Rajni Movies are not meant to be reviewed; they are meant to be experienced. So let’s just consider I’m not reviewing the movie; just sharing my thoughts on “the experience”.
The experience that “Thalaivar” gives is not just restricted to the 2 hours 32 minutes spent in the Cinema hall watching the movie; it starts much before that.
When the title (Kabali) was announced, when the first look came, we fans went bonkers.
He makes us feel connected. Discussing about him with a friend who is settled in US makes us feel we are closer, connected. That’s the value he adds, built over a reputation that now spans 5 decades (starting from the 1970s).
The expectations (for Kabali) went sky high on May 1, 2016, the day the Teaser was launched. It now boasts 26 million+ hits on Youtube (I would have contributed 100+). My 6 year old cousin tells the “famous Teaser dialogue” imitating Thalaivar’s mannerisms. Rajni’s look appealed to people my dad’s age. Online portals started selling Kabali Tees. I haven’t seen such a craze (well deserved) for any Star.
It’s so easy for marketers/producers to market a Rajni movie; target audience being “everyone”. You might want to read my post on the Grand Brand that is Rajni, here.
Coming to the climax of “the experience” that a Rajni movie gives i.e. the movie itself. My Tamil colleague Parkavi Vasan and I were literally refreshing the PVR website every 20 minutes from Monday, and thankfully managed to stay online on Wednesday 11.30 pm when the bookings opened in Gurgaon PVR. We were elated to get tickets for the FDFS (First Day Firsr Show).
We gathered in the Cinema hall 30 minutes before the show time, to let the atmosphere sink in. In a little while, we were about to watch Rajnikanth on the big screen, after 20 months. Nothing else mattered.
Not many Directors are fortunate to cast Rajnikanth in their 3rd film. It’s a huge responsibility.
Kabali isn’t an out and out Rajnikanth movie. Nor is it an out and out Pa. Ranjith movie. The Director tries to fulfil both his needs and that of the Mega Star’s fans, and manages to do a decent job at that.
Radhika Apte has essayed her role brilliantly and is a big strength to the movie which relies more on an emotional connect with the fans, than the regular mass/commercial connect expected of a Rajnikanth movie.
Attakathi Dinesh shines in his role and is the best among the supporting cast. Sai Dhanshika sizzles in the new stylish look and plays an important role. The Madras team (Anbu, Mary, Johny and few others) all play their part. I’d love to compliment the Director for brilliant casting, if not for the Chinese Guy who plays the main villain (Tony Lee in the movie). That’s a big let down. A Prakash Raj or any other Tamil villain could have done more justice to such a heavy/main role.
The Cinema Hall erupts every time Rajnikanth does a victory walk with “Neruppu Da” playing in the background. 40 years from now, it’ll still be hummed by people, like the Baasha, Padayappa or Annamalai themes. Santhosh Narayan’s background score elevates the movie to some extent, at parts. The songs are wasted in the movie, used mainly in the background.
“Veera Thurandhara” visualization is kickass.
Kabali is not a commercial or action film like the teaser suggested. I’d like to call it an emotional film which has action scenes in bits and pieces. Perhaps, the Teaser set different expectations in the minds of the audience. Perhaps, that led to an expectation mismatch. Perhaps, the second half could have been cut down by 12-15 minutes. Perhaps, Thalaivar could have spoken more dialogues in the movie. His trademark lengthy dialogues are minimal. But whatever is there, he has pulled it off to perfection, as always.
Kabali tries to show the personal side of a Gangster/Don and his struggles, and succeeds. Don’t go by all the negativity that’s going around in social media.
Enjoy the Thalaivar show.
The wait for Enthiran 2.0 begins!