Kabali - Fanboy Moments
This was one occasion that I have been eagerly looking forward for the past one year or so - To watch FDFS of Thalaivar movie. And it happened. Had the darshan of Thalaivar Superstar Rajnikanth in and as Kabali at 4.10am on Friday, 22 July 2016 at Kasi Theatre Chennai.
Watch my film review to The Hindu at 2.26 in this video which was taken outside Kasi Theatre on Friday morning. I have seen the film thrice back to back on Fri/Sat/Sun and now content to my heart about the movie, fully satisfied as a fan that Thalaivar has not given us just a movie but something very special.
At 65, him acting and taking so many risks itself is a great deal. And he has given us such a splendid performance. Many fans cried along with him in the scene where he reunites with his wife. Fans celebrated fatherhood when Dhansika calls him "Appa" in a particular scene. You may note that Thalaivar has never had a son in any of his movies, just like his real life, in which he has played a father - Nallavanukku Nallavan, Annamalai, Padayappa, to name a few. And the trend continues in Kabali as well. How I wish to be a dad like him!
The entry scene was Theri Mass, as we call. At 65 years, Thalaivar doing a pull up in the jail room was to signify to the naysayers and critics that he is still around and we should watch out his next move. In the opening scene itself, the Director shows a pic of Kabali's wife (Radhika Apte) which indicates that the film is all about revenge, for the 25 odd years Kabali has spent in jail.
There were rumours making rounds that Kabali was about a don from Mylapore which sounded so dumb. Obviously it is not. The film is about an angry young man who took to the cause and welfare of the downtrodden and those who are ill-treated or are suffering due to their ethnicity. He fights for their cause and ultimately lands up in jail only to come back after 25 years to rejoin with his family and take revenge on those who were responsible to disintegrate his life.
The opening song, Ulagam Oruvanukka is not a typical Thalaivar opening song but had a massive impact with its lyrics and portrayal of the leader in Kabali. With its teaser becoming the most viewed one in world history with over 25 million views, Kabali was expected to be a big blockbuster and has indeed become one grossing over 215-220 crores in the opening weekend only to become the second highest grosser in Tamil Cinema after Enthiran. Maya Nadhi song shows his deep expressions, so does the song Vanam Parthen. In Neruppuda, we see the aggression of Thalaivar that is so much of energy and enthusiasm, something that he is always known for.
All the supporting actors and crew have played a great role in the film. The script and screenplay seems to have been written especially for Thalaivar who appears in almost every scene from start to finish, taking the entire film on his shoulders. The way he utters dialogues, mocking the villain about how we need to live a great life and how we will work hard to come up in life are outstanding. The gun sequences and stunts - Thalaivar has played with elan and his energy matches with those who are half his age. He fights the baddies effortlessly and is finally seen as the winner, as always.
Kabali is a treat to the soul of an ardent Rajni Fan. Although we don't get to see a usual Rajni in this film, we have seen some very different things about his mannerisms. All through the film, he speaks with his eyes, face and shoulders. This is not so much that we have seen for the last 20 years. Except for the now world famous "Naan Vanduttennu Sollu" there is actually no punch dialogue in the film.
In a simple scene where Thalaivar is seen eating with a fork & spoon as well as drinking juice in another (he doesn't consume alcohol or cigarette in the entire film and makes it a point to mention it as well) the Director has made him look so cool yet fashionable and stylish. Koodave porandadhu.
We saw Thalaivar emote so beautifully in some scenes - when he first gets to know his daughter, when he shaves off his beard and climbs down the stairs at Pondicherry, when he reunites with his wife after 25 years, when Tamilnesan gets killed and he screams, when he kills Tamilmaran and shrugs like "you too brutus", in the climax when he sways his legs and gives a sarcastic look to the Tony Lee gang - you may note that this is the first time his right leg is over left, a rarity and a detail that Ranjith has attempted.
This particular look in the picture below is one of his most powerful ones in his career and will always be remembered for. Also, Thalaivar is known for his fast walking but in this film, as explained in interviews by Ranjith, he has attempted to slow down Rajni's pace and where he couldn't he has made the visuals into slow-motion. There is only one, just one sequence in the film where Thalaivar walks fast, when he is at the backyard of the Pet Shop to meet Seeni - that fast and brisk walk is so much of what Thalaivar is all about.
This is the first time in world cinema history that an actor's photo was printed and pasted in an aircraft... Air Asia, a low cost airline from Malaysia is the official partner for the film and created an unparalleled campaign especially for Kabali and Rajnikanth. Needless to say, the airline must have benefitted quite much with this association. I had written about this marketing campaign here.
As millions of fans would agree, the film leaves a deep impact on one's mind after a first watch. I was in fact a bit confused, though not upset, what the film was about. Whether it is a Ranjith film or a Rajni film or perhaps a combination of both, and after watching the film thrice, I am now quite sure that the film is a landmark one in Rajni's career spanning 41 years and 16o+ films. Many people compared Thalaivar's emotions to his acting in Mullum Malarum which is probably over 30 years ago and a different script/situation/genre as well. I felt otherwise. I could see a very different Rajni, a very calm and composed person all through this film. Another instance where I can relate such underrated acting is perhaps in a hit film "Aarulirindhu Aruvathuvarai" in which he has played one of his most powerful characters.
It's been five days since the film released as I write this review and has netted INR 400 Crores worldwide and is declared a Blockbuster, shutting the mouths of critics and naysayers. Box Office collections mean a lot for the Investors, Producer, Distributors, Exhibitors et al, but for us ardent fans, what matters is how we feel after watching the film. I am compelled to watch this movie again and again for everytime I see, I discover something new and different about Rajni in the film, the way he expresses himself.
On Saturday and Sunday (23/24 July) I organized two special screenings for my family and friends at Inox Cinema, Citi Centre, Chennai. It has been my practise to organize a full screen for my friends in the opening weekend of a Rajni film (did this for Sivaji, Kuselan, Enthiran & Lingaa) and it was sheer madness this time as well. Over 100 families came with their loved ones, the youngest audience being a 1.5 year old baby and the oldest being a 82 year grand mother! So much love for Thalaivar across generations. No wonder why he is so much loved by people. In a way, I am happy organising these shows - it breaks the monopoly of the so called fan clubs and their members depriving genuine film watchers and fans from seeing a Rajni film in the opening weekend. I plan to continue to do this even more grander for the next Thalaivar release 2.0 with more shows. Let's hope for the best.