Kabali review: Rajinikanth tries best to rise above weak script in Pa Ranjith's film
Kabali has its moments, but this Rajinikanth film is let down by a weak script and presentation
Straight off the bat, Kabali is not a typical Rajinikanth mass masala entertainer. Like the proverbial curate’s egg, it is good in parts and packaged like a class film. The superstar is outstanding and has made a successful transition from his regular commercial hero role to a more mature, ageing don. For the first time he has neither his trademark introduction song, nor does he have the usual romantic scenes laced with comedy or dream songs. And the action scenes are mostly fierce gunfights, and no punchlines other than the word "Magizhchi" used at regular intervals. Believe it or not, this is the first ever Rajinikanth film with an open ending!
The director and writer Pa Ranjith who earlier made meaningful films like Attakathi and Madras, has emphasised family ties and emotions. One of the best scenes in the film is the post-interval lost-and-found family reunion, which is sure to create a lump in your throat. Rajinikanth and Radhika Apte who play husband and wife have a crackling onscreen chemistry. The director has been able to bring out more of the actor in Rajinikanth, than riding on his star charisma and larger than life image.
However, the film lacks a cohesive script, and at the end it is just a routine revenge story told in a violent manner with lot of blood and gore. After a terrific Rajinikanth introduction scene, the pace slackens as the life and times of Kabali the don unfold in a long drawn out flashback. The don, after spending nearly 25 years in a Malaysian jail, is let free and then takes on old enemies who are well entrenched in his long search for his missing wife.
Kabali has its moments, but is let down by a weak script and presentation. For a director who specialises in realistic stories, there are far too many loopholes and lack of logic in the narration. The film also needed a more powerful antagonist than the Chinese actor Winston Chao, and Kishore.
Technically the film is slick, with eye-catching outdoor camerawork of Malaysia by cinematographer Murali and a great background score (with a special mention of 'Neruppu Da') by Santosh Narayanan. Anu Vardhan’s costumes — especially the suits that Rajinikanth sports — are fab. The first half is definitely faster than the second half, which plods along.
On the whole Kabali is one-time watch, as Rajinikanth has tried his best to rise above the insipid script.
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