Hailing the emotional power of actor Rajinikanth more than the superstar Rajinikanth, KABALI directed by Pa. Ranjith (two super hits previous - MADRAS and ATTAKATHI) brings a smile to the fans of Rajnikanth and puts Radhika Apte in the 'big' picture with the superstar.
After the disappointment of LINGAA, the phenomenon kept his millions of fans waiting and when we are introduced to the superstar a smile comes to our face as we find the aura, presence and charisma of what made Shivaji Rao Gaekwad - Rajinikanth still intact.
Though there is less of superstar antics and frequency of punch dialogues are less for a diehard Rajini fan in this emotional drama of a gangster written and directed by Pa. Ranjith.
Kabali (Rajinikanth) an aged don is released after serving a jail term of 25 years in Malaysia. The man who took law in his hands to fight the cause of his fellow Indians in Malaysia has lost his wife Kumudhavalli (Radhika Apte) when she was pregnant but not the respect from his fellow countrymen.
The 'goonda' with a golden heart runs a school to rehabilitate school/college drop outs who are used as 'chain' for easy delivery in the drugs racket run by the rival Malaysian don Tony Lee (Winston Chao).
Out from jail Kabali in his quest to settle scores with Tony gets redeemed with those tried, tested and trusted 'lost and found' formula and finds his beloved and her daughter Yogi (Dhanshika).
All this happens in the postcard locations of Malaysia, Thailand and India where the thrilling start of a gangster flick settles down slowly as an emotional journey of an aged gangster that during its process gives a passing flash of Copola's GODFATHER and Kamal Hassan's NAYAKAN.
Pa Ranjith does a commendable job in celebrating Rajinkanth's signature swagger perfectly, his walk, his laughter all are used as per the demands of the script without going overboard. With just a single song and shorter length as compared to previous Rajinikanth's films, Pa Ranjith does a good job.
The sound department - Dhanush Nayanar, Anthony Ruban and Shyam Sundar S. deserve a special mention. The momentum is maintained right throughout.
The most striking aspect of KABALI is the emergence of actor Rajinikanth overpowering the superstar Rajnikanth in the film. The scene in which he meets Radhika Apte after 25 years is a testimony of Thalaivar's acting powers.
The talented Radhika Apte delivers a top notch performance and it's her big leap in the popular format.
Winston Chao is strictly okay. The Hindi dubbing is passable. Nasser is fine in his limited footage.
What's cringing is the lethargic pace which makes the narrative boringly long and of course the style Badshah of south forgot to fickle his glares, ruffle his hair (only once), toss chewing gum or something else in place of those cigarettes for his dear 'Rajiniatics' round the globe.
Well reviewing a Rajinikanth film and going more in details won't serve much. If you are still reading this then we conclude by saying that if you wish to see the actor Rajinikanth more than the superstar Rajinikanth and are awed by known Bollywood cliches then KABALI is a fair deal.