“All the Rajini Fans” are an orbit of their own. The cinema that caters to them is thus by definition different and defying. This time round the blast is on with some time to take off but when it does, it is full fledged and high wattage in a way you have come to associate with the Rajini school or the Rajini style.
The monsoons may not have arrived as yet in Mumbai. For the Rajini fans it has and how!!. The torrent takes a while. The film is a clash between the good and evil and a good forerunner for a man with political ambitions. The realtor with eyes on prime land and the poor fighting to save it, the case of cosy development alongside attractive PPTs Vs wishing away the poor is the conflict that is central to the film. Pivoted around the two: Rajini and Nana Patekar, the film is a tad too long and the 166 minutes is predictably lost on the frills and not centred around the dramatic value of the story.
Karikalan (Rajini) is the Robinhood of Dharavi with wife Selvi (Eshwari) and a large family of multiple children and grandchildren. His son Lenin defies the grandeur of his dad and is a revolutionary of sorts. Living in Dharavi, the entire citizenry swear by the charisma and skill sets of Kaala and have an unquestionable commitment to his word. The local political Don Harinath Desai (Nana) is out to grab Dharavi under the guise of cleaning up the largest slum and expectedly meets with stiff opposition. When his powerful supporter (Sampath) is killed in an act of vendetta in the monsoon rains of Mumbai, he decides to change gears and gets in an NGO – builder combination. Heading the NGO face is Zareena (Huma Qureshi– hopelessly miscast), a one-time resident of the area, now in designer handlooms to change the face of Dharavi. Even the naïve Lenin and his spirited girlfriend (Anjali Patil) fall prey to it. Not for long.
The clash comes out into the open. Rajini who has long been subdued comes into his own and knows of the large fan base he has to cater to. The dance, the drama, the emotional one liners, the ace up my sleeve lines, the quick as lighting movements, the physics defying fights, the chemistry defying romance are all in place and finally the chef delivers what is expected of him. The film has many drawbacks including the failure of the filmmaker to prioritise the Rajini expertise. The climax is long drawn and seemingly seamless and full of chaos. You actually do not know who is beating up who and who is winning or who is losing. Rajini throws in a lot of polish and grace to his role. This is not his usual stuff. Of course you cannot take the original Rajini out and ‘Kaala’ is Rajini and Rajini is ‘Kaala’. It remains to be seen if he falls between the two stools.
When did you last, if ever, go to a movie with the fans pouring in with a self stated dress code? All in black. This sure is the fan out doing the impossible visage of the star. Go to the theatre not just to watch Rajini but to watch his fans.