My thoughts after watching KABALI twice…


Watched @Kabali movie 2nd time today, and I had slightly varying opinion from the first-time watch… This has not happened to me for any Tamil film in recent time, except #UttamaVillain.

Coming out of the cinema hall after watching #KABALI movie first day first show, I had mixed opinions ad felt that the film was incomplete. I did not like the film much, but I could not hate it either. It was not just me, but majority audience had long faces after watching the movie.

Today after watching the film second time, I liked it to an extent somehow (still, it is a mediocre film that struggles to be a classic, due to weak writing at some crucial points). I saw few other people posting in Facebook that the film worked for them, in the second watch.

So, what made me and most other people dislike the film the first time?

There are 2 major reasons for mixed and negative reviews from the general audience:
1) Right from the beginning, KABALI was promoted as a massive action entertainer in RAJINI’s style. The first teaser with ‘KABALI DA’ dialogue and the second teaser of ‘NERUPPU DA’ song enthralled Tamil audience all over the world with the craze for ‘Super Star’. Yes, they started waiting for a BAASHAA or PADAYAPPA.

How many of them would have read or watched Director Ranjith’s interview just 1 week before the film release, which says that the film will be more of an emotional play? Moreover, all the hype from the production side relating to too many merchandise partnering also added to it. Here, the audience cannot be blamed at all; they were waiting to see what was promised in the teaser and promos. The same which happened in the year 2008 for the movie #KUSELAN, where a PASUPATHI film was false promoted as a RAJINI film. If the team could have released MAYA NADHI teaser instead of NERUPPUDA teaser and prepared the audience how the film is going to be, things might have been different.

2) The second reason is… The film speaks the issue of Tamil people being suppressed in terms of rights, education and employment in Malaysia and other global countries. It is not related in any way to Tamilnadu or India’s political scenario. But, there are lots of scenes where the audience are left to be confused with the problems here, just because of Rajini’s political images and previous films. There were many scenes where the fans would have to confuse between what Rajini speaks and what Kabali speaks.

KABALI is too good in terms of nativity, depicting the language, culture and habits of Malaysian people perfectly which is both the plus and minus of the film. It has become a minus because none of us here knows about the history of Tamil people and Chinese in Malaysia or the problems faced by poor Tamil people in Malaysia (am not talking about the Indian people who go there for a job, but people who are living there for many generations as Malaysians). Director Ranjith failed to tell about them briefly which acts against the film. He might have avoided it claiming it to be ‘spoon-feeding the audience’, but this film needs such things to be narrated in a simple manner since it has a very big star in the lead role and millions of people are going to watch it.

For example, the cop in Jail who helps ’Kabali’ in Jail itself chooses ‘Tiger’ for the execution in climax. Not many will understand why the Police behaves so, until they get to know about how Malaysian cops work. A dialogue spoken by the character Marthandam in the first half tells that in precise – ‘Police’ukku naamalum 43 gang’um onnu dhan… Naama nalladhu panromgrathukkaaga, avanga nammalai summaa vitramaattaanga’ Read this article to know more about the Malaysian people’s culture & language, history of Tamil people & Chinese in Malaysia and the gang culture prevailing there.

In the second time watch, I started loving the scenes so much which I liked the first time whereas I hated the portions even more which I disliked the first time.

Rajini’s fantastic acting, the depiction of the mind-state of a 60 years old man who returns after 25 years of imprisonment, the emotional scenes in the first half, few dialogues, the scene in which Rajini meets Radhika Apte, ‘Maya Nadhi’ song and the fight sequences are all what I liked and enjoyed the most in KABALI.

On the flip side… The villains’ characterization and most of their scenes are so poor and of age-old template. The film fails to be consistent, at places. The predictability at some pivotal points and the clichés in many scenes ruins the show (a pimp from the villain gang taking care of hero’s daughter, the scene where Tony Lee makes use of Kabali’s absence in Malaysia, the climax where Kabali destroys Tony Lee’s properties, the scene where Thamizhmaran’s son pretends to be a traitor and some other clichés). There are some mass scenes (such as Kabali running down Loga in his car) which does not give the right impact.

Despite all the above pluses and minuses said, KABALI is a film with noble intention which has been let down by a weak writing; however, Super Star manages to save the film. The audience might have a disappointment that the film was not able to satisfy them completely, but the film is worth a watch definitely for Rajinikanth alone itself! We are able to see the vintage Rajinikanth whom we saw in films like ‘Mullum Malarum’, ‘Aarilirundhu Arubadhu Varai’ and ‘Thalapathy’ with a superb acting in addition to his regular style 🙂


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