Sharada Iyer

The release of a Rajnikant starrer is indeed not an ordinary event … the kind of mass hysteria that the anticipation whips up in the public psyche is absolutely unique… it is a phenomenon unseen or unheard of in any other part of the world for any other star…such is the power this ‘Superstar’ wields over his fans…

Under the circumstances, it is no surprise that even though it is almost a week since his latest and much awaited film ‘Kabali’ hit the cinema halls, the euphoria surrounding the film continues unabated. Die-hard fans have seen the film multiple times and trade analysts are busy counting the record breaking worldwide collections already amounting to a staggering Rupees 500+ crores and still going strong…

The reactions from critics and fans have ranged from disappointment to superbly entertaining but the curiosity factor which compels one and all to go and view the film is so high that it keeps the cash registers jingling and the makers end up making unbelievable profits.

endhiranThe last stupendous hit from Rajnikant was in 2010 when director S Shankar gave the ultimate gift to his fans in the form of a brilliantly scripted, taut and racy sci-fi thriller ‘Endhiran/Robot’ with mind blowing special effects and awesome fight sequences. Added to that Rajnikant had a double role- that of a scientist and his android form and needless to say he was in brilliant form.

But now six years have passed…and maybe expecting the star to go through the same antics again and again is taking its toll… ‘Kabali’ has turned out to be a disappointment and ends up being a slow-paced utterly lacklustre saga of mindless and gory killings between warring ganglords in Malaysia.

Rajnikant does his best to salvage this wafer thin plot which has been unnecessarily stretched to a two and a half hour movie but there is only so much he can do. The usual punchlines are missing and so are his special antics like cigarette throwing etc. Yes, he is still able to garner the crazy response from his fans when he comes on screen and the swagger and style are still there but he seemed a little weary, the actions were slower and in general, the energy was missing…

Though the film is set against the backdrop of problems faced by the Tamilians settled in Malaysia and the local Malays, the story hardly delves into the problem deep enough to make any point. In fact this track is introduced in a hap-hazard manner through some weird flashback sequences. To justify his age in real life, in the story he is shown to be returning after spending 25 years in jail. But the film does have plenty of flashback scenes showing a young Rajnikant who has been made to look quite bizarre in that terrible wig and some ghastly printed shirts. He looked far better as the old man with a white beard.

All the henchmen looked very similar and after a point it really didn’t matter who was in which gang and who was killing whom. Many scenes were loud and sets were garish. The scene where an arm was cut and sent in a box was revolting! Chinese men speaking Tamil looked and sounded ridiculous. Kuala Lumpur was hardly shown nicely. Too many scenes were wasted in Kabali driving in the car and crowds greeting him. The fight sequences lacked any kind of special thrill .

The romantic track also lacked warmth and emotional depth. Though Radhika Apte looked bright and lit up the screen whenever she came, her role was quite ill-defined. Pre-interval she was in a pregnant state in all the scenes and post interval, she had not aged even one bit after a gap of 25 years. For a woman who must have undergone so much physical and emotional trauma, she looked pretty chic and the chemistry between the couple was sorely missing. In the role of the daughter Dhansika is spot on and a pleasure to watch especially in her action scenes. The rest of the supporting cast was quite mediocre. The track of the ‘drug-addicted girl’ also made no sense.

There is a poignant scene in the film where Rajnikant enters the villain’s lair, opens a cage and sets free a precious and beautiful Macaw kept in captivity. He then tells his assistant that it must be so frustrating for the bird to be caged behind bars all the time and not be allowed to spread its wings and fly free in the air. After all it should be allowed to test its own skills in the game of survival… Meaningful words indeed because it almost sounded like Rajnikant was reaching out to his fans and trying to tell them to free him of all the reverence and expectations that were forcing him to do the same kind of role again and again. Maybe if they would set him free, he may surprise everyone with a role where he gets to ‘act’ and play a character and not live up to a ‘superstar’ image which cages him inside wigs and dialogues and curbs him from evolving as an actor of his choice…

Hopefully ‘Robot 2′ will see him in a role befitting his stature and calibre…



























10 thoughts on “KABALI : A FEW THOUGHTS

  1. excellent review . my thoughts too. my expectations were sky high as i am indeed a fan of rajnikant ; but this was a damp squib . just not good enough although he did his very best. cheerios . shyam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you ignore that it is Rajnikant in the movie, Kabali may be accepted as an average movie. With a terrible screenplay.

    After two dabba films Linga and Kochadayan – (for one of which Rajnikant had to dole out cash to the producers to compensate for the loss) Kabali may be called a success, in the sense that it is a money maker.

    Rajni can no longer do those scenes for which he was famous, and it is high time his fans understood that and let him be. A kidney patient really cannot throw punches – either with his hands or his words.

    Robot II may be a disaster. He looked his age as the professor in Robot, I felt, and it was only Chitty who charmed me – Rajni ‘s forte, playing the evil genius.

    Let us remember Rajni as he was. It is time he retired gracefully.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Simply brilliant analysis! I think you have outdone yourself! Especially the icing on the cake comparing Rajni and the bird…. Hats off to you sis! Really really proud of you👍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely brilliant review. The analogy between the bird freeing scene and his own life situation was insightful and thought provoking. Ghastly printed shirts, ha ha ha! Should have stuck with the white bearded look throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

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