Kabali Review – Kabali is a Tamil gangster drama released in 2016. Kabali a gangster leading the Tamil group in Malaysia is released from prison after 25 years due to a crime scene where he lost his pregnant wife. As he sets to seek revenge on his enemies he learns his wife might be still alive.
Probably this Rajnikanth movie had a much greater hype than any of his previous movies. I decided not to watch it on the first day for multiple reasons, one with so much of overhype I wasn’t sure if I could write a balanced review. The other reason was Ranjith and Rajini had mentioned this would not be a usual Rajini movie and the most recent posters depicting Rajini in an emotional avatar I did not want to miss out the intensity lost when I watch it as an ardent fan of Thalaivar.
As expected the movie is definitely apart from standard Rajini movies. Still they couldn’t do away with some of the scenes that happen to be typical template of a Rajini starrer. The first 20 minutes of the movie gives what the audience need at the same time helps in moving the plot forward. Rajini’s costume, the style of his walk, the swag has come out very well and there is plenty to cheer about. As the movie progresses the plot gets grim and eventually turns into an emotional drama till getting back to the Gangster life. I enjoyed the gangster part of the flick for many reasons. I felt there was a deep influence of Scarface and it could become a cult classic. I did not like the emotional journey of Kabali and felt it was added just as a filler and did not move the story forward infact the emotional journey made his purpose of revenge more weaker. If you have watched the movie you would understand.
Kudos to Ranjith and team for pulling out a movie which had more chance for Rajini as an actor. Radhika Apte, Dhansika, Dinesh, Kishore have supported well.
High Points: Rajini’s acting, his Swag, intense drama in the screenplay, Background Score, Flashback portions, Malaysian culture has been depicted well.
Low Points: The emotional Journey of Kabali did not help the plot much, Songs could have been better.
Overall Kabali is charismatic to hold you to your seats and keep you intense till the end. The minor plot holes could be easily forgotten when seeing the entire package. Ghost of Baasha would always haunt Rajini and his directors and we can’t do much about it. Only way to break this is to create movies like Kabali and Endhiran to bring out the actor in Rajinikanth. Go and watch in the theaters.
The recent Tamil movie Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam covered many aspects of Indian Cinema and there was an interesting piece on Interval blocks in Indian Cinema. The movie mentioned in this context was a Tamil movie Namma Veetu Deivam released in 1970. The husband (Muthuraman) kills his wife (K R Vijaya) in the outskirts of his village and returns home. As he approaches the door he finds his wife open the door and is shell shocked. This is where the interval break is. This raised some thoughts around interval breaks in cinema and how they have influenced the grammar of script writing.
In the Initial years all movies across the world had Interval breaks. The reason was the operator needed time to change the reels in the projector. In the modern days with the advancement in film and projection technology this time is non-existent. However the concept of Intermission or Interval break for 10 – 15 minutes is still prevalent in Indian movies and possibly Italian movies. Also in early days as the film roles were expensive two theaters could screen the same movie with a time difference and exchange the reels during the breaks. The reason it is continued still is for commercial reason. The break is an opportunity to attract the audience to the snacks counter and increase revenue.
Though the reason is commercial it has a heavy influence in the script writing for Indian cinema. The structure of the screen play is not the traditional 3 act structure but has an interval block in it making it a 5 act structure where the interval block is one of the peak points of the build-up phase and post the interval there is a revised context leading to the climax. The script writers make the interval block with high impact to raise the interest levels of the audience.
Let us look at some of the high impact interval blocks in Indian Cinema.
In the movie 3 Idiots the two guys go in search of their closest friend after years of graduation. As they reach the town where he lives in which is exactly at the midpoint of the movie they find an entirely different person in the name of their friend and they are also shocked to see their own photographs with this new person.
In the Tamil blockbuster Baasha, Rajnikanth is introduced as an auto driver who stays away from violence and undergoes torturous punishments to save his loved ones. But around the interval block when his brother and sisters are in danger we see him beating up the bad guys and it is revealed that he is a terrific don who is in hiding, his soft voice turns into a commanding voice that echoes through the hall “Naan oru thadava sonna… nooru thadava sonna mathiri…” (If I say it once its equivalent of saying it 100 times) It is one of the most powerful interval block for a Rajnikanth starrer.
In the Tamil movie Earem the first half has a series of murders happening and at the interval block it is revealed the murders are being committed by the ghost of the ex-girlfriend of the investigating cop. When I was in the theater watching this movie during the break a kid sitting in the cinema hall exclaimed with excitement “Wow! This is a ghost movie…” Interval blocks should contain such an excitement. The recent blockbuster Jigarthanda also had a very dramatic interval block.
