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Expect the unexpected

I was going to review Kabali at my leisure; but some of the negative reviews floating around give me a compelling reason to come up in defense of one of the better Tamil movies in recent times. At the outset, I would like to clarify that I am not a diehard Rajini fan but for sure am a film buff.

People will be terribly disappointed if they go with the expectation of watching Rajini the Superstar and his larger than life persona, performing gravity defying stunts, churning out punch dialogues every fifth second and making political innuendos.  Add to that the mindless comedy scenes and needless songs that are must-have parts of his films.


This movie is about Rajini, the Actor.

Rajini plays Kabali to perfection: an aging gang leader seeking personal revenge. He emotes well with his eyes and communicates mostly with bodily gestures. His staccato laughter reverbe rates the hall and fills one and all with magizchi. His portrayal as father and as husband yearning for his wife and child respectively is brilliant.

A huge pat on the back to director Pa. Ranjith, who has deftly handled Rajini the Actor and Rajini the Superstar. It was a gamble to cast the 65-year old in a movie without the usual formulaic elements. And I think the Director has pulled it off. The story telling technique is mostly linear but with flashbacks.

It unfolds at its own pace, and some (many fans) might find this a bit dragging. But I felt it was essential for a plot with so many characters to unfurl slowly and then establish them.  I was also impressed with his attention to details, be it the local Kuala Lumpur Tamil lingo or the realistic sets. He even has an explanation for Rajini’s stylish attire.  The climax deserves to be mentioned. It begins as a quite birthday celebration and slowly and gradually builds into an earth shattering crescendo, with the shotgun-toting Kabali taking out Tony Lee.  Majestic is just the word for it.

Radhika Apte, John Vijay, Dhansika, Kishore and Attakathi Dinesh play their parts well. Winston Chao does not have much scope for acting. Santosh Narayan’s background score is up to the mark.

There is a lot of blood, violence and gore as is expected in a gangster movie and I don’t understand how it managed to get an “U” certificate in India.  That’s my only complaint.


The bottom-line: Kabali- No Mass. Only Class.


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