Kaala Trailer: A breakdown
We attempt to decode Rajinikanth and Ranjith's Kaala trailer, and consider what the storyline could be
When Rama leaves Ayodhya to live in exile, he goes to a place called Dandakaranya. It is here that Surpanaka encounters Lakshmana, Lakshmana cuts off her nose, she runs back home to her brother Raavana, who then takes revenge by abducting Sita. The opening shot of Kaala's trailer has Hari dada (Nana Patekar all in white) at a function talking about cleaning the dirt from the slums and bringing brightness back to their life. The real estate mogul behind this is called Manu Realty and this seems to be a reference to the Manusmriti, which many believe is behind the casteist evils prevalent in our society. If one were to take an educated guess, given the background, the plot probably deals with the gentrification of the Dharavi slums and the area is going to be renamed Dandakaranya Nagar. But given that Rama is the one who is in exile, does that mean Superstar Rajini is the Rama of the story? Is there a throne waiting for him at the end of this film? In all of the film's promotions, the team, including the director and the lead actor, have said that this is not a political film, but it has politics. But your guess is as good as mine given all the clues in the trailer.
But this isn't the Rama who had only one love in Sita, or so the trailer would have you believe. Was Rajini in love with Huma Qureshi before he married Eswari Rao? Their son asks Eswari if he loves her at all, to which the mother says, "Poda, poi Kaala kitta kelu," and then we see Rajini with a sweaty blue shirt (hint: blue collar workers and the colour of the Dalit movement) declare his love for Eswari Rao with boyish glee -- "I love you di". It's also interesting to note that both women are shown wearing sarees in different shades of orange. In addition to this, in the scene with Huma, Rajini is shown wearing grey rather than black, suggesting perhaps some ambiguity in the relationship.
Hari dada, however, doesn't think Kaala is Rama. In fact, in the Dandakaranya he is building, Rajini is the Ravana, probably because Hari feels Kaala is lusting after something that isn't his (the land where this construction is going to take place maybe?) Do not be surprised if we get a "You are Tamils after all who emigrated to this place whereas this land is ours to begin with and you do not own it" type argument which is hinted at the end of the trailer. There is also a riotous scene in the middle framed as an aerial shot with Nana probably instigating the infamous Hindu-Muslim riots in Bombay. Nana even goes so far in saying, "yaaravadhu enna edhirtha maranam dhaan."
The songs however talk of a "Otha thalai Raavana, othaiyila nikkira vengaida." While that Ravana had the army and the famous Brahmastra (nuclear weapon equivalent), this one has only his body as a weapon and he fully intends to use it as such. Which tends to make one wonder if the Kaala Karikaalan that many thought would refer to Karikaala Chozhan could actually be a misdirection, and are we instead getting a film that humanises Ravana and shows that maybe Rama, with all his white, was probably not always in the right. Remember that Rama was a direct descendant of Manu, who wrote the aforementioned Manusmriti.
But neither Rama nor Ravana was saved by a woman. While Kaala appears to be saved by Huma Qureshi, or at least she warns him of some imminent danger. Similarly another shot shows a lot of gangsters tossed up, but it doesn't seem to be Rajini who hit them. Someone else seems to have come in and taken care of them. Meanwhile, Anjali Patil is shown leading the fight from the front. Not to mention Eswari Rao, who seems to be Kaala's strength. It's safe to say the women all play big roles in the story, but it remains to be seen how well they are utilised given how important Radhika Apte and Sai Dhanshika's roles were in Kabali.
There is a scene of the famed Kaala jeep burning alongside his house. If we are going by the epic here, who, one wonders, is Hanuman?
There are a lot of, dare I say, burning questions, and we're all eagerly awaiting the answers. June 7 cannot get here soon enough.