Review: Kaala - Right vs Right

By M Bharat Kumar Published on Jun 07, 2018 02:06 PM IST

After Rajinikanth finally declared his intention to enter politics, comes Kaala. As expected, director Pa Ranjith has managed to weave a political propaganda film loaded with social messages. As his earlier movies would have it, Kaala too speaks for the the oppressed. In a nutshell, it is about their battle against political powers.

The stage is set for Rajinikanth to lash out at his political detractors, who often condemn him for reflecting right wing ideologies. Surprisingly, the actor has disapproved his critics by speaking against right wing leaders and their political thoughts.

Rajinikanth as Kaala sait, a gangster from Tirunelveli, controls Dharavi, fights for keeping the land safe from mighty politicians and the land mafia. And the latter are symbolically shown as those representing a major party.

The reference about Lord Rama Vs Ravana, clean & digital city and that the land is the common man's right are typical of Ranjith and Rajini gathers guts to say them on screen. In the books of Ranjith, Ravana is good and he emerges the victor against Rama.

The Madras filmmaker makes it an engaging war between 'Black and White'. Through Kaala sait and his heroics for common man, he tries to convey that black is always beautiful while white is a dirt. Rajini does what his director wanted him to, but it is the straight opposite to his thoughts in real life. There are some razor sharp dialogues that speak about thirst for power and the disparity in society.

Through the first half, Ranjith has tried to narrate the story. With strong characterisation and matured performance by all including Rajinikanth, the portions manage to engage the audience.

However the movie actually picks up speed as the latter half begins. There are some signature style Rajinikanth actions, a touch of comedy and finally, Kaala on a mission to get the land back in Dharavi. But the message is preachy and the nuances with which Ranjith presented his films Attakathi and Madras go missing here.

Special mention should be given to Easwari Rao (as Kaala's wife Selvi) and Anjali Patil (as Puyal, the girlfriend of one of Kaala's sons).

Nana Patekar as powerful politician Hari Dadha is tailor-made for the role. The way with which he pulls off a tricky role as a selfish politico adds strength to the script. His charming persona on screen reflects a contemporary politician and he does it well. Huma Qureshi's performance is another highlight. Among others, Samuthirakani and Dhileepan (Kaala's friend and son, respectively) leave their mark well.

Santhosh Narayanan's music is a major weak link and the montage songs with rap interludes disappoint. But his background score is racy. Sreekar Prasad's editing and Murali's cinematography gives one a hangover of Kabali.

Kaala begins as Ranjith's film and when it appears Rajinikanth takes centrestage, Ranjith is out to steer it in his way. He talks about how the oppressed continue to be suppressed unless they protest against the establishment. But it goes overboard at places.

And the climax which is more of Ram Vs Raavan, riots and social media uprisings could have been handled better. Kaala eventually ends up as remotely unpredictable fare with very little an ardent Rajini fan would cherish.