Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review of Kabali

Image courtesy: Facebook Page of Kabali

Cast and Crew Details (Source: Wikipedia page)

Cast: Rajnikanth (Kabaleeshwaran), Winston Chao (Tony Lee), Radhika Apte (Rupa), Dhansika (Yogi), Dinesh Ravi (Jeeva), Kishore (Veerasekaran), Kalaiyarasan (Thamizh Kumaran), John Vijay (Ameer), Riythvika (Meena), Rosyam Nor, Mime Gopi (Loganathan), Nassar (Ramprasad), R Amarendran (velu), Uday Mahesh (Durai), Gajaraj (Marthandam), Charles Vinoth, Nandakumar (Anbu), Vittal Prasad, Johny Hari (Tiger)
Directed by: PA. Ranjith
Produced by: Kalaipuli S Thanu
Written by: PA. Ranjith
Production Company: V Creations
Distributed by: Gemini Film Circuit
Music by: Santosh Narayanan
Cinematography: G Murali
Edited by: Praveen KL
Release date: 22nd July, 2016
Language: Hindi (originally made in Tamil)
Duration: 2 hours 32 minutes


Kabali is the much awaited film of the superstar of our country Rajnikanth, directed by PA. Ranjith. It is even a futile attempt on my part to review films of living legend like Rajnikanth. Everytime, when Rajnikanth aka Talaivaar’s film releases, it is a celebration time for the viewers. And this time, Rajnikanth-Kabali-mania went up to the extent of states declaring holiday on its 1st day of release, scheduling early morning shows like 4.30AM also in the list. As per a joke circulating in the social media, it is true that when Rajnikanth’s film is released, holiday is declared. I really don’t want to review this film which is going to be recorded in the history of Indian Cinema for the kind of hype and hysteria it created much before its release.

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Having said all these, I would like to convey through this piece of writing that Kabali is a very mediocre film. Many of you might feel that I am not doing justice to a film of Rajnikanth by calling it a mediocre film. How a film with an artist of such caliber can be a mediocre film? But as I have always maintained, my film reviews are absolutely my personal opinion about how a particular film came across to me. The plot had the potential, but it actually didn’t work at all. It is also said that Rajnikanth’s character Kabali is inspired from a real time don of Chennai. I strongly feel that Kabali lacks Rajnikanth elements.

The film begins with high profile police officers of Malaysia discussing the pros and cons of releasing Kabali. Ultimately, decision is taken to release Kabali. After 25 years of imprisonment in Malaysian jail, Kabali (Rajnikanth) is released who was convicted for being an initiator of a massacre that killed many including his pregnant wife Rupa (Radhika Apte). Ameer (John Vijay) is the right hand of Kabali, who arranges a grand welcome for Kabali. Once released from the jail, Kabali goes to visit his charitable school Free Life foundation, which is basically a rehabilitation center for kids, teens, youth who got involved in some criminal activities. Kabali has no qualms in accepting that he is a Gunda, although an educated one. Jeeva (Dinesh Ravi) joins Kabali as his aide. Tony Lee (Winston Chao) and Veera (Kishore) are constantly in look out for Kabali, and they do damage lot of business of Kabali. Tony Lee, a Chinese person, runs lot of rackets that of drug trafficking, prostitution, gambling etc.  
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When the story moves to the flashback, one gets to understand that how Kabali, grandson of a poor migrant labourer, grows to be the leader of a gang by fighting for the rights of Indian workers working in Malaysia. The demand was to get equal rights for the marginalized Indian workers with the locals and Chinese people working there. Kabali was always well-dressed in suits, he took pride of the same, and it was all about creating an impact. He even conveys a dialogue that there was a reason Babasaheb Ambedkar always wore a suit and Mahatma Gandhi never did.


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As he grew to the leadership position, he developed many enemies also in and around him and became victim to one such conspiracy, where mass killings happened and he was jailed for being accountable for the same. And now, released after a period of 25 years, he does intend to take revenge. But his enemies Tony Lee and Kishore plant Yogi (Dhansika) to kill Kabali.

Film moves ahead with a very much predictable and clichéd plot. Rather the film is in fragments, and does not generate any pathos at all. What happens to the revenge saga of Kabali? What all challenges Tony Lee and Kishore throw in front of Kabali? What shape does the inter-gang rivalry take? Does the film is dominated with just the gun shots? Does Yogi become successful in killing Kabali?

Kabali film as such has lot of challenges, it never picks up, be it its story, screenplay, dialogues, music, logical sequencing of events, editing etc. I watched Hindi version, so, I have no idea, whether the dialogues lost its essence while translating from Tamil to Hindi. Very poorly written dialogues. Somehow, Kabali is not a Rajanikanth film at all. Radhika Apte’s presence is indeed noticeable. Rest of the cast are loud, weird at times.

Kabali just falls flat. As a fan of Rajnikanth, I never wanted Kabali to fail, but with great pain and disappointment, I have to ignore the incredible screen presence of Rajnikanth and the beautiful frame of Radhika Apte. I choose to rate Kabali as an average film.   

Rating : 2 / 5 (Average)