Free Press Journal

Kabali – Unabashedly Venerating the icon


Kabali movie review

Cast: Rajnikanth, Radhika Apte, Prakash Raj, Vincent Chao

Director: Pa Ranjith

Rating: * *

Runtime: 153 mins   

‘Kabali’ is yet another attempt to keep South superstar Rajnikanth’s fan base in fine fettle. And the film relies mostly on crude progressive iconography to achieve that end.

This one is set largely in Malaysia where racism and anti-Tamil sentiment play spoilers. Rajnikanth plays an ageing Don returning to his homeland, in search of his abandoned wife.

The film opens with Rajnikanth coming out of a Malaysian prison after a 25 year incarceration. He is soon informed by his henchmen that  in his absence other gang lords have taken over control of the city. So Kabali sets out to clean up the opposition (Kishore and Vincent Chao) and go home for the melodramatic reunion. But in-between come a kidnapping, civil rights issues and messianic liberation of the oppressed.

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Of course Rajnikanth is being made to play to the gallery. The thread-like storyline and the heavy histrionics make it rather heavy duty. The narrative lacks style and the substance is whittled down to showcasing the Thalaiva as an all encompassing demi-god. Such veneration in cinema is clearly unbecoming.

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It’s clear from the beginning that the film intends to rehash the Thalaiva’s earlier career highs in a compilation that only a clueless director would think of as a worthy story. Rajnikanth hams through the entire run of play looking old and over burdened by overwhelming expectations. The film has nothing new to offer either. The technical specs are pretty rudimentary, the costume and choreography typically south-side and the histrionics are way too bombastic- save for Radhika Apte who does well even under severe exhibitionistic duress.  This is another big dud from the Rajnikanth factory and I am pretty much sure (in spite of all that media hype) and the many marketing and exhibition firsts the producers have chalked up, this film is going to be a huge disappointment!