Release date : June 07, 2018
Rating : 4/5
Starring : Rajinikanth, Huma Qureshi,
Director : Pa. Ranjith
Producers : Dhanush
Music Director : Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematographer : G. Murali Vardhan
Editors : Sreekar Prasad
Kaala Synopsis: A gangster from Tirunelveli, who is the King of Dharavi, fights for keeping the land safe from mighty politicians and the land mafia.
Kaala Review: This time, Ranjith uses Rajinikanth the Superstar to tell his message — land is the common man’s right. The story is simple… Migrants from Tamil Nadu settle in Dharavi and help build it, and run the city. When an evil politician-cum-land mafia don sets his eyes on their land, they revolt. Do they succeed?
Kaala begins with an animated story-telling device similar to Bãhubali, wherein the importance of land and the suppression of the downtrodden by the power-hungry is shown. The film quickly shifts to the present day, in live-action multi-colour (with black being the prominent hue). We are shown evil politicians and land mafia hatching plans to destroy the slums of Dharavi to make it Digital Dharavi and Pure Mumbai (an obvious reference to some of the actual government schemes).
We get a casual, but sweet introduction of the Superstar, as Kaala (short for Karikaalan). However, the pace picks up when it is established that he is the King of Dharavi and no one messes with him. The love track between Zareena (played beautifully by Huma Qureshi) and Kaala initially seems to go the Kabali-Kumudavalli way, but Ranjith is quick to realise his folly and sets up a beautiful dinner scene featuring the ex-lovers, where Kaala clarifies his priorities. Watch out for an amazing performance by the two actors here.
The pre-interval block has a typical masala stunt sequence that is staged on a Mumbai flyover (with some VFX coming to the aid). This scene reminds you of the Rajinikanth of yesteryear. A big treat for his fans. Sparks start flying once the antagonist Hari Dada (played with a menacing charm by Nana Patekar) enters the scene. The interval scene is a scream.
What follows after the interval is somewhat predictable, with Hari Dada seeking revenge and depriving Kaala of his loved ones. But slowly, Ranjith brings in his style of filmmaking. He talks about how the oppressed continue to be suppressed unless they protest against the establishment. Kaala does exactly that. He asks his people to use their body as weapon — telling his people to shut Mumbai down by going on a strike as the slum dwellers in effect run the city as taxi drivers, municipality staff, hospital staff and so on. Mumbai comes to a standstill. Hari Dada seeks revenge.
Ranjith gives a spin to the classic white-is-pure-and-black-is-evil logic. Here, Ram is bad and Ravan is good. Watch out for the confrontation scenes between Nana Patekar and Rajinikanth. They are total paisa vasool. Hearing Rajini speak in Hindi and Marathi at times will be a delight for his fans.
Special mention should go to Easwari Rao (as Kaala’s wife, Selvi) and Anjali Patil (as Puyal, the girlfriend of one of Kaala’s sons). You will fall in love with their characters. The theme song, which, by now, is hugely popular is where Ranjith stamps his brilliance as a writer and director, carefully feeding the appetite of Rajinikanth fans. This would be remembered as one of the best climaxes in a Rajinikanth movie. Ranjith owes to his excellent technical crew (cinematographer Murali, music director Santhosh Narayanan, editor Sreekar Prasad and art director Ramalingam) for helping him visualise and deliver this 51% Rajini-49% Ranjith movie.