Tag Archives: Kabali

Kaala Review

Kaala Review – Kaala is a Tamil crime drama released in 2018. Mumbai’s politician Hari Dhada has hidden agenda of cleaning up Mumbai’s Dharavi to let it open for commercialization, but people of Dharavi protest against it under the leadership of local don Karikaalan.

I was disappointed with the second half of Kabali wherein I felt director Ranjith had a masterpiece in the making but fell flat in the second half. This time in Kaala the screenplay is much tighter and travels towards the purpose. The screenplay also provided a much larger scope for the mass moments of Rajini. Be it the swag of the black dress and shades, not being able to hide his lost love or getting drunk and blabbering in the police station, its out and out Rajini’s moments. He makes all these scenes very enjoyable.

Kaala has a very similar structure to his previous movie Madras. The movie jumps right into the core problem and how the voice of people is not heard in the massive political schemes which are supposed to be for the people. Apart from Rajini the biggest strength of the movie is Nana Patekar. He has played the unapologetic, gruesome villain with ease. His acting and body language are exemplary.

The screenplay does come with its own flaws. The character of Huma Qureshi is very weak and one dimensional. There was a much larger scope for the character but again the writers seem to have struggled with it as they did for Radhika Apte’s character in the second half of Kabali.  The rapper group is becoming a very predictable part for Ranjith’s film which again could have been avoided.

Samuthrakani has played a very good supporting role. It is refreshing to see him explore different roles other than being typecast into roles that shout out social messages. Eswari Rao makes a good pair to Rajini. She has a lot of scope in the first half and the way her character has been sketched is very nice. It is also refreshing to see Dileepan playing a significant role after Vathikuchi.

The subtext of the movie is about the perception people carry regarding the slums. Ranjith has questioned the stereotypes. If we talk about Dharavi or the North Madras slum, we remember movies like Nayagan, Thalapathy, Pudupettai which stereotypes the areas as the hub of crime. Pa Ranjith’s Kaala paints the picture of more life and family values in the slum, unlike the popular stereotypes.

High Points: Rajini’s charisma and screen presence, Nana Patekar’s acting, Mass moments of Rajini and Nana Patekar, a very compelling subtext of the movie, the climax sequence, brilliant cinematography, editing and art design to recreate Dharavi.

Low Points: Huma Qureshi’s character build-up, too much violence in the second half might upset many audiences, some components that are becoming too predictable in a Pa Ranjith’s movie.

Overall Kaala is a compelling tale about the slums beyond our perceptions and beliefs. Pa Ranjith is very sincere in what he believes and has the ability to narrate it in a compelling way. Ram killed Raavan and established Ram Rajya for making people’s lives better, but is that what the people wanted is essentially the question the movie asks. If you like crime dramas then do watch this one in the theaters.

Must Watch

Kabali – the subtle and the not so subtle social message

Kabali – the subtle and the not so subtle social message

Kabali has been the talk of the town for the last few weeks. Initially, it was all about the excitement and promotion around the movie and now the interpretation and analysis.  If you have liked the movie you have liked it and if you haven’t liked it you haven’t. There is no right or wrong. Of the numerous of analysis being done, there are discussions on the burning social issue of Tamils in Malaysia. Some say it is all about Dalit upliftment while the director hasn’t clearly commented on any of these explicitly. This might be due to various reasons including commercial success and preventing a potential ban. Whatever be the reason now that the movie is out it is open to interpretation by each of us. The director has also left the climax open for interpretation. In this week’s Friday Fundas I would like to share my interpretations on the Kabali’s social message. Before you read on, this post contains spoilers and I recommend you to watch the movie before you read this. If you have come here looking for review on Kabali read it here

If your house maid walks in one day and asks her tea to be served in one of your favorite mugs, how would you react to it? Although the situation seems so simple the answer isn’t for many of us. Kabali nails the exact problem. The biggest message Kabali leaves is to emphasize on equality. Not just Dalit, not just Malaysian Tamils this would apply to any situation where inequality exists. Right from the teaser, the message has been driven strongly. Kabali is a stereotyped henchman or goon in the Villains gang who is shabbily dressed and does odd chores for the Villain. In the teaser we see such a Kabali in a most expensive suit and style. If you take the Rajini factor out, it would look odd for you. Since the movie was announced, till we got the first look, take a look at the fan-made posters for Kabali you would know what the perception had been. Once the first look was revealed Rajini’s mass factor stepped in. The dialogue in the teaser “Pazhaya Tamil Padangalla, inge maru vachukittu, meesaya murukki kittu, Nambiar dei Kabali nnu thum… Odi vanthu kaikatti sollunga Ejamannu nippane antha mathiri Kabalinnu nenachiyada… Kabali da..” which is now heard in almost every age group modified to suit various situations. If you see in all those modifications breaking the stereotype is the common factor. These stereotypes have become so much part of our life that it manifests itself to be the truth and way of life. Well, Kabali exactly questions this.

