Kabali Review - Emotional Gangsta Drama

PUBLISHED DATE : 21/Jul/2016

Kabali Review - Emotional Gangsta Drama

Kabali FDFS Review - Emotional Gangsta Drama

Rajinikanth's popularity seems to be scaling new heights irrespective of director nor the box office verdict of his previous movie. Kabali hype has topped all his previous movie and literally “Neruppuda”. Director Ranjith has a huge burden on his shoulders to make a style laced substance filled movie. It is a tight rope walk. But, the trade knows even if Kabali meets half the hype, it will be a blockbuster...



Rajini has played his age gracefully and with lots of style. Every time Rajini does his "Kabali swag", the theatre erupts, every single time. What is surprising is he was able to pull off his youth portions very impressively. Thanks to his fit body and intelligent retro-costumes, Rajini is all set to trigger a new fashion wave. Thanks to director's intelligent use of body doubles, graphics and editing, Rajini comes across very agile on screen during action scenes. Rajini has pulled off the romantic/emotional portions with Radhika Apte in the appropriate manner. However, Rajini's comic sense was not given ample scope. Apart from "sarakku" one-liner, Rajini doesn't get too many comedy scenes. 


Story, Screenplay and Direction

Director Ranjith must have envisioned an ultra-stylish ganster movie set in Malaysia. Ranjith sticks to the core script from start to finish without making compromises pandering to the masses. It is good that the story doesn't deviate from the main thread.It is also bad because the scenes become single dimensional after a point. Rajini fans look for potpourri of all emotions catering to all ages and strata of the society. The movie identifies itself to a small section and hence alienating the core Rajini fans. Rajini says his "magizhchi" quite a lot. But, the movie lacks true "negizhchi" moments. Rajini gets the screen time to perform the emotional scenes. Biggest let down is not much in the form of comedy or light moments, key expectation of Rajini fans and general public. 


Ranjith's screenplay also comes in for question. The dialogues continue to appeal to the sentiments of underprivileged society. There are more bullet shot sounds than the actual dialogues. Ranjith has insisted on using Malaysian Tamil accent and dialect throughout. Some of the words used are difficult to comprehend. Director unravels the crux of the movie in the first 20 minutes very convincingly. Rest of it is narrated through revenge and flashback scenes, which becomes predictable, uni-dimensional and often slow moving. The scenes leading up to finding Rajini's family members have been conceived well. However, the way it plays out on the screen misses the necessary impact. 



The casting includes more or less the same casting from Ranjith's "Madras" and "Attakathi". In the prior movies, Dinesh, Kalaiarasan, Riythvika and "Johny" characters all made a strong impact and acting prowess. In Kabali, they all get to underplay under the giant shadow of superstar. Ranjith's character establishment is his strength. In Kabali, characterization is not clear and superficial. Radhika Apte acting and chemistry is exceptional. A few more scenes of Rajini and Radhika Apte from young Rajini portions would not have hurt. The Malaysian villain, Winston Chao, is a great find and performs well in standing up against Rajini. A few Tamil dialogues towards the climax could have been avoided.


It is evident Ranjith has used a number of localites in Malaysia for supporting characters. Many of them may not have faced the camera in the past. The initial portions take some time to warm up due to amateur side actors and the sync sound.



The song picturization is more blended with the story rather than strutting out. On the downside, it misses the grandeur expected of a Rajini movie of this scale. Santhosh has elevated the mood of many of the action scenes and tense gangster situations. Rest of the scenes involving Rajini and Radhika, Santhosh’s BGM overpowers melodramatic feel due to choice of instruments and tracks. The camerawork is good overall. However, the extra care and attention through frame selections and lightings in "Madras" and "Attakathi" is amiss. Costume designer has done a good job in choice of retro designs, sharp collars and tight body-fits. Rajini's dialogues to justify why he wears suit, shirt and tie is too repetitive. Action scenes are well choreographed and sometimes brutally raw, especially the bulb attacks on Dinesh. 


Final Word:

Kabali is a good mix of style and substance. But, the result is only half way -- Kabali is neither a Rajini entertainer nor a Ranjith style making. The Rajini fans who walk in with loads of hype and expectations walk out with a dazed look unable to somewhat hide 'that' disappointment. 


Rating - 2.75/5

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