Direction: Pa Ranjith
Cast: Rajinikanth, Winston Chao, Radhika Apte
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematographer: G Murali
Editor: Praveen KL
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
What is it about: This film is about a Malay bred Gangster, who returns to his life after an imprisonment of 25 years. The events leading post is return forms the crux of the story with romance, drama and action directed by Pa.Ranjith.
Why it’s disappointing: You get in to situation after watching Kabali, whether to ponder on its negative points or to praise its brilliance in narration. Both are in sync with each other. But there were few factors in the film which I personally feel the touch of Ranjith was missing. It could be many reasons which would have led to this compromise. Or Ranjith has set a standard that makes us wonder why this happened.
The film sets a great premise in the first half with a gritty narration. Which sets a bar high with an engaging second half. The second half does starts with a great promise but dives in to clichés, and few scenes were quite obvious.
These factors leads you to a confusion is this really happening. But I can only concur with Ranjith trying to infuse commercial elements which did not gel with his usual touch.
What to watch out for: Regardless of the shortcomings, Kabali emerges a winner. You may ask how? It’s quite straight forward “Rajinikanth”. It always takes a right person to bring out an artist or revive the image of the timeless icon. Ranjith did a fantastic job in etching the character of Rajinikanth as “Kabali”. When was the last time you have seen Superstar had taken time to emote, pause and perform with grace which we know from the 90’s or his early years of acting. You can easily spot the difference between the Superstar and a Timeless performer.
But our audience are never satisfied, when they saw him “Linga” everyone mocked him to play his age. And when he did, they have something more to say. I would say, we got to see a Rajini which was missing from screens for a very long period. With Kabali that returns with great poise. Superstar gleams in the amazing “Suit-Up” attire which compliments his age, and most definitely amplifies his Charisma.
Following his charisma Radhika Apte gives a commendable performance. What one would call a convincing performance, she was in sync with the language which even the seasoned actress from Kollywood find it hard to comprehend. There’s one specific scene, where you can see you how an actor can make you feel the emotion that character is going through.
Then comes Dhansika whose character travel was less, but gets register with a bold statement.
Dinesh was one peculiar character who cracks you up with his impeccable tactics in impressing Kabali. His character was a good one and he performed it well. Kalaiyarasan travel was very less not much to showcase his talent.
Riythvika did a crisp one. Kishore was apt for the character was fitting the attire. The antagonist Winston Chao looks the deal, but was missing something.
Director had a neat way in conveying the emotions, which was the high point of “Kabali”. It becomes more of an emotional travel than the gangster one. There were many moments in the film which were beautifully visualized and penned down in to screenplay. The romantic angle of Kabali and Kumudhavalli was a beautiful one, it had the gentle romance which puts a sweet smile on your face and “Maya Nadhi” was a perfect rendition. I really loved the chemistry which was great and no one would have done better than Radhika Apte.
Then when the gangster part of Kabali was distributed in equal proportions and was perfectly blended with great style. It’s not the usual MASS which he has been giving over the years. But one which took him to the space which fetched him the title “Superstar”. And the credit goes to director Ranjith.
The film had a neat cinematography by Murali, who did a fine job. And Praveen KL did a crisp edit keeping the 150 minutes intact.
Another highlight was the music by Santhosh Narayanan, he’s an emerging music director who has finally made his mark and is being counted among the potential competition. The background score was racy and matched the theme of the film.
Verdict: Director Pa.Ranjith might have not given the usual Superstar flick, and the fans might be slightly disappointed but brace yourself, it may not be the usual but this unusual outing was a relief and delight to watch. In spite of the shortcomings “Kabali” rises well with commendable performances. Definitely worth a watch, most definitely to see Rajini emote, which was missing for quite long from silver screens.