The much- awaited Rajinikanth’s Kabali opened with house full across India and various parts of the world. Rajinikanth does play his age in Kabali for the most part, with a grim, grey beard completing his look. But he also gets to romance a much younger Radhika Apte, who dons the guise of a co-worker on a Malaysian plantation.
Now, Kabali starts with the regular “SUPERSTAR RAJINI” card flashing on screen. The loud whistles and claps from the euphoric crowd sets the mood for Thalaivar’s entry which comes shortly after. He is Kabaleeshwaran or Kabali, an aging don released from prison after 25 years of sentence for opposing the atrocities on fellow Tamils in Malaysia.
Kabali needs to search for his missing family – wife (Radhika Apte) and daughter (Dhansika). Besides, he has an axe to grind with a crime syndicate who call themselves 43. Something like the ‘Crazy 88’ in ‘Kill Bill’ (2003).
By the way, quite a few plot points draw influence from that Tarantino classic. Like the carnage in a temple is similar to the church massacre in Kill Bill. Kabali is also unaware of his daughter’s existence just like the Bride was. Rajini Sir is styled like ‘Godfather’ Corleone. These Hollywood influences aside, Kabali is Rajinikanth show all the way…
Right from his dramatic entry to his typical dialogue delivery and the confident swagger, Rajini Sir dominates the entire film and trust me, you can’t take your eyes off him. I mean I wasn’t really bothered which Chinese or Indian goon he was fighting with and why. Truly, the cause is immaterial, the effect Sir creates on screen is spellbinding. Technically, Murali’s cinematography is top notch that he has shown Malaysia in a different angle. Santhosh Narayanan’s BGM elevates the film to a different level.
Of the supporting cast, Radhika Apte is impressive in a short role. Dhansika resembles a B-grade bollywood actress of the 80’s called Neeta Puri. Don’t know how many of you will remember her! She’s acted quite well. It was surprising to see Nasser, a Kamal Haasan staple, in a cameo role.
More than the songs, it’s the background score screaming ‘KA BAA LEEE’ which is pulsating. The other technical aspects are serviceable.
Rajinikanth puts up a performance like never before. He looks dapper in a well fitted suits in pastel shades and his styling is top class – A big thumbs up to designer Anu Vardhan. The actor even at this age carries the film on his shoulder. It is the strong screen presence and sheer aura of the man that keeps us rooting for the film.
1. Rajinikanth: 5/5
2. Direction : 2.5/5
3. Music : 3/5 (for the title score)
4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 2/5
5. Cinematography : 3/5
6. Production Quality : 3/5
Rajinikanth, Radhika Apte, Winston Chao, Dhansika, John Vijay