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'Kabali' Review: Boring To The Core

'Kabali' Review: Boring To The Core

Movie: Kabali
Rating: 2/5
Shanmukha Films
Cast: Rajinikanth, Radhika Apte, Winston Chao, Dhansika, Dinesh Ravi, Kishore, John Vijay, Riythvika and others
Dialogues: Sahithi
Music: Santosh Narayan
Cinematography: G. Murali
Editor: Praveen K.L
Producers: Praveen Kumar Varma, K P Chowdhary
Produced by: Kalaipuli S Thanu
Written and Directed by: Pa Ranjith
Release Date: July 22, 2016

There is no bigger star than Rajinikanth in South India. He has a craze that no hero can enjoy in India. Hence every movie that he does creates huge euphoria. Yet, the buzz that "Kabali" has created for the past few months is unparalleled.

The movie’s trailer has set new records in USA. Special flights were arranged for the movie’s premiere shows. Such craze has precedence. Now comes the question, has the movie lived up to all this hype? Let’s find out.

Kabali (Rajinikanth) is sentenced for 25 years in a case in Malaysia. Story begins as he is coming out from the jail. Kabali launches a school for his young gang members so that they can come out from the mafia. When the young gangsters ask how he landed in jail, he reveals his story. He gets married to Kundanavalli (Radhika Apte) and rises as a gangster in a short time.

One gang member (Kishore) who is jealous of Kabali’s rise hatches a plan to kill him and his pregnant wife. In the attack, Kundanavalli gets killed and infuriated Kabali kills them. Kabali lands in prison.

In the present day, in a sudden twist he meets his daughter (Dhansika) and also comes to know that his wife is alive and is living in India. Kabali flies down from Malaysia to India but his path to find his wife is riddled with many problems.

Artistes' Performances:
A different Rajinikanth is seen here. He is absolutely terrific in an ageing role. His smile, his expressions, his walk... all are superb. In the post interval scenes, when he goes down to find his wife, we get to see some great acting from him. For the fans who expect some catchy dialogues, there aren’t many to enjoy but they relish his acting and mannerisms. The film is completely Rajinikanth’s movie. He is the soul.

Like always, Radhika Apte has given commendable performance. There are plenty of Tamil actors whom we hardly know. Of them, Dhansika is the best. She steals the show.

Technical Excellence:
"Kabali" has high technical values and rich production values. The camera work is first rate. Some action stunts are good. Songs are a letdown but the background score by Santosh Narayan is perfect. Editing is neat, though it needs to be trimmed in the second half. The Telugu dialogues are good.

Rajinikanth, Rajinikanth and Rajinikanth

Boring script
Slow pace
Lack of entertainment
No punch dialogues
Melodrama in the second half
Lack of novelty
Too much of violence

First things first, “Kabali” is a huge letdown. The film is quite different from what the trailer and song teasers have suggested. It is not an out and out commercial movie as the trailers made out. If you are expecting a “Baasha” like mafia don movie from “Kabali” after watching the trailers, then you are under wrong impression. 

Forget about the trailer and the hype, “Kabali” is a confused drama - half of the movie seems that it is all about family drama, and last 30 minutes showcase total different picture - the gang wars. Story begins with an aged Rajinikanth coming out from prison. The initial set up is superb. Director Ranjith has established the Superstar as an ageing guy looking for his family and roots. This emotional build up is perfect in the first 20 minutes. 

Trouble starts when he comes to know that he has a daughter and then he it is revealed that his wife is still alive. From here, the story goes in different direction. How Rajinikanth tries to find his wife Radhika Apte is told in most boring way and in a lengthy manner. The interval shoot-out and bang is quite interesting.

Second half begins with Rajinikanth on a mission to find his wife. When he finally finds Radhika Apte, the director has focused on another aspect of the movie- fighting between two gangs.

There are no moments that bring us relief, no songs, no comedy, no punch dialogues, no strong villains. Only in the climax, we get to see the heroism of Rajinikanth. Before that we get to see shoot outs, violent episodes that don’t connect to the main story. 

Also what is this film all about? No clue. If Rajinikanth has acted as a savior for Indians living in Malaysia, the story would have been different. But he is hardly savior. In a flashback episode it is told that he fought for the rights of Indians who are working in plantations. There we see the real heroism of Rajinikanth. But after that it is back to that same gangster shootouts.

Then there are too many of Tamil-style conversations, scenes.  When Rajinikanth talks to a group of children who are studying at his reform-school, it is like watching a non-dubbed Tamil movie. We don’t understand the drama that is going there. There are too many such absurd sequences.

What we expect from a Rajinikanth movie is elevation of heroism, stylish dialogues, and some good action episodes. But we see only him wearing various coats, suits and laughing. There are very few high moments from him. A lengthy episode of Rajinikanth going to find out his wife, it induces sleep.

“Nippu Ra” song was such phenomenon on Youtube but the song is not at all effective in the movie. There are no songs actually except that they are played in the background. It is totally entertainment-less movie. Director Ranjith has failed to handle superstar Rajinikanth.

All in all, “Kabali” is another disappointment from Rajinikanth. Which is better movie – “Linga” Or “Kabali”? Hard to say.

Bottom-line: Ka-‘Bali’!

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or Twitter)

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Tags: Kabali Kabali Rating Kabali Review Kabali Telugu Review P A Ranjith Radhika Apte Rajinikanth