The most anticipated film in recent times, Rajnikanth starrer, Kabali has released throughout the world. After a couple of flops, the super star has been forced out of his comfort zone by Pa Ranjith. The critically acclaimed writer-director took upon himself, this mammoth feat after completing just two films. BothMadras andAttakathi have strong political undertones and Kabali is no different. Rajnikanth plays an exploited Tamil worker in Malaysia who loses everything and then avenges his oppressors.
In his interview to India Glitz, the Ranjith talks about how images of the superstar would flash in his mind as he wrote the script, but thinking that such casting was impossibly out of his reach, he would always suppress his imagination.
Ranjith is known for casting actors based on their suitability to the character and the story. When he was called by Rajnikanth's daughter Soundarya to narrate the story, he was thrilled. The film has been shot in Malaysia and the trailerand music was released to great fanfare a couple of months ago.
As much as this movie will become about the Superstar, it is also Ranjith's film. And it is in this context that the movie must be seen to really be understood. The director has warned that therewill be no cliche punch dialogues about the conduct of an ideal Tamil woman, or about God, which Rajnikanth is known and loved for. He candidly admits that it was quite a challenge to break away from the formulaic Rajnikanth moves even during shooting.
Audiences have thronged theatres in Chennai and elsewhere from early this morning, with shows playing as early as 4am. Here is a round up of some of the early reviews and reactions.
The Sify.com review says that Kabali would have been a classic, if Ranjith had concentrated more on a coherent screenplay instead of narrating the story as a documentary.
India Today quotes a trade analyst, Trinath who says
In the last decade, never have I witnessed such craze over a release. 'Kabali' has sent even non-Thalaivar fans into frenzy because it is said to be the first Rajinikanth-starrer sans any cliches usually associated with his films.
A review in the First Post calls the film a run-of-the-mill revenge thriller, but is driven and made interesting by Rajnikanth. MridulaRamagudu says -
Rajinikanth is finally playing his age on the big screen, and it makes for great viewing. Apart from the wig, this is the closest he has looked to real life in a film. There's none of the desperate attempt to make him look decades younger than he really is, which has given some of Thalaiva's previous films an air of unreality.
It's just one man who steals the show right under the film-maker's nose and makes it almost impossible for us to look at anyone else in the frame. The man effortlessly owns the screen with his nuanced emotions of agonised anticipation so much so that we can't help but feel thankful for Kabali, which has brought alive another dimension of the Superstar after quite a long, long time.
However, the review goes on to say that despite the amazing performance, the story lacks a punch.
The writing comes across as highly temperamental, and it's the screen-presence and charisma of the Superstar that rises up to save the say on many an occasion. This isn't to say that the narrative is plain boring, but coming from a film-maker like Ranjith, it is only natural that we expect to be blown away. A couple of scenes impress here and there, but on the whole, a feeling of 'missing something' predominates.
This review in The Indian Express also points out that films shortcomings are its pace and narration.The reviewer, Goutham VS concludes
There are moments when the film starts lagging and your attention wanders. For a movie that has lefts fans in a frenzy across the world, Kabali fails to live up to expectations because of this. While for most audiences this will be the major grouse, die-hard fans are going to love every moment. This one is a feast for them, others will find it enjoyable but lagging at certain moments.
Daniel Thimmaya gives us a nuanced review in The New Indian Express. While he says that Rajnikanth's charisma and acting carries the film, the story disappoints.
The expectations of Ranjith to deliver a story set against the social ills faced by Tamils who have been living in Malaysia for generations, also nosedived. Not enough was said and done about why they felt oppressed and lived as quasi slaves, except for flashback scenes that served to tell us how Rajini gained the hope and respect of the community.
He goes on to say that the performance of the supporting cast and the background score doesn't come through.
The cinematography is vibrant and responsive, while the music is a tad too sophisticated, too orchestrated for this movie.
Behindwoods, a tamil entertainment portal also carried a mixed review. It seems like the superstar can do no wrong, as the reviewer says that his dialogue delivery and performance remain consistent throughout the film.
While many fans are disappointed at the lack of whistle-worthy moments, reviewers have pointed out that for the first time, they were actually able to watch the film during a first day, first show, without dialogues getting drowned out by screams and whistles.
The female s cast includes Sai Dhanshikaa who plays Yogi, Kabali's daughter in the film and Radhika Apte who plays his wife. Both have been commended for their performances.
@radhika_apte Its your day too :)— Ganesh Sundaram (@gan7del) July 22, 2016
Thank you https://t.co/rObL9n96Qc— SaiDhanshika / YOGI (@saidhanshika) July 22, 2016
All blockbusters starts with these mixed reviews itself! I liked it so much. Don't go with the hype, you will love it! Magizhchi#Kabali— UshaVavveti (@UshaVavveti) July 22, 2016
The mixed reviews seem inevitable given the unprecedented hype and expectation. Nevertheless, anyone who did not manage to get a ticket to the movie today is likely to watch the film. It's hard to be immune to the Kabali fever.
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