While interval block is significant part of a script sometimes over hyping it has a danger of spoiling the movie. When the audience is left with a high expectation and they are down in the second half, the movie would fail. That’s where the audiences say only the first half of the movie was good. In general in a good script the tempo of second half of the script is higher than the tempo set at the interval block.
Kochadaiiyaan – is a historic film made in many Indian languages employing performance capture technology. Rana runs away from his city at a very small age. He is adopted by the citizens of Kalingapuri , grows into a very talented soldier and eventually becomes the Commander in Chief for the kingdom. However Rana’s past forces him to act against the interests of Kalingapuri. What was it about his past and how Rana handles it is the story of Kochadaiiyaan.
It has been a much awaited movie from Superstar Rajnikanth. It is also the first ever full length Indian movie made using performance capture technology. The real hero of the movie is KS Ravikumar. He has created a very compelling story line tailor made for Rajnikanth. The story keeps you engaged throughout the movie. Rajnikanth proves he is much beyond technology. His voice is a big plus for the movie. AR Rahman has created very soulful music that suits the story line. The major let down is the visuals. Of course all of us understand that it is hard to make a movie of this sort given the quick timeline with a shoe string budget. If you take that out the product finish is not something you would remember. They could have still done better in many places. First and foremost is the lack of data for pupil and eye lash movement of the characters is an issue. The color palette they have used to render the scenes is very inconsistent. You would see some bright visuals for songs but rest of the scenes are dull. The third important factor they haven’t given much thought is for the materials (like the terrain, walls, objects) used for the environment. These make it look like a 3D cartoon animation movie you had watched 15 years ago. However you would see moments of brilliance in certain scenes, in particular the stunt scenes have been done very well. They have really done a good job with the character that resurrects Nagesh on to the screen. Despite the short comings the screenplay of the movie, Rajni’s voice and AR Rahman’s music would entertain you and keep you glued to the seat. Kochadaiiyaan is a good attempt to start a trend towards performance capture technology. If it is used in a proper manner it could create wonders for Indian Cinema and enable us to make movies which are very difficult to make otherwise. Spending a good amount of time in the pre-production stage is very vital to make a good movie. If our Indian film makers concentrate on this department they would be able to make movies that could compete with many western movies in production quality.
Overall Kochadaiiyaan is worth a watch if you are not going with a mindset of experiencing a visual treat. If you are able to look beyond the shortcoming of the visuals – the story, actors and music would be a treat for you.
Watchable –for the first time effort, brilliant story line, music and of course for Superstar.
The bet is as follows he has to throw the cigarette into the air and hold it by his mouth 10 consecutive times. If he does that he would win the Toyota car of the rich man, if not he would have to part away with his little finger. The scene is so gripping at the same time so hilarious, backed by some brilliant performances. Factually the scene is inspired from the short story Man from the South written by Roald Dahl. The only difference being in the short story the bet is about lighting a cigarette lighter continuously for 10 times with just one click. Alfred Hitchcock included this as an episode in his TV Series “Alfred Hitchcock presents“. Later this was re-made into the opening episode of Dahl’s show “Tales of the Unexpected” in 1979 and again re-made in 1985 for “Alfred Hitchcock presents” series in color.
So many people had shot this sequence with different actors, the value of suspense and holding the audience or reader to the seat with a very simple plot is a brilliant piece of work by Roald Dahl.
Ninaithale Inikkum – a romance drama and musical in Tamil released in 1979. Chandru is a lead singer in a music troop. They fly to Singapore for a program where he meets Sona a girl whom he falls in love with. But Sona behaves unpredictably, sometimes she reaches out to Chandru and at times she ignores him. What is the mystery behind her behavior? Was Chandru able to win her heart? is the rest of the plot.
Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth and Jayaprada in the lead roles, K. Balachander directing the film, MS Viswanathan and Kannadasan combo for the music and lyrics, Sujatha penning the story and screenplay, today it sounds like a dream combination and it would create a huge expectation among the audience. Such was the magic of Ninaithale Inikkum although released 34 years ago. The movie was different in many ways and got a cult status of its own. Kamal Haasan and Jayaprada had a lot of scope for acting, Rajnikanth known for his style and action, filled in for the full length comedy track and support role. The movie was a musical treat with some ever green foot tapping numbers. It stayed true to its claim of being a musical by having the only action fight sequence in the movie also been played as a song. The movie had a theatrical re-release recently. Overall the movie is a must watch for having such a star studded team and still staying up to the expectation.
Some of the memorable moments from the movie that still makes it evergreen and stand out
Wish someone is able to recreate the such a magic again… Till then this movie would be a sweet memory (Ninaithale Innikum)!