Kabali Movie Review
A Rajinikanth film never comes without its months of pre-release hype. For Kabali, everything from buildings to planes, featured a poster of the Superstar and ads ran for weeks on TV. Some employers even declared a holiday for staff.
But on Friday, the product sort of failed. Kabali tells the story of Indian-origin Kabaleeswaran aka Kabali (Rajinikanth) settled in Malaysia. A major gangster, Kabali has just been released after 25 years in prison. He starts his fight for the rights of Indians settled in Malaysia and soon sets up a foundation to help youth who have grown addicted to drugs. During one of his visits to the foundation’s school, he’s asked to recount his days as a gangster. And the film starts moving.
Rajinikanth’s last two films Kochadiyaan and Lingaa were disappointments at the box office. As a strategic move, the legendary star joined hands with a relatively new director — Pa Ranjith, for Kabali. The trailers sure had many believing this would be another Basha because the choice of subject was good and the character was a perfect fit for Rajini’s actual age. Everything looked good on paper until the first few minutes appeared on screen. Director Pa Ranjith has singularly failed to focus on one the central theme. The Superstar’s traditional “introduction scene” is trademark good but the movie just ends up losing steam and tempo.
What more did you need Pa Ranjith? You had Rajinikanth, you had years and years of trusted starpower and you had a good plot. But you ended up paying attention to several things instead of focusing on just one. There has been a failure to create a well-working cohesive unit out of some fantastic parts. It appears the director couldn’t use the Superstar and his mannerisms. These are aspects drawing a good portion of the crowd. There are not many punch dialogues either and no... style (except on a few occasions). Remember, Rajinikanth is the entertainment here but the director has somehow failed to cash in on that.
Now, about performances, Rajinikanth is perfect as Kabali. He has found his groove again and after a few of his previous films, this one’s a welcome relief. Radhika Apte, who has starred in a few Telugu films has yes, once again achieved perfection. She is fantastic as Rajini’s wife. But the surprise is easily, Dhanishka, who plays Rajini’s daughter. She simply steals the show.
In the technical department, cinematography is a plus and the action scenes across Malaysia are well shot. The soundtrack is unfortunately average but the background score by Santosh Narayan impresses. More importantly, for this region, the dialogues have been turned into Telugu very well. To sum up, Kabali is dangerously slow for a Rajinikanth fan. The pace and punch make a typical Rajini movie and there’s no walking away from that fact. It truly hurts to write this but Kabali follows Lingaa and Kochadiyaan down the road to no glory.