AN UNSATIFYING CLASH BETWEEN THE IMPULSES OF STAR AND DIRECTOR
It is great to see a dignified Superstar, acting his age. He does more for the movie than it does for him.Remove the Malaysian-Tamil setting, and Kabali plays like… a Rajinikanth movie. A revenge drama. It would be silly to expect grime and grit in a mega-budget Superstar movie whose seemingly endless pre-release publicity has spanned the earth to the sky (courtesy, Air Asia), but given that Pa. Ranjith is behind the camera, there is a sense of a letdown. It’s as though, given the biggest stage of his still-young career, the director went up before the audience and got a severe case of the jitters.The meat of Kabali is a gangster story that attempts to tease out some history about Malaysian Tamils. The suits Kabali wears aren’t just a fashion statement. The coat, the tie – they’re symbols of a rung of capitalism people like Kabali weren’t allowed to set foot on. (They’re also a nod to Ambedkar’s sartorial tastes.) But as with Ranjith’s Madras, these are scribbles on the margins of an all-too-familiar story.