In the movie, Rajini’s make up is different compared to his other movies where they have made him look fairer. Here we see the good old Rajini we have seen in movies like Mullum Malarum and Thee. In the movie Kabali wears a gangsters attire until one day his wife asks him to wear a suit. He gets criticized at various points in the movie for his stylish attire. When he comes to Chennai with his daughter he is welcomed by a guy who looks like a goon. His daughter is extra cautious about the guy and his men while Kabali asks her daughter “What is there in the looks? A look cannot determine if a person is good or bad…” A very strong point, although she has come from the family who has fought inequality but since being the second generation gives way for the stereotypes. Basic human nature of having a reassurance of  power and higher social status is in the sense of differentiation. Ranjith has also answered the question if violence is the only way to establish the equality. The climax of Kabali has the answer. Violence can never manifest equality. It is like curing the symptom and not the cause. The cause gets more worse as you treat symptoms. There are much more such subtle gems throughout the movie that hits you hard in the face.

Fighting against social stigma is not new for Rajini. The Rajini movies in the late 70s and early 80s mostly dealt with the social stigma. Mullum Malarum’s Kaali and Raja from Thee fight against this stigma. The stigma of being black, the stigma of being a thief’s son, the stigma against worker class people not having free flying thoughts. It worked well then as Rajini was not a superstar. But now Rajini being the demigod for many, the already subtle message of Kabali became much more subtle in front of his charisma. The sad fact is that Rajini can’t reprise his role of Kaali with the same naivety he used to during the late 70s. His superstardom has taken over this freedom. If you don’t believe look at the stark difference between his relationship with Sarat Babu in Mullum Malarum and Muthu. Although the economic inequality of the character is the same but the treatment is largely different. If not Muthu may not have worked.

Would Kabali’s social message have been more impactful if not for Rajinikanth? –  is a difficult question to answer. I would say that if you watch Kabali in the new light of the social message of equality, forgetting Rajini’s superstardom you would relish it much more.

As a fan of Rajinikanth I wish he breaks much more stereotypes to give us different movies rather than getting caught into a template.



Parandhu Sella Vaa Trailer

Parandhu Sella Vaa Trailer – Parandhu Sella Vaa is a Tamil romantic comedy film set to be released in 2016. The movie released their audio and trailer last week in Singapore. A befitting event for a movie that has been shot in Singapore.

During my childhood days my dad took me to the Tamil movie Ulagam Suttrum Valiban. He wanted me to experience the visuals of foreign locations on a big screen. I was definitely thrilled by it. The trailer of Paranthu Sella Vaa reminded me of that feeling.

The movie is directed by Dhanapal Padmanabhan after his successful first outing with Krishnaveni Panjaalai. The trailer has some witty dialogues and establishes what we can expect from the movie. What impressed me most was the visuals of Singapore. The trailer opens with a beautiful top view of Singapore Flyer and transitions to the same scene lit in the night. This visual spectacle continues through the trailer. It promises to be a visual treat.

The music is composed by Joshua Sridhar. We haven’t seen much from this talented music composer after Kaadhal. This seems to be marking his comeback with his forte of romantic songs.

The cast ensemble is impressive for the genre. With RJ Balaji, Satish and Karunakaran it should have enough to be a rib-tickler. The main protagonist is Luthfudeen (son of actor Nasser). We are seeing him onscreen after his role in Saivam. Aishwarya Rajesh plays the female lead. Addition ofNarelle Kheng a popular artist from Singapore band adds more color to already colorful cast.

It has been quite a while where a foreign location has been a significant part in a Tamil movie. This trend is picking up again with movies like Parandhu Sella Vaa and Kabali shot in Singapore and Malaysia. I am looking forward to a visual spectacle combined with some good humor in Parandhu Sella Vaa. If you haven’t watched the trailer watch it now and share your opinions in the comments section.