Kabali is about a gangster who is out of jail after a 20-year term. And now he has issues to take care of. He needs to put to rest the rival gang, which is led by a Chinese man called Tony Lee. And as he goes about this, the story delves into how Kabali is actually a saint in the garb of a gangster; one who runs schools and fights for the upliftment of the Indian population in Malaysia. Justification to him turning a gangster is provided in flashbacks. Also included in flashbacks in a love story, one of the few elements of the film that should fight connect with the audience.
Much of the screenplay however is disjointed, with scenes not making sense. A sharper editing could have made things better, alas!
Kabali fails to provide reason. Kabali also fails to inform the audience what the story is all about. The viewer would be left trying to understand whether the film is actually a love story of a gangster, or is it a gang-war film, or is it actually a film about one visionary man’s resolute to make things better for the rest of the Indians. Writer-director Pa Ranjith fails miserably there.
Also, aor fans of Radhika Apte, Kabali would be a major disappointment. The powerhouse hardly has much to do but to look pregnant for most part of the film. Of course she does that with utter conviction, standing up to the magnificent Rajinikanth.
But none of these drawbacks ever matter when the iconic actor is on screen. His glances, his moves, his action and his dialogues, and anything else that matters, hits the bull’s eye.
There is a part in the film where the character Kabali explains his fans why he is always dressed in proper suits. Style and appearance matters, he says. Clearly style matters. It works enough to pull this film through. Kabali is all about swag, if swag is what you are looking for. #KabaliSwag!