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KAALA (Tamil/Hindi) - An ambitious, cliched, social-political drama that honestly gets rescued by Nana Patekar. (Review by Bobby Sing)
09 Jun, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases

A Rajinikanth film is nothing less than a big festival event for the trade as well as the fans without any slightest of doubt. And there ought to be genuine shouts, whistles and claps in the theater (other than the cleverly added ones in the background) in its every stylized scene, action and dialogue unconditionally.

So if that is what you wish to enjoy in a Rajnikanth film, then this is worth it, having enough meat for the cheers featuring a tough component as Nana excelling in his scenes together with Rajini ending with an appreciable climax.

However if you are willing to see Rajinikanth and his director Ranjith coming out of their set comfort zone with something unexpected, path breaking and novel, then KAALA is yet again disappointing, may be less than KABALI in comparison due to the more relatable characters and regional settings.
 
At this age and a decisive stage of his illustrious career, what Rajini is actually trying to do is satisfying his fans as an actor at one end and choosing scripts maintaining his social/political image on the other, raising some burning social issues using it as a stepping stone. The inclination was clearly there in his LINGAA (2014) or KABALI (2016) incorporating relevant social sub-plots and it is right there in KAALA too, pointing towards land grabbing by the corporates and class system/exploitation practiced by the people in power quite prominently.
 
This purposeful conception of projects eventually affects the entertainment and novelty quotient of his films and we honestly do not get to see anything outstanding or unique in terms of content or story-telling as in the case of his last three films including KAALA.
 
Giving some indicative clues, the film has nothing new in its script reminding you of several similar films focusing on the clashes between two titans more than anything else. The builders taking over the chawl or basti, coming up with bulldozers or setting up fire at night, mercilessly murdering the poor is already seen umpteen times in our films since the 70s. And KAALA once again repeats the same with the only thing to cheer for being the scenes of Nana and Rajini together setting the screen on fire. 
 
If truth be told the film stands nowhere without the powerful support of Nana Patekar and it gets truly rescued from becoming a tiring, repetitive watch due to this one man alone and his explosive screen presence. Nana simply outshines Rajini in many of the key sequences and the film frankly becomes interesting only when he enters into the narration post a good 30-40 minutes of just the usual stuff. Till then his pictures on the posters (so close to Shiv Sena and its supremo) superbly build up the terror helping a dull film.
 
With a lengthy 167 minutes of duration, KAALA also hugely suffers due to a flat romantic sub-plot casting an unimpressive Huma Qureshi and cruelly wasting a talent like Pankaj Tripathi in an unimportant role of Police officer. On the other hand Eswari Rao (as Kaala’s wife), Samuthirakani (as his friend/relative) and Anjali Patil (as the energetic young girl activist) successfully manage to grab your attention well in their short roles. 
 
What works in KAALA’s favour is its interesting reverse presentation of the ‘Evil/Ravan’ wearing white (Nana) and the ‘Good/Ram’ wearing black (Rajini) pointing towards the deceptive real life characters. The smiling gesture of Rajinikanth certainly brings back the lost energy at intervals along with the much impactful Nana Patekar. And then it’s the well-shot, colouful climax that ends the film at a higher and positive note coming as a pleasant surprise. As a matter of fact both the interval and climax sequences can easily be rated as the best parts of the film having the much required solid punch. Apart from that KAALA also scores in its technical department of cinematography, art direction and action (especially the flyover scene) but doesn’t deliver in the background score and soundtrack with many average songs (and rap) forcibly inserted (following the routine) adding to the unwanted length.
 
Directed by a politically aware Pa Ranjith, KAALA is also an undeclared political film with subtle references of the writer-director’s personal thought process bringing forward the issues of caste, inequality, migrating population, life in slums, religious rivalry, political party’s nexus with police, builder lobby and more. Interestingly Kaala’s youngest son in the film is called Lenin and the director incorporates intelligent references of Ramayan in a ‘Pooja scene’ too focusing on Nana Patekar.
 
At the same time, one unbelievably poor sequence looks completely misfit in the narration and I really couldn’t understand how and why both Ranjith and Rajinikanth allowed that to be in the film so irresponsibly. The scene has Nana’s dialogue with a 10-12 years old girl from his family, who innocently requests him not to kill Kaala as he seems to be a nice person. Cannot say what the director wished to convey through such pathetically conceived conversation giving you a feeling of watching a B grade gangster film made without any vision as such. Also, I couldn’t get why ‘the big names’ didn’t notice and wrote about this one questionable scene in their articles and reviews.
 
