KAALA was more an opportunity for the KABALI duo of “Rajinikanth and Ranjith” to redeem themselves after Kabali which was not lapped up as expected despite finding favour with many. Rajinikath himself said Kabali was not a Rajini film and so he wanted Ranjith to work with him again, and KAALA is here. Dhanush’s Wonderbar films produce this film and it has a galaxy of stars and a few from Bollywood too.

Kaala begins well like all Ranjith movies, slowly establishing the characters, with small details making a mark, etching the dots in the screenplay. The romance is “cutely” portrayed and so is the family bonding and bickering. The first half works its way slowly till the potential buildup for the second half, at the interval. The second half is as predictable as many tales with mass elements that has been written before, though the treatment and execution is typical Ranjith style with Rajini’s presence. A few scenes stand out and yes there are the other usual ones that stick to the routine without any pretense. The onus is on dialogues than action throughout the film.

Rajinikanth is in fine form here, especially as the “drunk Kaala” Rajini is a scream. Otherwise he typically plays the part that is expected of him, except a few scenes where he is the usual “Mass” act. Easwari Rao owns the first half with her brilliant portrayal as Kaala’s wife. Hema Qureshi is dignified in her role, while Samuthrakanni and the rest do their job well. Nana Patekar as the bad man is majestic and holds his own. The star cast of Kaala do not fail and hold the film wonderfully together.

Technically Kaala is nothing short of intense. Mural as the cinematographer is outstanding while special mention should be made of the art director Ramalingam for his amazing sets. Sontosh Narayanan does a wonderful job with the background score and the songs are quite decent and situation worthy. Dialogues could have had more depth while direction by Ranjith is as good as ever.

KAALA’s writing is what you expect out of a Ranjith movie, but you wonder how many movies more can he keep painting one side right and the other side wrong. There is no subtlety in his writing and it is straight on the face. Zarina,Bhim Singh, Lenin, Kaala against Hari, Vishnu, Manu on the other side. His films reflect his ideology and that is “we are all right and you are all wrong”. There are no in-betweens and the puns are direct and one sided. Yes as it usually is, Kaala is totally one sided and offers a lot of revolutionary dialogues and reasons, sadly with no solutions.

A film without political overtones would be a perfect setting for Ranjith, for the wonderful writer that he can be, he should.

KAALA –  500 wala!!