Kaala: First impressions
A quick mini review of Superstar Rajinikanth's latest film
It has been quite some time since Rajinikanth played a don based out of Mumbai. In Kaala, that Rajini returns with a solid performance, the likes we haven't seen since Padayappa atleast.
In a fight between good and evil - black and white - this is a film about the land of Dharavi and how it is seen by two different people as two disparate things. Power vs right to livelihood. This modern day retelling of Ramayana (or should I say Ravanayana) delivers in pacing, story, screenplay, and more importantly in being a complete Rajinikanth film for everyone.
While Kabali showed us the unabashed fan that Ranjith was of the Rajinikanth of Mullum Malarum, Johnny days, Kaala shows us in complete swagger the Rajini we loved in Thalapathy and Baasha. This is as much a Rajini film as it is Ranjith's and yet somehow at the end of the film there is a distinct feeling that Ranjith is the one who comes away as the winner in the long run without affecting Rajinikanth the actor and the star. To this end, Kaala is actually the film Kabali could have been, especially in the minds of audiences.
The Dharavi set is a fantastic case-study in set design, and production design. The costumes of the characters across the board at all times - with some of them replete with larger symbologies - is near perfect. The songs deliver on screen, and alongside the audio, the cinematography is a huge plus. There is one particularly fabulous fight scene on a bridge, that proves how these two departments come together to give a huge fillip to Rajinikanth's 'mass' image. Also, all the female characters are neatly etched, and each of them steals the scene at various times. This is no mean feat in a Rajini film, which has Samuthirkani earmarked as the exclusive scene-stealer throughout, amidst thunderous applauses from the audience.
Overall, Kaala is a welcome return to form for the Superstar and a great redemption for director Ranjith whose Kabali was neither critically nor commercially acclaimed. Theatres, which were going through a lean booking-pace, should be sold out quite soon going by the widely positive early impressions.