When Superstar Rajinikanth announced a new film with a two-film old director, eyebrows widened. As the film found its shape, people were struck with surprise on the new look and feel of a Rajinikanth movie on the road, the name being Kabali. Today, the film hits the screens, much to the relief of a zillion fans round the globe who rejoice at the end of a long wait.
Walking in with fist-pumping excitement, I found myself absolutely enjoying the first 30 minutes of the film where we get to see Rajinikanth in a way he’s never been projected before. The sublime combo of deadly looks and a mischievous character took over, and I got myself ready for a huge wave of awesomeness. Little did I know that the film was going to slow down by a mile, as soon as the emotions take over.
Kabali is neither a Rajinikanth film nor a Ranjith film. While the former is awesome with his trademark mannerisms and style, the latter’s effort on the storyboard is underwhelming to say the least. Ranjith gets the action and the swag totally right, but his space of strength which is the depth and connect goes awry here. With too many characters around Rajinikanth including a weak villain gang, the attention fluctuates in and out of the frame, and one starts to ask for quicker proceedings.
Kabali’s technical departments are rock solid. Cinematographer Murali’s top angle frames and shot creation tactics are a charm to watch, for he knows exactly where to place the camera to pack the best view. Watch out for his work in the climax and the first action block, and you will realize the essence of proper reel registering. The art director and the editor have done a splendid job too, making us delve into the feel of the film, seamlessly. And Santosh Narayanan, wow. Kabali is yet another feather in the cap of this composer who brings his best to the fore with the riveting background music. Comprehending the mood of the scene perfectly, he helps us gel with the situations in the film with just simple tones such as a staggering wobble and horns.
Kabali could have probably taken another route in narrating the chronicles of a gangster. Here, it ends up as a mixed bag of flaky emotions and an impactful protagonist. Rajinikanth truly rocks his part with great character and charisma, but this is a Ranjith film where I would have loved some more of, Ranjith. Definitely not bad, but doesn’t go all the way either.
Verdict: A different Rajini outing. That’s about it.
3 / 5