Banner: Wunderbar Films
Cast: Rajinikanth, Nana Patekar, Eswari Rao, Huma Qureshi, Samuthirakani, Sampath Raj, Ravi Kaaleand others
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematography: Murali G
Editing: Sreekar Prasad
Written and direction: Pa Ranjith
Release date: June 7, 2018
Amidst controversy and low-buzz, Rajinikanth’s “Kaala” has hit the screens. Despite “Kabaali’s” failure to excite audiences, Rajinikanth has worked with the same director Pa Ranjith.
Let’s find out whether Ranjith has made up for the earlier movie’s faults with this one.
Dharavi slum area in Mumbai is under threat of being ransacked as a political leader Hari Dada (Nana Patekar) has grandiose plans to build a huge residential project as part of his Pure Mumbai plan. He plans to make the city clean and pure sans slums.
Karikaala aka Kaala opposes his plan. When Hari Dada sees Kala has become stumbling block to his plans, he hatches plan to kill him.
Karikaala unleashes an agitation against the kabzaa of Dharavi land.
Superstar Rajinikanth in his black and black attire with white bearded look has reminded us a bit of Amitabh Bachhan of ‘Sarkar’ but unlike Big B, Rajinikanth is fiercer and doesn’t sit at one place all the time.
There are many moments of Rajini’s vintage angrier avatar. His best comes in the rain fight sequences, police-station episode and in the episode of confrontation with Nana Patekar in second half. The film has some moments to help his political ambitions in Tamilnadu. At the same time, one gets the feeling that the ‘magic’ and ‘style’ that Rajini is known for is missing.
Nana Patekar simply kills in the role of Mumbai politician. He is huge asset to this simple story.
Huma Qureshi is effective in the simple but important character of Zarina Eeshwari Rao as Rajini’s wife. She is excellent.
Samuthrikani irritates with his drunkard act. Sampath Raj and Sayaji Shinde are okay.
The film boasts of good technical and production values. The film is largely set in Mumbai’s Dharavi slums but majority of the scenes were shot at a recreated set.
The artwork is superb, the sets look quite real. Mukesh G’s cinematography is neat and adequate. Although Santosh Narayan’s music lacks catchy tunes of ‘Kabaali’, his background score here is quite effective.
Pace of the movie is uneven. Second half should have been crispier (editing).
Police station scene
Scenes between Rajinikanth –Nana
“Nela Neeku Adhikaram Nela Maaku Jeevitham” (Land is stepping stone for your power but for us it is lifeline) says Rajinikanth confronting Nana Patekar.
The battle mainly hinges on this line and it is also forms the central theme of Rajinikanth’s ‘Kaala’. Directed by Pa Ranjith, the movie is set in Mumbai slums Dharavi.
“Kabaali” has failed to connect with large section of Rajini’s fans and general Telugu movie going public. Comparatively, “Kaala” has clear cut plotline – politician versus slum leader, protagonist turning the saviour of the area he lives in.
This is age-old story line and has scope for enough mass elements. However, the director has a political ideology, he has made this movie in his style that is quite boring for a Telugu audience.
The family moments in the beginning, the penultimate scenes in the second half, and the scenes between Huma and Rajini make us feel restless.
As long as the film is focused on the conflict between Hari Dada (Nana Patekar) and Kaala (Rajinikanth), it holds the interest. Nana Patekar comes into the picture just before interval.
The scenes between Nana and Rajini (there are three confrontational scenes) have the best massy moments and elevate heroism to the best.
The police station sequence and Rajini entering into Nana’s house are even better. Despite some clap-worthy moments, the film turns into a mess in the second half. The climax is even bad.
Despite slow and not-so-engaging family scenes in the beginning, the film gets in groove with the ‘Kya Re Setting aa’ fight sequence and it gets better with interval but the director has failed to capitalize it later. The lengthy final sequence is awkwardly boring.
In Tamilnadu, Rajinikanth is facing criticism that he is pro-BJP person but the film actually does have strong message against Modi government’s policies. Despite political message, it doesn’t work much.
The film tests the patience as it progresses towards the end. Added to this misery, the songs are bad. Not a single song is worth of appreciation.
On the whole, “Kaala’ is a kind of a movie that is liked by people who have similar political ideology of the director but for general Telugu audiences, it is a mixed bag.