Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 2 Average: 3/5]
Directed By: PA Ranjith
Cast: Rajinikanth, Nana Patekar, Huma Qureshi, Samuthirakani, Eshwari Rao, Anjali Patil, Eshwari Rao,
When a Rajini movie releases everyone forgets their caste, creed, strata and come together to celebrate the festival. There is a template for every Rajini movie- villain screws up the society and Rajini the messiah then saves all. The movie has a lot of punches and punch dialogues. However big a director you may be the moment Rajini signs the movie, it belongs to him and him alone. And success of the said movie depends on how close the movie is to this template. Sadly, Kaala is not as per the template and thus falls short of expectations. Rajini has always been known for his style- a superhuman who can fight anyone. When you remove all this and show Kaala (Rajinikanth) as a vulnerable old man, audience will have difficulty in accepting it.
Kaala begins with a protest happening in Dharavi against the forcible removal of its residents for the construction of a smart city in its place. The protest turns ugly which forces the entry of our hero. The intro scene is one of the worst in the history of Rajini movies- there is no slow motion shot instead the camera focuses a mere 3 secs on him. This is a big let down given Rajini movies are known for their intro scenes. Two of the main protesters turn out to be his son Lenin (Manikandan) and future daughter-in-law Charumathi Gaekwad (Anjali Patil). I liked this father son angle where Lenin believes in peaceful resolution of the problem as against his father’s methods of rowdyism.
Then enters or re-enters Zareena (Huma Qureshi) in his life. The love triangle is interesting as it brings out the best character of the movie. Selvi (Eshwari Rao) is Kaala’s wife and in truest sense his better half. Always smiling, she lights up the entire movie. The scenes involving Kaala and Zareena are a drag and the love song stretches unnecessarily for too long. They don’t look good together because Huma looks very young compared to Rajini. I was smiling inside when Kaala asks Zareena how she managed to look so young when he has grown so old as I had the same query too. The love angle doesn’t add any value to the theme, all it does is add to the frustration of the intro scene disappointment.
Kaala meets her clandestinely as he still loves her and doesn’t want to hurt Selvi. One such meeting leads to the Kya Re Setting aa? scene. The scene is very interesting as the teaser had hyped it very much that it became the solo talking point of the movie. Kaala gets ready to fight but just then reinforcements arrive and you feel cheated. But the scene is important as it changes the mood and sets up the rest of the half. A major murder happens and it leads to an action sequence which is the best scene of the entire movie.
The killing of Vishnu Bhai (Sampath Raj) brings Haridev Abhyankar (Nana Patekar) to Dharavi. The real reason of his visit is to measure Kaala. The movie explores his equation with Kaala as a reverse Ramayan. Where the hero is Ravan and the villain is Ram. Like how Ravan abducting Sita is an act of revenge for Surpanakha’s insult, Kaala also is on a revenge path. Nana Patekar is subtly menacing but his Tamil takes away all the aura. He shouldn’t have dubbed his own lines in Tamil. His dialogues could have remained in Hindi or Marathi- also giving it an angle of Hindi v/s Tamil. Their rivalry also brings out the caste-ism where he refuses to drink water from Kaala’s house. (Untouchable? Dalit angle perhaps).
Apart from them I really liked Vallliyappan’s (Samuthirakani) role. He nails the drunkards role to the perfection. Lenin’s character is absurd and not much thought has gone into it. On one hand he protests forcible removal of the residents of Dharavi but he supports the construction of a Golf Course there.
The main issue with the movie is that director Ranjith has tried to push his ideology while trying to include Rajini the phenom. And in the process it is neither here nor there. The movie would have worked if it was any other actor. There would have been less pressure and expectation and he would have been able to deliver. But still its a much better watch than Kabali and the big reason is the music of Santosh Narayanan. The background music is top notch and really captures the mood of the movie.
Its a one time watch and if you are a Rajini fan be prepared to be disappointed. I am just glad that it was a two film deal as both Rajini and Ranjith were a huge mismatch for each other. Watch it and share your rating above.
Enjoy the Trailer: