Man of the masses
Superstar Rajinikanth is back on big screen after a gap of two years, this time too in the company of director Ranjith with whom he associated for ‘Kabali’ in 2016.
‘Kaala’ is a movie with a lot of political messages (both open and hidden) and it will be safe to say it is more a Ranjith film than a Rajini movie. But there are certain portions for the ‘Thalaivar’ fans to rejoice.
The story is about Karikalan aka Kaala (Rajinikanth), head of people living in Dharavi in Mumbai. Even as fighting for the rights of the poor, he lives a happy life with his wife Selvi (Easwari Rao), four sons, daughters-in-law and grand children.
Hari Dhadha (Nana Patekar), a powerful politician, wants to acquire the slum area of Dharavi in the name of development. But his real intention is to sell it to corporates. Kaala opposes this.
One day, Hari visits Dharavi to warn Kaala, but gets insulted as Kaala refuses to allow him to go out. Enraged Hari vows to put an end to Kaala but ends up killing his wife and son.
Now, Kaala decides to put full-stop to the atrocities of Hari. A cat and mouse game starts and who emerges victorious at the end is the rest of the story. In the meantime, Kaala also gets an opportunity to meet his ex-flame Zareena (Huma Qureshi), who returns from abroad to reform the slum.
At 68, Rajini has delivered a solid performance and we understand once again why this man is loved by people from all ages and sections. With amazing screen presence, he presents an electrifying performance.
Easwari Rao steals the show with measured performance, while Huma Qureshi touches hearts, especially in the first half. Nana Patekar is a revelation as villain and he sends chill down the spine.
Another noteworthy performance is by Samuthirakani, while Sayaji Shinde, Sampath Raj, Anjali Patil and Arul Doss are also there. Santhosh Narayanan’s music sounds familiar, especially the songs. But his background score is like backbone.
Murali G’s cinematography is the big hero after Rajini. The way it has shown the slum area is remarkable. On editing side, the film needs little trimming in the post-interval session.
Ranjith always uses his films as a medium to convey his philosophies to the audience and in ‘Kaala’, he is at the peak of it. But how right is it to show one particular religion in badlight? Also, there are some scenes which might not go down well with those in power.
Rating: 4 out of 5
By Naveen – US