Kabali: The Review

Radhika Apte deserves nothing less than the National Film Award for that single scene in the second half of Kabali.Yes, it was a deliberate decision on my part to start with her and not The Superstar or Pa.Ranjith,but that’s not to take anything away from either of them.It’s not the first time that a female actor has held her own in a Rajnikanth film either.Remya Krishna did it aplomb in Padayappa.But then again Kabali is not the regular Rajni potboiler you have been used to.
Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu went live on FB to speak about Kabali, i was a tad late to catch up and by the time i typed up my question he had wound up already.This was before i had watched the movie and i wasn’t hearing the best of things about it.I had intended to ask Mr.Rangan how Kabali compared to Sivaji, where a director of mass entertainers and a superstar came together as opposed to this movie where a new wave director just two films old, with a totally different style of filmmaking had to deal with the star,the actor and expectations of Himalayan proportions and to answer my own question,fairly well i would say.In fact i would go so far as to say that Kabali is the most significant Rajnikanth movie to have come out since Thalapathi.
Pa.Ranjith has bravely gone where no director has in recent times and has taken Rajni along too.Ranjith deserves a round just for accepting the challenge and unlike Shankar who aspired for long to make a movie with Rajni, Ranjith as he clearly states in his interview with The Hindu, never in his wildest dreams had any such desires simply because of the fact that his style of film making was rooted in reality and in stark contrast to the kind of films Rajni had associated himself with,for the later part of his career.
A few of the initial reports about the movie went on to say that it was a typical gangster movie ,a run of the mill revenge saga.
I for one felt that the movie is anything but typical considering the popular notion of what a Rajnikanth movie should be like of late,post the Baasha years to be specific.
We get to see Rajnikanth the actor after a long time in Kabali and Ranjith has tried to marry the elements of a commercial entertainer with his kind of serious cinema without compromising his core sensibilities as a film maker.There are quite a few metaphors too,the most significant one being the shot of the flock of birds flying across the sky in the scene where Kabali steps out of the Jail door, on his release after 25 years.The movie is not without flaws, most evident in the climactic showdown between Kabali and his villains and it played out like something reluctantly written for the masses and the fans.But Pa.Ranjith had to go ahead with the sequence i believe so that he could pull off his originally intended climax, which turned out to be his riskiest and bravest move as a writer and director,something as the urban legend goes, even Maniratnam did not dare to do.Ranjith has essentially shown us that there is more to Rajnikanth than a “Lakalaka” or a “Mwehhhh” and Kabali is nothing less than a rebirth for Rajni the actor.He reminds us that filmmaking is a director’s craft at the end of the day and star power and the audience doesn’t get to dictate the rules, all the time.#Magizhchi

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