Cast: Rajinikanth, Huma Qureshi, Nana Patekar, Easwari Rao, Samuthirakani, Sampath Raj, Sayaji Shinde, Pankaj Tripathi and Anjali Patil
Director: Pa Ranjith
Music: Santosh Narayanan
Editor: Sreekar Prasad
Cinematography: Murali G
Run-time: 2 Hours and 46 minutes
Dharavi is a slum area located in the city centre of Mumbai which is under the hold of Karikaalan aka Kaala (Rajinikanth). Hari Dada (Nana Patekar), a powerful local politician, wants to encroach Dharavi in the name of “Pure Mumbai” slogan. Will Hari Dada succeed in grabbing Dharavi or will Kaala resist Hari Dada’s influence forms the plot.
Being the immediate second combination of director Pa Ranjith and superstar Rajinikanth, ‘Kaala’ carried a strong buzz in all the languages.
This is not a new plot which is about the battle of rich and poor while the only thing appears to be fresh is the backdrop of the slum region, Dharavi. However, this is not all like the regular gangster based films. The director keeps the things simple, with no major twists and turns in the plot. What’s most interesting is, there are no controversial dialogues nor it was targeted at any individual. There are no elevation episodes of Rajinikanth as well which is quite surprising (may be because he looks old in the film). Fans will enjoy the rain fight.
The first half introduces the audience to the basic plot and we can guess what happens in the second half. The tone changes a bit in the latter part with confrontation scenes of Rajini and Nana are major highlight. The pre-climax is quite lengthy and takes it own sweet time to enter the climax.
Rajinikanth is at his usual best. Most of the time he is seen in black shirt and lungi in the film. Nana Patekar steals the show with powerful yet subtle performance. However, he appears just before the end of the first half. Seeing two stalwarts of cinema, completing with each other is a delight to watch.
Easwari Rao plays the role of Kaala’s wife and provides us enough laughs in the first half while Huma Qureshi plays a social activist who lands in Dharavi from Africa to develop the slum. She is also Kaala’s ex in the movie. The restaurant episode of Rajini and Huma is boring and should have been chopped off.
Samuthirakani is seen as the most trusted man of Kaala and entertains us very little with his drunkard antics. The rest of the cast are okay in their roles.
Background music is one of the biggest asset for the film. Santosh Narayanan did a terrific job but the songs are disappointing as not even a single track is catchy. The title and pre-climax songs are good. The film definitely needs trimming and a better screenplay would have made a lot of difference.
Dialogues by Sreeramakrishna are decent and non-controversial. No punch dialogues or one-liners. Just plain and straight to the point. Cinematography by Murali is commendable. He should be appreciated for showing Rajini just like how appears to the outside world. The production values are good.
Bottom-line: Beleaguered to take Rajini’s political ambitions ahead!