It is confirmed now that this is Kalyug: Tarzan is a family man, Superman is emotional, Batman spends more time with his girlfriend and Rajinikant has become old!!! I always thought age can never catch up with Rajini, only Rajini can catch up with age (my original :P). But Pa. Ranjith (director of Kabali) has proved me wrong. For our consolation, he has given us Radhika Apte as Kabali’s wife and Dhansika in one of her hottest roles.
Kabali (Rajini) is the ‘Robinhood Don’ of the Tamils in Malaysia as he takes over from his godfather (Naseer) and fights Tony (Winston Chao). But unlike Marlon Brando who plots and kills slyly, Kabali believes in style- driving over his opponents or shooting them on a billiards table. After all, his wife has been killed and he is looking for vendetta after being released from prison.
But unlike the Rajini that we know, Kabali doesn’t get spray painted to look young (except in a few flashback scenes) and we miss the colorful songs and dream sequences, however silly them might have been. He doesn’t flip a chewing gum or split bullets in mid air. He has grown old, sports a salt and pepper beard and plays his age. His arms are thin, yet he does pull ups like Arnold and squashes his enemies like Stallone. The movie has been kept quite realistic and yet retains some of the Rajini flavor. Flipping the locks from his forehead or laughing sarcastically, Rajini does well. He acts well as a father and husband too. However as a ‘superhero’ of the South he lacks the chutzpah that he once had. This wouldn’t let his fans down though unless the last shot of the movie is interpreted by them correctly!
Radhika Apte acts brilliantly as Kabali’s wife Kumudavalli. Her scene where she meets him after a long time and acts without any dialogue, tells us why she is such a fine actor. Dhansika is agile and sexy, but her facial expressions don’t match her actions. John Vijay as Ameer- Kabali’s right hand man is refreshingly funny and adds much needed humor. Winston Chao- Taiwanese actor and the Malaysian Don in the movie is amazingly good. To hold his ground against Rajini and mouth some Tamil punchlines are great achievements. Some of the camera movements- like the one moving out of Kabali’s house in the forest to the sky- are breathtaking.
Like his Hollywood counterparts, will this real life superhero of India continue in his new avatar of playing his age? We will wait and watch.