Saturday, 23 July 2016

Under The Spotlight: Kabali

The moment we all been waiting for has arrived! Rajini is back on the big screen and the little kid in me was screaming in joy being able to see Rajini once again. I for one knew that this was not going to be your regular Rajini film, but this was going to be an out and out Ranjith film and boy was I right. Nevertheless I was waiting eagerly just to catch a glimpse of Rajini, his trademark walk and of cause his glorious smile. Every time Rajini laughs or smile and I just lose my mind. So much style so much grace from the big man.

Without much delay below is my review and I will try to keep the Rajini fan in me and do my best to give an unbiased review. If you haven't watch the film please stop reading this post and come back after you have watched it as I wouldn't want to spoil it for you

Story Review
Despite the hype around the film after the teaser was released and the comparison people was making of Kabali towards Baasha, I knew for a very fact that we are going to get a very different Rajini in this film and that was what happened

The film hits out with a little backstory of who Kabali is and who are his rivals are. With that the tone was set for the film as how this film was going to pan out. Upon his release from jail Kabali was quickly caught up with the struggles the Malaysian Indian community are facing today and how the mafia world is evolving today and those dominating it are his arch rival.

As gangster would do to remind people that they are back in the business is to send out a loud and clear message to the rival and Kabali does that in superb style. I for one was not expecting that to happen. Kabali wasn't just the do good be nice gangster but he was someone who would fight for his community and would have no qualms for shooting or killing someone when it comes. Just like how a real gangster would.

The film that shifts the rivals trying to get back to Kabali by employing an assassin and how Kabali tries to rebuild his gang back again. At the same time Kabali spares time for the school which takes in school dropout and young gang members which tries to reform them before sending them back to the community

In a way that is Kabali's dream, that the Indian community are in a decent position, away from drugs and gangs. What seems to be his ideology is that he has to walk down the dark path and get things cleaned up in order for the future generations to stay away from it and be successful

What follows next is blast to the past of Kabali where he learns some facts about his family and how he tries to make things up for the death of a friend. With the films builds towards the climax which would be between Kabali and his rival.

The biggest win of the film is the realism factor in it. If you are a Malaysian, you cannot deny the scenes shown were not true. Even the way Kabali carries himself or how the fights happen and all makes perfect sense as if it was real gangsters were to do it.

Reading it here may not some as fantastic as it was watching the film in real but trust me if you put the Rajini fan of you out and went in to watch a quality film, you are in for a treat. This is not a film tailored for the Rajini fans. You won't see Rajini flying around fighting 20 goons at one time, you won't see much punch dialogues from Rajini, you won't see Rajini romancing a young heroine

Whatever typical things you expect in a Rajini film, you will get the minimal of it which is what makes it even great film to be watch. This is a film made to show the world the struggles and difficulties faced by Malaysian Indians and the dark side we are left to face with.
Rating: 4.7/5.0
Director Review
Pa Ranjith

Who would believe that this guy is only 3 films old in terms of directing. What an honor would it have been for this guy to direct perhaps the biggest actor in the world in only his 3rd film.

It would have been so easy for him to cave in his normal style and just make a film utilizing the commercial elements of Rajini and it would most likely be a big hit and seal his status as a top director

Instead I praise this man for doing just the very opposite. Instead of fitting his film into Rajini, he made Rajini fit into his film. That it so gutsy especially for a young director. He stayed loyal to his usual crew and principal in terms of the story and convinced Rajini to get into the role that he wants

Another praise Ranjith deserves is for his extensive research and study of the Malaysian Indian community. Through out the film a lot of small elements were infused in to make it so realistic. For example he made Rajini speak Malay is certain dialogues, the fact that gangsters control through 3 main outlets; parking lots, drugs and prostitution. He goes a great length to ensure even the food served looks like Malaysian dish.

He was excellent to highlight the plight Malaysian Indians faced from back than today. For example the inequality in wages, the demolishing of temples, the struggles students faced to enter government universities and the drug element among youths.