In all, KAALA might be better than KABALI, but certainly isn’t any explosive or thoroughly entertaining film based on a novel premise. The film once again serves the same old, repetitive content with only the Nana-Rajini clashes and the climax offering you something in return for your precious time and money spent. 
 
Rating : 2.5 / 5

Tags : Kaala (Tamil/Hindi) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Tamil Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Rajinikanth new films on land grabbing, Rajinikanth and Nana Patekar, Indian Regional Language Cinema
09 Jun 2018 / Comments ( 4 )
ramji

 That climax portion where pooja for rama destroys ravana was analogically refering to nana patekar as rama and rajini as ravanaa. According to dharavi people, rajini was considered as saviour, and for those live in city like you and me, it is nana was considered as saviour. So your analogical comparison  was wrong. Huma qureshi role was not unimpressive compared to the previous  heroine roles in a rajinikanths movie. The music here is jarring and aloud and it is why because the music comes from the mostly disadvantaged people from our society.So they are superiorly weak.So that anger and agitation and excitation has to be realized through music. Even michael jackson music also criticized samely liket hat of you. All rap pop rock blues are all came from oringinal american people who are all called blacks. Just come out of the bollywood world and seeing a tamil film plainly without any prejudice was really very difficult for any man but still i appreciate your talent. Last but not least, I just said my opinions. Ps: watch previous movie called Madras which certainly talks about lives of people living in North madras which is again a caste based but different story thats all.  

Bobby Sing

Dear Ramji,
First of all Thanks for visiting and writing in praising my honest efforts at the site. And here are my answers for your points raised.

1. The reverse presentation of evil and good mentioned in the review is as per the colours given to them in their attires and it was not referring to the climax. The climax and Ramayan is mentioned further in the review focusing on Nana. So your interpretation of my interpreation stands fautly as you read something that wasnt written.

2.  Music made by anybody whether he comes from an underpriviledged background or any caste or colour has to reach your soul. And every rap, reggae or other forms of music coming from 'the blacks' ( I hate using the term) worked because it was good, different, soothing to ear, with rythmic beats, patterns that made you dance and feel the beat. Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and more didnt work because of their colour or aggression. That was a significant part of their music. But they worked due to their compositions and lyrics together that reached the masses. So its not that if a music is coming from a particular section as a revolt then it will work even if doesnt has any melody or likable compositions. Music has to reach your soul and thats the only critirea.

3.  Regarding just a bollywood person seeing a tamil film...... it seems you havent visited my site and read my works at all on the Indian Cinema made in its regional language and just came here for the review of KAALA. So would kindly request to be my guest and spend some time at the site reading other articles on regional cinema gems too.

4. More importantly .... a film made anywhere, in any language can connect to anyone watching anywhere in the world, irrespective of its background, region, language or colour. That is the reason we all enjoy World Cinema made in various parts of the world in different languages through subtitles. Yes the person knowing the language and region would surely enjoy it more. But dont underestimate anyone watching a movie anywhere in the world through subtitles ........ as its the power of cinema that can easily connect with all unarguably. Otherwise we would not have been able to enjoy the masters of the world from Ray, Ghatak to Spielberg and Kurosawa.
So when it good its good, when average then average and when bad its bad and we should call it that irrespective of the film's cast, director or production house.

5. Lastly I would surely try to watch Madras and you also please do find some time to go through the site too.

Cheers!

ramji

I am sorry for commenting wrongly. Regarding the music of this movie, what i tried to make you understand is that the movie makers wanted to go in the point of view of the Dharavi people about how they percieve the music.. Yourself had mentioned that composition and lyricss what important for the general masses. I also agree kaala is not a good place to go if we want to get touched through our soul. But Kannama (meaning Krishna in the form of female) song is Ok for me to touch the soul of my heart. Thank you 

Bobby Sing

Its fine Ramji as we are all learners on the same path and talked for the first time only.
Regarding the music, we all have our choices and its always subjective. But I do understand your point of music representing the basti and its people. That is very fine.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.
Cheers!

 

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