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Kabali Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, July 22, 2016 • Telugu ]

Kabali Telugu Movie Review

In a gangster film, it's a bit curious (or may be not) that the best moment (subjectively speaking or otherwise) is an emotional moment.  The long, agonizing wait of the gangster is over.  That motivator-in-chief is waiting to re-enter his life.  And the emotionally ever-so-vulnerable Kabali wonders what that one must have thought about before falling asleep that night, further proceeding to tell the little darling, 'Go, go to sleep'.   This could turn out to be a personal favourite of so many, especially those Rajini fans who like the phenomenal "character artiste" in him.

Director Pa.Ranjith sticking to his convictions means such welcome moments are there.  But there is a flip side, too, to it.  The audiences are forced to empathize with the travails of the sidekicks and all, even as Rajinikanth at times becomes a footnote in the subconscious!  As one, two, or more power-mongering desperadoes try to out-compete the indefatigable Kabali, too many unfamiliar faces (learnt to be from Ranjith's previous film 'Madras') get a disproportionate space.

The film begins with the Malaysian authorities getting into a huddle in the wake of Kabali's impending release from the jail after a twenty-year term.  The situation is potentially explosive because Kabali's bad rivals have been a law unto themselves, minting money from drug-peddling and worse.  Kabali won't tolerate it and this may well result in bloodbath.  As soon as he is released, Kabali lets a minion know he is in.  He has to confront the big fish - Tony Li (Winston Chao) and his accomplice Veera Shankar (Kishore), who both want Kabali dead, just as they had killed his pregnant wife (Radhika Apte).

A formulaic story line doubtless, 'Kabali' actually has even bigger problems. If the pace is prohibitively slow (thanks to the lack of a sense of urgency shown by a philosophical Kabali), the rigmarole of attacks and counter-attacks do the film in.  Lack of nativity sticks like a lump in the throat.

The characterization of Rajini comes with its share of hits and misses.  If the emotional side of Kabali is terrific and enjoyable (especially the subtle expression in the presence of wife Radhika Apte), the tempo goes for a toss after a while.  This was totally unexpected, considering that the teaser unveiled one of the most intense-looking, gravitas-pumping Rajini in a long time.  Rajini's salt N' pepper look seen for the most part is terrific.  On the other hand, the lack of an ascending anguish especially toward and in the climax is an undoing.

The dialogues of the original version are written by Pa.Ranjith himself.  They lack in wit; they are more about being plain and everyday in tone for the most part.   If Rajini talks like a poetic revolutionary (read the analogy of caged birds) moments before pulling off the first stunt soon after coming out of the jail, his sense of profound (or cinematic) language goes missing after that.  The champion of the underclass wearing a suit not as a status symbol, but to make a statement against the hierarchy, is a fine idea. But the climax portions have lines as laughable as Kabali talking about not wanting to be born as a human ever again.

Much as one appreciates the fact that the story is set in Malaysia, the pop culture and the ambience at large are alienating. Rajini sharing an affable relationship with the students of his school is a good idea, but the execution and the screenplay are not up to the mark.

It would be unfair to say that it's Rajini film all the way.  It's as much a Ranjith movie.  If Rajini the actor is enjoyable, one feels Rajini the star should have been there more.  The star arrives rarely if at all.  The youngster's look is again synthetic.  Mano's dubbing has somehow started to lose sheen after 'Robot'.  Perhaps, it has to do with Rajini's characters.

Radhika Apte delivers one of her best performances.  She looks every bit that woman of substance of a loving wife.  Dhansika is another important talent; she is aggressive and vulnerable as and when required.  One or two of the moments involving Rajini and Dhansika stand out, especially the scene where Dhansika is scared in the hotel room on hearing a calling bell.

As for the others, they are forgettable, barring Ritwika (who plays a reformed drug addict addressing Rajini as 'nanna').   Winston Chao is just about OK.  Kishore passes muster.

Santosh Narayanan's songs are intertwined into the narration, but the first song is quite affected in tone.  The BGM has no much zing going for it, except the signature tune.  G Murali's cinematography could have been better.  At 150 minutes, Kabali looks lengthy.  The CGI in the climax robs it of authenticity to an extent.

Verdict:  An old plot line, but that which has an ageing gangster at the centre.  Rajini the actor delivers goods.  Slow pace and boring villains are the biggest liabilities.  Don't expect style quotient to blow your mind.  If you wanted that, go watch trailer for the 200th time.

కబాలి తెలుగు వెర్షన్ మూవీ రివ్యూ

Rating: 2.00 / 5.0

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