The only drawback for me was the pace of the film, certain parts of film could have been shorten or simplified. One scene that comes to mind was the search of Kabali's wife. It was long and draggy but I never mind a single bit of it because those sequence of scenes was well used to express Rajini's emotional side of acting. One he was largely criticized in the past of not having it. Pay close attentions to those scenes and you would see what a wonderful performer Rajini is

Ranjith was absolutely wonderful and he was the real star of the film. Thank you Ranjith for going great lengths to show the world the struggles we have been facing. You have done something our entire government have been trying to deny. And there is no stronger voice to highlight our plight other than having Superstar to be our "Leader"

Rating: 4.8/5.0 
The Cast
Superstar Rajinikanth

Whatever stereotype or accusations that has been thrown at him in the past have been broken in this film. I remember critics telling that he is old and he should doing a role of his age, how can he be fighting huge groups alone, he is so poor when comes to emotional scenes and he should not be romancing actress of younger age.

Guess what, he broke that all. Here you will see an old age Rajini who is aware that he is now old and only has a limited time left. He can't go out there and fight people like he used to and will need people for it. At both young and old Rajini, he never once is shown romancing his heroine.

In fact the chemistry between him and Radhika Apte was fantastic. Even the scenes where he talks about her or thinks about her were brilliant. It was another side of Rajini that has been hidden for a very long time. The bond he shares with his gang and his daughter was a treat to watch.

The way he communicates to the students of the school and how he faces upon his rivals were all different. Each time he is on screen with a different set of cast, you see a different shade of him. The Rajini that speaks to his rival is not the same Rajini that speaks to his gang, He has that variations which so many underestimate

My favorite scene of his has to be the climax scene where he delivers the following dialogue to the villain. I swear I had Goosebumps. It was amazing and uplifting with the feel of Rajinism

After all he is the Superstar and there is a reason why he is in such position. Thalaivan Da!!! He is the people's champion
 Rating: 4.9/5.0

Radhika Apte & Dhansika

Prior to this film, I have no idea who Radhika Apte was and had no idea what to expect from. But from her first scene of hers I felt in love with her character. I will remember her as Kumudhavalli rather than Radhika Apte more and that was because the strength of her character. The scenes where she speaks boldly to Kabali, scolds and of cause the scene she seems after 25 years. Wow that was some amazing performance

On the other hand, Dhanshika played a very bold, brave young gangster girl. Just like how her daddy is. It was hard for me to like her and I guess that is because of her hairstyle lol. As an actress she was fantastic and the scene showing her closeness and rapport with Kabali was her best performance.

 Rating: 4.2/5.0
The Rest

So many other actors in this film deserves lots of credit for their performance. It's a film with a large cast and yet nearly everyone had enough screen time. I was so impressed with Rosyam Nor's performance. He was awesome as one of the mafia. I hardly knew that "Jeeva" was actually Dinesh, huge credit to him for his transformation for the role. John Vijay gave a solid performance along with the villains. Although I felt Kalaiyarasan could have had more screen time and importance

Rating: 4.0/5.0
The Music
Santosh Narayanan

I would be honest here, when the songs were first released, the only song I enjoyed was Nerrupa Da and I found the rest as average at best. After hearing a couple of times I started to develop a liking for the songs but I never felt confident how Ranjith would fit the songs into the film.

How wrong could I ever been. The particular highlight for me was the "Maya Nadhi" song. The build up to it, the emotions of the cast and the timing was perfect. These things happens only when the director and music director are in sync.

Meanwhile the timing of the Nerrepu Da songs was brilliant. It will get your blood pumping with excitement when the songs comes and the whistling BGM with Rajini screen presence was another highlight.

 Rating: 4.3/5.0
Final Verdict: Kabali Is A Film Dedicated For Malaysian Indians. Truly Nerrupa Da. It's A More Mature Baasha

Final Rating: 4.5/5.0

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