Monday, July 25, 2016

Kabali.. Ka Ba Li


First this is not a review. So don’t expect marks or scores like 1.34, 2.75 from me. Then, you must have seen this film before reading it as it may have spoilers.

If you had watched this film in the first day and had FB’d or tweeted it as mokka padam, then you had criticized this film emotionally, because you had spent a considerable amount of money, you may not be a die-hard Rajini fan, probably you got your ticket from your work place, or you had taken the tickets using your influence. So either, you must have got it too easy or too difficult. And, along with the hype you went to see the movie. You expected something, but you didn’t get, you vented your frustration as “mokkai or sappa padam”. Fair, you got your teeth and freedom.

Now, I’m not going to defend the film, nor bash the film or you with your choosiest “mokkai” kind of words. As all films do, this does have its share of slipups. This is not Godfather, Ranjith is not Coppola and Rajani is not Brando. It sure lacks in cinematic experience and there is “logic idikuradu” in many scenes, example- Bangkok to KL via car. 18+ hours via road, OK, but Yogi calls Kabali as “Appa” only when they reach KL! OK, this may be to to get the scenic Petronas tower in the intermission shot. I’m not going to go into all the “logic idikuradu” of this movie, because that is not the purpose of my writing.

"KL Petronas Tower to Tamil cinema has become synonymous to what Paris Eiffel tower is for Hollywood films. In any given scene, every window will lead to the tower"

Malaysia disconnect

First is the cultural disconnect, most of Tamils in Tamil Nadu are unaware of the Malay Tamil culture and their distinct dialects. As a “Rajini movie audience” we are not supposed to learn something from his films. Ranjith gave a heads-up that this is not a regular Rajini film, but audience should have been educated (or talked more on the premises) prior to the release. Instead all they did was to create the hype. Now we are into the 4th day of the release and the FDFS enthusiasm dust is settled, this disconnect should not be a concern as people now watch with less expectations.


In a superstar film, Rajini is the ONLY character and the antagonists along rest of the characters are not so important, this was in his Baasha days, but not anymore. Kumutha character is developed via the hallucinations of Kabali, which becomes a strong character. Yogi, makes as a strong character too, as she travels with Kabali in more than half of the film. Now, look at other supporting actors, Jeeva- I didn’t feel for him when his hand was cut, nor laughed for his comic-part. With this so-called comic-role he beats the shit out of Velu!. If you don’t get confused with Loga, Veelu and the car parking security (what his name) in the flashback and connect them back to present day story then I tip my hat to you as you got sharp reflections and recognizing skills.

Another character is Kumaran, such an important character, but his vengeance with Kabali is only portrayed in dialogues, not in visuals. There is not much screen space for him before he points the gun against Kabali. In line with Amutha and Yogi, Ameer is a saving grace.

Antagonists- Who are they, the prime player is Tony Lee, a Chinese. He looks like a Gangam Style guy! Post-Padayappa, this seems to be an issue with Tamil directors to cast a right antagonist to Rajini. Tony is not the right cast, but the catch is who\how to point when the protagonist speaks about Chinese oppression on Malay Tamils. I don’t know the answer. Or maybe that’s why Veerasekaran character was there to play a second fiddle against Kabali!


There is a quest of Kabali to find Amutha, it might look bit jarring, but this is where Rajini scored his brownie points. Some say the reunion of Kabali and Amutha is poetic. I wouldn’t have agreed to it if Kabali had not taken Amutha in the climax party and made her to meet Tony and Veerasekaran. This makes a perfect circle of love- the antagonist tried to destroy Kabali’s family, and now in the end after long search, he is reunited with his family. The end meeting honors the long search.

Before 25 years

"You might be bit confused, who is Tamilnesen and who is Tamilmaran!"

I was relieved to see that this film didn’t have that clichéd dialogue, “25 varusathuku munnala”, and take us back to the flashback with songs and fight. They did this by Kabali narrating his past story to the school students; back and forth story telling is the fine montage, especially, when Kabali meets Tamilnesen and Tamilnesen addressing the crowd. As both the scenes intercut each other along with the present day Kabali, I can only remember the editing of Thelma Shoonmaker of Scorsese’ The Departed.

Alternate Voices

When K. Balachander used to refer Bharathiyar in his films, people had no problems, but when Ambedkar is referred then people oppose or don’t like it. Here, I quoted Balachander and Bharathiyar only as a reference to make my point, as there are other directors who used other castes and their affinity towards them in the films. Once Kodambakkam was filled with Devar\Ejaman kadali manu, Gounder Thundu, Nattamai Kuthura Vandi, Naicker Vaaku, Periya Gounder Ponnu…. a film was named as Metukudi. You can say, these films didn’t propagate castesim, I disagreed or will take your answer with a pinch of salt. 

By celebrating the above the films, what makes your to close your nose and ear when someone talks about the oppressed caste in the system. Don’t bring your reservation tag arguments here; if you don’t know how government system works and the ill treatment done to the oppressed, then you are lacking in social-knowledge. Why are you allergic to see Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Ambedikar portrays in the film (BTW, there is Vivekananda pictures in the film too), if you are a so-called “proud hindu”, why are you allergic to hear about Mohandas and Nehru. Why aren’t you open to hear alternate voices?

Reserved minds can’t understand reservation! - @iamvariable

**Post and the above meme by the blogger

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