Movie review – Kabali – Even Rajinikanth can’t pull off this incoherent film
By Joginder Tuteja
I loved Sivaji. I watched Robot twice. I even enjoyed Kochadiiyaan. I even didn’t mind Lingaa.
All it turned out was all hype, but no show. A couple of scenes here and then, a few slow motion shots, a nice dialogue or two from Rajinikanth, and a couple of well orchestrated action sequences were not enough to make Kabali a cohesive entertaining experience.
Incoherence – This is what turns out to be the biggest problem of this Pa. Ranjith film. A scene starts at one point. The one that follows could well be set in a different stage and setting. And what it eventually leads to is something that turns out to be baffling no less.
Picture this. The chief villain is on the run. He knows that Rajinikanth is after him. He is scared like never before. And suddenly, once he finds a whiff of leverage, he steps behind a pool table and plays a game or two with his henchman. No tension, nothing at all. Yes, this is a very trivial example from a film which is not meant to really run on logic. This is the reason why you are happy to ignore the fact that despite Malaysian police announcing that they would be on Rajinikanth’s trail lest he gets back to his gangster business 25 years after being released from jail, they do absolutely nothing even when the star of the show begins to engage in bloodshed practically one hour after stepping out.
Gang-wars erupts, bodies go flying all over Malaysia, Thailand and India, heroes and villains get injured all around, but there is no police in sight. Not at all. Well, you can let go even all of that, consider the fact that this is a ‘masala’ film in the offering. However, what one cannot digest is the fact that entertainment is sorely missing in this revenge tale which doesn’t work despite an attempt of pouring in emotions all around. As a matter of fact, practically every scene where Rajinikanth reminisces about his wife Radhika Apte is boring to the core and you just don’t empathize with the proceedings at all.
Things aren’t helped by the fact that the supporting cast just doesn’t give Rajinikanth good support. There are half a dozen friends of the central protagonist in the film and further half a dozen goons and dons. None, practically none of them manage to leave any mark, hence leaving it all to Rajinikanth keep the movie tolerable to a little extent at the least. In fact the only younger actor in the film, Dhansika, doesn’t manage to make any impression whatsoever except for a couple of action scenes where she does well.
Where the director doesn’t do well though is to hold many of the supporting actors get their act together in some of the most important of the film. There are these couple of students shown in a school run by Rajinikanth. They are meant to bring on tears but all they manage to to do is bring on unintentional laughs. As for the length of some of the scenes in the film, they just go and on and on without much of a reason. Watch the forced camaraderie between Rajinikanth and his daughter where latter goes ‘Papa Papa Papa’ practically once every 30 seconds. As for the scene set before the interval point in the school where students ask Rajinikanth some silly questions, one wonders how all of this was approved on paper and then even passed through by the editor.
What one remembers eventually is some of the swagger that Rajinikanth shows, especially when he is playing his age. However, that is certainly not enough as one went in with a lot more expectations. Leave aside the fact that the actor himself is restrained, it is the disjointed narrative of the film that leads to an epic disappointment.