Due to bay place cine business buddies, I got to watch a preview show of Kabali. I went in with no expectations and came out with mixed feelings. Kabali is paisa vasool for Rajinikanth fans while others can have equivalent enjoyment mocking the aged star go through his paces.
The bar has been set high since he has already donated all his assets, assembled colleges, assembled dams, overthrew a Chief Minister and for the masses has given up his life in general.
So, in this picture, the setting moves to Malaysia, where Tamils are ill-treated and need a Messiah to save them. Enter the Superstar, who, like Nelson Mandela, spends several years in prison for his resistance to racism. When he comes out, he settles down to some regular life (think Baasha’s auto driver), until circumstances force him to become a gangster and save his daughter from the enemies.
For a Rajini fan, this all will give him/her goosebumps. Slow motion walks, stylish poses, crisp dialogues are there, and theaters will explode with applause each time Rajini does his choreographed routine. There are flashback scenes where he appears “youth” that is certain to make his supporters feel nostalgic. Director Ranjith has ensured the larger than life image of Rajini continues to be maintained. Essentially, it feels like a life highlights of various Rajini movie scenes re-enacted.
For a chance film goer, though, the entire shindig will feel thoroughly artificial and excruciating. The aged star with heavy cosmetics striving to behave like a 30-year-old is cringe-worthy. The real life Rajini can do except to kindle chats about his entry into politics. But movie after movie, he does his action, and it's also getting a bit long.
Ranjith could have made a better movie on the circumstances of the Malaysian Tamils. May be that was his first plan.
The movie ends up as another commercial vehicle for the Celebrity. Ranjith’s Dalit politics take a backseat here. Radhika Apte is inclined in her part as is Dhansika. Be careful with a surprise cameo you wouldn’t anticipate in a Rajini movie. Neruppudaa is an astonishing ear worm from Santosh Narayanan.