Kabali movie review: Slow-burner without much respite

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Published Jul 22, 2016, 5:40 pm IST
Updated Jul 22, 2016, 6:19 pm IST
Kabali is an intelligent, noir-esque piece of cinema that is dark, broody, and measured.
Rajini mesmerizes the audience with his nonchalant movements and sleek dialogues.
 Rajini mesmerizes the audience with his nonchalant movements and sleek dialogues.
Rating:

Director: Pa Ranjith

Cast: Rajinikanth, Radhika Apte, Dhanshika, Kishore

 

Kabali – without doubt the most anticipated Tamil movie of 2016 – released this Friday to hype that is beyond this planet. Directed by Pa Ranjith and starring superstar Rajinikanth, the film is a slow-burner without much respite except when Rajini mesmerises the audience with his sleek movements and nonchalant dialogues. And what’s the character given to the man of the hour? An ageing don who relies on his wits to fight his enemies while searching for his long-lost wife.

To this extent, Kabali is an intelligent, noir-esque piece of cinema that is dark, broody, and measured. It fits Rajini’s career status very well. Kabali is an ageing don who had been recently released after serving more than two decades in prison. The name of the game now is revenge and standing up for one’s principles. Kabali’s enemies are now well entrenched in Malaysia and they’re not willing to stand idle and watch their former antagonist return to his glory. Simultaneously, about half way through the film, Kabali, after an incident with his daughter Yogi (Dhanshika,) comes to know that his wife is still alive in India. And thus begins another chapter in the film where Kabali goes on a mission to find his long-lost love and be reunited with the family.

Due to such major deviations in the script, Kabali turns out to be a patient affair. You’re initially sold to the thought that Rajinikanth is a maverick who fights for the equality of Tamils in Malaysia. Every subsequent interaction involving Rajini has this ‘greater than life’ quality about it. But when old gangster enemies show up, hatred and revenge becomes the theme of the hour. And when Kabali finds out that his wife is still alive, the film becomes a personalised, first-person journey.

Such inconsistencies in the script make Kabali a wayward journey without proper direction. The actors, for their part, have done an excellent job considering the characters they’ve been provided. In fact, the movie has only one point of focus: Rajinikanth. No matter where you look, it’s going to Rajini all the way.

The superstar hardly has much of an introductory song, let alone the customary one-man-army action sequences and sleek romantic moves. Yet his presence is always imminent. He’s also been given plenty of poses and dialogues – to the delight of his fans. Dhanshika shines in a bold character and Radhika Apte and Ritvika are equally adequate in their roles.

Other aspects such as Murali’s camerawork in Malaysia and Anu Vardhan’s outfits deserve mention. Santosh Narayanan’s music is an automatic hit based on just ‘Neruppu Da’ alone. At the end of the day, Kabali will definitely keep you thrilled and excited for the duration of the film. Due to its slow pace and an indecisive script, any subsequent viewing might require a lot of coffee.

'Magizhchi' is the only punch word Rajini utters throughout the film: well, you be the judge of how happy and content you are afterwards.

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