On the weekend the much talked-about movie Kabali was released I was on a short vacation in Kerala, India. Being a Rajni fan, I didn’t want to miss the show and wanted my own assessment of the movie.
It was a typical scene at the cinema in Kochi where the audience brought the roof down by whistling and clapping every time Rajini appeared and thereafter every signature gesture of his met with some form of cacophonic reaction from the floor.
The prison scene when Rajni steps out into freedom after 25 years itself did not have an impact as it was too predictable. I could see that he had lost the spice and juice and more and more into the movie, I was convinced I was not wrong.
Let us face it, Rajni is out of season and he is not worthy of such roles, not any more.
No doubt he was mostly presented as a 60-year old in the movie with some snapshots of him as a rebellious young man. He has surely lost his vigour, I thought.
The movie was grisly with just too much violence, people killing people with scant regard for lives. Kabali is essentially a gang leader and supposedly one that does good for people. Aren’t we in war against gangs and the police is in warfare to eliminate the culture of gangs in Malaysia and then we have a movie that glorifies a man’s prowess through his association with gangs.
Are there good good gangs and bad ones? Who gives the gangsters the right to prosecute and punish people?
The fact that Rajni is a gang leader himself sends out the wrong signals to our youngsters. Everything said about why and how our youngsters end up in gangs is true but don’t we already know that. Kabali the gang leader is received by people in celebration and festivity which again does not go well with the delusion created about gangs and gangsters.
I wish the movie had elements of awareness and education in outlining what and how that social ill could be handled. There was no “take home” from the movie, that’s for sure.
Also, I felt that the background to the story about Indians living in the estates could have been projected a little more objectively with deeper research. The Indians from the estates were made to look like victims all the way which may not be contextually correct but fits perfectly well into the conception of self-pity as propagated.
In as far as the Indians from estates are concerned, somewhere along the way, there has been colossal failure by the Indian political leaders who strove to uplift this segment of Indians.
In the past some aggressive ventures undertaken by the past leaders paid dividends.
However, we do not have a happy ending to this woe as politics got too much in the way preventing reforms.
Leaders forsook the community interest and wellbeing for political mileage and prominence and we are stuck with no conclusion.
Back to Kabali, in sum, there was a whole lot of deficiencies in the movie, ill-conceived story-line, inappropriate casting, and Rajni for some strange reason did not do justice to his role.
No doubt Kabali is just a fiction but we are in an age where youngsters exist in a state of flux and in moments of weakness they fall prey to undesirable influences.
To a large extent Kabali didn’t fit into the Kollywood movie ideals and Rajni who is known for his wisdom and maturity must know when the time is up for him.
Bhavani Krishna Iyer