Writing about a Rajini movie is a futile exercise. After all, if I give a good review, the post might might get shared and if I give a bad review, I am going to be termed as a fake reviewer. And this review doesn’t matter as most of you would have seen the movie. But anyways this blog post is here and if you want to continue, go ahead.
Kabali seemed to be an interesting experiment since it was announced. After debacles, Rajini chose a director who had a critically acclaimed movie on caste issues (didn’t like Attakathi much). I personally was enthusiastic about the project because I wanted Rajinikanth and not the superstar (for better understanding read this post on Lingaa). The enthusiasm slowly dwindled after the songs and the teaser. The interesting experiment didn’t fetch any result that will change the way we are going to look at Rajini.
Rajinikanth, the actor did come out with aplomb in Kabali. The scene where he meets his daughter (played by Dhansika) and later his wife (played by Radhika Apte) is an epitome of his genius. Kabali’s subplots are really interesting. For instance, it could have a been a wonderful matured love story between an elderly couple who were estranged for years or it could have been an amazing action movie with father and daughter. In fact, in order to raise up the masala quotient of the hero, Dhansika’s role as a professional killer was made to look like a joke at the end. Why not give her some space in action sequences? Whitewashing Dhansika is cringe worthy. Another problem in Kabali is the primary antagonist. I have always reaffirmed the importance of a strong villain to show the might of the hero. Winston Chao is a fantastic actor and I did like him as Sun Yat Sen in 1911 (he has portrayed the same character in few other movies/series too). The characterisation is so weak and inept that even a better actor like him looks like a joke in the movie. And let’s not talk about the Tamil dialogues.
Kabali has its moments. The historical perspective of Malaysian Tamils and their despair has been portrayed well. Sharp dialogues that poke your brain at the right places. Radhika Apte is much needed for that one scene and not a lot of actors could have pulled that off. Be it Dinesh or the talented Rythvika, they are there to fill up the Ranjith quotient of the movie. Nonetheless, I still don’t get the idea of Dalit activism in the movie. If the director really wanted to make such an activism movie, let him do it openly with Rajinikanth. I felt the discussions with subtexts are so idiotic. It’s not the audience prerogative to understand these things. And with a Rajini movie, the director’s activism went like damp firecrackers.
And this appears to be the underlying issue in the movie. It’s neither here nor there. It’s not a full blown Ranjith movie, nor it’s the usual Rajini movie. Trying to marry two ends is a daunting task and Ranjith wasn’t able to cope up with that. The marketing of the movie from the producer side didn’t help Ranjith’s cause. I do agree that a movie has to make money and it’s a business product but it’s an art too. Kabali was treated as a piece of product from the shelf and it was sold well.
The movie has made enormous amount of money and in hindsight it kind of dawns upon you that the entire movie is just a PR exercise to bring back the Rajini mojo and not a movie at all. Rajini fans have bought it, so did the people and you too.
I bestow Kabali a generous 2.5/5 for bringing out the beauty of Rajini’s acting in some scenes otherwise the movie is just not worth the hype.