Director: Pa Ranjith
Starring: Rajinikanth, Nana Patekar, Samuthirakani, Easwari Rao, Huma Qureshi, Anjali Patil
Story: Pa. Ranjith, Maginan
Dialogue (Hindi): Shivgopal Krishna and Ranjeet Bahadur
Lyca Productions and Wunderbar Films – Dhanush Proudly Presents Rajinikanth starrer KAALA, a story of a boy who runs away from Tirunelveli in his childhood and moves to Mumbai to become a powerful don with a kind and caring heart, living in the slums of Dharavi. This film is without his superstardom but rather shows him as a layered actor. Kaala gets his chance to display his power when his son Lenin (Manikandan) and Lenin’s girlfriend Puyal (Anjali Patil) get embroiled in a redevelopment project that seeks to re- imagine Dharavi as a shimmering oasis of high rises and golf courses. Then there is Kaala’s former love interest Zarina (Huma Qureshi), who is described as a successful housing rights activist, supports the scheme to uproot Dharavi’s hard working denizens and move them into vertical slums. Kaala however recognizes the project as a ploy by Hari (Nana Patekar), a politician who declares that he wants to cleanse Mumbai of its dirt and grime. For years the slum has been endangered by politicians and property dealers now but the director adds new and fresh debate. This film is not about Rajinikanth the superstar but rather the actor with charisma and presence like no one else and the director Pa. Ranjith tells this from the start itself by introducing Rajinikanth on the screen in a simple way after ages. The movie does have what all Rajinikanth fans crave for but Ranjith has humanized the onscreen Rajinikanth.
Technically the film is shot brilliantly; cinematographer G Murali and production designer T Ramalingam create a very real sense of Dharavi’s density. Music is also good. Screenplay is also very well written but Lenin (Manikandan) and Zarina (Huma Qureshi) characters could have been written better.
Performances wise Rajinikanth is magnificent, he is effortless in his portrayal as Kaala and his charisma and style elevate the social drama, Nana Patekar makes his mark, he uses his experience very well and his scenes with Rajinikanth are memorable. Huma Qureshi is also good though her character could have written better. All the others play their part well.
Director Pa. Ranjith’s KAALA like his previous films MADRAS and KABALI is loaded with so much political meaning and revolutionary fervor that it is almost possible to miss the absence of a convincing plot. KAALA has a lot of surprise moves which is presented nicely by Ranjith. The director stays true to his objective.