mass booking of seats have set-up the perfect environment for a blockbuster arrival. When I entered the cinema hall located in all Maharashtrian suburb of Pune, the anxiety level was to the brim. All have come to be part of history. All were looking for a Magnum-Opus like Baahubali or atleast the nerve-wrecking Yennai Arindaal. Film started with signature Rajani entry and auditorium burst into loud screams. I was ready for gigantic roller-coaster… but perhaps I was hoping way too much!! After 2 hours and 39 minutes of whirlwind drama, Kabali couldn’t cast its spell on me. Nonetheless I enjoyed, it still falls short of all its expectations and benchmark of becoming a legendary stuff.
The Positives :
- Rajani Sir –
At the age of 65, he is running on full throttle. The panache is the heart of Rajanikanth’s filming career and he leaves no stone unturned to pour it in sumptuous manner. Kabali is full of his debonair and flamboyance while playing a role of old criminal boss in Malaysia. Though Kabali is the gangster, his character is having a grey shade with a strong family bonding, cultural values and even a tint of sociologist. I believe this is the first time Rajani Sir has experimented working with younger director like Pa Ranjith in recent time. He has given cent-percent in this depiction and reminds us why he is Thailaiva in Tamil Cinema.
- Set up in Malaysia –
Most of the film takes place in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia. The socio-political and Geo-political settings are perfectly woven into the tale of road rage, drug racket, labor slavery and blood thirsty gangs of criminals.
- Radhika and Dhansika –
Despite of overwhelming ‘R’ factor, these two actresses have performed enough to have a worthy mention and impacting contributions in the story. Especially, Radhika, in her de-glamourised look, has secured her forte with apt expressions as Kabali’s wife. Dhansika is ravishing and gallant at same time. In polar personalities as contract killer and a daughter, she has matched Rajani Sir’s exuberance frame by frame.
- Background score and camera work –
G Murali’s cinematography is exceptionally brilliant throughout. Each fighting scene is filmed with aesthetic precision. Close-ups are too effective. Motion & still photography, both are that of top quality. There is not much room for songs but the background score by Santhosh is much powerful. Especially the music played in Kabali action scenes is fantastic.
The Negatives :
- Script –
Why on this earth Rajani and Ranjith chose this old mundane plot of aging gangster and family revenge? The tale has been narrated umpteenth occasion in cinemas for decades. There is nothing novel about the plot and the script is built on very brittle foundation. Rather, there is no nutritious content in the whole storyline to deliver to theatre audience. Everything is so predictable right from beginning; last punch is a twist but it comes in the game too late.
- Drag –
If script is stale, the pace at which Ranjith placed it is another downer. The film itself starts when kabali is released from jail after serving 25 years of sentence. Actions thereof are supposed to be forward looking. But maybe due to the demand of narration, film goes back and forth, revealing the flashbacks almost in non-consequential manner. Precious time and cruise is wasted here though the events are really significant to tell us why a common man became Kabali, the Don. In my opinion, second half drag could have been avoided to large extent. Family reunites are fine sub-plots but they are decelerating the overall journey. The tale could have been much more interesting, eye-catchy and edge-of-the-seat to establish kabali battles.
Have you witnessed maestro Sachin Tendulkar in later days of his career when he was struggling to produce out gems on the ground? Kabali will give you the same feelings. When Sachin scored a century with enormous labor, you surely loved it and respected it. Some of crackling cover drives and silken flicks off the pad would have reminded you of his enchanting performances during heydays. Master is still a master! Rajani, undeterred by his growing age constraint, has sincerely devoted his energies in best possible manner. It’s a must-watch if you are ardent R-Fan. But don’t look for the old magic and sensational things the juggler has been doing since eons. The sky has tried to touch the mountain, for sure. It’s the viewer to decide if the panorama is fitting enough to reality.
My rating 3 out of 5 starts for overall commitments and grandeur…..