July 22, 2016
Kabali: Rajinikanth Fans Take To Big Screen Binge-Watching

Kabali is the mother of all Rajinikanth movies, fans proclaim. On Friday, theaters across India, China, Malaysia, and the US housed a horde of Rajinikanth loyalists who witnessed their superstar in his most spectacular avatar.

For the fans in South India, it was a Kabali marathon of sorts. Several enthusiastic fans watched the movie for the second time on the same day. Some even traveled to different cities to watch the movie with their loved ones. Lokavya Kurup, a die-hard Rajinikanth fan from Coimbatore, flew down to Bangalore to watch Kabali with her friends.

Spoiler Alert

At a first glance, Kabali might seem like a patchwork of roles Rajinikanth played in the past. However, you will soon realize that the actor has deviated from the oft-tread path, as the movie packs a certain unfamiliar punch.

Although one might see Kabali as an unsuspecting Annamalai wronged by his best bud, or a loaded Shivaji who fights for a cause, or the ever-charismatic Padayappa in his salt-and-pepper look, you cannot help but notice that Rajinikanth, in this blockbuster, has gone the extra mile to prove he is not a star, but an actor capable of evoking emotions.

Fans applaud director

Pa Ranjith, who has directed films like Attakathi and Madras, has stolen the show by creating this unusual version of Rajinikanth. From the start, Ranjith had made it clear that the movie will have no cliched superstar elements. The director thoroughly enjoyed working with Rajinikanth.
"It was an awesome experience...you just can't compare this experience. The person with the image of a superstar the aura around him in person and from a distance what you see is very different. When you are near him he is the simplest person that you can meet. He is open to ideas and gives his opinion about the ideas instantly. He told me "I thought you kids are doing something but frankly you guys have done a brilliant job." he told India Today.

"Kabali does not have a typical Rajinikanth formula. It's not a Rajinikanth movie, it is a director's movie. This does not have a larger-than-life portrayal of our 'thalaivar.' It's very simple, straight-forward and engaging. In this movie, he does not have flying kicks, unreasonable stunts. It's pure real story. We can relate to the screenplay. I am going to watch the movie for the second time on Sunday," says Manoj, an entrepreneur who lives in Bangalore.

Radhika Apte too stole the show in Kabali. But many do have mixed reviews about her character. While some fans absolutely loved her, others said that her makeup did not do justice to the role of a mother.

"The chemistry between the daughter and mom did not work, but as Rajinikanth's wife, she was mind-blowing. Her close-up shots were visual poetry," opined Udaya Prakash, who watched the movie twice on the same day. He also intends to watch it for the third time soon.

For Radhika Apte, the opportunity to work with Rajinikanth was something she never envisioned. In a recent interview with Filmfare, the 30-year-old actress said, "To be honest I'd not even dreamt of it. But I also knew from the first phone call that even though it's a commercial film, it was a content-driven one and I had a role that had substance. I wasn't just there to sing songs. I also like writer-director Ranjith's sensibilities."

To an extent, Kabali appears to have some key qualities of a classic Rajinikanth movie. It is packed with problems which only Rajinikanth's wits could solve, and as always, good triumphs over evil, or does it?

The open-ended climax took many by surprise.

Do you have something to say about Kabali? Let us know in the comments below.

[Photo by Rajanish Kakade/ AP Images]